There are a host of things I could say about tdm_watergate, but nothing compares to that damn voice. Actually the “WillFromAfar” emotive text-to-speech voice synthesizer from Acapela, probably used because the current voice actor’s strike makes it too difficult/pricey to find a real voice actor, much less Ellen McLain, it nevertheless succeeds at being completely obnoxious and out of place. First time I heard it I went to the mute menu to find out which person on the server needed to shut up forever.
I’m not even sure why the mapmakers decided it was necessary for an audio file to broadcast the presence of individuals on dah beem. The person immediately becomes the most visible person on the map as a giant glowing green tractor beam drags him into the skybox, not to mention the beercount starts changing on the HUD and a whirly noise plays anyway. There are so many ways they could have handled it without having to resort to Microsoft Sam. How about a text warning? How about NO warning; Ellen McLain doesn’t start whining every single time the droids are under attack in Robot Destruction, the game mode that was bastardized to create this new one.
This guy’s not canon now, right? Who the hell would he even be in the scheme of things? Hopefully there are plans to remove him once the strike is over and Valve can bring Ellen in to record again, possibly on the side while she records for some other project. I doubt they’re done with her.
In other news, and I know this is really nitpicky and off-topic, but I’m a little unsure as to why 2fort_invasion is worthy of the complete Valve seal of officiality. It’s just a reskinned 2fort and there are literally dozens of those. It’s the most remade map in TF2 history except for orange, I personally have played on an Egypt version, a Minecraft version, a Medieval DeGroot-style version, a Construction version, a Team Fortress Classic version, mirrored version, friggin’ upside-down version…and that’s not getting into game mode switches like cp_2fort, arena_2fort, pl_2fort, plr_2fort, and mvm_2fort. It’s not like Valve themselves made this version; there are no new voice lines, no new mini-games and no tie-in comic. 2fort_egypt changes the map more than 2fort_invasion does. Though once Valve fixes the glitch where that map crashes hl2.exe on lower-end computers perhaps I’ll be able to play it and learn how wrong I was to doubt it.
Yes, hopefully Ellen will replace the voice in her next recording session. Hope they bring her in for Mannpower or something soon!
As for 2Fort Invasion, it’s easy to see why it was worthy of the Valve stamp of approval. 2Fort Invasion is literally the most breathtakingly gorgeous map I’ve ever played on in TF2. It’s incredibly scenic, its attention to detail is incredible, the lighting is suitably moody, and the skybox rivals that of Asteroid itself. The day that Invasion went live, I spent an half an hour just running around the map, marveling at just how cool 2Fort Invasion was.
Additionally, a certain bleakness pervades the map. One of the titular forts has had a UFO smash through it; the other has been quarantined. Out of the four maps released, this is the one that showcases the devastation and panic caused by the invasion. And what better place to see the effect of the alien invasion than 2Fort, TF2’s oldest, most iconic, and most instantly-recognisable map?
Unfortunately, though, other than the explosives dotted around the map, the map is still 2Fort. I know that many love the map (24 hour 2Fort servers being a fairly common phenomenon, after all), but the gameplay mostly just frustrates me. Still, it’s a pleasure to see such a cool and thematic map during the Invasion update, and since it’s only an improvement on the original 2Fort, there’s no harm done in my book.