A pair of Operations serve as the campaign in Crossfire X, companion single player content to the free-to-play multiplayer experience at the forefront of the title. Operation Catalyst and Operation Spectre take less than two hours each to complete, offering a brief, dated and ultimately shallow experience that leaves the player baffled by the fact that the single player aspect of Crossfire X was developed by Remedy Entertainment, known for cult and critical classics such as Max Payne, Alan Wake and Control.
Clunky controls, lifeless characters and the complete absence of challenge leave the dual campaign offerings for dead, failing to live up to the potential of its developer’s reputation to take players on an adventure that unravels in clever and unpredictable fashion.
Operation Catlayst is the first of the two-part campaign and nearly immediately sets the tone for Crossfire X as one that struggles to make its narrative make any kind of sense. The narrative shortcomings, which are extensive, could almost be forgiven if the gameplay was solid and provided the action, tension and drama that its story failed to accomplish. That is unfortunately not the case. Stiff movement, clumsy gunplay and brain-dead AI send Crossfire X into an irredeemable first-person shooter that could be mistaken as a title from two generations ago. The gameplay feels as though it’s been pulled from the mid-2000s from titles such as Black.
After the movie length Operation is all said and done, the squad-based story switches tracks for Operation Spectre and casts the player as a thief enlisted by the Black List organisation to be moulded into their ultimate weapon of destruction. The premise of Spectre holds more intrigue than Catalyst but manages to deflate any excitement abruptly and thrust the player into yet another predictable and formulaic single-sitting experience.
The action sequences and handful of set pieces do look impressive and manage to briefly capture the player’s attention, though these sequences are few and far between and they don’t overcome the overwhelming amount of hiccups that come before and after. Glimpses of classic Remedy tropes such as supernatural themes fail to amount to anything substantial and quickly revert the experience back to its text-book shooter formula.
Despite being a companion single-player experience for the core multiplayer functions of Crossfire X, the gameplay is slightly different though both feel dated, clunky, and simply unenjoyable. An extremely limited variety of enemies fails to keep firefights engaging or challenging, with every shootout feeling as similar as the weapons used to get the job done.