Review of X Squad
In the year 2037 there are still evil forces to be reckoned with. At a top-secret government research facility something has gone awry.
Squad leader Ash, played by you, is sent along with his team of three others to find out exactly what has happened. Maya, Melinda, and Judd are the three highly trained commandos that comprise your elite fighting force. All is not well at the research facility and you four are the only ones who can find the problem and right the wrong that is no doubt going on their.
Good luck. Youll need it.
When I played X-squad the first thing I noticed is the control. This took some getting used to. Although you can use the D-pad, its nearly impossible to play using it because of the responsiveness. I had much better luck using the analog sticks, but they also took a bit of getting used to.
The interface for controlling the squad members is nicely done though. Through use of menu rings you can quickly give commands to your teammates or switch weapons, and even administer healing items. Unfortunately I found this feature somewhat lacking. It seems that many times after I would lay down commands, we would come upon a part of the game where the story would take over and either re-issue different commands or take away certain members.
X-Squad does seem unbalanced at times. You may go from room to room for quite a while with an enemy here or there, but then one room later you could be totally swarmed by them. Boss battles can be really tough as well. Its rarely one on one, most of the time the bosses at the end of every level are comprised of teams, and they dont die easily.
The concept of being able to control multiple characters is a good one. I liked the fact that I had several commands that I could issue to my teammates at any time during the game and the fact that I knew I had backup was a comforting one. Unfortunately there were two little things that consistently got in the way of making this overall interface a successful one. First, you have your support team, while pretty good at following commands and taking out the bad guys, they were quite simple overpowered at times and due to weak AI, I found them often running into areas and getting clobbered. The other downside is the enemies accuracy…it is almost flawless. Time and time again, once my support team got positioned (if I was even able to get them that far) they were often fragged mercilessly. Good concept overall, just poor execution of this idea made the team aspect of the game more frustrating than enjoyable.
One other gripe I have is with the map. You can easily enough pull up the map by pressing the Start button, but the map has no set bearing so its easy to get turned around. I would have preferred a map that had a fixed orientation. This would make navigation easier.
The graphics in X-Squad are very nicely done. A very smooth and steady frame-rate, hi-res graphics, coupled with good character and level design make the look of the game one of its finer points. After each level you are treated to a real-time cut scene that brings you up to snuff on the story. Also while you explore the various levels there are plenty of scenes that take place to further the plot along.
The voice acting is another high point of X-Squad. The characters are well defined to their script and tell the story in an intriguing and direct manner. New characters you may come across also are done well in their dialog. Enemy soldiers will taunt you and yell al kind of things, but its better just to shut them up quickly.
The music can get a little monotonous, but does keep an up beat tempo and goes nicely with the action-based atmosphere. A little more variety here would have been well received.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'X Squad' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Robert Gibson © Absolute PlayStation
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