Special Forces Team X looks like Team Fortress, and feels like Counter-Strike, but what does it play like. The game released last week on the X-Box Live Arcade, and was making plenty of noises on my X-Box Dashboard, so I finally decided to try it out this weekend. So how did this brand new 3rd person shooter multiplayer game pan out for me, was it any fun, read on to find out.
First thing first, Special Forces Team X is multiplayer only; it has no single player campaign. Its a team based third person shooter, with cover mechanics (not unlike Army Of Two, or the recent Dead Space 3) pitting you in different multiplayer modes. I played in 3 of them:
- Team Death Match (TDM): Your everyday staple kill your opponents and make points for a limited time. The team with higher points after time is over, wins.
- High Value Target (HTV): 2 or more teams of 2 people each fight against each other. A HTV cycles between the teams, if he is in the opposing team kill him, and if he is your team, defend him. You get points for all that and killing random people from different teams.
- Hot Spot (HS): Its basically king of the hill, with a randomly generated flag point after some time. The first team to reach 350 points win. Just 2 teams compete in this mode.
The game is different in the way that team play is awarded more than solo work. The more team-mates you are with, the more bonus points you earn. Apart from that the game plays out more or less as other multiplayer shooters out there. You start off with certain weapons, you earn experience, level up and unlock new weapons and clothes and stuff, which you can then use to kill even more and earn even more XP. I didn’t play enough to check if there was a level cap, but it seemed unlikely. Also instead of traditional 2 teams head to head, most game types have smaller teams (up to 6) of 2-3 players each, hence its more like “You and Your Partner against the World”. There are cover mechanics involved and you can take cover when you are under fire, but the screen doesn’t tell you which direction you are getting shot from, so unless you can see the shooter himself, you might as well stand like a man and take it.
The game has a cell-shaded feel to it, and feels almost like a throwback to good old Counter-Strike. You can easily distinguish an enemy from the surroundings (something which I sorely miss in most multiplayer) and even most weapons are what you would have already used in your CS hay days. Unlike Counter-Strike however, most locations on the map are open ended (as opposed to CS, where you mostly just had to care about your front and your back). Its colorful and gory (your head bursts ope like a balloon on a head shot), and mostly non serious about killing people (a bit like Team Fortress). The sounds are as good as you can hope they can be in an arcade game, and definitely doesn’t spoil the fun. It doesn’t try to be too realistic or too fancy, and props safely in the middle.
There was a clear lag in the game, at all times. More than once, my grenade exploded in my hand because my screen showed it wasn’t cooked enough, while in reality it was. Other times, you can clearly see, bullets firing after you had pressed the button. People teleporting from one point to another was less frequent but not rare enough. While I put most of these lag issues down to the fact that I play in games hosted half way across the Earth (I live in India), it’s still not nice to see blowing yourself up. I was disconnected from 2 different games and didn’t earn any XP for them (which was sad),
I enjoyed myself playing this amalgamation of Team Fortress, Counter-Strike and Modern Warfare. But the frequent lag issues, coupled with my own suckiness at shooter multiplayer, I wasn’t much good at it. I would suggest this to anyone who has an X-Box, wants to play multiplayer and does not want to buy Call Of Duty. To everyone who already has their choice of multiplayer shooter set in stone, Special Force Team Alpha X doesn’t do anything special (except for the part where you run like crazy holding a chainsaw above your head).