Serellan released Takedown Red Sabre on Steam after much fanfare from the critics in previews. Now that the game is in the wild and for the asking price of £12. Is Takedown Red Sabre worthy of your time. Take a look at our Takedown Red Sabre video review for the full lowdown.
Takedown Red Sabre review text version:
Today we’re taking a look at Serellan’s tactical first person shooter Takedown Red Sabre which is available now on Steam for £11.99 and will be making its way to consoles in the near future.
Takedown presents a handful of scenarios for solo players in that there’s the option to tackle the five maps in mission mode with a team of three AI companions in tow. Missions range from infiltration with hostage rescue, disarming bombs and taking out tangos. During Mission Mode is the only time players will be able to feel a connection to the team spirit outside of playing online with others.
Each team member is outfitted with specific gear, so for example one is equipped with a sniper rifle, whereas two others posses silenced automatic sub machine guns. The game prides itself on being realistic in its approach, and yet from the offset there are fundamental flaws in this ideal. For starters, if the lead player is killed, it makes no sense to then be able to resume as the next team mate. However, this is the case and as each player is killed – and yes you’ll be killed quite frequently – you’re stuck with the loadout of that team mate. Sure, there’s an option to pick up the weapons from the fallen, but you’re then restricted by not being able to snag some associated ammo. It’s also a shame then that pre- mission, players cannot choose the loadout of the team mates, so that perhaps all team members can go silenced! In light of taking over team mates upon death, it would have been neat for players to hot swap between the team mates at will to make better use of their individual loadouts.
In action, the combat is tense, brutal and fairly fluid, although there are some issue with hit detection at times and glitches where iron sights won’t work at crucial times. There are some neat physics though which include bullet penetration of surfaces which adds to the realism when shooting through wood and glass. The player movement is also good, and can be as slow paced of as swift as players desire. What’s neat are the little touches such as heavy armor restricting player movement but offering better defence, or ammo types having differing effects on enemies; there’s even a cool peaking around corners action which whilst fiddly, does feel rather good. Yet with such attention to detail it is somewhat wasted when the team and enemy AI is so wonky — to use a better word.
The team AI can be tailored to suit whatever situation you’re in with rules of engagement commands available at the press of a button and team hold and move commands being the only two action based orders. The AI then stacks up, covers angles and generally moves at the same pace as the player. Whilst not needing any babysiting for the most part, their effectiveness is quite variable, where often the enemy AI is far superior at shooting from range. It would have been good to have a bit more direct control of the AI team members, such as being able to point to locations for them to move to enabling more precise combative moments.
The enemy AI is highly aggressive, and with no options to choose to ramp it up or lower, players are presented with enemies who can spot you far better than you can spot them, and have better accuracy and reaction times. In some ways, this unforgiving approach works well in context of the game, and means players are forced to inch their way around corners. On the other hand, it’s pretty frustrating when one enemy can pop out of nowhere, and gun down the entire team with players simply left to watch each man get gunned down one after the other.
Takedown also offers Bomb Diffusal and Tango hunt modes where players ditch the team and simply go solo. The objectives are simplified here, but the enemy AI proves to be quite challenging especially in the absence of no spotters.
Takedown offers some bright and bold visuals which are perhaps lacking in detail, but convey the job well enough. That said, some of the locations on offer are a little dull and could have included a bit more variety from a visual perspective. Biolabs and the HQ maps are the two most visually pleasing offerings. The game’s character models are fairly detailed, although there are some oddities with the animations at times. The rag doll physics are a little comical as well which takes away from the realistic flavour of the game. In terms of playing, the game runs pretty smoothly, even at 30 fps, and is not so resource hungry for lower spec PCs.
The audio is fairly sparse, although there’s a mission briefing, and banter from the AI in game. The rest of the game is filled with ambient sound effects giving players the chance to hear footsteps and voices which is rather handy when sneaking around.
In terms of longevity, it’s easy to sink lots of hours into the game but this is perhaps due to the sheer difficulty and a one more go factor. The game isn’t a walk in the park, and with a random element to enemy placements in the maps makes for a different, challenging game each time. Players can also choose how many team mates to tag along, and select from two insertion points where each offers a slightly different tactical approach. If players tire of the solo offering then there’s the option to head online and play with others in the same modes as the single player in co-op for four players. There are additional modes for up to 8 players with the inclusion of TDM. Last man Standing and Attack and Defend modes.
When a decent team is found then the game does offer some thrilling moments – especially in co-op, and yet, there are problems with getting into games, and no option to talk which isn’t good for this type of game where communications is key.
To conclude, Takedown Red Sabre is an ambitious project which has only partially paid off as there some neat features thrown into the mix of some badly implemented ideas and design choices. It’s quite a basic offering here which lacks a sense of progression for the player as there’s no feedback given in terms of performance; and with the poor AI and lack of tactical options makes it feel like a budget title — which it is at heart. That said, if you can overlook some issues and wait for the inevitable updates which will hopefully fix a few issues and include some more maps; there’s quite a solid game here that’s worth a shot if you’re aching for some tactical shooter action outside of the Tom Clancy universe for a cheap price.
Score 6.5/10 – Review by Robert Cram