Special Forces: Team X (Xbox Live Arcade, PC)
Developer: Zombie Studios
Release: February 6, 2013
The big hook of Special Forces: Team X is its map design, or rather, the players' hands in its design. Maps are broken up into three tiles -- a middle and two ends -- with players voting on each of them in the pre-game lobby. The tiles themselves are essentially slices of whole maps, each of which follows a motif: industrial, warehouse, etc. As you can imagine, this leads to a mind-boggling amount of variation for each map.
Conceivably, this can also go a long way to keeping play styles from getting stagnant. Whether you play Call of Duty, Battlefield, or what have you, after a while every player finds the same few routes to run in each map. With Special Forces, that's not going to be a viable strategy when the map layout changes every time you play. With so many permutations of maps though, it remains to be seen how well objective modes play. For deathmatch at least, which is what I played, I always felt there were a good amount of routes and flanking options.
So the maps are a blast, that much is sure. What isn't so hot, is really just the rest of the game. While there's nothing that stands as particularly wrong, there's also no compelling reason to keep this on my radar. The moment-to-moment gunplay follows well established genre rules with no real deviation. If you have played a third-person cover shooter, you know what is on offer here. And if you have played any online shooter since 2007, you know what to expect from the progressive level system, though there are a bevy of cosmetic customization options.
Special Forces: Team X does try to encourage teamplay at least, with a scoring system that multiplies scores if you run with your team. The health system makes players a bit bullet-spongy, so running with a teammate is best. Still, outside of its approach to map design, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to get excited about.
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