|a game by||EA Games|
|Platforms:||XBox, Playstation 2|
|Editor Rating:||6.5/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||7.2/10 - 5 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||First Person Shooter|
Black is centered around a special forces soldier Jack Keller going a quest to blow things up and hunt down bad guys. It also features an incredibly long and unskippable opening cutscene that stands out as being out of place considering the game’s plot isn’t exactly very interesting. You play as special soldier guy who fights evil guys with guns. That’s the whole plot and it leaves a lot to be desired as it clearly is not the main focus of the game. Not that you would expect it too either but at least it won’t detract from the experience; which might be for the best.
Black features about 12 or so different weapons that you can use to mow down the seemingly endless ways of generic looking bad guys that come your way. Everything you’d expect is here from assault rifles and sub machine guns to pistols, grenades and of course, shotguns. Each weapon is fun to use, especially with the over the top visual effects that dominate the screen as you slaughter the enemy soldiers. Animations, models and textures are really well done and can actually hold up incredibly well.
Black’s gameplay mainly revolves around shooting enemies. And that’s about it. The game does have some small side objectives you can do during main levels but there isn’t much else to do outside of running from start to finish in a hail of glory. A fun, if sometimes frustrating glory. Levels can last too long despite the game actually being relatively short. Enemies are a bit bullet spongy and will take you a lot longer than you’d thing to bring them down. This combined with the absolutely ludicrous amounts of them scattered and spawning throughout a level and the poor checkpoint system will have you doing the same things over and over again every time you die. The game is sort of like Doom’s meth addicted brother dressed up in a Call of Duty costume that doesn’t fit all that well.
Sound & Ambiance
The game’s true strength lies in its flair. Everything just explodes in ridiculously exaggerated firefights that will have you killing dozens upon dozens of bad guys over large sprawling environments. Guns sound, look and act cool and everything is so unapologetically filled with mind bending adrenaline. The game also bucks the trend of “generic first-person shooter orchestral soundtrack” and actually provides some music that’s worth listening too. A much needed diversion from the norm, a lot like the rest of the game. Or at least as much as it can be without running into problems.
Black is a cult classic. It is a game that you should by all intents play and chances are you will enjoy it. It might be your favorite shooter ever, maybe you’ll just really like the gameplay enough to be memorable. It’s hard not to recommend it but it’s also a very flawed experienced when you look under its bombastic hood.
I'd wager that it is relatively hard to introduce anything truly new into an FPS title. We've seen it all before, from stunningly good AI to destructible terrain, so what really separates our older titles from newcomers, aside from small design improvements and better graphics? In the case of Black, the answer is unfortunately little. The one major and in my opinion incredibly fun difference is that Black takes you out of the hands of the stealth game, shepherding you into a nice little place that I like to call total annihilation. Quite famously centered on creating massive destruction and chaos, Black is trying to carve out a new style of FPS, something that's a compromise between our real-world stealth and the unending splatfest of games like Serious Sam. The question is how well did they do it?
Like Goliath, Black falls under the weight of nothing more than a little stone. This stone is a series of small problems that ultimately left me feeling unsatisfied, but somewhat intrigued. First off, this isn't the game to play for a story. Your character spends a good portion of the time speaking to himself on certain levels, but manages to never say anything entertaining.
With the focus on action, I was also really surprised to see how bad the AI in this game was. It can take advantage of cover, but not much else. Your movement options are limited by lacking the ability to jump, but this is partially made up for with massive spanning levels that let you take a variety of paths to your objective. Finally, for as actiony as the game is promoted to be, it actually seems to take a lot to kill any one individual guy. I'm reminded of Soldier of Fortune here; in terms of what punishment some of the enemies in the game can take, they seem invincible at times.
On the other hand, there is reason to praise Black. First, the concept should be lauded. We get so many imitators that it seems like we wait a while to see a real innovation come along. Black is geared to be big, explosive, and fun, and I want to see this sort of game again. The UI for Black is wonderfully pretty, looking clean, tight, and professional. And in terms of visceral quality, I think that this game has few rivals in making you 'feel' the gunplay. Definitely a truly gutwrenching experience. Happily, this game also sounds great, and has a traditional epic symphonic score.
Unfortunately, Black can be summed up in one phrase. One dimensional. It plays like a great action movie, with a few problems, and literally doesn't give you anything but that. Unapologetic is also another word I'd use to describe Black, and for that reason, I'd say it at least deserves a look, if not a buy. For my money, I want a little less blow up and a little more refined gameplay.