Team Fortress 2 Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

Release date:
EA Games
First-Person Shooter

Team Fortress 2

It's finally happening, folks!

Preview by Travis Fahs (Email)
July 26th 2006

The Basics: Team Fortress Classic has become legendary for being one of the finest multiplayer mods of all time. Its elusive sequel has become equally notorious as one of the most legendary pieces of vaporware. When the first trailers were released back in 1999, Team Fortress 2 was one of the most hotly anticipated online FPS. Delay after delay slowly turned it into another Duke Nukem Forever, and all but the most faithful gave up hope. In fact, as time moved on other games like Battlefield 1942 accomplished what TF2 had hoped to, and most of us moved on. But when Half-Life 2 there was once again talk of a sequel, but Valve has been frustratingly tight-lipped.

Well now Valve is finally ready to spill the beans with the first trailer for TF2 in almost seven years, and it is most certainly not what anyone was expecting. TF2 drops the realistic depiction of war portrayed in its earlier iteration in favor of a wildly revamped look that more resembles something Pixar would create. It seems this is not the TF2 we salivated over seven years ago, but a completely new direction for the project. And despite the radical departure, it seems to be a hit with the fans.

This new look is realized with the latest in technology for Valve's Source engine. Like Portal the Team Fortress 2 trailer is making use of depth of field and motion blur as post-process effects. The former, sometimes called "focal blur" simulates the focusing of a camera. The latter is a different kind of motion blur than what you might have seen in other games. It's what's known as "accumulation buffer" motion blur, and it simulates the kind of motion blur that naturally results from the exposure frame of a camera. While in stills both effects appear to make the image less clear, in motion it looks more real than ever. Also new is an exaggerated cartoon-like lighting system that, while not quite as dramatic as cel-shading, creates a clean, high-contrast look that accents the quirky character designs.

What we think: Team Fortress 2 is going to make a splash. The new look is a startling change of pace, but it seems to be a reflection of a love for the fast and frenetic gameplay style of Team Fortress Classic, which we need far more than we need another Battlefield 1942. I'm sure TF2 will be available on its own as well, but with Portal and Team Fortress 2, Half-Life's next episode will be hard to pass up.

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