CrossFire is one of the largest FPS games ever. Sure, it may not be popular in the Western countries, but there are far more gamers outside of those than in them. So I guess Crossfire Legion, ostensibly set in CrossFire universe, is for them.
Look, when the Crossfire Legion devs say “classical RTS,” read “we’re doing a StarCraft II.” Everything from the pace to time to kill and down to certain unit abilities – you can find both the Terran Marine stimpacks and the scout bike stealth mines – is aimed at the APM brain trained on StarCraft II.
But if being StarCraft II is an unstated goal, then an unasked question is “why play this over StarCraft II?” Because that already exists and has an audience. Meanwhile, Crossfire Legion doesn’t switch up the core gameplay to provide a meaningfully different experience.
Well, OK, Crossfire has commander powers, two per side, and they can be very powerful. This is supposed to be combined with an army-deck building mechanic to tweak your favorite army. But is that enough to lure you away?
At the same time, there exists ~new~ stuff like HQ buildings only being placeable on tip of these resource chevrons, equidistant from resource 1 (supplies) and resource 2 (fuel). So it is sorta like acknowledging that resource extraction in APM games is more about pacing than anything else, but then why not go a step further and have it be like in ye olde Dawn of War or Company of Heroes, where you just control nodes, no workers needed?
Another bit of weirdness are those F1-F4 tabs on the top-left. They allow you to select all infantry (or vehicles, or aircraft, or supports) ON THE MAP. Which is an insane base feature to have in any game where you expect to have any micro level control over units. Yet you are expected to micro stuff, since stuff like Blacklist Cheetas have an individually activated and targeted harpoon power to bring down planes and pin other vehicles.
This bare-inconveniencing-of-the-classic-RTS-sacred-cows is very disappointing for one other reason: I like the unit designs in Crossfire Legion. It’s on the cartoony end of things, but they’re fine cartoony infantry and chunky trucks. Just wish they were in a TBS, turn-based-simultaneous-resolution or just a solid RTS that tries to do something different.
As it stands, Crossfire Legion doesn’t offer much to anyone except for the five guys into CrossFire lore. It may be too close to StarCraft fans, not far enough for StarCraft II for RTS fans who don’t play SC (or just tearfully remember the death of CnC: Generals 2), and just doesn’t offer anything new to people who don’t play RTS. And unlike balance issues or stuff that doesn’t work yet (you can’t regen juice for commander powers, though you should), those issues are baked into the base layer of the game and thus unlikely to change.