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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Game Preview:Team Fortress 2

Publisher: EA
Developer: Valve
Platform Available: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release date: Q4 2007

Due to release with all the heavy-hitters in the annual gaming year-end madness, Team Fortress 2 is part of the Half-Life 2: Orange Box (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) and Half-Life 2: Black Box (PC) packages, but is essentially a standalone game. For the uninitiated, Team Fortress 2 is a multiplayer team-based first-person shooter (FPS) that requires players to choose from a variety of pre-defined character classes before working in a team to defeat other teams. Team Fortress 2 is also a unique game by the fact that is takes a more ‘cartoony’ approach with the character designs and the overall environments instead of the high level of realism that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 is portraying. Each class of character also has such a distinct look to it that you will have no difficulty in spotting the class that a particular character is in on the battlefield. The following text will elaborate more on what some of the character classes do best.

Engineer. He who places an automated sentry turret that sprays bullets at any enemy that is unfortunate enough to stray into its path. In addition to the ability to set up the lethal sentry guns and turrets, engineers can also dispense health and ammo and conjure personal teleporters onto the battlefield, giving his team an unlikely advantage. Equipments that are placed strategically could even deal massive damage to opponents, making the engineer one of the most useful character classes in Team Fortress 2. For players who select the engineer, you would be glad to know that the particular character class is also equipped with a shotgun as a primary weapon for close-quarter combat.

Another character class that has the ability to deal a huge amount of damage to opponents is the Pyro. The Pyro is impossible to miss – he is the one wielding one the biggest weapons in the game: The flamethrower, a weapon which does damage that it as enormous as its frame. The Pyro is also armed with the shotgun, and together with the flamethrower, holds one of the best combination of weapons in the game. Ambushing seems to be the word for the Pyro, where corners and tight areas stand out as opportunities for the character class to inflict the maximum amount of casualties to the opposing teams.

Then there is this character class called the Heavy Weapons Guy (image above). As the name already suggests, the character class is nothing short of being intimidating. The Heavy Weapons Guy is the most powerful class in the entire game, but also one whose movement is the slowest. He has a minigun capable of wiping out roomful of enemies by his side and is definitely a big threat. The Heavy Weapons Guy is also the only character class to use his fists in melee combat, further proving how dangerous this class can be even without weapons. As with the Engineer and Pyro, the Heavy Weapons Guy is equipped with the mighty shotgun as well.

Explosions, explosions, and more explosions. The Demoman would love to see that, especially with the weapons that he has at his disposal: a sticky bomb launcher and a grenade launcher. One way to stop an opponent’s progress would be to lay sticky bombs on their path and the Demoman will be able to do just that. And hurling grenades like they are crumpled paper balls will never become easier than if you are doing it as a Demoman. For players looking to create chaos within the other teams and disorganize them, the Demoman is the choice character class.

Introducing the main guy of any team wanting to win a match: the Soldier. The ever devastating rocket launcher that the Soldier holds is an alternative to the Demoman’s arsenal of tactics. The Soldier moves faster than the Heavy Weapons Guy, but has slightly weaker health than him. With the rocket launcher, the Soldier can also disable the automated the sentry guns and turrets set up by the engineer. For close-quarter combat, the Soldier can change over to the shotgun.

So much for the heavy character classes that use brute force to turn the tide on the matches. For players who do not favor fighting head-on with opponents, Team Fortress 2 presents yet another 2 character classes which rely on stealth over pure firepower.

One of those character classes is the Sniper. Fancy shooting someone’s head off from long range? Then the Sniper is for you. Besides the sniper rifle, the Sniper is also armed with a submachine gun, which will come in handy when he is cornered. Another such character class is the Spy (image above). Although lightly-armed, the Spy can still be a threat to the enemy. The Spy has the rare ability to turn himself into any character class and disguise himself to look like the enemy, opening up huge opportunities for him to infiltrate the enemy camp and assassinate opponents. Not only that, he can cloak too, but only for a limited amount of time. One of the ways the Spy can silence an enemy is to creep up behind him and stab him. A stab is a one-hit kill, by the way.

For agile players, you will not feel left out with the Scout character class. He is both lightly-armed and lightly-armored, but he is able to compensate for that with the incredible speed that he possesses. A character that has great aerial maneuverability as well, the Scout has more than ample ability to escape enemy fire and create distraction for his team.

The final character class in Team Fortress 2 is the Medic, which plays a support role. No matter how strong a team is, there will always be times when it is terribly injured and that is when the Medic comes into the picture. In addition to maintaining the health of teammates, the Medic can also boost a team’s offensive capabilities with his bonesaw.

From the looks of the details available so far, Team Fortress 2 sure seems promising. With Valve having guaranteed rich visuals powered by the Source engine, you can be certain the game is going to exude beauty. Look out for more information on the game as it nears its release date.


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