An utterly shameful display
Thank you to Smilegate for providing us with a review copy.
When CrossfireX’s campaign was officially revealed, I and many others were ecstatic. It was announced that Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind masterpieces such as “Alan Wake” and “Control”, signed on to help Smilegate develop the single player component of the title: so expectations were set accordingly. To know this brilliant, talented team was creating an FPS made me realize this was something I never even knew I wanted, but now coveted more than anything. However, signs causing concern began to swiftly show. After the initial reveal, the game essentially went dark. There were barely any public progress updates, and as the release drew nearer there was little to no marketing in sight. And when we here at TGP received our code mere hours before release, alongside other, more prominent review outlets: we knew something had gone terribly awry. But nothing could have prepared me for the absolutely pitiful disaster that is CrossfireX’s campaign; and it truly makes me question just how much Remedy was actually involved in the story’s development.
The narrative of “CrossfireX” has all the complexity of a doorknob. It’s not just painfully boring and generic with nothing unique in the mixture, but predictable too. Ten minutes into the first campaign, “Operation Catalyst”, I instantly knew one of my allies would later betray me after only one line of dialogue. Surely enough, an hour later, he followed through. Speaking of dialogue, the writing is atrocious, and is on par with if not worse than a third grader’s book report. The characters are all typical soldier clichés that we’ve seen time and time again, with no standouts in terms of personality. Some of the voice actors try their best with the material given, but it’s in vain. Others, though, offer middle-shelf performances at best; and karaoke night acts at worst. Considering this combination of detriments, it comes as no surprise that none of the characters are memorable in the slightest. So, if you’re looking to play “CrossfireX” for a quality story, you’re better off finding one in “Pong”.
The Gameplay and Visuals
If I had to sum up the gameplay of CrossfireX’s campaign, I would use the words “frighteningly basic”. There is not a single element in this game that cries originality. The gunplay is generic, and nothing we haven’t seen before. There is a special ability called a “Combat Breaker” that slows down time and allows for precise aiming, but that is far from anything new or imaginative. Even with this added buff, though, hit registration is still largely inconsistent; especially when firing at a ranged target. This isn’t really an issue, however, as the game is ridiculously easy. I played on the “Recommended” (normal) difficulty , and only died twice during each campaign. This was due to me rushing through dragged out areas without fighting back, not the cleverness of the enemy AI: which is nonexistent. Enemies will line up for you like a marching band, and hardly ever adapt to your attack strategy. It’s not just those aforementioned areas that feel dragged out, though; the entirety of both campaigns do. The feeling isn’t due to length, that reasoning isn’t valid considering “Operation Catalyst” took me an hour and forty one minutes to beat and “Operation Spectre” only required one hour and twenty two minutes of gameplay to complete. Even with a total completion time of three hours and three minutes (without skipping cutscenes), the campaign was so insufferable I wished it was shorter; and a wave of pure euphoria rushed over me when I realized I never had to play this title again for the rest of my life. Other gameplay/visual elements capable of providing even the most miniscule modicum of excitement failed as well. Set pieces are cliché and lazily integrated, and at times are straight up rip-offs of those in several “Call of Duty” titles, “Battlefield 4”, and even the “Crysis” series. Level environments are bland and uninspired, with the title’s graphical quality ranging from last-gen at best to 360/PS3 era at worst. These levels are littered with an abundance of collectibles as well, which are meaningless to gather since they provide hardly any worthwhile world exposition and offer no reward: that’s right, no achievements. As a matter of fact, the campaign has zero achievements to earn, with all of them being relegated to the multiplayer mode. The gameplay and visuals of CrossfireX’s campaign are so dull and monotonous that they couldn’t even impress an Amish farmer being introduced to modern technology for the first time.
Growing up, my mother burned the adage “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.” into me. And I have abided by that for the majority of my life. But apart from my obligations as a reviewer, I wouldn’t be able to stay quiet about the abhorrent quality of “CrossfireX”. Even at ten dollars a piece, both operations aren’t worth the smallest amount of any sane individual’s time. The story is forgettable and insufferable, and seemed to have no effort or passion put into it whatsoever. The gameplay/visuals were undistinguished and pedestrian, a true blight to the brain. I know this review may come across as harsh and a bit cruel, but “CrossfireX” is an absolute embarrassment of an Xbox exclusive, and should be forgotten until the day it is nothing but dust and echoes.