Crossfire: Legion aims to be a ‘classic RTS,’ but it’s off to a rocky start

In a 12 months when writer Smilegate Entertainment is making an attempt to deliver one of many world’s hottest video games to western audiences, Crossfire: Legion appears like one thing of a black sheep.
Crossfire, the multiplayer first-person shooter, is huge in Asia — significantly in China and South Korea. It boasts 8 million concurrent gamers and 690 million registered customers, in accordance to Smilegate, together with quite a few multimedia spinoffs. At E3 2019, nonetheless, the corporate introduced CrossfireX, a single-player marketing campaign being developed by Control creator Remedy Entertainment. To deliver a multiplayer shooter west, it is sensible to accomplish that with a tailor-made, narrative-focused first-person expertise.
Crossfire: Legion, however, is aimed toward a extra area of interest house: that of old-school real-time technique video games. It helps that it’s being made by Blackbird Interactive, the studio behind the superb Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and the upcoming Homeworld 3 — but nonetheless, I can’t assist feeling like it’s a shot in the dead of night.

Image: Blackbird Interactive/Prime Matter

During a current press briefing, a spokesperson from writer Prime Matter known as Legion a “basic RTS.” I then spent a number of hours taking part in an early “technical check,” and I don’t disagree with that taxonomy. Legion is streamlined and easy, targeted extra on actions-per-minute than deliberate chess strikes. Its models comprise the same old infantry/automobile/plane trifecta, together with commander powers that, when timed nicely, can flip the tide of a pitched battle.
I performed customized matches towards AI bots, alternating between the factions of Global Risk and Black List. I most popular the latter, which opts for guerrilla ways over sheer numbers, and may traverse the map extra rapidly. In preserving with old-school video games like Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness and Command and Conquer, Legion is snappy and responsive, and unit pathfinding is seamless – resource-gathering vehicles can stack with out getting bottlenecked, and troopers unfold out in satisfying arcs earlier than opening hearth.
But, additionally in step with these video games, the systemic depth solely goes up to now. By in the present day’s requirements, Legion feels a bit too old style.

Image: Blackbird Interactive/Prime Matter

In a current story about Company of Heroes 3, I wrote concerning the significantly exaggerated dying of the RTS style, and the way, regardless of a steep decline in mainstream and esports curiosity within the final decade, it’s by no means been extra thrilling. Whereas the aforementioned World War II recreation is exploring nuanced squad ways, current entries like They Are Billions and Offworld Trading Company discovered seemingly infinite replayable depth. Even the extraordinarily current Age of Empires 4, a decidedly throwback RTS, deployed engrossing economy-building.
Legion, although, primarily based on my time with its customized matches, feels bareboned. Its models lack compelling environmental interactions; its resource-gathering is glossy but boring; every faction’s energy curve ramps up too steadily to be thrilling, and the present roster is just too commonplace to entice me.
But, to reiterate, the demo I performed is lacking some key options. Blackbird is planning a card system that may permit gamers to customise their armies earlier than every match, and I’m nonetheless curious to see how that may shake issues up. Legion will even embrace a single-player marketing campaign, and if it’s anyplace close to pretty much as good as Blackbird’s work in Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, my preliminary misgivings might be allayed.

Image: Blackbird Interactive/Prime Matter

But a lot of me is uncertain: Legion, no less than on this early kind, doesn’t simply revere the video games that sparked the style — it appears actively hampered by them.
Maybe that’s tremendous. Not each recreation wants to be a paragon of innovation. But as a spinoff meant to introduce a complete new market to one of many world’s most massively widespread franchises, I hoped that Legion would possibly push the design envelope. Real-time technique video games are shut to my coronary heart. I need all of them to succeed. But as of now, Legion feels caught up to now. If Blackbird is making an attempt to attraction to the RTS followers that also pine for the times of early Command and Conquers or the primary StarCraft, they’re off to a good start. If they need to usher in real-time technique followers which have adopted the style’s current creativity with rapt consideration, they could be on the improper observe altogether.

https://www.polygon.com/22882712/crossfire-legion-rts-release-date-preview-windows-pc-crossfirex

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