Crossfire: Sierra Squad Review
While Pavlov and Firewall Ultra battle it out to claim the title of best PvP shooter on PSVR 2, Crossfire: Sierra Squad aims to head down a different route to be the most sought-after FPS. Rather than aim down the same sight, Smilegate shifts its viewpoint and opts for a co-op-focused, arcade experience. Will this different direction, help the popular franchise to dominate its competition?
As you enter the world of Crossfire, you are greeted with a shooting range, a plethora of weaponry and soldiers that inhabit the area. Smilegate does an excellent job of quickly and concisely explaining the controls without overbearing you with numerous mechanics. Simple graphics and guides show exactly what to do and will lead you on to the next action. Periodically, a new tutorial appears to further your knowledge and give you more options on the battlefield. Due to this, you can jump straight into the ton of content available and start shooting bad guys.
Same Old Song
In the campaign, you lead an elite team against the Black List organization. War has already ravaged the Middle Eastern area and you must use your special skills to help bring order and uncover some secrets on the way. Although not designed to be a narrative showcase, the game does enough to connect the 13 chapters together to deliver a somewhat cohesive tale. Instead of allowing you to move directly on to the next segment, you are required to go back to the main menu. Although this allows you to alter weapons and take part in new tutorials, it is a little jarring and stifles the flow of the campaign.
Each level takes place in a small, linear area and pits you against a variety of enemy types. Some have different weapons which means they will either strike from a distance or aim to get up close and personal, whereas others range in size and strength. Large melee foes will keep you moving as they try to club you and adversaries that hold shields will require you to switch tactics to shoot specific areas rather than just pepper them with bullets. This continues to build and steadily increase the challenge so that you must react quickly so as not to become overwhelmed. The range of characters helps to add diversity to formulaic missions and keeps the moment-to-moment gameplay enjoyable. Upon completion, you will receive a rank and statistics about your overall performance. This gives the motivation to re-visit stages for the coveted S-rank.
It’s All About Scope
After the completion of missions, you are rewarded with XP and will eventually earn money to purchase new weapons and add-ons to modify your load-out. Weapons feel distinct and offer a range of ways to take out your enemies. Some require you to hold them in a particular way while others have unique methods of reloading. All of which feel great to control and allow you to take out your opponent with precise shots. The sniper rifle is a highlight of the game. The magnified zoom is accompanied by a blackout around your field of view so you can focus on your target. In addition to this, a marker appears to guide you to your opponent. Although it is unrealistic, it manages to capture the same satisfying feeling of long-distance shooting that features in Silent Scope.
Interactivity is key in VR and Crossfire captures this with its suit-based inventory. Guns are located at different points on your body which makes everything extremely tactile. Grenades are on your forearm and require a pleasing pull of the ring before you launch it. Unfortunately, throwing is a little awkward and it can often lead to your explosive to lang in completely the wrong place. On your other arm is the Stimpak which can save you from death. When nearing the end, your screen will be flooded with red, however, if you stab yourself in the heart, a white light gives you that much-needed boost. It’s a simple but effective way to include health items in the game.
Army of Two
In addition to the single-player campaign, Crossfire: Sierra Squad also has 50 squad missions which you can battle through on your own or with a partner. These tend to follow a similar pattern to the campaign mode but with less story and more gunplay. Some have specific objectives that require you to complete the stage within a certain time limit or use a particular weapon. Although I was unable to test how stable the online was, the mode is likely to be the most popular due to the amount of missions available.
A horde mode is also included, which works in a similar manner to the early Gears of War games. With up to four players, you must try to survive waves of enemies in a thrilling battle. Each of the modes comes with a variety of difficulty options with the hardest mode simply called, ‘devs couldn’t clear’. Its title offers enough encouragement for you to want to tackle this option to achieve something that creators couldn’t.
Wait Right There
Smilegate offers a range of accessibility options that will support anyone with engaging with the game. You can use smooth or click turning, include vignettes and much more so that you feel comfortable in the world. Although not a visual showcase, the areas themselves look nice in VR with decent textures and diverse environments. The AI is quite basic and often will shoot out of cover making them quite easy to defeat. In terms of sound, the guns sound big and chunky but the mix fluctuates which hinders the immersion. When someone speaks on comms, the gunfire is dropped to hear the conversation. Even though I understand the reasoning, I would have preferred the sound to stay consistent.
Crossfire: Sierra Squad is a fun arcade shooter with a ton of content. Although there are modes for squads of different sizes, this is most suitable for those looking for a 2-player experience. Unfortunately, the mission variety and maps are uninspiring and due to this, it can get a little repetitive. However, the game does enough to differentiate itself from the competition and will fill a void that many have been craving.
*** A PSVR 2 review code was provided by the publisher ***
- A Ton of Content
- Weapon Variety
- Range of Enemies
- Linear Missions
- Repetitive Gameplay
- Uninspiring Objectives