Borderlands style graphics? Check. Gears of War style gameplay? Check. Able to take inspiration from both of these games and still make it incredibly dull? Check.
Despite some rather obvious influences, Special Forces Team X manages to take aspects and utilise them in a terrible manner, despite the fact that there seems to be some really good ideas thrown into the menagerie of boredom.
Team X is a standard 3rd person shooter with two teams pitted against each other in various game modes, with all the modes that are now part and parcel for any online shooter already out there. Map choice is perhaps one of Team X’s best innovations, in which each map is split into three areas that can be voted on independently, creating the illusion of choice each round you play. The illusion being that everything looks the same with every area seems to be based on the industrial backyard of the USA; dockyard, refinery and an admin building are just some of the ‘fun-filled’ areas you get to choose from, which is a shame for a feature that could have been used so much better. Each cut-off of the map is so similar that it’s hard to tell the difference between any of them, making it difficult to ever get a true feel for the arenas you are in.
Another good innovation, poorly executed, is the team bonus system. The closer you are to your teammates leads to more xp, multiplied by the amount of your team you are in close proximity too, in theory, promoting teamwork, as you progress through the ranks gaining new weapons. This is completely shafted by the painfully poor spawning system that can cause the opposing team to appear directly behind you and your team, wiping you out in one fell swoop, and vice versa, can lead you to melee your opponents to death without any effort in the world. It’s difficult to recommend a game that generates most of its fun by the luck of where you spawn rather than satisfying strategy, reactions or weaponry.
Guns all feel as effective as staplers, and half as fun, with recoil on almost any gun enough to dissuade you from fire fights and just throw grenades until you luck out. The levelling system is also bizarre; why would I want to level up as high as I can to get one lousy taunt or bit of clothing for my character when everyone looks like the reject characters from a 80’s action movie?
Atmosphere online is also nonexistent, and no that isn’t to say that I believe pre-pubescent teens screaming into my ear when they destroy me is classed as atmosphere. Sound effects are boring, there isn’t a sense of danger or tension that can be found in other online shooters, and there simply isn’t anyone to play; there was only ever two servers with half full games every time I tried to play online.
Visually, it’s a nice change from the grey and more grey found in the likes of Gears of War, but the edges of the characters and the environment are almost always grainy. The problem with the game in its entirety is that it feels like there is absolutely no personality whatsoever, as it never seems to be able to decide whether it wants to be taken seriously or not.
To sum up
There are only so many words that can be used instead of generic to create the same meaning; there is just so little to care about or get you excited in this game. Special Forces Team X is functional. It plays okay, has all the standard modes you would expect, it has a ranking system and you shoot other people through an internet connection. Despite a few neat touches, there is very little to recommend here that hasn’t already been done, and done much more effectively with the fun side still intact.Version reviewed: Xbox 360