Team Fortress 2 set the bar for stylized shooters several years back, almost to the point that no one has really tried to do anything in that vein very seriously since that game shipped. Thankfully Zombie Studios has stepped up and taken a page from both Gears of War and Call of Duty to try their hand that rather small but always rather interesting niche.
Team X has an uninhibited sense of unique style. Headshots are greeted with the recipients skull flying off and being replaced with jets of blood, the characters all seem to be rejects from the last Predator movie, the level design seems to take place in what only Dr. Evil would ever think would be a functioning factory/supply yard, and someone decided to see how far the desaturation effect on Photoshop would look when applied to absolutely everything. The one thing that stands out the most about the game is that there is zero possibility that anyone is going to mistake it, visually, for anything else, ever. While that does manage to put the game on a pedestal in a competition no one else was in it also has the distinct effect of making it feel like the game didn’t get the last pass on textures from the art department.
Even if the game does sometimes look like a late era PS2 game it does still hold its own mechanically. An unlock system based off of Call of Duty’s level progression makes an appearance, as it is in many newer shooter titles, but instead of being limited to guns only it reaches so far as to unlock character customization traits—even if all them kind of just make the avatar look like another generic and interchangeable background action movie character. If those forgettable B-roll film characters were placed in a washed out level of Gears of War you would have something that resembles Team X.
The problem with the game isn’t anything that it does– the art style is interesting and something that they should be glad that they went for, and through play it does prove itself to be fairly competent at the way it plays—the problems comes in from the fact that it never really seems to do anything new along the way. The games that inspired Special Forces Team X to be the way that it is gained a fan base by doing things that other games hadn’t done or weren’t doing right, and while copying those ideas might gather some people waiting to kill time until the next sequel in those series come out it will probably only be a matter of time before is entirely forgotten.