Crossfire: Legion has all the hallmarks of a classic RTS game in a modern user interface with excellent explosions, unit graphics and sounds.
Last week, media professionals were invited to a digital Crossfire: Legion preview presentation. Facilitated by Prime Matter, Blackbird Interactive and Smilegate Entertainment, we were shown the game’s introduction cinematic, an overview of the game’s background and universe, some sneak peaks at two of the three playable factions, some gameplay in action and a development roadmap.
Crossfire is a largely popular tactical FPS game that released in South Korea in 2007, though I personally hadn’t heard of the game until I played a beta test of CrossfireX on Xbox in 2020. Crossfire boasts 698 million players from 88 countries, and even spawned a 2020 chinese TV series that focuses on two Crossfire players trying to carve a name for themselves in the esports scene. Crossfire: Legion is a classic-inspired RTS game and while we’ve only played a technical test, it certainly gave me nostalgia of playing the early Command & Conquer games.
In the technical test, two out of three factions will be available at early access launch. We could play as either the Global Risk or Black List factions, with commanders Cardinal and Phoenix respectively. A third faction was teased during the presentation as well as more commanders and abilities, however Blackbird Interactive remained tight-lipped on announcing who the third faction is and what the other commanders would be. More information will be announced in February.
Cardinal’s abilities are fire at will which is a powerful artillery battery which can be aimed anywhere you have a visual not covered in the fog of war. The second ability is rally which gives soldiers within the vicinity of the base an increased rate of fire and healing. Phoenix’s abilities are Ghost Core which deploys an outpost using Ghost Kit technology that provides passive healing to nearby units, and the Ghost Recall ability which teleports units in an area to the Ghost Core Outpost and gives them temporary stealth.
After seeing some awesome gameplay footage that really got my RTS vibes tingling, we were shown the Crossfire: Legion development roadmap. In addition to the third faction reveal in February, there’ll also be some new maps added. March will have ranked matches and in April we’ll see army customisations. Other improvements on the horizon will be an army card system to customise your armies, a single player campaign, co-op scenarios, steam workshop support for a map editor, and more. This is all subject to change but looks like an exciting road ahead for the game.
We were given the opportunity to play the game in limited capacity multiplayer only games. Being in Western Australia, the tyranny of distance and time zones meant I wasn’t able to play against real players. Thankfully though, we could create a custom lobby and add an AI bot to play against. There were two maps available – Predator, a map made for six players featuring a vast compound of oil refineries, and Mountainside for two players which is mountainous terrain an high grounds to use to your advantage. I loaded up a two player game and chose the Global Risk faction. Once in-game, the traditional RTS hallmarks are here with unit management, upgrades, groupings and cap points. I felt that I wanted to zoom the game out more as I felt restricted in the field of vision, and the minimap looked like lesser quality compared to the rest of the game space.
You have a base, two resources to farm and you start with a handful of worker units who jump straight into farming. I had a few issues raising the population cap above the starting cap of 8. I built a barracks and then earned enough resources to upgrade the base HQ which a tooltip said would increase the population cap. It didn’t, and then the AI army sent an initial force of 8 troopers which quickly obliterated my poor workers. Fast forward half a dozen games and I worked out I needed to build the global logistics building which added 15 population per building.
While playing, the game’s voiceover sounded really familiar but for ages I couldn’t place it. It was definitely a voice from a game I’ve played previously, then it hit me. It was the voice of Adam Jensen from Deus Ex, Elias Toufexis! From there, I built an initial force just as the enemy AI sent wave #2 onto my door step. I survived that, but had to bring my forces back to the HQ for an emergency heal using the rally healing commander ability. As the game progressed, I built a factory for vehicles and a hangar for aircraft units, and then proceeded to build a reasonable army. Sending them out to scout, I came across a central radar facility that once captured, revealed a large amount of the central map area.
After a few fights with the AI, I eventually overwhelmed their initial base, using the fire-at-will commander ability to quickly take out their air defences and then took out their HQ. The game didn’t conclude though, so off I went hunting for more bases. Turns out there were two more bases set up by the AI bot, and both were heavily defended with air turrets. I wasn’t sure whether that was due to my forces being primarily air-based, or whether it was just coincidence. I had to build a tank force to eventually take out their third base and won the match.
Overall, I was impressed with how the game looked and played, and even more impressed hearing the voice of Deus Ex’s Adam Jensen again. Crossfire: Legion has all the hallmarks of classic RTS games in a modern user interface with excellent explosions, unit graphics and sounds. I couldn’t zoom out as far as I’d like, and the minimap looked lesser quality than the rest of the game, but otherwise this is classic RTS gameplay I have been craving for a while. I’m looking forward to watching the game develop towards open beta and early access release.
This preview utilised a key provided by Koch Media ANZ. Crossfire: Legion is currently in development with an early access release on Steam in Sping 2022.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis