Review by Mechsaurian
"Intense (intensely underrated, that is...)"
I'm not a huge FPS fan, but I do enjoy a good run of carnage once in awhile. I heard from a friend that Black was a cool game and decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed,
The only other games on basic Xbox that had me this amazed were Halo 2 and FarCry. The graphics are crisp yet gritty, cold yet moody, and really tug you into the game as a whole. Enemies have very realistic death animations (for once) and the special effects are truly something special. Very good, almost X-360 quality.
Like the graphics, the sound wil be a real treat for the senses. This game is loud and almost disorienting, much like Call of Duty 2, and once again the sound helps the immersion by quite a bit. Every gun sounds just great, and the terrorists you fight speak and cry out in foreign languages. Although there was little music (and most of it was simply ambient music to heighten the mood of a level) the game still sounds great.
If you are looking for a first person shooter, Black is the game to get. There are no puzzles, no melee weapons, nothing to get in the way of the shooting. You will mow down hundreds, if not thousands, of fatigue-clad enemies throughout the game, and not much else. However, the game is so stylishly done, and so entertaining in general, that it's a transgression you'll be willing to forgive.
First off, the enemy AI is simply the best I've ever seen in an FPS. Enemies use cover, attack in groups, and avoid your grenades like the plague. This makes the enemies wearing bullet proof vests or toting around riot shields very, very difficult to kill; although nothing near a human opponent, they will certainly go down kicking and screaming. Even though the main character seems virtually immune to bullets at first, once enemies start getting better guns, you will die if you don't have cover of some kind. It's that simple.
As for the controls and technical traits, they are not the most intuitive, but will become like second nature after 20 minutes or so. And I must admit, the look sensitivity is the one of the best I've experienced; it was smooth and well-paced, making it very easy to fire accurately during frantic battles.
Although the game is pretty realistic, you will be fighting all alone for about 85% of the game. You must rely on cover, powerful weapons, quick reflexes, and ingenuity to survive, and that's why I think Black is such a great game.
Gritty and intriguing, but underdeveloped. The entire game is basically a flashback, a troubled counterterrorist soldier telling a story to a superior who demands information. It's pretty straightforward, and the cutscenes were very nice, so it's definitely an enrichment to the game as a whole. Story has never been the strong point of FPS's, and Black continues that tradition, but there's still enough to explain the events and why they are happening.
This, unfortunately, is the game's weak point. Black has no multiplayer, and there's nothing notable about the unlockable content. However, there are many paths to take and a huge list of side objectives, and completing them all will definitely take a few days
I don't think a lot of the reviews on Black's Gamefaq page do it justice. It's a very intense and incredibly fun shooting game with a lot to offer; unfortunately, it's lack of multiplayer (which would have been just awesome) means that the game doesn't give much back over the long term. You'll play a week, have a total blast, get bored with it, and forget it.
RENT OR BUY?
Rent Black, for sure. Just do it. You will love the heck out of it while you have it, and return it just in time, before it gets boring. Black really deserves to be played, so shell out five bucks and give it a try. Unfortunately, I can't really recommend buying it, as it hasn't got much replay value.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/08/06
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