So it turns out the TF2 team have released a couple of new maps in beta! It’s been ages since we saw new maps, so today I jumped on one of the new payload maps, pl_CatcusCanyon, to see what it was all about.
The map looks lovely, with typical TF2 textures and a distinct badlands-feel. In the first stage, BLU must push their cart out of the spawn area, down through a tunnel with a ‘death pit’ to one side, then up a cliff, round a corner with a full health pack, up another cliff with a U-turn, and finally into the hatch.
As far as gameplay goes, my first impression is that it’s a pretty darn hard map for the BLU team. I’ve played about eight matches today before work, four on each team, and the only time BLU won was when the teams were horrifically inbalanced in BLU’s favour. It’s a great map concept and good fun to play, but I feel that the combination of three things make the map difficult for attackers:
Aside from when BLU exit spawn, these three are pretty predominant for the attacking team. By themselves they’re not too bad as they can be overcome, but once you exit that tunnel it seems like the rest of the map is made up of all three at once. From what I’ve seen and played so far, this results in RED Demomen, Soldiers and Engineers being able to shut down parts of the map with absolute ease – it got to the point where, even with me (as Medic) ubercharging our best Soldier or Demoman multiple times, we still couldn’t break through the defenses at the end.
It’s by no means an ‘impossible’ map, and as I’ve said I really like it – the aesthetic and the winding payload nature really make it great fun for me. I love the challenge of winning a game of Team Fortress 2 rather than just being able to walk to the cap point. I just feel that, in its current state, it is too weighted in favour of the defenders. Still, it is only a beta map, so I can’t wait to see what the rest of the community thinks and where Valve takes this :)
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! To finish, and as I haven’t got a video or picture of Cactus Canyon yet, here’s a picture of the payload cart made out of LEGO (not by me, sorry :( )