When you are watching a TV show and you see a video game on the TV, I’d imagine Special Forces Team X to be that game. It’s the definition of an online shooter and there isn’t a problem with being that stereotype at all. From the studio that brought you the Saw games, you might start to get a little nervous as Zombie Studios’ games were made for the purpose of creating merchandise for the popular horror film franchise of the same name.
With recent restructuring of the company, Special Forces Team X was the last title to come out from the previous development cycle. Is SFTX a competitor in the online multiplayer market? No but it instead bases itself in a secluded market that hasn’t been tapped since the last generation of console: airsoft-styled weapons in a third-person shooter. Then again, maybe we should have left it back in 2003 when it was cool.
Multiplayer for Cheap - Other than the Xbox Live Marketplace sale that happened last week, you can’t find many online multiplayer shooters for under the price of $20 that are actually fun to play online. While Special Forces Team X has its bad moments, the game is pretty fun for $15, especially if you are looking to just jump online and play with your friends. For a game that is a quarter the value of a full-retail product, you get what you pay for.
Dedicated Servers - I can admit that I don’t always have the best connection to people even though my Xbox 360 has a concurrent status of an open NAT (network address translation) to Xbox Live. Zombie Games using dedicated servers prevents those people who network manipulate popular franchises like Call of Duty or Halo so for people with DSL, you actually have the chance of playing online without having to worry about losing connection to your current multiplayer lobby. I’d love to see more console games do this but as it’s so expensive it’s understandable while publishers don’t offer such a service.
The Premise - The game pitch for Special Forces Team X is this: imagine an online console shooter that has ever changing maps for each match that you play. There are three basic tiles slots thrown up between a possibility of about one-hundred and twenty-five different combinations, creating an experience that is always changing with each match that is played. The players vote upon which tile they want and depending on the tiles a team votes on the most, they spawn in that tile so potentially all three teams could spawn on each other. Sounds great thus far, right?
FORCING TEARS BACK
The Backend of the Pitch - Since players get to vote for which tiles are selected for the multiplayer map and they could potentially spawn right next to each other, the action would start immediately instead of having to run across the map to meet them. Well, this just isn’t as fun as you’d think with the weapon imbalancing or the additional abilities that higher level players have.
Plus when you play in the same three tiles for deathmatch, there is really no point to even having a voting system since there isn’t a lock on previously used tiles from the last round. Instead of getting an ever changing map, usually you get the same low-populated tiles over and over with the same guy camping with a sniper from a tower or hiding in corners with a shotgun. As someone who has been playing shooters since the mid-90’s, I didn’t have fun playing this game because there are better ones out there.
Weapon Imbalancing - From level one, you have three weapons unlocked: two automatic weapons and a pistol. Sure, attack dogs and grenades are unlocked as well but for the most part you start off using these weapons. One of the automatic weapons features poor spread but a higher firing rating creating the virtual version of ‘Rambo’, while if you are looking for more of ‘Indiana Jones’ precision, the other gives you decent accuracy at a nice rate of fire.
The only problem is there are plenty of other weapons that you unlock later after hours of gameplay that are much more accurate and damaging, making your entrance to the game damning from day one as the game has been out for several months now. Special Forces Team X has some of the worst game imbalancing that I’ve played in a while but if you happen to sneak upon such players, you’ll have the chance to pick up their primary weapons and take revenge on the previous deaths you received most likely.
Poor Levelling System - Simply to it: the levelling system is too slow for Special Forces Team X. I’ve played about five hours of the game and I’m still at level 6. What 343 Industries did with Halo 4 for unlocking abilities or skinned weapons was brilliant. You quickly begin to unlock items while being awarded with achievements giving constant rewards, making the player feel from match to match like they are accomplishing something for the online statistics. The game had a lot of potential but it seemed like there wasn’t enough dedication to produce a pristine downloadable title.
Special Forces Team X could be a great online shooter but it has a lot of shortcomings. Despite being only $15 on PSN and XBLA, I’d personally wait for the game to drop to $10. Not many console games feature dedicated servers but the only problem is there are barely any players online to use them anyway. The game uses realistic airsoft gun models which is cool if you are into that seen.
Unfortunately, this online-only multiplayer shooter features tons of imbalanced weapons for newer players and prolonged levelling to get to those better weapons. I can’t recommend this game to anyone unless you want a really cheap cartoonish multiplayer shooter on your console.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*