Takedown: Red Sabre preview: a tactical love letter

By Ozzie Mejia, Aug 16, 2013 9:00am PDT

Indie developer Serellan is looking to cater to the tactical military shooter crowd--an audience that seems under-served in this post-COD era of games. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Serellan is just about ready to release Takedown: Red Sabre, a love letter to games like the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon.

Serellan's Christian Allen is best known for his work as creative director of the Ghost Recon franchise and lead designer for Halo: Reach. Walking through Takedown: Red Sabre, he explained that "the premise of the game is a hardcore realistic CQB tactical shooter. All the game systems are built around realism and lethality, nonlinearity, and replayability."

Loadouts highlight the developer's focus on realism. All weapons are supposedly based on real-world weaponry and feature an accurate physics system. Beyond picking guns, players will also need to pick different ammunition types, all of which are suited to different noise levels, stopping power, and full bullet penetration. Body armor can protect against harder-hitting shells, but heavier pieces can reduce speed and add weight, which can give away player positions to enemies. There's ample opportunity to explore each combination, because Allen says that all loadout options will be unlocked from the start.

Takedown is centered around six-player co-op, though a single-player mode also allows players to play with five AI partners. The idea is to complete multiple objectives, such as hacking into terminals, disarming bombs, and capturing high-value targets, all whilst dealing with randomly-placed AI opponents, a feature Allen says makes the game more difficult by preventing players from simply memorizing enemy locations.

It takes some time to adjust to Takedown's more-grounded gameplay. Team members will get injured when shot, and can fall rather quickly. And of course, the game doesn't feature any sort of regenerating health. Once, I foolishly leaped down from a high area and wound up busting both of my legs, leaving me limping for the remainder of the round. You'll also have to consider the size and shape of your gun. For example, a long-barreled sniper rifle wouldn't allow a player to walk directly up to a wall, since the barrel would get in the way. This principle also affects certain shooting mechanics, like cornering and taking cover.

These principles also come into play with the game's deathmatch mode. Sessions last only a few minutes at a time and are often quick affairs, since downed players don't respawn.

Serellan's hard work is about to see the light of day, as Allen says that the game is well in line to release on PC and Xbox Live Arcade before the end of September, with a PS3 version coming soon after.

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