SYSTEM
PS2

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
Square EA

PUBLISHER
Electronic Arts

RELEASE DATE
10/00

X-Squad Review

By: John Doe


Every once in a while a game comes along that is so inventive and unique that it sets a new standard for the game industry. Standards that other developers attempt to match and aspire to beat. Well that's exactly what EA Square did with X-Squad. No, it didn't set a new standard; it just tried to reach an existing one. Unfortunately X- Squad has nothing new to offer, but fortunately, it's not a bad game at all if you want something in a 3-D shooter/action genre.


Highs:
Lows:

I have a cousin who used to love playing "army" when he was a kid. He loved to be in control and bark out orders; talk in cliches as if every word he spoke meant the difference between life and death. He loved watching the old war movies and I can only think what might have become of him if this video game was available to him during those formative years. This game would be perfect for anyone you know who enjoys such sport: passive aggressives, hunters, loners, rageaholics, NRA members, rednecks, and of course women of all ages. Kidding!

Ash is your man. He's the leader of a secretive paramilitary operation assigned to a series of missions, all of which are unclear from the start but come in to focus as you progress through each level. The story takes place in the future so you can expect the usual assortment of flying vehicles and laser-equipped guns. The storyline is revealed through voiceovers, character interactions and cutscenes. When you get to the beginning of a mission just throw some orders around at your team to back you up and get going. What you can expect is a lot of shooting, searching for and unlocking secret items, and facing off with the boss at the end of each level. As I've stated, not the most imaginative of concepts but that doesn't stop a lot of bands from releasing entire CDs based on one crappy riff and lyrics which ponder the usual teenage angst. As long as you're buying, someone will be glad to make it for you as you like it.

Don't expect a lot of help from your mates. They're more of an accessory to go with your khakis rather than the complete ensemble. In other words, they will never be responsible for saving your ass in any situation no matter how tight the fighting gets. Each level sees an increase in difficulty but you will be able to compensate with the availability of bigger and better weapons which you can purchase after competing each level, providing you have the funds for it.

The analog sticks provide a great deal of intuitive control enabling you to perform a variety of rolls, ducks, turns, peeks and both forward and reverse running. The left stick is responsible for the basic body movements and the right stick controls the turning of the character and the aiming of the weapon.

At 30 frames a second the animation is smooth but there is some minor glitches and flickering problems which ultimately don't affect the game play but are slightly annoying at times. And since I'm still under the "Annoying" category, the music is dull and repetitive in places. The voice-overs are quality however and the sound effects are pretty darn good as well. Almost worth listening to the constant drone that passes as a soundtrack.

X-Squad is a lot of fun and it works for me although I can't justify buying it. Serious gamers will probably feel cheated as it's not the hardest game to play and it can be pretty short. It does have three difficulty settings. You can expect to get through it in an afternoon on the Novice setting. I think we have a renter here folks.

OVERALL
6.5

GRAPHICS
6.5

CONTROL
6.5

MUSIC/FX
8.0

FRUSTRATION
2.0

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