The Crossfire series has carved out a strong following in Asia over the past 15 years, but the franchise remains lesser known in the West. However, with the release of Crossfire: Sierra Squad on PSVR 2, developer Smilegate is aiming to bring their trademark brand of arcade shooter action to a wider audience. Make no mistake though, this is no Call of Duty clone, Crossfire: Sierra Squad channels the spirit of old-school light gun games, distilling the FPS experience down to its purest form.
Offering over 60 campaign missions and a horde mode with 4 player co-op support, Sierra Squad packs plenty of content for triggering-happy players. Yet the real draw here is the sheer simplicity and immediacy of the gameplay. Levels take place in intimate spaces as enemies spawn from fixed points. With no complex systems or bloated mechanics getting in the way, this is pick up and play personified. Smilegate knows their niche and have zero interest in chasing cinematic set-pieces or tactical complexity.
However, some may find the bare-bones approach overly reductive. With basic AI, bullet sponge enemies and a cursory plot, Sierra Squad proudly wears its old-school arcade influences on its sleeve. Still, there is a certain nostalgic joy in blasting waves of foes in small arena-like levels. And the co-op missions really amplify the entertainment factor.
So whether you’re a VR newcomer hankering for accessible action or an FPS purist craving some back to basics bang bang, Crossfire: Sierra Squad may just scratch that trigger finger itch. The trailers sell it as Call of Duty VR, but make no mistake – this is a retro rollercoaster mining the roots of the genre. So strap in and get ready for a riotous throwback ride. In this review, we’ll blast through Sierra Squad’s campaign, weaponry, co-op modes and more to see if this old school revival can compete in PSVR 2’s brave new world.
Arcade Action Dialed Up To 11
One thing becomes immediately evident within minutes of booting up Crossfire: Sierra Squad – this is no po-faced military simulator. Instead, Sierra Squad wholeheartedly embraces its arcade heritage across a wealth of modes and missions.
The campaign offers over 60 rapid-fire sorties placing you in the heat of the action. Level layouts are tight and linear, with enemies spawning from fixed positions. One might say environments have all the complexity of cardboard boxes glued together. But therein lies the beauty – levels are intricately designed killboxes honed to provide maximum shooting gallery thrills.
Don’t expect any complex tactical maneuvers here either. The AI holds all the intelligence of a sack of potatoes. Foes simply bum rush your location like lemmings barrelling off a cliff. Sure, it’s dumb as rocks, but also provides primal satisfaction as you mow down waves of cannon fodder. Sierra Squad is 100% committed to no-frills run and gun gameplay. Who needs squad commands when you can unleash a hailstorm of lead?
Naturally, such mindless violence wouldn’t be complete without littering levels with explosive red barrels. Because nothing screams arcade shooter like detonating conspicuously volatile containers. Sierra Squad affectionately embraces these hokey tropes, amplifying the slaughter to bombastic new heights.
The campaign’s loose narrative is mere window dressing to propel you between one bloodbath and the next. Storytelling takes a backseat to spraying hot lead. Still, the mission variety keeps things fresh, with a smattering of sniping sorties, last stand defenses and vehicle based blitzkriegs breaking up the action.
Beyond campaign, 50 co-op missions and a 4 player Horde mode provide plenty of replayability. Horde mode cranks up the chaos, unleashing endless waves of foes in a desperate struggle for survival. The sheer pandemonium only intensifies in co-op as you coordinate with friends to lock down areas in an onslaught of carnage. The enjoyment factor significantly amplifies when sharing the insanity with others.
Yet behind the ridiculous action lies a surprisingly robust progression system. Earning XP unlocks an expansive arsenal of deadly weaponry. Pistols, rifles, shotguns, SMGs, snipers – Sierra Squad serves up major heat. Mixing and matching gear enhances the chaotic possibilities. The progression provides compelling motivation to keep diving back in.
Some may deride Sierra Squad’s simplicity, but let’s be real – today’s military shooters are ridiculously bloated. Sierra Squad distills the genre down to its essence – pulling the trigger and watching baddies go boom. Smilegate finely tunes the gameplay to offer endless mindless entertainment. Is the AI laughably crude? Sure. But obliterating waves of foes with an overpowered rocket launcher is inexplicably satisfying. Sierra Squad embraces its arcade heritage, offering old school shooting thrills for the PSVR 2 age. Will it convert tactical shooter fans? Likely not. But fans hungry for fast-paced explosive action can enlist for a rambunctiously fun time.
An Orchestra of Destruction
What’s a shooter without an arsenal? Luckily, Crossfire: Sierra Squad packs enough firepower to decimate a small country. With over 40 faithfully modeled instruments of destruction, Smilegate leaves no bullet unfired.
Fans of assault rifles can pick their poison with AKs, M4s and more. Each rifle feels distinct in your hands with detailed renderings and realistic handling. Magazines snap in with a satisfying click and rounds crackle with punchy audio design. Shotguns unleash savage stopping power at close range, obliterating enemies in visceral detail.
The pièce de résistance however is the sniper rifle. The intricate scope steering mechanic makes nailing long distance headshots extremely gratifying. zoomed high-power scope and blacked-out peripheral vision create an intensely focused space for lining up kills. Smilegate absolutely nails the sniper fantasy.
Of course, one cannot forget the iconic rocket propelled grenade. Obliterating vehicles and insta-gibbing infantry with high explosive warheads simply never gets old. Sierra Squad captures the sadistic joy of such overpowered weaponry.
Yet for all the guns, Smilegate’s ingenious Sense controller implementation is arguably the real star. Superb haptic feedback makes firing each weapon intensely tactile. You feel every round bursting from the barrel. The adaptive triggers offer just the right resistance when squeezing off shots. This adds an extra layer of immersion that truly grounds you in the action.
Even simplified mechanics like proximity reloading add to the pick-up-and-play factor. Why fiddle with tricky manual reload mechanics when snapping in a mag near the receiver is intuitive and keeps you blasting away? Sierra Squad streamlines without sacrificing satisfying weapon handling.
The arsenal diversity enables varied playstyles and loadout customization. Want to go loud? Equip a room-clearing LMG. Feel like stealth? Bring a silenced pistol and knife takedowns. With Granade throwing sadly feeling laggy, guns rule the day. But Smilegate predominantly nails it – the gunplay absolutely shines.
Yet the pièce de résistance is the realism mode unlocked after completing the campaign. This optional hardcore modifier removes UI, health bars and weapon tagging – suddenly Sierra Squad transforms into a ruthlessly lethal shooter. Enemies drop in 1-2 hits, but so do you. This forces measured, tactical play and rewards precision marksmanship. It’s incredibly rewarding for veterans seeking an extra challenge.
Some may dunk on Sierra Squad’s simple mechanics, but the weapon handling absolutely nails the fundamentals. Smilegate delivers a practical FPS toolkit that feels great while removing fluff. There’s a purity to the combat that channel the raw fun that drew many to the genre originally. Will it satisfy sim fans? Unlikely. But as an uncomplicated introduction to quality VR gunplay, Sierra Squad hits the target.
Together We Stand
Sierra Squad’s campaign offers simple solo shooting fun, but Smilegate wisely recognized that blasting baddies with buddies maximizes the mayhem. A sizable co-op mode features 50 unique squad missions supporting 2 player online play. Stages introduce additional objectives like time limits, key assassinations, and primary weapon restrictions to mix things up. Coordinating with a partner adds immensely rewarding dimensions to the tried and true shooter loop.
Of course, cooperation is key. Environments are intentionally designed to facilitate flanking maneuvers and close teamwork. Covering intersecting lanes to avoid being overrun is crucial. Sierra Squad’s co-op demands tight team tactics, rewarding those who work together to cover all the angles.
The communication and camaraderie intrinsic to squad play also amplifies the enjoyment factor. Celebrating a narrow victory or joking about an untimely grenade mishap simply hits different when shared with real friends. Sierra Squad understands that everything gets better with someone reliable watching your six.
This ethos extends to the 4 player Horde mode which cranks the insanity to new heights. Making a final stand together against unending enemy waves creates unrivaled high stakes drama. The struggle for survival evokes a gripping mix of heroism and desperation. Horde conjures Sierra Squad’s most epic moments.
Of course, all these explosive multiplayer modes depend on rock solid netcode. Happily, initial tests indicate promising technical performance even in 2 player sessions. Latency and lag issues fail to dampen the fun. Provided server stability holds up post-launch, Sierra Squad seems set to deliver a polished co-op experience.
Yet another strength beyond the gameplay itself is the sense of ongoing progression. Successfully completing missions and challenges unlocks new gear, creating compelling incentives to keep playing with friends. The social experience combines with satisfying unlocks to form an addictive gameplay loop.
Some solo players may feel left out, but Sierra Squad undoubtedly shines brightest in co-op. Smilegate channels the camaraderie and teamwork that lies at the heart of the genre’s most memorable experiences. Storming enemy compounds in tight tactical squads or going down guns blazing in Horde mode creates the kind of riotous shared stories that endure. Sierra Squad may not revolutionize military FPS, but it nails the core cooperative spirit.
Leaving No Player Behind
Let’s address the 800lb gorilla in the room – Crossfire: Sierra Squad is no graphical showpiece. The visuals simply get the job done, prioritizing smooth performance over cutting-edge fidelity. Environments are basic and repetitive. Textures remain muddy and undetailed. Faces boast the emotional range of a potato. Simply put, Sierra Squad won’t be winning any beauty pageants.
However, the art direction intelligently works within the limitations. Clean, visually distinct spaces and enemies allow smooth target acquisition during frenetic firefights. Legibility triumphs over realism. Sierra Squad embraces function over fashion.
The audio similarly focuses on bullet point priorities – punchy weapon SFX, barks that confirm kills, all drenched in a pulsating synth soundtrack. It’s predictable but effective, delivering appropriate feedback to reinforce the core shooting mechanics.
Yet where Sierra Squad deserves applause is accessibility. Smilegate packs an impressively robust suite of options catering to mobility issues, visual impairments and discomfort. Extensive control remapping, vignettes, single-handed modes – the list goes on. Sierra Squad endeavors to provide quality FPS action for all players regardless of ability.
Sure, the presentation won’t blow anyone away. But polish isn’t everything – having your needs accommodated as a player is true inclusiveness. Sierra Squad may not claim visual brilliance, but it sets an admirable example making VR gaming welcoming to everyone.
At the end of the day, Sierra Squad keeps its eye squarely on what truly matters – smooth performance and refined mechanics. Smilegate avoids fluff, delivering an optimized arcade experience. There is something to be said for focusing on the fundamentals. Sierra Squad may not dazzle your senses, but it gets the job done – and goes the extra mile to make sure no one gets left behind.
The Siege is Over
At the end of the day, Crossfire: Sierra Squad probably won’t convert tactical shooter purists. The barebones gameplay, crude AI and lack of narrative depth leave much to be desired for fans accustomed to greater complexity.
However, writing off Sierra Squad would be misguided. Sometimes games don’t need next-gen visuals or Hollywood scripts to provide joy. Sierra Squad embraces its identity as a polished old-school arcade shooter, and delivers that experience expertly.
The tight campaign levels and horde mode offer fast, bitesized gameplay sessions perfect for PSVR 2’s pick up and play format. Co-op intensifies the entertainment exponentially, capturing the camaraderie that lies at the heart of FPS culture. The progression system and robust weapon selection add plenty of replayability.
There is an earnest charm to Smilegate’s back to basics approach. In a genre bloated with feature creep, Sierra Squad cuts through the noise and focuses on fundamentals – shooting feels great, enemies die gratifyingly. Sure, a bit more variety would be welcomed, but as an introduction to VR FPS action, Sierra Squad hits the target.
Some may yearn for more complexity, but that was never Sierra Squad’s ambition. Smilegate accomplished their core goal – deliver an explosive old-school arcade shooter crafted for PSVR 2. While the genre may have evolved, this window back to FPS foundations provides riotous, rambunctious fun. Sierra Squad won’t rewrite any rules, but it reminds us why we fell in love with FPS games to begin with. In that, it decisively succeeds.
Crossfire: Sierra Squad
Crossfire: Sierra Squad harkens back to the golden era of arcade shooter design, capturing the pure, visceral thrills of FPS gaming. The slick co-op play, robust arsenal and pick-up-and-play mechanics make blasting through Smilegate's retro rollercoaster a riotous good time. Minor flaws aside, Sierra Squad nails the fundamentals and provides a refreshing palate cleanser from today's complex military sims. This is old school FPS distilled to its essence - and an absolute blast with friends.
- Satisfying arcade-style shooter gameplay
- Large variety of firearms with excellent handling
- 60+ campaign missions and 50 co-op missions provide tons of content
- 4 player co-op and horde modes are an absolute blast
- Progression system with XP and unlocks adds replayability
- Accessibility options open the experience to all players
- Very basic enemy AI provides little challenge
- Repetitive levels and environments
- Storytelling and characters are essentially nonexistent
- Visuals and graphics are dated and unimpressive