Special Forces: Team X Review!
Special Forces: Team X is a new entry in the heavily saturated online shooter market. Sporting cool cell-shaded visuals and a truly unique map system, the game hits some definite high points. Is it worth your hard earned Microsoft Points? Keep reading to find out!
Special Forces: Team X is an odd addition to the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace. It’s a third person online-only shooter that’s extremely accessible control wise and has a matchmaking system that works like it should. Matches run smoothly online and the game never fell apart on me, but somehow Special Forces: Team X never truly justifies its existence or its price tag of $14.99.
Special Forces: Team X doesn’t feature a story mode due to the fact that it’s a multiplayer only online shooter.
As previously mentioned, Special Forces: Team X is very accessible. Anyone whose played an online third person shooter in the past three years on the Xbox 360 (i.e. Gears of War) will have little to no trouble figuring out the controls in seconds. At first, everything seems promising. You’ll pick your character and loadout and spawn into the map with your team and go hunting for the bad guys in standard game modes like Capture the Flag and Team Death Match.
One thing that works really well is the cover mechanic. The first thing youll learn in Team X is that cover is key. All you have to do to snap to cover is hit the “A” button, and hold a direction on the joystick. The snap cover works almost every time and you won’t find yourself getting hit by cheap shots. The shooting itself is tight and the shooting is competent albeit a tad forgettable, and things work as they should in that sense.
There are also plenty of unlocks to keep you busy in Team X. Much like pretty much every online shooter to come out in the past decade you’ll gain experience as you play. You’ll level up and unlock new weapons, attachments, and perks. None of the perks are very original though and one major problem with them is that Attack Dogs are too easy to achieve, and on top of that they just stand where they spawned most of the time. Even when an enemy runs right by them they just stand still and let the free kill go. Character customization is a definite high point and working for new ways to personalize your soldiers is admittedly fun.
Another thing that’s, in my opinion, one of Team X’s collest features, is how the map selection works. Each map is made up of three parts that players vote for before each match. It provides some cool variation in how the matches play out, but there are two big problems with it. To begin with, there aren’t enough different pieces. At first it seems like there are an unlimited number of possibilities, but soon you’ll realize you’ve seen just about everything and most likely lose interest. The other big issue is that pretty much every piece is pretty unoriginal. It’s incredibly easy to look over the only unique feature of the game when the parts that make it up are boring and unimpressive.
On the surface, things look pretty good, but once you delve deeper into Team X the problems start to pop up. First, more often than not the game will spawn you right next to an enemy that’s waiting to rip you to shreds. Second, when you hit “Quick Match” on the menu, if a game can’t be found, you’ll find youself alone in an empty match even though there are a ton of open games already on the server browser. Third, there’s no auto balancing, so get used to being heavily outnumbered frequently.
Aside from the map selection, graphics are the biggest selling point of Special Forces: Team X. The game features a cel-shaded art style most similar to the Borderlands series. The textures of levels look pretty good, especially for an arcade title, but character models don’t look so good up close.
Motion blur and lighting are both above average and the effect of the enemies’ heads exploding when you score a headshot is just as satisfying as it should be. The guns themselves have their own distinct look and you won’t see any re-skins. Menus are pretty standard, but the black and yellow color scheme fits the game’s overall aesthetic well and the loading screens show different guns disassembling and reassembling, which is pretty sweet. Overall, the game looks good and runs well and I didn’t experience any graphical glitches or slowdown.
The sound effects in Team X are pretty much exactly what you’d expect out of a macho game like this one. Guns have a deep, realistic sound to them, but many of the machine and sub-machine guns sound identical to each other. Dialogue is essentially comprised of phrases such as “Reloading!” and “Fire in the Hole!”. One thing that was really bothersome was that there is literally no music that plays during matches. Strangely enough, the menu features music, so there’s really no excuse for its absence in game. Basically, the sound department gets the job done in Team X, but it’s nothing to write home about.
In the world of blockbuster shooters like Halo, Call of Duty, Uncharted, and Gears of War, to become truly successful, shooters absolutely have to stand out in a profound way. While Special Forces: Team X features a map system that provides true potential to stand above the rest, nothing, save the graphics, ever really feels like it came out how the developers originally planned for it to.
Special Forces: Team X is a competent shooter that suffers from too many minor problems and not enough innovations to overcome them. It’s obvious that the developers have true talent though because for $14.99 Team X provides a lot of content. If you’re in need of a well put together third person shooter to hold you over until Gears of War: Judgment arrives in the middle of March, this game might be worth checking out. Other than that though, there are just too many better ways to spend your $14.99 on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace.