Takedown: Red Sabre
is a 2013 Indie, Kickstarter-funded tactical shooter intended as a return to the hardcore, close-quarters tactical gameplay of games like the first 3 Rainbow Six
games and the 3rd and 4th games in the Police Quest S.W.A.T.
series. The game is punishingly difficult; one or two shots are generally fatal, there is no Regenerating Health
, and overall the game is intended to be played slowly and deliberately instead of as a more action-movie experience like Call of Duty Modern Warfare
. The game uses the Unreal Engine 3.Takedown: Red Sabre
had a fair impressive pedigree; the director was formerly the lead designer on Ghost Recon 2
and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
, and the development team apparently included other tactical shooter alumni as well. The developer, Serellan LLC, was formed specifically to make the game. It was made available on their web site, as well as on Steam
under their Early Access program. It was later released on Xbox live for Xbox 360.
Players take the role of an operator for Red Sabre, a PMC specializing in covert operations, ranging from eliminating terrorists to engaging in illegal and morally ambiguous corporate espionage. There is no over-arcing narrative, but rather several different missions in various areas (including a biological research lab, a corporate office, an Antarctic research outpost, a cargo ship, and a nuclear missile silo) that can be played in either 4-player co-op or in single player alongside 3 A.I.-controlled teammates. Each map can also be played as a lone wolf in Tango Hunt or Bomb Disposal mode.
The game was met with overwhelming positive expectations from those looking for a new tactical shooter, a genre that has largely been abandoned in recent years by mainstream gaming publishers and developers. It was also met with just as overwhelming negative reception when the final product was released, as the game proved to be overall buggy and poorly implemented, ranging from poor A.I. to net code that was almost guaranteed to not function. Although a number of patches have been released to address the most blatant issues (largely regarding the net code), the game is still looked on disfavorably by the community, having been compared to the likes of Day One: Garry's Incident
and Ride To Hell Retribution
by critics such as Jim Sterling
. Serellan have stated their intent to continue supporting the game and making improvements to it, including the promise of releasing a level editor.
The game provides examples of the following tropes:
- A.K.A.-47: The names of most of the firearms have been slightly altered (usually with one or two letters or numbers removed or switched around). The AK-47 variants, Colt .45 pistol, and M4 carbine retain their real-world names.
- Armor Is Useless: True to the game's tactical shooter roots, armor makes a very minute difference to your survivability. Heavy armor lets you survive one extra shot at most (sometimes two shots if they're from a lower caliber round at long range), and prevents you from sprinting. And if the enemy manages to score a headshot (which is surprisingly often), it's an instant kill no matter what armor you're wearing.
- Artificial Brilliance: To it's credit, the enemy A.I. does a good job of responding to noise and moving to investigate. Their path-finding is actually fairly good, and once they hear gunfire they can cross a decent portion of the level to investigate what's going on. When shot at, they usually try to run for cover instead of just standing there and taking it. And the fact they can and will cover and patrol the entire level instead of being limited to a single room or area does result in them often flanking you.
- Artificial Stupidity: The enemy A.I. is sometimes prone to odd behavior, such as staring at the wall, not responding to gunfire, or even rounding corners while facing backwards. The friendly A.I., however, is completely atrocious, often not responding to enemies and as a result getting shot in the back, facing in a completely useless direction when trying to secure an area and getting shot in the back, charging into a unsecured area for no reason and getting shot in the back, aiming at an enemy in the next room through a solid wall and not at the one in plain sight right next to them and getting shot in the back, not reacting when the teammate in front of them is killed and moments later getting shot in the face, etc. They're pretty much only useful as extra lives for you to switch to if/when the operative you start out controlling is killed. You really, really should be playing co-op instead.
- Checkpoint Starvation: There are no checkpoints in single-player or respawns in multi-player. If your entire team dies, you have to do the entire mission all over again.
- Computers Are Fast: The enemy A.I.'s often questionable tactical decisions are balanced out by their near-instantaneous, aimbot-like reflexes and accuracy.
- Friendly Fire Proof: Averted; a single stray bullet will instantly kill a teammate, even if he's wearing heavy armor and you're using a low caliber weapon that requires 2 or 3 shots to drop an enemy Mook.
- Gray and Gray Morality: In half the missions you're killing terrorists, sure, but in the other half you're engaged in corporate espionage, sabotage, and even assassination.
- Hollywood Silencer: Averted; silenced firearms do make less noise, but will still draw the attention of nearby enemies.
- Obvious Beta: The game's supposedly finished release was plagued with issues, ranging from almost unworkable net code (including crashing with a "network connection lost" message during single-player games), to inconsistent enemy A.I. and downright awful friendly A.I. A series of patches have been released to try to address the net code issue, but the A.I. is still wonky as ever. Some menu commands are also kind of buggy, such as when trying to save custom loadouts.
- One Bullet Clips: This was averted in the initial demo presented to the gaming press, where reloading would put in a new magazine and your ammo count was tracked by the number of magazines you're carrying. Played straight in the final release; the HUD still only shows how many magazines you have, but the game keeps track of how many individual bullets you have and will "top off" your magazine when you reload just like most other first-person shooters.
- Nintendo Hard: It is an old-school tactical shooter in the vein of Rainbow Six and Police Quest: SWAT 4 after all.
- Short Range Shotgun: Mostly because the pellet spread is just so random past point-blank range.
- A Winner Is You: The screen you get when you complete a mission is the exact same screen you get if you die during a mission. The only difference is the text in the upper left corner says "mission completed" instead of "mission failed".