Review – Crossfire Sierra Squad
PSVR2 has seen two of the bigger names in military shooters come out in Pavlov and Firewall Ultra. While Vankrupt focused on making Pavlov a true sim, focusing more on manual interaction for everything, First Contact Entertainment built Firewall to be more of an arcade shooter, allowing for classic button presses to achieve actions.
Not quite sim, not quit arcade, Crossfire Sierra Squad embraces each; only adding what contributes to a VR experience, without taking away from the arcade experience. Your primary weapon for each level will either be in your hands, or on your belt clip. Dropping the gun simply puts it right back on your body. Found weapons can be picked up and used, then fall to the floor when dropped. Ammo does not run out, even though your clip does. Clip placement and gun handling may vary slightly (IE: clip may go in front of gun rather than behind), but it feels right and is obvious and easy to resolve. Mechanics immersion without sacrificing fast-paced gameplay.
It’s this arcade approach to a sim mechanic that sells Crossfire Sierra Squad better than anything. Everything is quick and approachable but has those VR advancement over a controller that you expect. R1 to grab weapons or grenades, R2 to shoot. Lower your hand and L2 to grab an ammo clip or use it to pull your grenade pin and use L1 to steady your weapon or reach for a stem pack to heal. Nothing needs to be exact, just quickly use the movement and the game will know it. I rarely had to look down to figure out why I couldn’t grab the intended item. For sim aficionado’s, this may be too simplistic, but it is the exact sweet spot I like. Not too Pavlov, not too Firewall, but just right and sleeping in your bed.
Crossfire Sierra Squad’s main attraction is, while other all-but entirely focus on multiplayer, its surprisingly fun and meaty single player campaign. Containing 13 acts, each is about 10-15 minutes to complete. Completing each act put you back into the lobby area, a shooting range, that feels very fluid for the first three acts as the shooting range acts a tutorial for primary, secondary, and specialty item use. Beyond that, it can feel to isolate each act and remove you from the fluidity of the game. For a person that needs to take VR in doses, this isolation and separation can be welcome. For a person that can live in VR, not as much.
Running through stunning Middle Eastern streets, European cities, and underground bunkers, the action is frantic in feel but can feel controlled in delivery. You and an AI teammate will go from point A to point B, then fight off a few enemies. Off from B to C, then repeat. And finally get to the end of the act and face a horde. Bullets, enemies, and action are all around you, but mostly forcing you to simply bunker down and take cover, clipping enemies as they walk towards you. Your AI teammate will fall a lot, but there is no urgency or even capability to resolve that.
After the campaign wraps up, you and a friend can now jump in for 50 co-op campaigns. The action is much the same as the campaign missions, but simply being with a friend really removes the feeling, or maybe desire, of simply finding cover and waiting the excursion out. Raising the difficulty can really add to this enjoyment, and Realistic can be absolutely brutal for you hardcore peoples. Although this is great with you and a friend, it does all but require one to join you. Finding a lobby for co-op missions, at least for myself, failed more than succeeded. Finally, the final game mode offered is a horde mode. Taking on waves of enemies, in my opinion, this is the least that Crossfire offers.
Completing missions rewards you with credit that you can use to spend on weapon customizations and upgrades. Although I never felt the urgency to do this for a fun game night solo or PvE with a friend, if you are wanting to up the challenge, then it becomes nice to have.
Benefitting from being a campaign game, Smilegate is able to truly focus on graphics and sound to make them outstanding, making Crossfire the best looking of the three military shooters. This shouldn’t be a surprise given Crossfire’s legacy. There is far less clipping and janky arm and leg placement than one gets in it PvP counterparts.
No one is going to confuse Nolan North for being in this game, but the delivery is fine. At least never standing out in the wrong way, but that isn’t where Crossfire wants to stand out. The helo’s dropping in, gunfire shooting past you, tanks rolling by, these are where Crossfire wants to stand out, and it does.
Smilegate did a lot to make sure the VR experience with Crossfire Sierra Squad was just as comfortable as it is fun. With its hand sized mission length and offering motion sickness and regular VR modes, it does a good job limiting motion sickness. More importantly for me, the acts being broken apart into digestible islands, I never felt like I couldn’t take the unit off to stretch and remove that confined feeling I can get. This will be a negative for most, but a huge pro for me.
Crossfire Sierra Squad stands out for all the reasons it may push you away; its PvE missions focus, its sim/arcade hybrid mechanics, and its separation of acts into individual helpings. I’m sure it’s me, I’m sure I am the exception and not the rule, but if reading this, you get a sense that you may also be an exception, then you should have a great time in Smilegate’s world.
Beautifully stunning environments. Campaign focus results in far less player jank and awkward hand and arm placements
Hybrid sim and arcade military shooter may speak to the minority but push away the majority, as they are looking for one or the other.
Keeps you engaged in the action with bullets, explosions and enemies all around you.
Storming through middle eastern marketplaces, European cities, and underground bunkers in frantic solo and co-op campaign acts.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Crossfire Sierra Squad is available now on PSVR2 and PCVR.
Reviewed on PSVR2.
A copy of Crossfire Sierra Squad was provided by the publisher.