Review by wolverinefan

"A fun FPS but it doesn't do anything new"

If you've read any of my other reviews of first person shooters then you know I'm not too big of a fan. I do enjoy playing them but they to have something special about them. Because lets face it most first person shooters have a crap plot or they force some gimmick on you that really doesn't work right because they rushed the product out before fine tuning it. I played the demo of Black a few months back and didn't care for it. However, I was browsing the shelves at Blockbuster the other day and it was pretty much the only thing available that seemed the least bit interesting and wasn't a racing game... Is Black the mega blockbuster game that EA was promising?

The story is very disjointed in Black. You're a member of a black ops team sent in to do something. The plot follows as if your mission is done and you're retelling it to someone else. It's slightly interesting but it made little sense to me. I don't think a game has ever had me wondering why I was seeing what I was seeing because it made little sense. Even after the ending, which sort of explains things, I was still left with a numb brain because I couldn't figure out the whole point of the plot. Thankfully, the plot really isn't needed...

Graphic wise Black is stunning. The levels look fantastic, tons of stuff can be destroyed. Levels are huge, full of items, dead ends and all that stuff. Each level has a different type of theme. My favorite is probably the third level because of how awesome the graveyard bit is. It was very well done. Everything is shiny. I also liked the blurred vision effect when you're loading your gun, if lets you know why you can't shoot and tries to show how you can't really focus on all of the action for a few seconds. While enemies do tend to all look alike, they look rather good. Plus you're just blowing them away anyway...

I was truly impressed with the sound in this game. Each gun sounded fantastic. They all sounded different and I loved that on the weapons where you could see bullets move in and out of the gun you can see that on those as you shoot. Sound effects are just top notch. Voice acting is pretty good as well. I had trouble understanding stuff while in the game but during the cut scenes it was all good. Cut scenes only happen before missions (maybe after missions as well, I can't remember). Music wise the game had me hooked. Each musical piece just fit the mood and location. I loved the finale tune as well, it always kicked in at the final stretch, giving you deluded thoughts of grandeur, as if you just accomplished something major.

I actually found control to be very tight. Aiming took me a level to get the hang of but everything else felt natural. I did have a few problems with things that weren't there. You can't jump, which makes things feel awkward because there are places to go if only you could jump a little. I also found it odd that while I could have max ammo for a weapon, I just might not have had the weapon. That or I couldn't find a button to switch weapons. This was a rental with no manual... Otherwise everything was intuitive and smooth.

If you've played a FPS before then you know the drill. Black does nothing new for the genre. Think of it as the next big Hollywood summer action flick. That being said, what it does do is everything that is right. The locations are varied enough that each feels refreshing and you never get that feeling like you've just been there. The only level I didn't care for was the bridge. It was kind of boring. Now, the levels are rather straight forward but they feel wide open at times. There are many hidden areas to find by blowing up walls and stuff. Some of the levels feel more like a maze due to tons of random objects littering the streets. The one with the tanks was really cool, I think that's level 6.

Enemy AI is rather ruthless, even on the easier settings. I liked how this game offered easy, normal, hard and black op. Easy gives you tons of ammo and health and as you work your way up in difficulty you get less ammo and less health. On black ops setting there is zero health packs. I didn't do to well on that... The AI can also be dumb at times and they aren't alerted by sound which I was slightly disappointed with but that did make the game easier. They only seem to be drawn by sight.

Weapon select is decent. I'm not sure how many guns there are. I'd say maybe 10 but I mainly stuck to a couple different ones. The rocket launched one was great for blowing up walls. I will admit that I was partly glad that I didn't have to do any snipering as I really do suck at it but it is offered on a few levels and it does make them easier.

One thing that Black truly lacks is replay value. I do believe that it doesn't offer online or offline multiplayer which truly sucks. While you can play the game on each difficulty, it really doesn't reward you with much. It's a shame too because co-op would have been sweet, as would some multiplayer. The frame rate can drop at times if a lot of explosions are going on but I didn't find it that noticeable.

Is Black worth buying? Yes and no. I personally want to own the game, at some point. The catch is I wouldn't pay over $15 for it. I've played it and beat it in the whole 3 hours of play time that it offered me on one setting. It's a fantastic rental and I for once don't regret renting it. Who knows, maybe I'll find another game that has great settings and is just plain ole fun but offers some more worth while content. Who knows but if you're vaguely interested in this title, go out and rent it because the current price tag is a bit too much,

Story - 6/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Control - 8/10
Game Play - 8/10
Replay Value - 2/10

Final Score: 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/05/06

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