Special Forces: Team X
Special Forces: Team X by Zombie Studios (perhaps best known for Blacklight: Tango Down) is the latest 3rd person shooter to grace Xbox Live Arcade and the PC. It follows the traditional formula of most modern shooters, without offering up much in terms of uniqueness or innovation. I think when a company offers up a game for 1200 Microsoft points ($15) I tend to expect something at least a little over average.
When you think of a third person shooter, with a cover based system, Special Forces: Team X falls right into what you would expect. Controls are an old hat and don’t break any new ground. Chances are if you have played any shooter in the past five years you will feel right at home here.
The game offers a handful of modes but, here again; there is nothing unique about any of the modes. You can literally pick up any shooter and find the exact assortment of modes, Capture the Flag, Team Death Match, etc. It’s all been done before, and done better. In a game that enters an already crowded market and needs to stand out to get noticed, I don’t understand why developers such as Zombie Studios continue to recycle the same thing over and over again.
Continuing with the previous theme, the progression system is the exact thing that games have done countless times before. Complete actions, kills, capture flags, etc. to gain XP. XP raises your level. Raising your level unlocks new gear, weapons, outfits, etc. If I seem uninterested, I am. Not because it’s done wrong, or badly, but because there is no innovation – it doesn’t offer up anything new to the formula. Simply copying other games without adding any new features or ideas delivers a bland and boring experience.
One feature that was heavily hyped about this game was the map system. One first glance it does seem to offer up a unique flair to the typical map voting that takes place in most multiplayer games. The map is divided into three sections, each section can be voted on. Meaning there are literally hundreds of possible combinations. It’s a creative idea in theory, yet the actual execution doesn’t quite live up to the premise. The main issue is every combination has an industrial feel to it. Meaning, the same colors, scenery, and general feel. I would have hoped for a much broader range of possible map sections. For instance, a housing/urban area, a park, a desert, carnival, any number of areas could have made that feature really truly stand out. Yet, much like the other features in the game, it doesn’t feel like it went that extra step to be the “it” feature that makes me want to keep playing.
The graphics of this game are where it will most likely have the best chance to be the least bit memorable. If you combine a traditional military shooter (think Battlefield or Call of Duty) and add in a splash of the cell shading that Borderlands made famous you will have a general idea of what to expect. Visually, it looks nice and does just enough to stand out from most of the mainstream games that are out. I did encounter a few instances of clipping and graphical glitches, nothing that was game breaking, but just enough to be a nuisance when they did occur.
The sounds won’t be winning any music awards for original score. Much like the game modes, traditional guns, XP, progression, the sounds are exactly what you would expect from almost any shooter. Almost every sound in the game could be considered a stock sound that most gamers have heard over and over again.
- Fast paced gameplay
- Easy pick up and play
- Small community size
- Doesn’t offer much in terms of innovation
- Subpar match making, can lead to frustration just to get into a game
When all is said and done, Special Forces: Team X doesn’t offer much that will get you excited and make you want to continue to play in lieu of other games in your collection. It offers a small distraction to other titles, but more than likely after a week or two you will forget about it or have completely lost interest. It suffers from doing some things well enough, but doesn’t leave you wanting to play more at the next opportunity. For a small diversion this is ok, but for a game aiming to hold your attention for several hours at a time or suck you in, that may be asking for too much when delivering too little.
Written by Andy Gray