Takedown: Red Sabre Hands-On Preview: Brutal, Satisfying Challenge
Indie developer Serellan’s Takedown: Red Sabre is not for the faint of heart.
It’s also not for the people looking to get their FPS fix whilst waiting for the next iteration of Call of Duty or Battlefield.
Nay, nay. Takedown: Red Saber is an altogether different kind of beast when it comes to shooters. It follows in the tradition of tactical shooters, (think SWAT and Rainbow Six) a genre that’s sadly been neglected due to the popularity of blockbuster multiplayer run-and-gun shooters. Thankfully, Serellan was able to find the means to develop the game after a successful Kickstarter and a publishing deal with 505 Games.
In any case, it’s obvious right from the loadout screen that Takedown’s going to be a brutal experience. Besides choosing a primary and secondary weapon–for which all options have different ammo options that affect things like bullet penetration and noise, or so I was assured–players also have the option to choose armor type. Light armor allows for more agile and quiet movement, at the risk of dying after one shot. Heavier armor is louder and hinders player movement, but allows two or three potshots before the player is downed. Customization is extremely flexible, especially when it comes down to ammo selection, because all options will be available from the start. Takedown won’t feature any sort of leveling or unlock system that exists in most modern shooters.
Takedown follows Red Sabre, a private military company that’s hired to take care of paramilitary situations. In the particular scenario I played through, Red Sabre is tasked with eliminating a terrorist group that’s run amok in the biolabs. Of course, this means that enemies will have to be shot down and bombs will need to be diffused. The usual in cases of vague, faceless terrorist threats.
After grouping up with a team of six friends (or AI, if you’re playing single player), you are given the option of choosing between a few different drop points. Teammates can opt to drop in from different areas on the map in some sort of tactical manner. Unfortunately, my lack of familiarity with the maps meant that I just opted to follow suit with whatever my companions on the show floor at PAX chose.
Playing Takedown certainly takes a little getting used to. Movement speed is almost always at maximum a slow crawl, simply because moving quickly means making noise and alerting enemy AI. Though the enemy AI won’t be outsmarting you or your teammates, they’re actually able to aim worth a damn compared to the AI in most shooters. Pairing that with the fact that one or two shots is enough to down a player (and there are no respawns or health regeneration), just the mere act of opening a door is a tense experience. You can never be sure if you’re walking into an ambush.
Takedown is so difficult at times that this means having even just two teammates down can compromise the entire game. In fact, even with the seasoned veterans I was playing with, I had to go through four sessions before finally successfully completing the mission. Though you’re often moving around the map at a glacial pace, Takedown is intensely engaging because the amount of tactical forethought it requires to finish a game. However, finally being able to make it to the extraction point after sweeping a map is a satisfying and rewarding experience.
Takedown: Red Sabre is slated for release on Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows on September 20th, 2013.