Review by Ginghamphatts

"Virtual War the way it should sound"

First off, no matter how hardcore of a game you are, you will want to start a game on easy your first time and just fire the guns. Criterion did an excellent job with the sound effects in this game. Perhaps if my controller still had rumble the feeling of firing the gun would be that much more enjoyable. As it stands now, the weapons are amazing. There is an exceptional selection to be had. Ranging from the well known items like the M16 and AK-47 to relatively unknown weapons like the G36C. And those are just the assault weapons. The game has pistols, grenade launchers, rockets, and more. It's a great line-up.

Unfortunately, you are only going to find certain weapons on certain levels. You'll never really get a classic choice such as: AK-47 or M16? While this does force you into using a variety of weapons, it's still nice to choose what you like.

And how is gameplay handled with these guns? Well, it's actually rather smooth. The first thing anyone will complain about is how low the sensitivity is... and that it can't be altered. While this will anger you at first, Criterion had a reason for doing it. After playing the game for even just a fourth of a level, you start to become used to it and then the sensitivity level doesn't seem that bad. There aren't really any occasions where you'll have to spin quickly to fire on someone who came from behind anyway. Unless of course you missed them with your rampage of flying lead.

Other than that, the game plays very smoothly. There is even a rather classy blur effect that you get while reloading your weapon that just serves to put you in the moment. If you like moving while you reload and the blur + movement combination makes you a little queasy, there is a (Visine for that) remedy for that in the codes and secrets section here on GameFAQs.

As for the levels, they are well done. The levels are rather linear, but there are still multiple positions to approach situations from that can certainly entertain a variety of play styles. Part of this comes from the great level design. Playing through these levels, you really can get the feeling that a larger fight is going on. You can also get a feeling for the impoverished setting. Run down buildings are all over, old and wrecked cars sparsely populate the areas, and litter fills the streets.

Each mission has it's own feel as well. While one takes place on a bridge during the daylight hours, you will also fight in a forested area where sunlight is a rare commodity. Repetition is a place where a lot of games get into trouble, but that feeling isn't really here for Black. The missions have a unique feel.

Black has a story which frames each of these missions, too. It may not be like playing a novel, but the storyline itself is slightly interesting. And while I could outline if for you in one paragraph, I think I'll leave you to discover it for yourself. It is interesting how it is played, though, for the story is driven through live-action cutscenes that have been coupled with a unique presentation style. The main points are presented throughout conversation and the game you actually play just so happens to be the events of the past. A rather interesting way to play it, honestly.

Ahh yes, the graphics. This, too is an area where Black likes to allow you to enjoy yourself. You truly can fire off your AK-47 magazine into that far wall and then go up and see the holes your bullets left. After the dust settles, of course. There are a number of destructive environment items that really look fantastic when you take your fully loaded assault weapon to them. The game does a good job with lighting and particle effects in general. Right after your foes blow through a wall to get to you, you'll have to wait until the dust settles before you even know where to shoot. Not that ammo is a problem, so fire away anyway.

I do have one hint for you in this game. Believe none of that "Waste not, want not" crap. You have thousands of rounds at your disposal, and everyone of them will be a pleasure to fire - none of it is wasted.

Gameplay: 9
~Just solid gameplay overall in Black
Sound: 10
~These guns are just about the sweetest things you've ever heard
Graphics: 9
~Very tight graphics, but there have still been things rivaling it that came out earlier
Story: 7
~Neat spin on how it works into the game, but not too elaborate
Replay Value: 7
~The unlockables and the challenge of the difficulties is enticing, but it's still the same old game. There is also no multi-player, which is a huge factor in replay value these days. If it's going to be played over and over, it really should have a multi-player.

Overall: 8

Black is a well rounded game overall. While it may not have that multi-player, don't count it out. It is still an amazing single player experience that you should play if you have any interest in weapons or first person shooters.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/23/07

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