CrossfireX is on its way to Xbox, and I got to spend a couple hours with its multiplayer suite ahead of its open beta on June 25. On paper, it’s a tactical team-based shooter that will probably remind you of Counter-Strike at first glance. At least, that’s how it went for me. That’s probably because CrossFire originally debuted for PC in 2008, back when Counter-Strike ruled team-based shooters largely unopposed. And Smilegate’s shooter enjoyed huge popularity in Asia as well. Now, CrossfireX is trying to replicate that success in the West. The new version – which will also include a bespoke single-player campaign crafted by Remedy (the makers of Control) – attempts to modernize both the look and feel of the game for Xbox One in 2020, and after a couple hours, it’s a mixed bag.
I started out in Classic Mode – which means no ADS or sprinting – on an outdoor map called Black Widow playing Team Match. This play area looks straight out of Counter-Strike, not that that’s a bad thing. There are plenty of routes to take between the A and B objective points; one team attacks, attempting to plant a bomb, while the other squad defends. Standard stuff abound here: loadout choices, a melee knife, shotguns, assault rifles, etc. It looks OK and plays OK too. It’s far from bad, but this probably isn’t going to be the mode you use to try and get your friends to play CrossfireX with you.
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That honor is likely to go to Spectre Mode, another ADS- and sprint-free Classic scenario where, again, one team is trying to plant their C4 and the other team is charged with stopping them. The twist, however, is that the attacking crew are spectres – ninja-like combatants armed only with two knife attacks. They’ve got one ace up their sleeves, however: if they hold still, they turn completely invisible. The more they move the more visible they are, though they’re never fully chromatic; they’ve always got a ghost-like outline.
Even a spectre who’s holding still can still be quietly heard because of the breathing apparatus in their suits, likely in order to discourage camping. It’s more fun to take advantage of the air ducts and high catwalks they can access in order to slink around. Spectre Mode is something akin to a poor man’s Spies vs. Mercs match from Splinter Cell.
I was instantly charmed by the cheesy flow of Spectre Mode matches. Playing on the Laboratory map, my team had success when swarms of my invisible comrades descended upon the objective point, hiding in key points to cover the person planting the bomb and stabbing any heavily armed soldier who tried to locate our translucent teammate at the objective. But it’s not that easy (though smoke grenades collected in the map help…usually). Soldiers can easily kill spectres, but the reverse usually isn’t true. Stabs – either the right trigger backhand slice or the overhand left trigger attack the developers recommended I use – don’t do nearly enough damage. You should not have to get to point blank range as a spectre and stab your target multiple times in order to kill them while they have large, deadly guns. Still, I enjoyed this mode far more than I probably should’ve.
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The Modern playlist, meanwhile, introduced me to Point Capture mode, where each team vies for hold-and-control of two territories with full ability to sprint or use ADS. I embraced the sniper rifles here and was content to hang back and enjoy bringing the pain from long range using the GR Tower map’s long sightlines – that is, until one team has scored enough kills to trigger a zipline escape from the tower. Then, both teams descend to the ground for the final control point C. This mode is nothing you haven’t done a million times in other games (though there is progression in it, at least), and while it’s hardly bad, it’s also nothing to write home about either.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, honestly, it’s tough to see CrossfireX luring too many people away from genre heavyweights like Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Apex Legends. But since Counter-Strike’s popularity is more or less confined to PC these days, and CrossfireX’s multiplayer is free-to-play, it’s got a reasonable chance to find a niche audience on console. And for you fellow ’90s kids, its name alone is guaranteed to get this stuck in your head all over again.
- CrossfireX is due out in 2020 for Xbox One
- Original developer Smilegate is doing the multiplayer portion
- Remedy Entertainment (makers of Control) are doing a bespoke single-player campaign
- The multiplayer portion is free-to-play
- The open beta begins on June 25
Source: IGN.com CrossfireX Multiplayer is Dumb Fun on Xbox One