Much was made of Crossfire X at last years E3. I personally had never heard of it, but it seemed to have quite the fanbase in it’s PC origins, so I was keen to check it out. Having spent a few hours with it, I can’t say I’m overly impressed, but I definitely keen to see where it goes from here.
Three modes are on offer in the beta across 3 separate maps; two classic types and a more modern take (that I assume will be more equivalent to what we can expect from the Remedy-made single player portion).
In terms of classic gametypes, on Black Widow we get our more standard fare in the form of bomb planting/defusal. Teams take it in turns to either attack or defend two points. Laboratory uses this concept too, but takes a more sci-fi approach, with the attackers being all but invisible when still.
On GR Tower – the modern version – we get a point capture game in which we need to reach a team score of 150 to win. Halfway through, the map changes as the tower collapses, and the final point is a mad dash to capture and hold.
No matter what we play, the gunplay is pretty fun. Classic modes eschew more modern luxuries such as ADS, sprint and such, feeling more akin to classic Quake or Unreal (I’m avoiding the obvious CounterStrike reference because, well, I’ve never played it). The combat still manages to feel fun though, with some punchy weapons offering up some quick kills. The initial rush as both teams charge at one another yields some hectic action, and quick defeats or victories.
GR Tower feels much more modern then, with the features above brought back in. It’s not quite as tight as a COD or Halo, but it’s serviceable enough. Pre-made loadouts can be chosen at the start of each life. and it’s worth experimenting and adjusting as the match goes on. A perk system is also in place, with the first handful of kills granting you a choice of better speed, health regen, fire rate, defence, up to a maximum of four. These offer noticeable advantages, though the defence one replaces the loadout with a shield and glock pistol that is pretty naff. The shield’s glass can break (easily) and the pistol is hard to kill anyone with, so it’s best suited to support players rather than gung-ho types.
As a by product of being a beta, it’s hard to find anyone to really play properly, but without fail every game I did play devolved into players sprinting around relentlessly firing off bullets left, right and centre, with very little teamwork of tactical play. GR Tower requires co-ordination to capture points, but rarely did I find people willing to help do this. I hope this would improve when the full game arrives, but it could just as easily go full COD and not have many people looking to play the objective.
There’s a feeling of uneveness to the Spectre mode too. The invisible attackers are pretty obvious when moving – more so when running – and only have a knife to fight with. In several rounds of it, I only saw one bomb successfully planted, mainly because myself and another team mate were both trying to defuse rather than watch the others back. It was far too easy for the defenders to see us and as a result, shoot us down.
This isn’t helped by the simple fact that there is a lack of clear explantion of some basic things. Until you learn what spawn points are assigned to each side, it’s unclear which score you’re contributing too. A basic map is shoved in the corner of the screen and doesn’t really help, while supplimenting equipment – such as grenades – aren’t shown on your HUD, so you need to remember which class has what off your own back (and also, we only seem to get one per round, but this isn’t clear either).
Throwing grenades is a bit hit or miss too, with a huge delay (I’m talking 2 seconds or more) after pressing the button meaning they were all but useless to use in a fight. Respawns could use some work, as it’s too easy to be spawn camped. One round saw the opposing teams top scorer get a massive 66 kills by standing behind our spawn location and kill us as we respawned, over and over. Classic modes are a one life affair, but this definitely put a dent in the GR Tower rounds. Even when the action moved to the secondary location, each team spawns in a small room, ripe for grenades or enemies waiting by the door to take them out as soon as the popped up.
There’s definitely something here with Crossfire X. The gunplay is pretty fun, and the variations in the modes on offer here mean it isn’t just a change of scenery per map. But spawn locations need fixing, a bigger incentive to work as a team should be implemented, and some of the UI needs to be much clearer if it’s going to attract a more casual audience. At time of publication, there’s still about 24 hours on the public beta, so let us know what you think if you manage to try it out.