Posted by Mike Stubbsy in Feb 11, 2013, under Reviews
Towards the end of a console generation, publishers often appear to take fewer risks. New IP’s are scarce, sequels and prequels seem to be announced constantly and smaller companies try to latch onto the success of the mega franchises with very similar games. Unfortunately Special Forces: Team X definitely feels like one of the latter.
Take one look at Special Forces: Team X and you will easily be able to see the similarities to some of the blockbuster titles of this generation, the art style is very similar to that of Borderlands, the gameplay is very similar to that of Gears of War and the unlock and multiplayer systems are very similar to that of the biggest franchise of this generation, Call of Duty.
Although there are many aspects of the game that are lifted from the big titles, SF:TX does have some unique ideas, some of which work really well. The first that springs to mind is the map voting system. Instead of voting for a specific map, players will vote for different sections of the map, each map will have 3 different sections. Players can select one section for the left of the map one for the middle and one for the right.
The unique voting system allows for over 100 different map configurations, which is many more than any other shooter can claim. Each of the areas are well designed, and all differ quite a bit some have big single level open spaces and others are maze like areas across many heights. Each map combination will often be totally different to the one you played previously, which is refreshing but is also an issue.
If for some reason you are not paying attention during the voting of the map or join a game mid-way through, it can be difficult to find out what combination of areas you are playing on, which can be a major disadvantage.
Special Forces: Team X also has a huge variety of customizations on offer. These customizations range from guns to dogs to hats. Some, such as guns, have an effect on gameplay where as others such as hats (there are other clothing options available) only offer cosmetic changes. The amount of customization options is impressive, even compared to the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield there is a lot on offer in SF:TX.
Another impressive aspect of the downloadable game is the amount of licenced weapons available. Although compared to bigger franchises the selection appears small the game does feature quite a few licenced weapons including big names such as Colt and Kalashnikov.
However some of the weapons do feel slightly overpowered, especially the ones which are unlocked at later levels. This can often lead to infuriating matches where people who are higher levels will constantly kill the lower level players with weapons which are unavailable to the unfortunate victims.
Overpowered weapons are not the games only issue, equipment such as grenades and Attack dogs have serious problems. The grenades themselves function as one would expect, however the physics based around them certainly do not. Throwing a grenade will result in the grenade flying a good few meters higher than you aimed, and if you are hit and killed by an exploding grenade, expect to be flung at least 2 stories high into the air.
The Attack Dogs within the game had so much potential, however the execution of them is awful and they verge on the edge of being pointless. When released they will, 9 times out of 10, run in a straight line, and get stuck on an object or just stop for no reason, and if an enemy walks past they will just ignore them. On the odd occasion they do successfully find an enemy, the chances of them scoring a kill are slim as they do very little damage, and can be killed with a couple of shots.
The Dogs are not the only buggy aspect of the game. It’s not uncommon to become stuck on an object or be unable to get into or out of cover. High-def textures sometimes fail to load correctly and pop in is very common. Perhaps the most annoying of all bugs, level resets are unfortunately present in SF:TX. At one point I had worked my way up to level 7 and after finishing a game I was reset to level 2, but still had all of the unlocked equipment of a level 7.
The game types on offer are fairly limited with just 5 to choose from; these include the ever popular Team Death Match and Capture the Flag. When you are actually playing the game it becomes easy to forget what you are supposed to be doing, as the game types don’t differ from each other too much.
Despite the issues with over and underpowered weaponry and equipment and lack of game types there is one thing that Special Forces: Team X has succeeded at. It’s a FUN game to play.
Mechanically it’s fairly solid, the cover mechanic works to a certain extent and although hit detection is somewhat off the shooting isn’t too bad either. Killing an enemy provides real satisfaction, something I feel some other games lack, and winning a match is not always easy and is often decided in the final seconds of a game.
Each match will feel different from the last, but they will all be action packed and exhilarating experiences. Playing with friends definitely enhances the experience but even with a team of random people you soon form an understanding between yourselves which can lead to many strong alliances.
Special Forces: Team X is never going to win any Game of the Year awards, and will most likely fly under the radar of most gamers, but that doesn’t prevent it from being pure fun. Yes it has its issues, and yes the game can be infuriating at times, but once you get into a game and start unleashing hell on the opposing team(s) it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself.
Just because Special Forces: Team X takes a lot of inspiration from other games, doesn’t make it a bad game, in fact it’s quite the opposite, it’s a solid game which when given half a chance can really delight. It’s definitely not without its flaws but it has more than enough of the good stuff to keep drawing me back to play it.