The Spy has been, and always will be, my favorite class in any video game (or other game, for that matter) that has classes. Paladins of D&D, Snipers of Battlefield come close, but ultimately, they are nothing compared to our resident globe-trotting lady killer. Everything about the Spy appeals to me on every level: his sneaky, underhanded playstyle, his awesome voice lines, and his weapons.
Good lord, his weapons. The way the Spy functions is so interesting, so quirky, and so unique, that it brings a whole new level of intrigue to the most intriguing mercenary around. The closest analogue I can draw is that of a Rogue from, well, any generic fantasy game. Rogues have low health (usually), wield a small knife (usually), and are stealthy (usually). However, what Rogues lack and the Spy has is tactical deception and interesting combat tricks. While a Rogue can hide behind a barrel and shoot an orc in the back of the head for massive damage, The Spy can seamlessly blend in to a team, work his way through their lines, and deliver a massive killing blow to a team’s push by picking a Medic or a Demo. The Spy’s disguise kit and watches add so much depth to the psychology of the class, that you actually need to develop “acting chops” to properly and effectively hide. Not many other classes have this sort of depth.
Further unique style of the Spy is relying on primarily melee combat in a mid-range oriented game that has several other CQC Kings. This would be like, for example, a class in Battlefield had only a secondary and a knife, but wore some fancy camouflage. It’s like committing yourself to using only the sword in Halo, but only attacking people from behind with it. The emphasis on stealth and deception are further reinforced with this direct, but subtle attack scheme.
Another thing about The Spy: He exudes class. He wears a nice suit, he smokes French cigarettes, he carries a revolver and a butterfly knife, two weapons known for requiring a great deal of finesse to use. And boy does the Spy have finesse. It’s the very definition of his class. The way he spends his last hours alone in his smoking room with a bottle of wine by the fire, the way he adjusts his tie after a kill, the way all of his hats make him look like some suave, 50’s lounge singer (or Solid Snake). In the Meet The Team series, as well as the comics, the Spy is known for his charm, wit, and ability to improvise. He is also shown to have a contingency for nearly every situation. He’s a lady’s man, playboy, and dashing rogue. What’s not to love?
Not only that, but everyone hates the Spy. There is something immensely satisfying about killing people whilst they complain about how overpowered the Spy is. He’s countered by awareness, constant vigilance, and competence, qualities people playing video games often lack, or simply aren’t motivated to show.
Maybe it’s cathartic to say that I enjoy the frustrated screams of Engineer mains, or the legion of Pyros chasing me across Badwater, but I’ll be damned if I don’t love it.
Big thanks to Big Green Pepper for that awesome picture.