Review by TasteIt
"It's raining spent brass and bodies, hallelujah"
Let me start off by stating this: If I want a solid FPS, the Playstation 2 is the LAST system I'd typically consider. However, for reasons unknown, I impulse purchased "Black" for the PS2, and this game has floored me.
When you first play this game, you'll notice that 90% of the time, you're surrounded by enemies on almost every side. Near and distant. Relentless. You will constantly be under fire.
The AI in this game for the most part, is not too bright at all. That is, unless, they are shooting at you already. The bullets are less forgiving than the enemies' lack of intelligence, and when you have them flying at you from nearly every direction, the AI becomes insignificant. However, some will make use of cover and make it a real pain for you to hit them.
Accuracy is rewarded, and the analogs on the controller do a crisp job of wielding the guns. If you've played the Medal of Honor series for PS2, the game feels alot like that. However, most of the time you'll be spraying and praying. This game not only encourages firing wildly, but it rewards it. You can literally hold the trigger down on any weapon and watch most of the world fall apart in front of you, in a violent storm of dust, sparks, glass, debris, and the occasional explosion of flames and beautiful smoke.
The sounds are immaculate. If you have a nice stereo setup, crank it. The constant battles are LOUD. The popping, chattering, clapping, and blasting of rounds from each gun really do give the guns their own personalities. And there's alot of them. If you're a gun nut, you'll notice some authentic weapons in the game, although the guns are not "precicely" accurate to their real life counterparts, they are damn close.
The graphics, for a PS2 game, are phenomenal. While the textures are a bit muddy in spots, and the bullethole decals tend to look the same, the archictecture and lighting of this game really send it soaring. The muzzle flashes and "blurring" of the environment while reloading are a wonderful effect. I was surprised to see my PS2 handle these special effects.
At times, however, there is a bit of slowdown, but it's not choppy. It just slows intermittently, as if the world went into a slight slow-motion. Don't worry though, it's an occurrence that happens seldom and far between. In the heat of battle, you'll rarely be concerned of the tiny graphical flaws this game barely suffers from. The gameplay is just that intense.
While the game is intense, it's a bit hard to play more than a few levels at a time. Unless you REALLY love shooting things over and over again, this game can get monotonous after an hour or so. While the environments have variety and no shootout will unfold the same way, this game will still always have you pretty much shooting and ducking for cover. I'm enjoying it my first time through, but I don't see myself playing this game over and over again in the future. If anything, it's a good "keeper" game to play in the future, to just pop in and play for 15 minutes to a half hour of after a stressful day. If you've ever played "Burnout's" crash modes for that same reason, this game gives off the same thrills.
Loading is not a problem between levels. FMV's force you to watch them before each level, but that's hardly a complaint. The first time around, anyway. Might be annoying in the future. But with a codebreaker, you can skip them alltogether. There is a story, but don't expect it to measure up to the awesomeness of the shooting experience.
There is no blood in this game. Just lots of fire, spit brass, debris, and pockmarked walls. The enemies' death animations are amusing at times, but there isn't really a physics engine applied to them, it seems.
Is this game linear? Yes and no. Some levels force you down a bottleneck path, other levels are wide open with forks in the road, the area between either path explorable by itself. The levels are somewhat linear, but some are vast enough that you won't really notice, or mind. The tight smaller levels that are linear are pretty intense and logical given the settings, so it's not really a problem either. Within the levels, exploring is rewarded. Finding documents, items, and hidden weapons is the only way to beat the hardest mode of the game, which in itself will reward you upon game completion IN that mode.
I've went on long enough. To summarize, if you love guns, frenetic combat, the lobby scene in the first Matrix, and you're looking forward to an FPS that goes back to mindless roots without the cheese of horrid plots or failed gameplay gimmicks weighing it down, grab a copy of this game for 40 bucks. The replay value isn't the highest, but it'll always be around if you feel like blowing alot of stuff up for whatever reasons.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/03/06
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