CrossfireX looks like a shooter that knows a little bit of what has already been seen, but the demo also has some surprises in store
To understand the sense of CrossfireX, of which we have tried the demo published in preview, on the eve of the launch of the public beta, it must be seen in its context. It is a new version of Crossfire, online multiplayer shooter a team that has existed in Korea (and in Asia in general) since “far” 2008 and which has achieved great popularity over the years in this continent. What looks like a parvenu in the shooter field, plus with a characterization that does not definitely help to emerge in the midst of the quantity of competitors in the same genre, is therefore in truth a well-established brand in other parts of the world, which has decided to the great leap to the west at the dawn of the new generation.
Hazardous choice? Maybe yes, considering how in the general hustle and bustle that will emerge in the next few months probably few will pay much attention to what seems an emulation halfway between Call of Duty, Rainbow Six: Siege and Counter-Strike, but far from the spectacular and graphic richness of other similar titles. However, one would make a mistake in underestimating CrossfireX and dismissing it as a negligible imitation. It is true that it does not really aim to revolutionize the shooter in a subjective way, to put it mildly, but it has very interesting characteristics on its own: this must be the reason that also pushed Remedy to embark on this rather strange project for the Finnish label, which will provide the game in a definitive version with a single player campaign that we imagine also exploits the team’s great narrative, technical and directorial skills. What we could prove, in any case, was the only multiplayer sector, which on the other hand represents the true soul of Crossfire and already in this area very interesting elements have emerged, which could catch the public also thanks to the distribution free-to-play of the game (at least for the multiplayer part).
A lot of tradition
The CrossfireX demo focuses exclusively on multiplayer and allows you to try three variants of this, corresponding to as many different maps, just to give an idea of the basic characteristics of the game. The same contents should be made available, starting from 25 June, also to all users through the public beta that will take place in the next few days, therefore there will be a way to further test the title even with a larger number of players, seen that in this first test matchmaking was not really fast. At first glance, it is really difficult to find any characterizing element that can make the game stand out compared to fierce competitors who have already established themselves well on the market, but starting to play and understanding some mechanisms it is understood that this title has somehow a rather defined soul, although as far as we have seen so far we have it only deals with interesting variations on an extremely rigid canon. The trial version allows you to try three maps with as many game options: Classic, Specter and Modern fashions, which probably condense the founding elements of CrossfireX’s multiplayer experience.
Let’s start with the more standard mode, not for nothing called “Classic” and linked, in this demo, exclusively to the Black Widow map, which reproduces a sunny setting reminiscent of an Italian coastal town. In this mode there are no sprints or special abilities, with a type of match set on the objective deathmatch team: the attacking team must try to place a bomb in one of the two points of interest on the map, while the other in defense must protect areas. Nothing new, basically, given that we are dealing with a type of game that largely recalls Counter-Strike, especially in this version that adheres to the canon also in terms of movement and game actions, with classic and progressive loadouts based on the unlocked weapons and to the degree reached by the character. The equipment can be selected at the beginning of each game and at the moment it is not known if there is an economic system underlying the choice of weapons, even if it does not seem to be the case. The weapons of the demo are not many but already offer a good assortment of different possibilities in terms of power, precision and recoil to choose what best suits your style of fire.
Despite the name, Modern mode is perhaps the closest to the standards we’re used to with console shooters. The definition probably derives from the concession that the Crossfire tradition has made precisely to the new shooter trends, because in this type of game, which in the demo is connected to the Tower map, we find a bit the characteristics of titles known as Call of Duty and Battlefield, thus leaving the sowing of the Counter-Strike style. In this case we can use it sprinting and special skills, in addition to the zoom when the long and medium range viewfinders are activated, all elements precisely mapped to the keys that we would normally expect in other known games. The mode is based on the conquest of the control points on the map and the dynamism of this creates an excellent flow of game: it is a sort of large shopping center or hotel that is spread over several levels and therefore offers hints of verticality, in addition to particularly large areas that allow the use of sniper rifles. It is the way you are most comfortable if you have experience with the most well-known console shooters but also the least characteristic of the package, as seen so far, although it works quite well.
L’more particular game option therefore, the Specter, which is essentially an evolution of the Classic but with some peculiar characteristics that modifies the gaming experience. In the demo it can be experimented with the Laboratory map, which presents a mysterious complex in which a sort of scientific base has been obtained inside a classical building, creating an interesting mix that refers to suggestions almost from 007. Also in this case the attacking team must place a bomb in one of the two points of interest, while those in defense are responsible for protecting the areas and eliminating threats, but the difference is that the attackers can only use white weapons for melee ( combat knives or hatchets) as well as explosives and smoke bombs. How to balance such a situation? Making the attackers invisible: the team that has to infiltrate uses a sort of optical camouflage that makes it difficult to see the characters, making them become completely invisible if they remain still and less and less hidden based on how much they move, but with a significant tactical advantage. It is a simple solution that manages to create an excellent balance in the match, as well as building that particular alchemy that manages to bring it out as a practically new gameplay, despite being based on well-known elements.
The major problem with CrossfireX is clearly a certain lack of originality which involves the whole game, from the characterization to the design of the maps, up to the structure of the gameplay. However, its distribution must be considered as free-to-play and in this case it is distinguished by higher production values than what we usually see in games with this business model, with some exceptions. Already in this demo, however, some rather characteristic elements have emerged that could make the difference on the distance, such as the Specter mode which actually presents something new and immediately engaging. There power of the game Smilegate could however reside in the speed of the clashes and in the gunplay without too many artifices: in essence, it is for all intents and purposes a Counter-Strike for consoles and this is already an element of no small interest, considering that the game Valve has consolidated for years now but remains confined almost exclusively to the PC environment.
With its modes and maps presented so clearly divided in the demo it is not easy to see an overview for CrossfireX, considering that even the single player it will then have a considerable weight since it was entrusted to Remedy with a collaboration not really low profile. What has been seen so far is a composition of different souls who try to explore various interpretations of the shooter in a subjective way, on the one hand presenting concessions towards modern series thanks to special skills and unlockable with the increase of experience level, on the other remaining strongly tied to the tradition of Counter-Strike with the fast fight and entrusted above all to the skill of the players, as well as very interesting digressions such as the Specter mode. The gunplay and also the level design are quite convincing immediately, so there is a great curiosity to try the complete package.
The CrossfireX demo reserved some interesting particularities in a game that seemed anything but surprising. It is certainly nothing revolutionary but its adherence to the canons of the Counter-Strike style shooter could make it find its niche in the console offer, given that the Valve title has expanded especially on PC. In addition to the classic and fast gunplay, based a lot on the player’s ability, there are also some variations on the theme among which the most convincing is certainly Specter, which could easily breach the audience. We obviously expect to see the complete package, including the single player mode by Remedy which is very intriguing.
- Good pace and clashes that require some skill
- Specter mode is fun
- It is basically free
- The single player branded Remedy arouses curiosity
- There is very little new
- Technically not exceptional
- The game economy is to be discovered