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CrossfireX Campaign Preview

I’ve been tremendously excited for CrossfireX as the trailers we’ve seen have been flashy, bombastic, and visually impressive. Sadly, none of that was present during the few chapters we had the opportunity to experience early as part of this preview. Enemies look and sound generic, and they aren’t particularly smart either, walking right into your bullets if you’ll let them. The levels we did play had little of the visual flair in the marketing material, and the missions are filled with tired tropes like waiting for a guy to open a door, forced walking so you can be delivered narrative over coms, and of course a dash of campy military ops dialogue sprinkled in.

The worst part is that the core of what CrossfireX is supposed to be, a first-person shooter, seems to be trapped in the Xbox 360 era. Sure, you can slow down time for some cool slow-mo action, but when you move from side-to-side in this mode you’ll zip across the screen making it a bit hard to pull off the intended cool guy kill shot they were going for. General shooting mechanics for all guns feel the same with your rifle bouncing into the air at what feels like an equal rate regardless of your weapon type. When combined, it all makes the entire gameplay side of things feel a bit boring throughout.

There are a few moments where the game shines through, like a section where you briefly control your partner and snipe the main character out of his handcuffs, or the cutscenes where Remedy’s Northlight engine shines. But the actual story within is rather dull and doesn’t leave a lot of mystery. Chapter 1 of Operation Catalyst amounts to the following. Your plane has crashed. There are bad guys stopping you from leaving. Kill bad guys so you can leave. The slightly better Chapter 3 of Operation Specter does add a few twists though. You infiltrate a base only to have your entire squad be captured, so you’ll have to decide if you stick with the main mission or double back for your friends. And by decide, I mean CrossfireX’s straightforward story will decide for you.

I played through these chapters on the suggested difficulty, Normal, but there are Easy, Normal, and Hard to choose from. Not a single thing posed a threat on the “recommended” difficulty, so if you’re a seasoned player and want a challenge I’d opt to step it up a notch. While there is some enemy variety they all basically die with half a magazine or one sniper bullet to the torso. Your opponents include soldiers, heavy soldiers with some extra armor, snipers, some soldiers with shields they’ll hold in front of their allies, and drones. None of which act particularly intelligent or pose a real threat.

There was one boss fight with a turret that we had the opportunity to fight, but the battle amounted to shooting three boxes in the room and then slow-mo kill the turret to win. It felt like it was all over before it began.

Based on what I played of CrossfireX, it did not have a lot going for it. It’s kind of fun to slide across the floor and shoot the braindead soldiers throwing themselves at your bullets, but the shallow story and basic but a bit wonky controls didn’t wow me very much as I walked through the bland environments. There were a few moments that look to break things up a bit, like the turret boss fight, or even the short stealth portion where you need to avoid laser mines, but overall CrossfireX doesn’t really seem to be bringing much to the table. Hopefully multiplayer will prove more exciting when the whole package launches this February.

Destin Legarie is a Director of Content Strategy at IGN. You can follow him on Twitter if you want, but he may be busy playing Halo.

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