Crossfire X has had a very unfortunate launch. Plagues with launch issues, preventing the promised Game Pass available campaign, and a multiplayer mode with one map. It seems to have already been tossed aside by the gaming media.
This review is to convince you to give it another chance.
I’m only speaking of the campaign ‘Catalyst’ here. I’ve played a match of the multiplayer, and it’s…fine. The enemies sometimes felt spongy, but it had acceptable gameplay. I do not play competitive MP on anything, so one match was enough for me, so I can understand finding there to be only one map would be a big problem, it just never happened to me.
As for the campaign then. You begin dropping in on a meeting of global terrorist organisation ‘Black List’, looking to capture a high ranking member, onto to find a decoy and a trap.
The guns feel pretty good and in performance mode, it’s a smooth 60fps experience. A solid but objectively bland experience. Nothing that hasn’t been available on any Call of Duty campaign for years. And while not new I still argue that even in these first missions it’s an enjoyable time.
Your squad, ‘Global Risk’, consists of the usual; Leader, Sniper, Heavy Arms, and the extra guy whose purpose is to be rescued for the plot. You play as a set member of the team at any one time, but at certain chapters it will dive from the eyesight of your current character into the eyes of another, whom you then control. This is used well to spring between the ground characters and then to set sniping sections. Again, nothing new, but very enjoyable.
As I just alluded to, your extra gets captured and must be rescued. He’s also your brother-in-law, so the risks are emotion-driven for the lead character. A pretty generic set-up, filled with some cheesy action guy dialogue. There’s even a plot twist later which is hard to not see coming from the several klicks away.
While I will defend a generic shooter for being fun, as long as it has a good ‘feel’, that isn’t the only reason to celebrate this campaign.
Once your brother-in-law is captured, occasionally you will have a dream sequence which confirms that Remedy is involved in this game. Small walking sections in your house, with ghosts of your brother-in-law giving warning and asking for help.
Looking to the ceiling you see the floor reflected back at you. And these trippy sections escalate as the game progresses. It vibes heavily of Control. Your lead character is also narrating as the game goes on, very Alan Wake.
The second half of the game turns from a generic shooter to a vision/hallucination filled assault on a mine to find your captured friend. With many set pieces that keep the energy up. It becomes something altogether less down to earth.
There is collectable intel as you go through the game which speaks of experiments and finding some technological mystery called the Catalyst. This mystery held my intrigue and made me want to keep uncovering more.
Moving onto the design of the game. Graphically it’s very clean. Lighting and vistas you can’t help but stop to admire.
There’s way more detail in the environment than a game like this has any right to have. And I really appreciate it. A dumb shooter doesn’t need much more than sandbags and explosive barrels, but if you stop to check some of the wall posters or details on monitors, you will see that a lot more has gone into filling out this world.
The sound design is also incredible at times. For example, later in the game you will be hearing disembodied voices speaking to you, and there’s a certain echo that plays at the back of your head so that you’re not 100% sure you heard it, or if it’s in the game or IRL. This game is definitely best played with headphones.
Unfortunately, the story ends just when it seems to be getting really good. With the second campaign locked behind a small paywall, I assume this is on purpose. But with having played this at no extra cost to my Game Pass description, I’m more than happy to pay £8 to unlock the rest.
I wish games like this would test a few things pre-launch, as I feel a lot of people will not go back to this, or even give it a try based on what others have said.
But if you’re a fan of a fun feeling army shooter campaign, please give this a go. Hopefully, you won't regret it.
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