I purchased Takedown: Red Sabre back when it was around a dollar, guessing it be a capable, perhaps minimalistic first-person, tactical shooter, qualities I tend to occasionally enjoy and recommend, but in place of an entertaining romp through room clearing and CQC, I instead received an underwelming mix-match of unfinished ideas and interesting concepts.
Using Takedown's 'spiritual predecessors,' the Rainbow Six series and SWAT 4 -whose demos are still available online, as the standards for tactical shooters, Red Sabre falls a little short.
Starting with the mission select screen, the lack of a planning stage means the player is left to begin the mission blind as to the mission objective, general routes, and overall level design. Yes, several vague objectives are posted in the form of a style-over-substance video overlay, but their possible locations, numbers, and significance are all still left unknown or murky. A realistic estimation of the cloud of combat and the limitations of simple surveillance? Not really, seeing as all three of these aspects are sensible targets of approximation during the inevitable observations that occur prior to sending in tactical teams...Right? A simple, pre-mission map with rough outlines and selectable routes would be wonderful, as would some form of dialogue between squad and commander to answer any lingering mission details.
On the topic of missions, the actual mission objectives, considering Red Sabre's apparent tactical roots, are surprizingly bland and simplistic in nature, echoing the desires of a standardized checklist, rather than the actual SWAT operations they wish to emulate. Missing are the dynamic hostage rescues with captive/captor dialogue and potential loss of life due to the explosive nature of such echanges. Even compared to the earlier SWAT series, Takedown's missions are devoid of the atmospheric tension maintained through periodic use of covnversation and ambient comments.
Then, when actually playing a mission, several basic capabilities are absent, namely squad manipulation and regular status updates. In place of a context menu or other useful method of commanding your team, a simple hold toggle and ROE wheel are offered, both of which obfuscate the all-essential room clearing, as your team is always behind you, in turn rendering useless the more elaborate levels with their multitude of cover and choke points, as your teammates will never actually take strategic positions or utilize flanks, and complicating simple matters of spacial awareness as our mates tend to vanish when not verbally announcing enemies, their virtual minds dead set on maintaining unnecessary radio silence. The ability to investigate, both physically and visually through your squadmates: rooms, towers, corners, windows, doors, would be a monumental improvement, as would simple formation and movement commands.
This brings into light, your squad's strange lack of communication. Yes, the AI announces spotted enemies, but that's seemingly the extent of their communicative ability. Positions, actions, general side-chatter, are all absent, replaced instead with a wall of silence and death. While the latter is more a subset of mood setting and tone, the former two topics of conveyance are important aspects of movement and firing maneuvers, as proper placement of suppression and flanking teams must be confirmed before performance. That, and the awkwardness of having to spin your character around to check their periodic status, when enemies are everpresent, is painful. The movie, Way of the Gun, provides a fun example of firefight communication, as do several article by dslyecxi, a founding member of ARMA's ShacTac.
Lastly is a breakdown of the player's ironically standard moveset, given the advances in recent game design and Takedown's desire to be both modern and tactical. The player is limited to a digital lean, without a stepout or means of truly examining corners and bends, two digital stances, without any real cover system, nonexistent damage modeling -foot shots are instakills, and strangely simplified gun mechanics. As stated by its own developer, Red Sabre's crippled lean was intentional, but as demonstrated in RavenShield, fully analog leaning and stance change are possible, and with a reticule present -reticules being a sensible representation of the mental focal point one references when looking around and not the fabricated, game-world only gimmick some make it out to be btw, returning fire is possible so long as the weapon is locked to the view, an equally sensible representation, given SWAT behavior. The application of such a system would allow for full realization of the environment, window avoidance, and improved surveillance, aspects only improved upon by a fluid cover system, one that allows, at least in its most basic form, temporarily full coverage from fire, as shown in Red Orchestra and even Killzone or Perfect Dark, but in a more advanced form, with some manner of controlled cover migration. Exemplified in games like Receiver and the aforementioned Orchestra, gun mechanics can be rather complex without seeming overwhelming, so long as they're presented intuitively. Ammo checking, magazine management, individual component manipulation, bracing have therefore all been implemented in the past and have helped in pulling player skill and concentration away from reflexes and placing them on planning and execution.
Along with several prevalent, submitted glitches, involving firing, aiming, and stance freezes, I hope the above mentioned points help illuminate the fact that, while not the horrid abomination some have made it out to be, Takedown: Red Sabre is at its best underdeveloped and at its worst, unfinished, statuses that could effectively be remedied via patches and/or modding.
Looking into the history of Red Sabre, it would seem Takedown's developer, Serellan, started a KickStarter to create a certain type of product of a certain calibre, and after raising a fair amount of money -over $220,000, released a product of subpar qualities, even after praising their own past experience and ability. That's just frustrating and unprofessional.