It may just look like a run-of-the-mill first-person shooter, but CrossfireX is a bizarre creature. The game is actually the single-player component of a long-running multiplayer shooter, Crossfire, which is incredibly popular across Asia, but has never really broken into the Western market. Acting as a gateway drug of sorts to the multiplayer, and perhaps with lofty ambitions of becoming its own franchise much like Call of Duty, South Korean publisher Smilegate recruited Max Payne, Quantum Break, and Control developers Remedy to concoct their idea of what a single-player game set in the Crossfire universe would look like. Enter CrossfireX.
The partnership itself is interesting, given that Smilegate could’ve opted for a more seasoned FPS/military shooter developer to helm the project, but opted for a brilliant yet somewhat bizarre choice in Remedy, more known for their obtuse sci-fi and paranormal projects, that do have a bit of shooting thrown into the mix. Either way, Remedy got the gig and have delivered something of an anomaly with CrossfireX, bringing some interesting elements to the genre, while also falling well short of something spectacular.
So, what is CrossfireX, though? It is a 5-hour campaign that is actually split into two parts, one of which is free with GamePass, and the other part you have to pay for, which is already a weird start. The game is very much a linear shooter similar to the likes of recent Call of Duty entries, with all the big-budget bombastic business that you’d expect from a game aiming to rival them. While glancing at it quickly would make you think it’s a CoD or Battlefield campaign, there are some unique elements to it. The whole experience has that Remedy ‘slickness’ to it, with the UI, button prompts, and eerie tone all present, along with a slow-motion bullet-time ability, allowing you to deliver some gory kills while feeling like a total badass. When it comes to having Remedy on board, this makes complete sense, as the studio is essentially the innovator of slow-mo gunplay in video games.
And while the default controls needed some tinkering to match a sensitivity that normal humans would be accustomed to, the combat did deliver that Max Payne-esque cinematic quality we hoped it would. The firefights are brutal, intense, and thanks to the destructibility of the environments and tons of fire extinguishers, gas tanks, and other explosive items littered around levels, you get to see some truly great gunfights full of concrete confetti and exploding enemies.
But that’s sadly where the ‘cool’ things about CrossfireX end. The graphics are great, the gunplay is fun, albeit very loose and oversensitive, and the concept is intriguing. But beneath the stock-standard military theme, there is a somewhat fascinating sci-fi tease that’s never fully realised or explored before the credits roll, leaving you feeling a little unsatisfied.
The brief campaign of CrossfireX is then left feeling like a demo of something that could’ve been so much more. Whether or not more parts of this campaign are released in time is yet to be seen, but for what it is currently, it feels like a fun but wasted opportunity that showcases what Remedy could do in the first-person genre. Unfortunately for them, there are a lot better shooters to utilise your time on.
CrossfireX is available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.