It's rare that a major video game release gives off the same vibes as a direct to video Bruce Willis film, but that describes CrossfireX to a tee. An FPS that gained fame in China before arriving on US shores, CrossfireX has generic gameplay, braindead AI, and baffling design decisions that persist throughout a pair of truncated single-player campaigns and the free to play deathmatch suite. This collaboration between Smilegate and Remedy is a total misfire that fails on every level, even if all you're looking for is a good time playing something bad.
If you've played any Call of Duty campaign set during the modern military era, the trappings of CrossfireX's two single-player narratives will be painfully familiar. Dialogue drips with so many cliches like "sector one alpha" and "tango down" that it's sometimes hard to parse the actual attempts at dialogue and character moments. It doesn't help that the voice acting ranges from generically bad to offensively stiff. The worst of this comes in the form of constant, unnecessary narration that rivals Microsoft Sam in its emotional intensity. There are multiple moments throughout missions where the main character will drone on about an event in narration and then instantly say a variation on the same thing in-game as it happens. While Remedy does try to inject some of its signature mind-bending weirdness into the proceedings, it goes nowhere and feels out of place alongside the dudebros battling generic military men in a fictional warzone.
CrossfireX's gunplay fares better than its storytelling, but not by much. Each main character has a favored weapon they start with, and it's hard to find reasons to pick anything else up throughout the campaign. Outside of a few specific scenarios, you can plow forward with what the game gives you and win. Enemies often charge recklessly into streams of bullets like lemmings and refuse to put up a fight when they have the advantage. They can get stuck in the environment as well, requiring you to hunt them down to clear an area and trigger the next story beat. It's as if the game's framework is held together with bubblegum and duct tape, and I only died when I was seeing how I could tear things apart in creative ways.
Everything about these single-player missions reads as expendable, which is bizarre considering that they are the bits of content that cost real dollars. Each three-hour story is standalone, with only the thinnest of elements connecting them. Levels blend together thanks to generic objectives and a small sample size of enemy soldiers with braindead AI. Anyone with genre experience can sleepwalk through most everything here, even on higher difficulties. Mere minutes in, a feeling of familiarity pervades everything, as if everything on offer is a poor man's copy of a game you've already played.
For all its faults, at least CrossfireX's single-player does resemble modern military campaigns of the past. The same can't be said of the multiplayer, which comes off like a madman's dream filtered through tired FPS tropes. If you can navigate through three levels of cash shops and confusing UI choices, you're treated with a total of six maps. Each of these maps only supports one game mode, leading to a sandbox that takes only a handful of hours to fully explore. It's a bafflingly small offering for a game that's selling a battle pass and other cosmetics from day one.
This small subset of game modes splits further down into Classic and Modern headings, which seem to find inspiration in Counter-Strike and Call of Duty respectively. Classic goes back decades, offering barebones shooting stripped of in-game perks, ADS, and many other features. CrossfireX doesn't have the gameplay or weapons to make this interesting, but it is straightforward in its blandness. The Modern modes gives access to upgrades ranging from improved radar to The Boogeyman, a Star Wars Battlefront-style hero character that emerges from a helicopter via cutscene whenever he's selected. This SMG-wielding demon man is one of the only notable aspects of the multiplayer, and I sincerely wish that CrossfireX was this over the top in all other aspects of its presentation.
I'm not even sure that more maps in the vein of what's available would fix the issue of gameplay variety. To give one example, the team deathmatch map consists of two spawn rooms and one huge center area where players file in to die over and over until one team reaches an arbitrary kill count. If you survive the middle area, you can wander into the opposing team's spawn and set up shop for free kills on confused foes and hapless bots alike. It's entertaining at first, but the initial chaotic energy gives way to a profound sense of lethargy. It's hard to see anyone grinding through these simple shooter experiences over and over on a console where Halo Infinite, Apex Legends, and even Paladins are a button press away.
On top of a cavalcade of design flaws, CrossfireX has a host of technical issues that will plague the brave souls who spend an afternoon plumbing its depths. Lag and graphical glitches are common. One extreme example featured a player model that blew up to gargantuan size at random intervals, but the game is generally more boring when it breaks. Hitboxes and player health feel like they fluctuate with each new spawn, which could be due to technical bugs or the loose aiming that pervades the entire experience. There are even spelling and grammar errors that pop up from time to time, finishing off the perfect storm of pointless confusion that is CrossfireX.
Whether you're looking for a new multiplayer distraction or a solid single-player effort, CrossfireX fails spectacularly. It's the type of blunder that you'd generally find in Early Access on Steam. Those games have the excuse of small development teams and a limited budget for their failures, and a lot of them are far more interesting to play than this hodgepodge of lifted inspirations and bewildering choices. What was supposed to be the grand introduction of a popular franchise to Western shores is instead lost in translation, a forgettable mess that has nothing to offer beyond initial schadenfreude. Do not play CrossfireX.
TechRaptor reviewed CrossfireX on Xbox Series X with a code provided by the publisher. The game is also available on Xbox One
- The Boogeyman
- Runs without crashing
- Bland single player missions that lack difficulty or points of interest
- Baffling multiplayer offering with far too little variety
- Battle Pass progression in a game that wears out its welcome instantly