"A rush that never stops till the game is over"

Black has been a game that I've been waiting for a long time. Since it was announced, I've been eagerly awaiting this gritty, fast paced FPS. And how has it panned out? Well, pretty good, in my opinion.

I'll first start of with the graphics. The graphics are quite possibly the best for the PS2. It really just shows that the Next Generation of gaming might be coming a bit too early, as PS2 games are still looking better and better, such as this, Resident Evil 4, God of War, and Shadow of the Colossus. They may not have HDR lighting, or HD compatible, but does anyone really care about any of this, once you get deep into a firefight? Because I guarantee you, when you have 7 enemies coming at you from all sides, with stacks and barrels exploding all around you, you are NOT going to notice that this isn't HD whatever.

As for the story...well, what story? Okay, there is a "story" here, but it's barely there, and it's not really interesting enough to warrant really paying attention in the cut scenes. This is another thing entirely. The cut scenes are all filmed with live actors, and such. But don't be expecting to have huge, blockbuster cut scenes. It's always just your character, and some interrogator. Nothing really here, except tricked out lighting, and camera angles positioned so you can never really see a full face shot of either character. Either way, I think it's a nice change, and it looks better then blocky characters moving around with lips that have 3 positions.

Now to the important part. The gameplay. The gameplay can be summed up in 3 words: fast and furious. Enemies are ALWAYS coming at you, and you will hardly ever find cover that is permanent. Your best defensive, is an offensive. What I mean by this, is that if the enemies aren't being shot at, they're shooting. So to stop them from shooting, you must keep shooting them. This is a change from the usual games that make you find cover and pop up to take an enemy down, then repeat.

One of the real treats here are explosions. I never got tired of the explosions, and there were always plenty to go around. Some were giant, and make your job drop, others are small, but usually are positioned right next to an enemy, so they send him shooting off in the opposite distance. A lot of people are saying that the smaller explosions are positioned too perfectly, as most of the time there will ALWAYS be an enemy around them. But what is the point of so many small explosions if there's no one to be hit by them?

The A.I. in this game is nothing great, to be honest, but with the amount of enemies, the amount of damage they take, and the amount of damage they dish, any smarter enemies would make the game very hard, and would frustrate many gamers. This game is pretty challenging as is.

This game is intense from start to finish. Times when there are no enemies around are almost a sigh of relief. You just want to take a rest to relax, because it can be mentally straining.

The downsides to this game are small. My biggest complaint is the option of not being able to save anywhere or at least that the checkpoints are so far apart. Also, I think there should be more enemy variety, as there are really only about 4 types of enemies, though some are changed up by being given different guns.

The game's shortness could be a turnoff to others, but I find it perfect. I think any more, and the game would definitely dull, and by the end you'd just want to finish it so you could be done with it. This brings me to a point I want to make. Many people complain of the game dulling too fast and the shortness of the game. Alone, these are both perfectly understandable, but together, they make no sense. I mean, you want the game to be longer, even though you got bored before the original length even ended? Yea...

In my opinion, the shortness makes this title very replayable. During this summer, when no games are being released, and I start looking through my collection for a good game to replay, am I going to choose between 20+ hour titles, which I was probably glad to be done with originally, or the 6 or 7 hour game, Black, which I felt ended at a perfect time? The thought of replaying a 6 hour game seems much more pleasant to me then playing a much longer title, which is why I feel that buying this game is justified. Maybe not at $40, but at $30 or $20, you've got yourself a great buy.

For now, I'd rent the game, play it, and when the price drops to $30 or $20, snatch it up. And trust me; it won't be long before it gets to those prices anyways.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/06/06

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