FAR: Lone Sails

FAR: Lone Sails is a simple and short but effective game. It’s a two-buttoner. One button jumps, the other grabs. Nothing you do requires more than jumping, grabbing objects, and pushing things or buttons with your body. I completed it one day, two sittings.

What it does so well is create a world without words. There’s no dialog. There are signs, in English, but they’re just that: signage. In this game, I traversed a world in a steam-powered train-ish vehicle. I don’t know why, though I now know the goal. I see the remains of a world and I don’t know what happened to it, though I’ve got some informed guesses. What’s here and what isn’t communicates a story.

If I write much more, I may spend more time on this review than I spent playing the game (mostly joking). A sequel is coming soon, and that prompted me to revisit this. It’s one of the better Limbo clones.

CrossfireX: Operation Spectre

This one did not come free on Game Pass. It cost me all of $9. It was worth it.

Operation Spectre is the followup to Operation Catalyst. This time, you’re playing on the opposing side of the conflict, Black List. I love the Spy vs Spy nature of this story. Black List were evil villains in Catalyst, and Global Risk are evil villains in Spectre. They pull this off without completely recontextualizing the characters in Catalyst, but it works.

Operation Spectre is shorter, but a tighter, more exciting, and better looking experience. The visual difference is pretty dramatic. Catalyst is a sea of browns and dust, where Spectre is the blue/orange of a Battlefield game, sparks and exploding light everywhere. Not as many interesting collectibles, but they put more effort into the good ones.

Operation Spectre is a good game, verging on great. It still plays well but it’s so brief that I am left wanting more. I am really looking forward to what comes next from this series. These two campaigns have made me a fan.

CrossfireX: Operation Catalyst

I paid nothing for this game. Okay, not true. I subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which is not free, and that subscription gave me access to this game for no additional charge above what I already paid. Operation Catalyst is exactly what I subscribe to Xbox Game Pass for.

Operation Catalyst is a single player modern military shooter based on CrossfireX, a multiplayer modern military shooter. As I understand, CrossfireX is based on Crossfire, which originated in South Korea and is extremely popular in Asia. Operation Catalyst, and its counterpart Operation Spectre, were developed by Remedy Entertainment, who made Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Control.

Operation Catalyst plays like a bog standard modern military shooter, which isn’t terribly interesting. You walk slow, aim down sights, and shoot other guys who are shooting at you. This one interrupts the basic gameplay with some sniping sections, but it’s otherwise a slog on foot. It feels pretty good. The weapons don’t sound very powerful but hits and kills are registered on the reticle and the enemies don’t just absorb infinite bullets. They stumble and act like they’re shot.

What kept my attention is the story. It sort of goes some places in a way that reminds me of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. It introduces some of the supernatural and that’s always a bit of fun on top of the modern military shooter. It pulls up a bit short though, as it’s obviously continued either in Operation Spectre, or some other unreleased game.

I paid nothing for Operation Catalyst, and I’m quite pleased with what I got out of it. It’s not long, but I enjoyed the weekend with it. Even if I were not subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, Operation Catalyst is worth the $10 they are charging for it. Currently, Operation Spectre isn’t included with Game Pass, but I think I’ll pay for that anyway. It’s short and basic but fun.