[This post originally ran as impressions on the open beta and is now updated to reflect the full release, which came two weeks later.]
Call of Duty has dumbed down the modern shooter to being about planting bombs, capturing points, and getting headshots. In contrast, Tactical Intervention is a breath of fresh air and feels evolutionary in its ideas -- one could say next-gen, but it'd be hard not to laugh when looking at its budget production values. Dog barks sound like Doom imps and the visuals somehow look worse than anything in Half-Life 2, despite having all the niceties that have come to the Source engine since '04.
Before Call of Duty fever swept the nation, I loved online first-person shooters for the chaos that car combat and hostage encounters can bring. I'll never forget surfing on an airplane wing in Battlefield 1942 or using hostages as human shields in a pitch dark cs_mansion in Counter-Strike.
Tactical Intervention brings back the good memories before FPS were marketable to the mainstream, along with reminders that mods like Counter-Strike weren't born with that layer of polish later achieved.