I recently had the chance to speak with the senior producer and founder of Serellan about their upcoming tactical shooter, Takedown: Red Sabre. A Kickstarter funded project that met its goal back in April 2012, the team behind the game was looking to make a core game for a core audience. No disrespect to the AAA shooter of the Call of Duty mold, but they really wanted to take a more realistic approach to combat. The team has since been working on their Alpha build and continue to showcase their progress with their community of Kickstarter backers for feedback.
The game is mission based, rather than story based, so the focus of the game is squarely on gameplay and tactics, rather than characters or plot. There are no items to unlock. However, this makes perfect sense as you are playing as a team of elite soldiers who were smart enough to bring what they needed along for the mission.
As such, you will want to be smart about your load-out. If the mission is on a wide-open map, you will want to bring along a long-range rifle. If the map is going to be a lot more close quarters, you will probably want to leave your long-barreled rifle behind as there is barrel collision in the game. You can't exactly peek around a corner easily if you try to shove your rifle into your cover can you? All missions will also have various insertion points, which completely changes how you tackle the mission, really increasing the replay value.
You play as a multi-national team which sidesteps the 'Murica! vibe other shooters have.
The gameplay is totally unforgiving, just like a realistic shooter should be. In most cases if the enemy spots you first, you are dead. In real life a bullet to the head is not something you can just take a breather and heal from. If you are lucky and instead take a bullet in a place you will survive, our health will not regen at all. If you die, you stay dead until the mission is over. You can stay in the game through spectator mode and still offer advice as a "voice beyond the grave" for your teammates but that is pretty much it. This is true of every game mode. If you are playing Tac Defend, defending a point or object, or Tango Hunt, hunting down the enemy, you only have but one digital life to give for your team.
The game plays very well for an alpha build. Sure, some of the textures a little flat and they haven't added sound yet. But these are completely cosmetic features that the team will have no problem polishing in time for their planned fall release for the Xbox 360 and Steam.
One thing they did to really distance themselves from the blockbuster FPS franchises out there is to use modern architecture, instead of run down third world villages. When your mission is on a cargo ship, it's not an aging bucket of rusty metal, but a modern ship with polished surfaces. Office buildings have plenty of flat screen TVs on the wall and modern glass/wood cubicle dividers. Basically the use of gray and brown are at a minimum.
The game is designed with multiplayer in mind. There is a single player option, but the focus is on having a team of six human players to coordinate with. You're going to be playing a slower, more methodical shooter than you might be used to, so collaboration and caution are key. The 'Leroy Jenkins' players of the world will likely be disappointed with the lack of regenerating health and respawn locations. Instead you should slowly check your corners, coordinate with your buddies to cover their approach, and play smart. There is PvP, of course, offering 6v6 matches, where each team is on one side of the mission at hand.
Takedown: Red Sabre seems to be a breathe of fresh air in a very heavily saturated genre. The appeal may be more limited than the mass appeal of Call of Duty, but there are certainly plenty of players who will be pleased with this type of high intensity gameplay. This isn't run and gun, it's think and shoot. And dammit, it feels good to use my brain in a shooter again.