Garbage Day: Played back in the day. Funky how it is both rotated and mirrored symmetrical depending on where you are. Map has very short distance but point has high height advantage, compensates both with quick cap time. Sign on the elevator has not aged well.
Ahau: BOX IN THE DOORWAY WHAT IT GONNA DO? Map can have a short walking time to point but also really out of the way routes for some reason? Should be simplified. Good general example of Mayan detailing but sides lack distinguishing colours outside of trims and props, should have played with different texturing or lighting. Seems like there are clear spots to engage people on the point with cover on the point to hide away from them at the cost of being unable to watch the low ground. Good height variations and plenty of pickups, although metal is a bit of a walk away for Engies. Some rock parkour options for Scout, maybe a bit too much. Main issue is just the size as a whole.
Airfield: The amount of arrows outside spawn shows a lack of trust in me the player (understandable, lol). Detailing around spawn looked fun but sad to see it become a desert barrel facility for the game space itself, does not live up to name. Capture point area seems too well-covered and has strong height advantage. I imagine the cover is to prevent players using said strong height advantage to control mid but I fear it creates chokepoints the defenders can utilise well. Don't vibe with the Pickup Rocks at mid, a bit too close to the action. Capture Trigger should extend a lil' further out.
Alpine Depo: A lot more well detailed than I was expecting from a map with no version suffix. The spawn rooms are lovely, they are different for both teams and I do like it when symmetrical map architecture is different for each team. Kinda odd to then step out of spawn and see dev textures but hey ho. Map has notably poor performance. Map aesthetic, positives aside, seems to bite on Viaduct's too much. There's a door that doesn't open with a no entry hand sign on one side but not the other, and the layout of the room leads you to that fake door if you are moving from mid. Train comes too frequently, and it is funny having a diagonal path travel through buildings and gates clearly not diagonal. Big height variation on point to low ground, but there is a flank that has height over the point. Could do with a way up from the low ground to the high ground that doesn't involve the point or the buildings. Actually it kinda sucks that the whole centre area of the areas next to the point are low grounds, with such a big area would be better as at least a mix of low and middle. Pickups seem a little sparse, especially if you are trying to prepare a forward base for attacking the point (akin to the concrete area in Viaduct).
Altitude: Crashes TF2 via engine hunk overflow. Very cool!
Americana: A lot of odd detailing choices. I like some of the out of bound detailing, lives up to the fantasy of a nighttime urban map, but the interior area to the right of spawn just has mashed up elements, and most of the other interiors don't have an identity. Stairs need texture position variation. I really don't like the blue brick textures. The soundscape is also weird: I hear an organ playing and sometimes an argument that ends in an explosion. Another uphill battle to the point, but now the point itself is not the emphasis of the high ground hold. The point itself takes a long time to cap. The pickups are plenty enough but seem stacked towards one half of the map (rotated symmetrical, so technically two opposing quarters), with that half having two medium medkits while the other three small ones (and one of those is technically at the halfway point of the map length-wise). SHIPPING CONTAINER GAMING.
Annex: What a surreal map. Reminds me of those concrete deathmatch areas in Surf maps with the big open area, large height variation and large curved but walkable walls. Obviously sits closer on the less objective-focused side of KoTH maps (the map itself feels akin the Nucleus), which is cool but I think the map could still be made smaller, there are some areas that are way too overscaled and could do with simplification, such as the spawn rooms and areas outside of spawn. If I had my hands on this map I would cut out and simplify large chunks to get it down in size without losing the sense of size (and remove elevator gaming because I'm evil). Capture Point seems far too vulnerable, lots of ways to get height over it, and may be too weird having a donut trigger. Health pickups seem to lean towards the non-Annex sign half of the map, and ammo just kinda feels stingy all around. Big sightlines, that's to be expected but I spotted one that can shoot from close to one entrance of the hall(?) to the other across the point. The detail suffers in the little things. Obviously the map is very big and it is pretty at a macro level, and does have cool ideas of detailing scattered throughout the map, but it is also clear that corners were cut so the map would actually get released. Very casual clipping lets me conquer the roofs.
Anthem: Spawn room and immediate area outside look very nice, but a lot of the other interiors didn't get as much detailing love. I feel like the building under the clock tower could do with another pass, especially since so many routes out of spawn lead towards it: the lowest floor is fine enough but the main floor is flat both gameplay-wise and texture-wise. Capture Point is clearly inspired by Gravel Pit C but enjoys alternative paths up via the side routes. There is also a platform that can be used to jump onto the last ramp to the point, creating the shortest route to point, but it is just too big a jump for Heavies, the class who suffers the most having to take the longer routes. The point has the highest height but there are nearby platforms that help minimize that advantage. All the individual areas of the map are kinda short in terms of distance, so I feel that once you have captured the point you could easily push into connector (especially with the height advantage) and then into the enemy spawn area. Boar cutout.
Antimony: I will bully the dev textures. The map seems to be trying to be as small as possible, it feels like there are at most two routes at given time. Why is there a staging platform for camping people moving from spawn to connector? You can just about awkwardly jump up the small ledge near the point, so personally I would just add a staircase. There's a lot of what I call redundant corridors where you get a choice of which way to go but they both lead to the same place, just with a wall separating them until they meet up again (I have a name for this because I do this all the time lol).
Apple Acres: Do not like BLU's floor texture. Obviously a very old map from its construction, from the almost flat displacement ground to the barren rectangle rooms. Needs more pickups, only has a small health at the Sniper windows and a medium health before the Capture Point. Didn't think I could get to the roof of the barn, but you can. The spawn area could be improved a lot, but you can say that to most of the map at a surface level. Chicken coop. I like the ivy decorations scattered around. I wonder how the MLP Mapping scene is doing these days.
Aquatic Ruin: Very primitive map, judging by the lack of displacements and massive walls enclosing the gameplay space, but plentiful custom content (though I don't think Aquatic Ruin's background works as a skybox lol). Wish the floor was a displacement for alpha variation. Why is Sonic, the blue character, on the RED side and Eggman, the red character, on the BLU side? Water and Jump Pad Gameplay. Layout is a bit all over the place. Some very toasty sightlines here, including through a partially-transparent waterfall. Plenty of health pickups, and shoutout to the twist on convention of having a small ammo kit sandwiched between two full health kits. The Capture Point seems vulnerable from many angles with height advantage, but the pillars do provide a variety of cover. Can't see Heavies or Engies enjoying this map though with how big mid is. The electrical lights all over the place amuse me.
Aquifer: SHIPPING CONTAINER GAMING. Why is there a window in a thick concrete wall? I love the detailing on the RED building after spawn, it even makes the shipping container corridor make a little more sense, although the interior detailing could be improved. Why do the buildings at the side of the point have a complicated walkway structure that leads nowhere? I assume it is for Engineers to set up a base (there is a large ammo pickup here but I disagree with its placement in the middle of a route to the low ground) but I feel you could get by without the second walkway. Admittedly I made a sick Thermal Thruster jump from the outside onto them through a window that's just way high up for some reason. Ammo pickups are plentiful enough, good for Engies and Spies. I can see Scouts being a problem on the outside areas, lots of places to jump to and from, and the water on the low ground prevents fall damage. Conversely this map seems to be absolutely suffering for Heavy. If you fall to the low ground, you gotta take a winding ramp back up regardless of your route, and the paths to spawn is blocked off by one-way drops, so enjoy the winding path you gotta take if you want to retreat that far, and since there is only one health pickup outside of mid you might just have to. Of course a Scout can just jump past these one-ways, so another reason they enjoy the map. Both teams have access to balconies and containers that overlook the point making standing on the point dangerous. I think I'd like the area with the ramps leading up to mid and a side building improved as well, it is flat ground followed by two ramps next to each other with a huge sightline from the enemy balcony (and Snipers don't seem to have many other good positions outside it), it could be made more interesting.
Arctic: A classic of course. The spawn room is a nice compact size with close exits (a lot of the maps here have big rooms with very separated doors that just lead to the same courtyard anyway to the point I have stopped mentioning it). Noticing a good amount of prop pop in. There's this peculiar staircase that is technically outside but completely encapsulated with buildings, don't know why it is like that, it is even a redundant corridor with a ramp right next to it to the same place, but I suppose it is more hidden I guess? Pickups are good. The point has some height control over most routes but there is a route that grants strong height control over the point but also a bit of a sightline to the other corner of the map. Map is open for jump classes but still remains uncluttered for hitscan classes to fight them. SHIPPING CONTAINER GAMING.
Armory: SHIPPING CONTAINER GAMING (it keeps happening). Couple of rooms are pretty dark. Spawn is big and has very separated exits but they all just lead to the same courtyard. Mid is very compact, but at least Snipers have a somewhat effective balcony. A lot of the routes to mid are with shutter doors, which causes problems for people pushing into them regardless of side. A good mix of lower and higher ground routes to the point. Connector building is weird, it has an overly complex ceiling, a ramp up and then down for one of the exits, and there's a vehicle on a shipping container.
Artefact: I don't understand how the spawn room doors disappear like that. Lighting could be improved all around, map can be dark or red at times. The connector routes are unusual but very flat, you either have the world's fattest flank route or a long bland corridor. You can climb a lot of the geometry, so I'm sure people can find ways to fandangle some wild route for Scout or position for Sniper, anyone else would likely suffer from damage falloff to benefit from it all. The routes under the point should have arrows. Capture Point is too high from the low ground and too far from the similar-height ground without pushing to the Capture Point itself. Map is just really big all around without much of use in a lot of areas.
Ashville: I did not expect the punching bag to work but it did, now I want one. I'm not use to seeing Ashville so dark, I've never played the map myself but when I've seen it in videos (like in LazyPurple's How It Feels To Play Engineer in TF2 (2018)) it has been during the day. Not a fan of the point being on a glass floor. There's just a lot of weird visual decisions all around. I don't like how the connector buildings' exteriors look especially from mid, and there's abandoned cart signs in the corner of the map. I love the spawn room visuals though. Low pickup amount but they are all medium so it makes up for it. The routes from spawn are kinda complicated in comparison to how simple mid is in contrast. Capture Point is very exposed but easy to pile people on to cap fast.
Ashwood: BLU has RED Lockets in their Respawn room. Or rooms I guess. This map is almost double symmetrical (akin to Well), which limits gameplay variation. Very aggressive spawn blockers. A lot of illuminated features like signs and pickup spawns. Capture Point is very vulnerable from pretty much all angles at two different heights. Roof gameplay for jump classes, I once again didn't expect it but I noticed an open window so here we are. I dislike the blue wood texture. Map needs some micro-height variation outside of the bumpy displacement ground, all heights on the map basically sit at two different levels. High ground seems prevalent but only has ammo pickups, good call. Pickups are plentiful.
Aurora Mansion: Punching bag hard mode. As soon as I saw the initial spectator cam when I selected a team I knew this was gonna be a curveball. They don't make maps like these any more (they may make maps like these any more). In fact, seeing that the song list has Gorillaz' Valley of the Pagans (2020) they clearly do make maps like these any more, I should have clocked on earlier after seeing Fortnite Chapter 2 (2019), but all the Undertale (2015) threw me off. I don't know how to get the music to play. The map is pretty and has a lot of community-focused charm but could do with more texture variety especially on the upstairs floor, but I do like the 3D Skybox of the inland. It is obviously hard to make gameplay comments on an asymmetrical map clearly designed for hanging out (though if that was the primary goal maybe the timers should be longer than three minutes), but here goes. I dislike 180 degree spawns, where I have to go 180 degrees in some direction to leave them. RED seems to have a lot more freedom in how they want to focus attention on the point, with a balcony and the pavement around the pool. They also have access to the Sans challenge teleport room next to the point, compared to BLU's distant corner. RED also seems just closer to the point in general. It would be nice if the outdoor sections had something to break their long sightlines. Stairs need texture position variation and the water texture needs to be scaled larger.
Avalanche: Wish the map made more effort to differentiate the two halves outside the occasional overlay, I know it is not as important on a mirrored symmetrical map compared to a rotated one but it would still be nice. I think the Capture Point is a lil' too much pushed to one side. Spawn paths seem to generally try to push players towards the balcony area, so they would see the point but it has a thin route too it. The capture zone itself could also be bigger, giving more dodging space against Snipers on the balcony. The path to reach the flank route could be made smaller. You can crouch jump up from a certain spot of mid's low ground to the flank route cliff, I would put a more obvious prop jump there. The big barricades just off the point feels perhaps a lil' too strong to set up defensive sentry nests to stop attackers. Feels weird to hear a waterfall next to the doors near the point, especially given how hard it is to see the waterfall and how far away it appears to be. How does the person who puts the team logo who owns the point on the blimp do it so fast?