It’s almost impossible for a video game to continue its success for more than a decade, although experience has shown that there are exceptions like World of Warcraft. And if we talk about FPS? Leaving behind the longevity of sagas of the likes of Battlefield or Call of Duty and sticking to what was said in the previous sentence, barring still “new” fevers like PUBG or Fortnite in particular, the name of the South Korean Crossfire should come to the fore move on their own merit.

From its launch in Asia in 2007 to its arrival in Europe in 2011, it has attracted 698 million players across 88 countries. In addition, its latest television series for China has garnered a whopping 1,800,000,000 viewers. Yes, almost two billion people in front of the television. Crazy. For this reason, it is not surprising that in 2022 we receive not only another FPS that expands its universe (CrossfireX), but also a strategy game along the lines of StarCraft. And thanks to Koch Media, we were able to play a closed beta.

Very direct and competitive real-time strategy

Although I have little memory of the multi-million dollar Smilegate FPS (not to be confused with Smilebit, the SEGA studio), I was curious to see how its universe was translated into the structure of a real-time strategy game. And from the start, it’s not surprising to see that no matter how much of a campaign it will introduce in the future, it’s all about promoting online gaming.

The first novelty it brings to the Crossfire universe is the introduction of a third faction, yet to be announced. In this test we only had access to the classic Global Risk and Black List corporations, here essentially as if they save the distances that would be the GDI and NOD of the great Command & Conquer.

Crossfire: Legion didn’t invent the wheel, that’s for sure. The influences of the great real-time strategy sagas are clearly felt, with Blizzard’s aforementioned StarCraft being clearly present. And that’s logical if you know the fever for this RTS so legendary in Korea in eSports. Because Smilegate, with the help of Blackbird Interactive in development (the studio is currently working on Homeworld 3), is clearly trying to carve out a niche in this market by offering very competitive direct play.

It brings back the spirit of the great RTS of yesteryear without us having to worry about the energy of the buildings. Our only concern are two resources that are always placed together on the map along different hotspots: one in the base and then in areas that would be interesting to control if we want to win, both solo in direct duels and in a team with others humans or alliances with the machine.

The resource mining process takes us back to what we experienced with the first WarCraft, both due to the proximity of the mine or fuel deposits in relation to the base and the rapid mining. And here the game itself tells us how many workers are needed for this process to be optimal: only five for the fuel and already ten for the other important material. In addition, it gives us the freedom to create bases anywhere on the map to continue with further extractions.

This freedom also applies to the rest of the buildings, since the task of construction is extremely simple and direct: we say where and the worker confirms when he arrives, without having to stay to finish the work. And yes, useful production queues can be created as in any Age of Empires.

Crossfire Legion still needs a lot to stand out

Crossfire Legion

This accessibility and desire to get everything up and running as quickly as possible is a bit in contrast to the production queues in the military buildings themselves, as there is a five-unit limit. This means that it forces us to repeat buildings and create expandable production queues where we can, yes, we can put the same waypoint and assign a direct accession number to the buildings, just like for any group of land units or as usual in the air .

It must be stressed that we are dealing with a project that is still in development and shows that it needs polishing on concepts. Without a doubt, what impressed me the most is the facet of the enemy to flee when they are at a disadvantage, which surprises me that a soldier or any vehicle is almost faster than a fighter jet.

In my first game, however, I was aware of another shortcoming in the AI ‚Äč‚Äčthat I hope will be addressed and will not be overlooked no matter how much weight is placed on playing online against other humans. This flaw is the way the machine “stuns” after performing multiple critical attacks without putting the finishing touches on it. I was on the limit, with certain defeat on my part, but since I never give up (a spirit emphasized with my dear GLA in Command & Conquer: Generals), I eventually came back and saw how the machine wasn’t doing its basics.

And since I mentioned that EA Pacific classic, btw my favorite within the RTS with its Zero Hour DLC set to be revived in 2013 in the form of a free-to-play spiritual sequel, Crossfire Legion takes the concept of “powered generals ” in the face of attacks or special abilities loaded with deaths (supposedly because it’s not very subtle).

Crossfire Legion

In this technical test, there were only two special commanders and few units in charge (few infantry, some vehicles and two aircraft), but Blackbird Interactive’s intention is to expand both the number of types of military units and generals. So it will be necessary to see how the set is leveled. For now, the differences between Global Risk and Black List are palpable as they don’t duplicate the type of military unit nor their capabilities. But in the end, it’s the mass that counts for the time being, without paying so much attention to its weak points… As long as we’ve been thinking about improving the technology from the Armory, the change is very noticeable. There’s a chasm between levels 1 and 3!

And speaking of “mass”, we need to be clear that there is a limit to the units on screen, but not all of them are worth (in number) the same when it comes to production. Some count for small numbers, while the strongest can easily count as 14 hit units. And being within a 200 unit limit, with multiple buildings allowing for that number, limits our ability to expand on different fronts. It’s direct, yes, but also a bit reserved.

We’ll have to see how early access plays out in the coming months (the third faction will be unveiled in February, by the way), especially in light of the open beta next April. At the moment it seemed like an RTS without a soul, like so many clones that came and were forgotten in the 90s.

If you want to sign up for your next tests, you can request access from Steam for now. And while it will debut via Steam Early Access in the coming months, it will also release on consoles and even in physical format via Prime Matter.