Quick. What do Super Bubble Pop, America’s Army: Special Forces, Saw II: Flesh and Blood, and Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition have in common? If you guessed that they’re all videogames: you’re right. If you guessed that they were all developed (or co-developed) by Zombie Studios: you are correct again! Zombie Studios has been around for almost two decades, which means that even if you haven’t heard of them1, chances are you have played (or at least heard of) one of their games. Like many other studios, they have had their fair share of hits and misses from one extreme to the other. So how does Special Forces: Team X stack up? Well, you’ll have to read a bit further into this review to find out.
First, let’s do a little introduction: SFTX is a downloadable first person shooter for Xbox 360 and PC. The game has no campaign and is online multi-player only. The visual presentation of the game is simple, yet the cel-shading works well enough to ensure that the visual quality doesn’t detract from the gaming experience. There are five available game-play modes: Team Deathmatch, High-Value Target, Capture the Flag, Hot Zone and Control Points. Their names should be self-explanatory, so I won’t bore you with what will probably be a poor description of, for instance, capturing a flag. I will say though, that after trying all of them, my preference is still the good ol’ deathmatch.
Oh look! It’s my favourite band: Duck and Cover!
In addition to these play modes, the game also has what I found to be a unique way of determining the map that you will be playing on. The map is broken down into three sections, and each player is able to vote for what they want in each section. This is a pretty novel method of trying to keep the map variations random and to deter people from becoming too familiar with them. Unfortunately, the number of options for each section are fairly limited. As such, even if the map combination that you’re playing on is new to you, you have probably already seen -and are familiar with- each section. I’ll definitely be logging in every couple of weeks to see if they add any new maps. I hope they do.
So, the verdict? Surprisingly2, I’m addicted. For one, the game is devoid of squealing and cussing teenagers; but maybe I’ve been away for a while and that is no longer a problem in online gaming. Second; I found the controls very welcoming. SFTX, like any FPS, can provide you with a “standard” control scheme; yet it just seemed to work a little bit better here. Within seconds of getting started I was running, aiming, ducking, sliding and fragging enemies comfortably – as if I had just gotten back from a brief washroom break. It works well; and I played for hours. Many times. “No cussing” and “familiar controls”…even if I have low expectations I still wouldn’t hesitate to recommend SFTX if your game library is dwindling and you’re looking for a game to bide your time during what remains of winter.