This week’s deal offers up some of the very best Xbox Live Arcade has to offer, dropping names and prices on a couple of the year’s bigger titles and …
Special Forces: Team X was developed by Zombie Studios and published by Atari, Inc. It was released February 6, 2013 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
It’s been nearly three years since Zombie Studios’ last crack at an XBLA shooter, Blacklight: Tango Down, and in that time, they’ve cultivated a hard-core PC following with its free-to-play successor Blacklight: Retribution. Now heralding the return of Zombie’s shooter-centric capability to Xbox Live Arcade, Special Forces: Team X delivers a mostly satisfying multiplayer fix with enough style to overlook the one-note experience. STX isn’t targeted at the ultra-competitive; it’s designed around ease of use, accessibility, and plucking enough chords to resonate with everyone in some way, even if it never particularly excels at any one of them.
It’s impossible not to see the reflection of other titles in the glossy presentation of Special Forces: Team X. The lean character bodies and cel-shaded visuals immediately drum up thoughts of Borderlands, while the handling, cover-system and gun mechanics are unabashedly lifted from the Gears of War series. This isn’t a slight on the title, to the contrary, there’s an admirable confidence in the way Zombie Studios has surveyed the landscape, imitating proven success, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. The amalgamation of gaming’s giants makes for a beautiful creature both accessible and familiar, but there’s something missing behind the eyes, and it’s little more than the sum of its parts.
Here we are once again at the start of what’s sure to be another fantastic year of XBLA releases. Each day this week XBLAFans will be rolling out a list of eight of our most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade releases of 2013. While we can’t possibly cover every single XBLA game planned for this year, we’ll be giving you a varied list of 40 of the most promising titles we expect to release on XBLA in 2013. Once it’s all done, be sure to check back in next Monday when each staff member makes his/her picks for the game he/she is most looking forward to.
Developer: Zombie Studios
No stranger to downloadable shooters, Zombie Studios’ upcoming Special Forces: Team X capitalizes on its expertise honed crafting Blacklight: Tango Down and Black: Retribution. Don’t be fooled by the colorful cel-shaded visuals; Special Forces targets frenetic third-person team-centric combat with brutal executions and an arsenal of real world weapons. Its dynamic map tile system puts players in control of generating the environment in a pre-round vote, with over a hundred possible combinations of individual tiles to choose. All this coupled with a healthy rank progression and customization system means Special Forces: Team X stands to deliver quite the bang for your buck when it hits XBLA on February 6 for 1200 MSP.
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It was a busy week for two of 2012’s biggest XBLA games: The Walking Dead and Minecraft. Minecraft saw its The End content delayed out of its next title update to some unknown future point. Meanwhile, we learned that The Walking Dead has sold a lot of episodes, that it may allow players to carry over saves to the next season and that gamers who bought a faulty Xbox 360 retail version of season one will be given a free XBLA copy. If you’re still looking for more XBLA coverage, be sure to keep an eye on the site every weeknight this week as we detail the biggest games coming to Xbox Live Arcade in 2013. What games are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments below.
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Announced mid-August, Special Forces Team X didn’t have any clear platforms listed out of the gate. This morning a listing snuck (sneaked?) onto Xbox.com, which with games like these usually indicates an Xbox Live Arcade release. If the gameplay looks mildly familiar, that’s because it’s Zombie Studios latest project. They’re the team behind Blacklight:Tango Down and its non-XBLA sequel Blacklight: Retribution. But Xbox Live Arcade has already seen its fair share of multiplayer shooters. Blacklight: Tango Down, Breach, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and most recently, Hybrid. What sets this apart?
Apart from its cel shading and third-person focus, Special Forces allows players to play dynamically generated levels. Each round players vote for one of a number of tile combinations for a given map. It’s like Halo‘s Forge maps, except as near as we can tell you don’t get the opportunity to customize the maps yourself. That may be a slight downer, but no other XBLA shooter has dynamic map generation, meaning that the replay value here is likely to be huge. Zombie Studios boasts over 100 different combinations between the game’s maps. Player characters can be customized, too. Weapons, appearance, player skills and taunts will all be at your leisure to modify.
Hit the jump for a general list of features and screenshots. Oh, and don’t worry about the CENSORED tags in the trailer. Zombie says they were just for fun. They won’t be in the game.