Review by GiantScreaming

"Few minutes of fun, followed by hours of extreme disappointment."

As a big Burnout fan, it was with excitement that I awaited Black. Surely a first person shooter, by the folk who produced the best arcade racing game ever made, would be stellar. From preview videos, it was. Magnificent carnage. Amazing lighting effects etc... So it was with great anticipation I slipped the (mercifully rented) disk into my PS2.

First strike against the game is an un-skippable intro sequence that shows nothing but the credits on a black screen. Not just the title, but seemingly the name of everybody who had anything remotely to do with the game. I'd recommend going to make a cup of tea once you put the game in.

Then there's another un-skippable cutscene. A dull mismash of current media type scaremongering. Not anywhere near up to the standard of the trailers release online. Then you finally get to the game. You choose the level then get... Another un-skippable cutscene setting up the story.

Eventually you get to the game. The first level only takes a few minutes and gives a good taste of the game. So much destruction and carnage. Sadly, from there, it goes downhill faster than an avalanche.

For starters, at the start of the next level, Despite finishing the first level with an AK, a rocket launcher, a shotgun and some grenades, you're deployed with just a pistol. This is a crack covert ops unit for crying out loud. "We're sending you into a hot zone with a load of bad guys with AK-47's, rocket launchers and the like. Here, have a pistol." Even Doom did better than that.

Secondly, you've got no map of the area. Despite being a member of the aforementioned crack covert ops group, you've got zero intel for the region. You have to guess where to go. You're herded by unpassable scenery. So unpassable that on one level, there's a knocked down wall about an inch high. You can't go over it. Yes, this covert ops team is comprised a crack group of soldiers who can't jump.

Thirdly, the AI is a dumb as a bag of rocks when it's not cheating. You're walking down the street. An explosion goes off about ten feet behind you. Do you:

A) Run for your life.
B) Turn around and see what it was.
C) Completely ignore it.

Black has AI who choose C as an option. On multiple occasions you'll set off an explosion, and nearby AI won't so much as bat an eyelid. Then there's the cheating AI. The soldiers with the neverending rocket launchers. You find a rocket launcher, it comes with a few rounds, and between each shot there's a few seconds downtime as you reload. Somehow, the folk who run your covert ops unit couldn't afford the rocket launcher the AI has which fires constantly, about 2-3 rounds per second, endlessly. No reload time, no ammo stock. Of course, if you pick it up, it defaults back to being a regular rocket launcher.

Black is the most disappointing game I've played in a while. All the time was spent on pretty visuals, and very little on creating a compelling, enjoyable game.

There's more problems as well. There's no indication when a mission is going to end. On the hard difficulty level, you have to find a certain number of secondary mission objectives. Remember, you have no map. Nor is there any indication where the secondary objectives are. This boils down to you having to hunt everywhere, because you're not sure if you've taken all the secondary objectives, and whether you've got a lot more mission to take care of where you'll find some more, or it'll end when you leave the current area, and you've somehow missed an objective. You also receive no guidance other than unhelpful instructions like "Get to the farmhouse". No indication as to where it actually is. Even which direction. No, you have to find it by trial and error, being herded by scenery you can't pass (like the previously mentioned one inch high walls).

Then you realise you've come to the end of the level, missed a secondary objective, and you've failed the mission.

If you've read this far, it's fairly obvious you shouldn't buy this game. Should you rent it though? Well there's no multiplayer whatsoever. So you're stuck with an extremely tedious and poorly thought out single player game. I couldn't even recommend this as a rental.

You're better off visiting Gamespot and viewing the trailers. That way you can stare in awe at the only good part of the game without wasting your money.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 03/06/06


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