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Team Fortress 2 Preview
developer: Valve Software
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Oct 10, 07 (released)
|» All About Team Fortress 2 on ActionTrip|
Team Fortress is a franchise with a rather turbulent history. The original Team Fortress was developed back in 1996 as a freeware mod for Quake. Created by three Aussies, Robin Walker, John Cook, and Ian Caughle, Team Fortress soon became popular. After making Team Fortress, Robin, John and Ian, formed TeamFortress Software with a brand new project in mind. This time around they wanted to make Team Fortress 2, as a commercial mod for Quake 2.
As fate would have it, TeamFortress Software was acquired by Valve and the TF2 project moved to the Half-Life engine. Later on, TF2 received a new title, Team Fortress 2: Brotherhood of Arms, and was turned into a standalone game. Even with the public's high expectations, the game stayed in development for ages (for another eight years, to be exact). In fact, ultimately, the development team switched to the Source engine and in summer 2006 Valve announced that a new, revamped, version of Team Fortress 2 (without the "Brotherhood of Arms" subtitle) would be issued with Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal for PC, 360 and PS3, as part of the Orange Box release.
In the meantime, the original Team Fortress received a makeover and was launched as Team Fortress Classic, on top of being bundled with one of Valve's Half-Life 1 packages. Simultaneously, Robin Walker and John Cook assisted in the making of Half-Life and also attributed to the creation of Half-Life 2.
Perhaps, before we go any further, it's also important to emphasize that the original Team Fortress was one of the first multiplayer action games to offer distinctive player classes. It was also one of the first team-based multiplayer action games.
Okay, with that brief history lesson out of the way, it's time we shift our gaze towards the new Team Fortress 2.
According to Valve, TF 2 allows players to choose from nine different classes: Soldier, Spy, Engineer, Pyro, Scout, Heavy, Sniper, Medic and Demoman. In the process of selecting your ideal class, you are required to take a few things into account. Movement speed is important, since there is no sprint function in the game and each class moves at a different pace.
The Scout, for example, is the fastest class and can easily outrun any other character. He packs a nice little shotgun too. Sadly, the Scout isn't all that resilient to enemy fire, hence it won't take a lot to gun him down.
Of course, you aren't restricted to a particular class during the game. It's quite possible to switch classes throughout the course of the match. Also, before you head out into the combat zone, you'll be able to supply your character with weapons and ammo. Now, unlike the Scout, classes like the Soldier, Heavy and Pyro, are a lot more destructive and damage-resistant. Heavy is, understandably, one of the slowest classes, but he dominates the battlefield with the chaingun, causing serious damage to other players. Moreover, Heavy is a tougher than the rest - he's able to withstand several hits from the rocket-launcher and still keep going. The Soldier, mind you, seems to be a fairly balanced class. He wields a rocket-launcher and can sustain considerable damage. Pyro, on the other hand, is vulnerable when fired at from a distance, but his specialty is closing in on a target and turning it into ash.
Playing as the Sniper is pretty much clear. You try to find the best spot for taking out your opponents from afar - the longer you have your opponent in your scope, the more powerful the shot will be (provided it's on target, of course).
Moving on to the Spy, we come to a well-thought-out infiltration class. The Spy can skillfully cloak himself, thus becoming invisible to enemies. What's even cooler about Spies is that they can disguise themselves to look like members of the opposing team. When the Spy attacks, he blows his cover. Still, disguising gives him a good chance of seriously weakening enemy defenses.
Characters like the Demoman, Medic and the Engineer are primarily support classes. The Demoman is, obviously, an explosives expert and the only class able to use grenades, which he can also detonate manually. Valve explained they removed the use of grenades from other classes in an effort to avoid potential "grenade spam" (excessive use of grenades in multiplayer matches, that is, that throw the game off balance). Anyway, grenades, used by the Demoman, explode on impact, or rather as they land on an unsuspecting foe. If you miss the target, the grenade will explode after a few seconds.
To make the game even more interesting, Valve decided to include the Engineer class, capable of placing crucial objects on the map to help teammates. Engineers mostly churn out health dispensers, set up stationary turrets, deal out ammo and place teleporter entrance and exit pads. Now, teleporters and turrets play a vital role in establishing a strong defensive perimeter on the battlefield. However, setting up turrets, upgrading them and fixing them requires metal and the Engineer can always re-supply either at replenishing stations or by collecting weapons from the battlefield. Another important point any potential Engineers might want to consider is that these replenishing stations need to be set up somewhere away from all the action and shooting. By the way, the Engineer also packs a shotgun, just so he doesn't feel defenseless when enemies start closing in.
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