Review – CrossfireX –

CrossfireX might not be the next big game, but it’s a fun and easy to play option for anyone looking for something new.

We’re all aware of Microsoft’s penchant for over-hyping their exclusives. When a new game is about to be launched exclusively for the Xbox family of systems, they make a point of reminding us with almost a month’s worth of advertisements, presentations, and previews. Even their less-than-stellar efforts, such as Sea of Thieves 1.0 and Crackdown 3, have experienced this. They even go out of their way to exaggerate the arrival of a new color palette for their controllers. Something must be awry when a brand new Xbox exclusive is ready to be launched and Phil’s crew doesn’t say anything about it. Either an intern accidentally deleted the Dropbox file containing the whole marketing campaign, or the game is so terrible that no one wants to be associated with it. The latter is exemplified by CrossfireX.

CrossfireX Catalyst

It almost seems like a satire since this is such a stupid cliché.

Microsoft seems to be attempting to attract to Korean and Chinese consumers with CrossfireX. You may have never heard of the Crossfire series (I definitely hadn’t until this game’s introduction), yet it’s possible that it’s the most popular gaming franchise in the world, not just in Asia. Yes, you read it correctly: the ENTIRE WORLD. According to sources, over one billion individuals have played the game since its inception. Let me remind you that this is one-seventh of the whole population of this sad planet. Don’t get me wrong: having a console-exclusive edition of such game is a brilliant concept. But that means it will be seen by the rest of the globe, and that demographic is accustomed to a different kind of game. As is, one that isn’t really awful.

When writing this review, I’m trying to be as professional and kind as possible, but there’s no way around it: CrossfireX is terrible. It’s a disaster. Unfortunately, it’s not the funny type of terrible; when a game is so absolutely inept, it’s almost therapeutic to play it. No, this is the type of awful that is dull, lifeless, and devoid of delight. The kind of game that is utterly lacking of passion, art direction, a compelling premise, and, of course, any care and polish. I am not exaggerating when I claim that I have had more fun playing shooters like Aliens: Colonial Marines and Medal of Honor: Warfighter than CrossfireX. It simply goes to demonstrate how depressing it was to go through it.

CrossfireX Live Action

If you ever needed a reminder that Remedy created it, there’s some random live action footage tossed throughout the campaign.

Allow me to explain the Smilegate, Xbox Studios, and… Remedy Entertainment bundle. CrossfireX is a game that combines two games into one. There’s a multiplayer component, which is powered by Unreal and produced by Smilegate, the IP’s proprietors. The single player campaign, on the other hand, is the package’s crown jewel, consisting of two parts of a single plot. Both were created by Remedy and are powered by the same proprietary engine that drives Control. The first half is included with GamePass, but the second half must be bought individually for some inexplicable reason. After reading this review, you’ll see that paying for this campaign isn’t a sensible investment, provided you believe my comments on the game.

Let’s start with the campaign, which is both the most frustrating portion of CrossfireX and, without a doubt, the greatest that the game has to offer. Consider the most generic Call of Duty campaign you’ve ever encountered. Remove that notion from your mind and consider the most generic military shooter campaign you’ve ever played. Is it possible that it was Battlefield 3? Medal of Honor Recipient: A Warfighter? Rogue Warrior (which isn’t quite as awful as “so horrible it’s good”)? CrossfireX outperforms them all by providing a campaign that is so boring, devoid of imagination, and so awful and unoriginal that it almost seems parodic. If that’s the case, then kudos to Remedy for effectively deceiving me.

CrossfireX AI

The AI, or lack thereof, in CrossfireX is a thing of beauty.

The plot concerns a group of troops working for a PMC who are sent to a random Caucasian country to apprehend a war criminal. Shenanigans follow, shots are fired, clichés occur, bad voice acting is said, and, of course, since this is a Remedy game, random and superfluous live-action footage is tossed into the mix because, well, why not? Those strange, unsettling dream sequences were tedious, but they were also the only mildly fascinating component of an otherwise dreadful game, packed with every military shooter cliché imaginable.

Officials advise the team’s Hispanic member to open the door or examine a neighboring wall, exactly as CoD used to do. During a stealth portion, you are also instructed to stealthily shoot one of two troops while your buddy kills the other, eerily similar to Modern Warfare 2. What about taking out a sniper with an unusually handy RPG and exploding part of the building where the son of a gun is hiding? All of these clichés were delivered during the first forty-five minutes of gameplay. I can’t tell you how dull this campaign was, from the uninteresting characters to the terrible voice acting to the ridiculous, Michael Bay-esque set pieces that seemed old even in 2011, much alone in 2022.

Sniper

What an impressive sniper gun. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could, say, put it together? Because, you know, I’m a top-tier soldier and all…

The “fighting” itself wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either, since it was an exact duplicate of any Call of Duty game published during the late Xbox 360 period, with the exception that it ran at a higher, but highly inconsistent, framerate. The issue with the gameplay was that the AI was so stupid, even on the hardest level, that I didn’t bother seeking for cover or attempting any smart military strategy. Because the characters in this game were less clever than the zombie warriors in iD Software’s game, I was playing it more aggressively than Doom Eternal. I wasn’t even shooting down sights; I was simply waltzing around halls, sometimes pulling the right trigger to avoid any odd Eastern European terrorist in shorts speaking amazingly fantastic English.

Remedy’s own engine is fantastic, but I don’t believe it was fully used for this campaign. It’s not horrifying, but it’s hardly what we’d expect from a next-gen shooter, particularly one from two studios with near-infinite resources. Battlefield 4 had a superior level design and looked better than this. On the other side, the sound design is just awful. I’ve previously said how terrible the voice acting is, but the sound effects aren’t any better. Something isn’t right when a gun’s shooting sound reminds me of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” drum opening rather than a real pistol.

Set Pieces

Without a sniper set piece, it wouldn’t be a Call of Duty clone.

This dull, lifeless, joyless, useless campaign, on the other hand, was a lot more fun to play than the multiplayer mode, the “real Crossfire experience.” Oh my my, this multiplayer is insane. I’ve played some horrible shooters in my time, but this is simply too boring and janky. To begin with, the menu’s framerate stutters a lot. The MENU IS FRAMERATE, to be sure. You can only imagine how horrible things get once you start playing the game. In a somewhat hostile way, I was also continually reminded to spend my hard-earned money on CrossfireX’s microtransaction site. I hadn’t even started a single battle yet, and I was immediately considering removing CrossfireX from my SSD.

After a few failed attempts at finding a partner, I eventually joined a server and was met with the worst CSGO clone I’d ever seen. Is this the game that a seventh of the globe loves? Is this for real? There was nothing to appreciate about CrossfireX’s multiplayer, between the horrible map design, low performance, and the fact that the control mechanism and physics were influenced by Call of Duty, not the considerably quicker Counter-Strike. The gameplay seemed like it was a mash-up of two entirely separate games that didn’t mesh properly. The framerate just can’t seem to get a break. To make things worse, if you die, you must wait until the round is over before returning to the arena. You had to wait a minute before being tossed back into this hellhole of a multiplayer game, as if dealing with lousy controls wasn’t hard enough.

Multiplayer

Oh, and don’t forget about multiplayer. It’s a disaster. Now let’s go on…

CrossfireX is a dreadful military-themed shooter. It’s unquestionably worse than whatever bottom-of-the-barrel Call of Duty clone was launched every week in 2009. The fact that the game’s aggressively boring campaign is by far the greatest portion of the bundle speaks something about the game’s overall quality. You can’t even play it sarcastically to make fun of it since the multiplayer option is so clumsy and hell-bent on having you spend money on microtransactions. Is this meant to be the game that a sixth of the population of the planet plays? If that’s true, then someone has to show those billion gamers every Call of Duty game made after Modern Warfare 1. They can’t possibly be worse than CrossfireX.

 

There are two aesthetic styles and two engines in use. The campaign seems to be adequate, albeit far from what one would expect from a next-gen title. The multiplayer visuals are reminiscent of a generic shooter from the mid-2010s, and the game runs slowly.

The controls aren’t bad throughout the main campaign, but the general level design and fighting seem old, and the AI is utterly stupid. On multiplayer, the Call of Duty-style control mechanism and physics clash with the Counter-Strike gameplay and stage design, resulting in a frustrating and janky experience.

Not only is the voice acting in the campaign mode uninspiring, but the weaponry also don’t sound right. Something is wrong when firearms remind you of Alex Van Halen’s drumming.

The campaign mode is the most generic military shooter I’ve ever seen. The multiplayer, on the other hand, is arguably the least enjoyable shooter I’ve ever played.

Final Score: 4.5

On Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X, CrossfireX is now available.

On the Xbox Series S, the game was reviewed.

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