Over the past few days, I've had the opportunity to play some the PlayStation 3 version of Team Fortress 2, one fifth of The Orange Box. The PS3 version should arrive at retailers tomorrow, but it wasn't until recently that EA has given press an opportunity to play TF2 online. Unfortunately, the player count in all of my hands-on sessions never topped eight and the game doesn't support bots, so it was hardly representative of a real-life game that can support up to sixteen players at once. Still, after a few hours of play, I felt like I had a good feel for the performance capabilities of the game.
Graphically, the game looks fantastic. Team Fortress 2's unique art-style is well represented in the PS3 version of The Orange Box, but at times suffers from the same issues other titles in the collection do. The occasional frame rate stutter during a heated battle will cause some frustration, but, in general it holds up fairly well.
There are some other unusual hitches, such as a brief pause as your character goes underwater and a visible delay in the launching of the Demoman's grenades. Game-killing bugs these are not, but serious players will most likely find themselves cursing their PS3s when one of these idiosyncrasies leads to their death. As I happen to lean toward Demoman play, I hope that EA will address this issue quickly.
Getting in and out of a game, or simply creating one, is fairly simple via EA's online servers. We experienced some lag during one the TF2's press play sessions, but this was explained by EA reps as due to the game being temporarily hosted on a European server.
While the PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box doesn't have much to crow about when compared to its PC and Xbox 360 counterparts, it's still great fun. In my brief time with the title, despite the small teams that don't allow the strategic elements to shine, I only looked forward to spending more time with the title. Hopefully, there will be a few more players online tomorrow, when the game arrives at retailers.