On paper Special Forces: Team X seems like a fun fast paced experience, with artsy cell shaded graphics in the vain we've seen in games like Borderlands. However Zombie Studios clearly had issues with the games execution that let them down heavily.
Special Forces: Team X is a cartoonish third-person multiplayer shooter designed for quick bursts of fun. It has all the basic functions you would expect from this genre, cover system, custom loads outs, the works. The problem is that we've seen every type of shooter imaginable by now, so developers have to be offering something of extreme value for anybody to give a damn. Special Forces: Team X not only lacks originality, but it also doesn't do a great job delivering the standard shooting experience.
Special Forces: Team X gives you a choice of 5 different game types including Team Death match and Capture the Flag. You can either join a match or create your own. Before starting a match you have the choice of changing your load-outs and voting on the map. One original touch that Zombie Studio's added was the ability to vote on multiple variations of each map, meaning you have the choice of multiple map layouts for each level. Providing this feature is both a gift and a curse. It's great because it keeps the gaming experience fresh (or random might be a better word) seeing as the positioning of certain structures are unpredictable. But in doing so you also kill the element of team strategy, and familiarity with the game. Shooter fans who base their experiences on learning the layout of the map and implementing a strategy will hate this feature, and it's understandable.
Another element that kills the experience is the horrible re-spawning mechanism which will more likely than not spawn you into immediate death. This diminishes any fun what might have been had from the experience all together.
Once you get into the game the experience is faced paced and fun, especially if you opt to communicate with your team and attempt to co-ordinate. The only problem is that finding a game can take you longer than it takes to play a full match. For an extremely new game it's surprising that I could barely find a match with more than 5 people (split across both teams) involved. If this isn't confirmation that this game will be short lived then I don't know what is. I just hope for Zombie's sake that the game is seeing more activity on the Xbox 360 version.
On the plus side, Special Forces: Team X has enough content to make it a shooter to jump in and out of between other activities. There's a range of different weapon options and customizations and a ton of map variations to keep things fresh. But this is one game where the negatives unfortunately outweigh the positives.
Before long the game just ends up seeming like a waste of artistic visuals that should have been enclosed around a solid third-person shooting experience. The fact that there's no single player means that Special Forces: Team X is fully dependent on its multiplayer, which is basically nonexistent due to lack of players. It hurts me to say it, but this game isn't worth the money.
This review was based on a retail copy of Special Forces: Team X for the PC provided by Zombie Studios.