Monday, May 21, 2007

Black (2006)

The FPS genre must be a daunting on to jump into but the creators of the Burnout series - Criterion Games did it. It really shows too. What they did for racing games they have begun to do for FPS i.e. things blow up real good...and how. I remember one review I read that likened Black to "gun porn". All the weapons look great and sound amazing. One of the great things about this game is the fact that you don't really have to worry about ammo. Sure, there are one or two points where a bit of restraint is needed but most of the time you can just blast the holy living hell out of everyone and everything. After completing the game the first time through you unlock "silver weapons" basically chromed out weapons with unlimited ammo - great fun when you can get your hands on a grenade launcher or RPG.

The levels are fun and for the most part urban based - one level is a border run in the woods. Personally I have no love for jungle/forest/great outdoors combat levels - give me urban combat anyday. The AI is fair - sometimes the little bastards flank and take cover as appropriate and sometimes they act like standard shooter morons - i.e. when you snipe a guard his buddy won't really be upset or move or notice or look up from his Jell-O cup.

The biggest problem with Black is the fact that it's an eight hour game. Maybe nine if you try to find all the objectives but I don't know if there's any point at all to finding all the secondary objectives - no extra weapons, armor, or health. I realize that for $20 eight hours is a good amount of nonstop entertainment. Hell I spend that much for one night at the movies and that's only two hours. Still I find this trend of short games mildly disheartening. Possibly it's because of playing RPGs and sandbox styled games a la GTA but c'mon eight hours? There's not really much replay value really, granted it will be a fun game to thrown in when people are over - the "hey check this out factor". The fact that the game ends where most games would really kick in is equally annoying. If Criterion had billed Black as part one then it wouldn't have been such an issue but to play the game as a flashback mission and then it just ends, well it's just a let down.

When it comes down to it Black is a lot of fun and worth renting or picking up since it's a greatest hit but it doesn't have legs.

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