Special Forces: Team X is a third person cover-based shooter from the team at Zombie Studios, which brought us the Blacklight games. Special Forces: Team X is a multiplayer only game that borrows heavily from the juggernauts of the shooter genre, but still does enough to create a unique identity for itself.
If you’ve played any recent shooter, the barebones of Team X will be instantly familiar. The control scheme is nearly identical to Call of Duty and the xp and level progression system is very similar as well. That doesn’t mean that it’s a CoD clone by any means, far from it--it rather just makes good use of proven shooter conventions. You have two classes to customize to your liking, and there are plenty of options for equipment, special abilities, attachments and character appearance to play around with.
Being in the third person, and heavily cover-based, it looks and feels closer to Gears of War than to your typical modern military first-person shooter. All the modes will feel familiar to shooter fans; you’ve got your team death match and other objective based modes like capture the flag. “Team” is a keyword in Team X as the game rewards you with point bonuses for sticking with teammates. Lone-wolf antics aren’t completely off the menu, but as soon as you venture out on your own, your chances of survival decrease significantly. Upon death you choose a teammate to spawn by, in the vein of Battlefield and other team focused shooters.
So what is it that makes Special Forces: Team X stand out from the competition? The biggest unique feature it has going for it is the battlefields each game takes place in. Each map is divided into three sections, and there are nine different areas to choose from to place in each section of the map. Right before a game is launched each player votes for what area they would like in any specific section of the map, and the layout that gets the most votes wins. This may sound a bit limiting, and, in terms of map aesthetics, it gets a bit repetitive, but this system allows for over 100 different map combinations at the start of any game. Add the fact that each area is thoughtfully designed to cater to a variety of play-styles and you’ve got a lot of versatility stemming from seemingly limited options. It’s a very clever feature that I would love to see in more games.
The graphics are another area where Special Forces: Team X feels fresh. Cel-shading in shooters is not a revolution in the genre, with games like the Borderlands series and The Darkness II, but it works really well here. I haven’t seen it applied to a modern military shooter before either, which might be the reason why it struck a chord with me. In any case the game looks good over-all, and the cartoony look goes well with the fun attitude of the game. There are some minor graphical glitches and slight “wtf?” moments at times when too many players are moving together in tight quarters and along the same cover, but nothing that detracts too much from the experience.
The area where I ran into most problems with the game is in the control department. They’re not bad by any means, but there is definitively room for improvement. Movement and snapping into cover can be a bit clunky, especially during frantic firefights. I would have loved a dodge function (although you can slide into cover and roll out of it) as strafing and walking backwards is slow. Sneaking up on enemies and hitting the melee button performs execution-style kills, but some melee encounters can get weird with pretty wonky hit-detection. The camera is always pointed over your right shoulder, and I constantly felt myself wanting for an option to toggle the camera between the right and left shoulder. These issues aren’t too distracting though, as the game controls well on the whole.
Special Forces: Team X is a game that is all about fun. It’s not going to challenge the reigning shooter champs, but as a gamer that plays a lot of different shooters, I can definitively recommend it to anyone that wants something a little bit different. The map system offers loads of different possibilities and the action is fast-paced and fluent. The focus on teamwork makes this a great title for those gamers that love to hop into a few online games with friends. With Special Forces: Team X, Zombie Studios have placed themselves on my list of developers to watch, and I’m looking forward to see what they’ll bring us in the future.
|We liked The map generator, the game encourages teamwork, fresh graphics and fun gameplay|
|We disliked Clunky controls, repetitive map aesthetics|