Review by BlackhawkX
"...It was an ambush, a time bomb. For a few seconds, this place was Armageddon. Then... THERE WAS A FIREFIGHT!"
In case you have no knowledge of movies, that quote is from the flick "The Boondock Saints." In case you have no knowledge of video games, Black is a first person shooter. In case you cannot put 2 and 2 together, that quote rather sums up the game.
"But Blackhawk, isn't this just like every other FPS out there?"
In the sense that you shoot things with guns, yes. In the sense of how shooting things is executed, no. Shall I elaborate?
Name something fun. Explosions. Name something fun. Loud explosions. Name something fun. Large, loud explosions. Yep, Black certainly has it's fair share of explosions. Having trouble lining up a clear shot at an enemy behind cover? Simple, remove the cover with a hail of bullets. Crates splinter, walls collapse, doors blow off their hinges. With every pull of the trigger, something is bound to chip off of an object, kicking up dust and debris. Sometimes there is so much refuse in the air, you can't see a single thing and sometimes must lie low 'till the dust settles. Players can only carry 2 weapons at a time, which adds a bit of depth and strategy to the experience. The game is not simply "run from point A to B." Rather, you have to accomplish any number of secondary objectives which may force you to further explore your surroundings. There is no lack of ammunition in this game, which is good because enemies take insane amounts of damage to fell (unless it is a headshot which is an instant kill). I know they are wearing Kevlar but come on. If you want to kill time, shoot things just to see them splinter and shatter. Speaking of which, that brings me to the next category.
Like Resident Evil 4 before it, Black pushes the graphical capacity of the Playstaion 2 to its absolute limit to create a realistic environment down to the little touches. Screws on the rifle, weeds growing between crates, rust corroding abandoned cars. While there are not much variation as far as enemies go, often there is too much crap flying around the screen to even notice. The sight of cars and barrels going up in flames and throwing people into walls is astonishing regardless of the platform, although everything looks just a bit prettier on the Xbox. Aside from the occasional hit detection problem, and the fact that there isn't a drop of blood in the whole game(WTH?), the graphics are flawless.
The variety certainly is good and fitting for the game. There will be no Plasma Rifles or Brute Shots here. You have your Uzi, M-16, Glock, Magnum, Sniper, Shotguns, and so on. There may not be much of a difference between many of the weapons at a glance, for example the only obvious difference between the MP-5 and the Uzi is the size of the mag, but they could have drastically different range and power. Many weapons can be fitted with a silencer for stealthy executions too.
Simple, easy to master controls make this game instantly accessible. Each weapon has different firing modes which can be changed at the touch of a button. Grenades are set to R2, right behind the Fire Button. My only concern here is that there are some buttons that were not used. They could have at least put a run or jump function...
Wait, what story line? The entire story is told by way of flashbacks. Between these flashbacks, there are live acting cutscenes to flesh out the plot points. Regardless, the story is a bit choppy and confusing. It is a lot like Doom 3, in the sense that the story is minimal, but the game is still fun.
So there you have it. Regardless of it's flaws, it is obvious that the talented developers at Criterion harbored a certain passion for this game. Or a passion for massive destruction with massive guns. Either way, it worked.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 03/02/06
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