When I first heard of Crossout — the free-to-play, post-apocalyptic, vehicular-combat game — I was beyond excited. My mind instantly filled with images of Mad Max-esque vehicle battles with dozens of cars, trucks, and everything in between racing across the remnants of our past. Trails of dust stretching out for miles behind machines of decades long past while the air filled with the roar of engines and the thudding daka-daka-daka of machine gun fire. War Boys would scream out as adrenaline flows though their veins when they narrow in on their newest prey. What we received was something closer to a post-apocalyptic themed version of World of Tanks and that’s not really a bad thing.
Customization – Crossout features one of the most robust vehicle customization systems players may ever seen. And by ‘robust’ we actually mean ‘build your vehicle from the ground up’. Players will see everything from home-brewed motorcycles to tanks to mostly-functioning airplanes (it’s a bit of a loose term but the damned things flew over the battlefield). Whether it’s what types of tires you put on your vehicle, your vehicle’s build, or what weapons you bring into battle with you, every single aspect of your machine is in your control. The possibilities are only limited by your parts and imagination and the team at Targem Games did a fantastic job at implementing this.
Detailed world – The world around you tells a story, one I wish the game itself would do in a proper manner. Desert plateaus are draped in massive, metal portraits of an unknown man while shipping container settlements cling to cliff sides. Overgrown train depots sit still as graveyards. Once bustling highways and overpasses, now coated in a thick blanket of grass and speckled with trees, are looked down upon by a desolated skyline which lies off in the distance, quarantined far away from the destruction blossoming about you. The world around you is a tragically beautiful place and I wish to know more.
Free to play – Much like with World of Tanks, Crossout is a free to play game. And, once more, that’s not a bad thing. The difference between these two free-to-play models though is that Crossout is surprisingly giving for a title such as this. In-game factions task the player with completing goals (such as having a radar dish installed and winning ten games) and then rewards them with loot crates filled with post-apocalyptic goodies at the end. Daily rewards and weekly rewards give players scrap or parts for goal completion. Matches are listed with a chance at specific rewards for playing and winning meaning that parts and scrap can be farmed by simply playing games. These farmed pieces of equipment can then be broken down and then forged into a new part which keeps players and their vehicles constantly evolving.
The lack of a story mode – While a direct plot to play through wasn’t really expected going in, there is potential for a story that’s evident and makes the player hopeful for after seeing images of the world Crossout exists in. Questions may creep into your mind such as: “What happened to the world?”, “How did it get to this state?”, and “Who was responsible for the downfall?” which demands answers. Sadly, players won’t be able to see this in the form Crossout exists in now. Not only does the game lack a story mode of any kind but it doesn’t even give hints as to what could have happened to this desolate and ravaged land. All one can do is take the scenery in and draw their own conclusions from there, which is rather disappointing.
Micro-transactions – As with most free to play games, Crossout attempts to get the gamer to spend some real-life cash through the promotion of micro-transactions and the benefits it entails. While they are not as damning to not purchase as some other games, the large amounts of coins and vehicles bundles (two of these are simply well-built tanks) puts those that do take this route far ahead of those who opt to grind it out. These micro-transactions range from the paltry 150 coins at $2.99 (US) to the “Immortal Warrior” bundle at $59.99 that includes one of aforementioned tanks along with 3,400 coins that chalks buyers up to the pinnacle of their micro-transaction options.
Learning curve – While some games tend to give suggestions as to what direction the player should take to reach a certain goal, Crossout prefers the tried and true old method of ‘learning from one’s failures’. Building a vehicle to meet your personal wants is a far harder task than it seems as trial and error in certain circumstances will become a regular chore. This is also dictated by the fact that what you can make is limited by the parts you have on hand. Finding out during combat that a fender is near useless as your opponent blasts through it and destroys your tires (along with your mobility) is a very frustrating thing and, without any directions, could quickly turn players off from the game-play as a whole.
Achievements – While achievements may not be a really big portion of a game’s appeal, or lack thereof, to players out there they still may find that the achievement list for Crossout comes off as rather uninspired. It doesn’t promote continued play for those who do focus on achievements out there; two of the thirteen achievements are no longer rare but the remaining eleven sit firmly in ‘rare achievement’ territory with some even sitting in the 0.00% category. As of lately, there are no signs of the latter joining the former any time soon which could be a deciding factor for hunters.
All in all, Crossout is a satisfying and enjoyable war machine title. The customization alone may get any player hooked and they, after a couple of hours of figuring out what does and doesn’t work, will find themselves on the winning team more and more. There isn’t any form of story mode, which is disappointing, but still makes up for its detailed world and free-to-play nature. Even if vehicular combat games are not your thing, Crossout is highly recommended for anyone to take out for a spin.
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Crossout was developed by Targem Games and published by Gaijin Entertainment. It was released as part of the ID@Xbox program on Xbox One [reviewed], PlayStation 4 and PC on May 30th, 2017. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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