To continue the theme from my last posting, allow me to say that I am really having fun with Team Fortress 2. I never played the original Team Fortress, so I didn't know quite what to expect going into this game. Thankfully, I have been pleasantly surprised. The cartoon visuals are incredibly unique, so much so that I hope other games use this look and feel at some point. Likewise, gameplay is so well balanced, that the game is fun even when you are consistently on the losing team (as was the case for me tonight). In other multiplayer games (such as Unreal Tournament 2004), it was often that case that I would get frustrated when my team continually failed to gain the upper hand. With Team Fortress 2, I never have that feeling; I'm having so much fun that the thought of becoming frustrated never even crosses my mind.
One small feature that helps in this regard, and one that I have really come to enjoy, is the sophisticated stats tracking. Every time you die, you get a snapshot of who killed you. Occasionally, during this freeze frame, you'll get a little box that says "On the Brighter Side..." and then presents you with a record that you've just broken. For example, after dying once tonight, I got an encouraging statistic that said "On the Brighter Side ... You did more damage than your previous best!" It also told me the new record value (2186, if I remember correctly), so as to give me something to work towards beating. This kind of encouragement is really great, and helps you see that you're actually getting a little bit better each time. I hope other multiplayer games take note of this feature and implement something similar.
It's a little disappointing that there are only 6 maps, but again, the gameplay is so fun that this minor point becomes a non-issue. Valve has mentioned that they will be releasing more maps in the future, so I'll patiently await the arrival of some new content. My current favorite classes are the Soldier, Medic, and Pyro (these are the 3 classes I've had the most success with). Be sure to check out Team Fortress 2 if you get the chance. So far, I'm having a blast!