Remedy, fresh off of winning IGN’s 2019 Game of the Year with Control, has finally shown off its other project: a single-player campaign for CrossfireX
, the upcoming Xbox-exclusive first-person shooter that updates the 2007 game that’s long been popular in the East. I got a look at pieces of one of its missions, and I came away with one immediate thought: while the multiplayer is a dumb-fun fascimile of Counter-Strike
, the campaign is the Call of Duty-est thing that’s ever Call of Dutied.Not that that’s a bad thing. It looks fun to play, and there’s a definite Remedy vibe here, from the use of red lighting and other brighter, bolder colors – the CrossfireX campaign is using Remedy’s same in-house Northlight engine that Control and Quantum Break did – to the implementation of slow-mo bullet-time, dubbed Combat Breaker here. But, yes, even just watching it and not playing it, CrossfireX very much looks like a Call of Duty campaign, from both its moment-to-moment gunplay to its over-the-top action movie plot and characters.
Here, the multiplayer’s two factions, Global Risk and Black List, are pitted against each other in some kind of world-threatening conflict. But it’s just you. No co-op, nothing. It’s you versus the AI. The campaign is divided up into Operations, which can take place on either side of the fight (another Call of Duty-style element). Within each Operation are three episodes, which sound like the actual missions themselves. I saw a slice of an Operation Spectre episode, which drops you into the boots of Black List operative Luis Torres, handcuffed and on a prison bus en route to a correctional facility in a fictional South American city. The bus gets intercepted by a drone, which flies under the bus, explodes, and your Black List buddies pull you out of the wreckage.
Remedy also insists there’s a lot of variety to the campaign, which was definitely on display during my demo.
As your Global Risk pursuers close in – the bus stunt was an attempt to kill you, not rescue you – you duck into a hospital (conveniently cleared of doctors, nurses, and patients due to an incoming hurricane), and meet Nicholas Kamara, a Black List ally. It’s all Call of Duty from here on out: gun battles through the hospital hallways, crashing into the basement after a VTOL fighter jet fires a missile through the window of the upper-floor room you’re standing in, getting in the back of an ambulance with your buddies and blasting the bad guys as they chase you at high speeds, and finally rolling oxygen tanks out of the back of the van and shooting them in order to blow up a heavily armored APC in pursuit of you, triggering the collapse of the cliffside tunnel you’re in and forcing your fellow Black List soldier Cora to yank the wheel and send you all plummeting over the cliff’s edge and into the water below.Remedy’s goal with the campaign is a “Best of East meets West kind of mashup,” they told me after the demo. And even though there’s an undeniable Call of Duty vibe here, it’s still a Remedy game and thus it has an air of mystery to it too. “We have orders to protect you at any cost,” Cora says when you meet her midway through the Operation. “Why?” Torres replies. “You wouldn’t believe me,” she says. Hmm…Remedy also insists there’s a lot of variety to the campaign, which was definitely on display during my demo. “It’s got a bit of that old-school-ish level design in a good way,” a Remedy rep told me.
I don’t disagree, and it’ll be fun to see if Remedy’s CrossfireX campaign can out-Call of Duty Call of Duty itself when it releases later this year across all Xbox platforms, including the Series X.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.