Review by DandyQuackShot
An Excellent Online Game in its Prime
Capitalization on the humanitarian incident in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 leads to a PC transfer to the Xbox in what was a very underrated online multiplayer experience and fair, if not exploited and graphically impaired campaign mode. Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is based on the book (and subsequent movie for those of you who don't read) and follows the Delta Force team as you relive the mess that is Somalia. The online multiplayer makes Black Hawk Down one of the best in having all out warfare with the ability to have a max of 50 players in one match.
Black Hawk Down is very enjoyable to play although it lacks a reason to want to relive the campaign mode. The controls are easy to use and the aiming system is typical of your PC games. The aiming system is comparable to the early Rainbow Six games where you will lose accuracy if you run or hold the trigger down. The weapons are standard for a military game with all of the standard rifles and nothing exceptional stands out. The gadgets are fun to use, especially claymores for online play, and are easily selectable and will do the job you need them to do. The campaign mode is not a campaign in which you would want to replay. It is very challenging and the missions are quite generic although you do get to enjoy being buzzed around in a helicopter to some of your missions. Compared to other military games this game is not going to be on anybody's wish list for its campaign. So let's just move on to where this game really generated a return for your buck.
Unfortunately by now the online multiplayer community has long since dwindled away from Black Hawk Down. With other Xbox Live games (Halo 2 anyone?) snaking all of the players away and with the release of the Xbox 360 just months away Black Hawk Down had a very shortlived run on Xbox Live. But for those of us who got online during the prime of this game's run on Live, it was awesome! Dedicated servers protected games so that a maximum of 50 players could jump in a game. Ranks were simple and identified your gamertag on various leaderboards so you could see where you stand with the other two hundred thousand players online. Unidentified skill points were awarded to boost your ranking and I assume they were based on kills and objective scoring. What really made this game great was not only its capacity to hold a lot of players in a game, but also the open-ended maps you played on. Just like other PC games you run and run for miles in the desert while a center such as a town or stadium was the main point of the game. This added benefit gave you excellent sniping opportunities so that you could go running up to a high mountain overlooking a city and enjoy sniping little dots that were thousands of yards away. A skull and cross bones with the name of the player you killed would appear each time you got a kill. An in-game message would also text out the recent kills and this was especially helpful if you were sniping or had some claymores planted in distant locations. The game was very open-ended and you could pull off all kinds of tricks on enemies to your gleeful satisfaction. Unlike some games you have about two to three locations where you can enter an armory and pick out different weapons if the ones you started with aren't working out for you. So my favorite indulgence was to plant C4 explosives inside an enemy controlled armory, find some cover where no one would see me, and wait for some unsuspecting sucker to go re-equip himself. There are a lot of different gametypes in the online multiplayer. My favorite once the online community started fading away were the objective games where you could gain rank even though you played by yourself while waiting on someone to join a game. The most popular were the King of the Hill games where strategy had to be worked out to succeed in keeping or taking the hill. If you stayed in a game room long enough there would be a spawn glitch at the beginning of the game where everyone would begin out in the middle of nowhere. The impatient would suicide if they survived this initial shootout, but what they didn't realize was running back to the main area allowed you to score some incredible access behind enemy lines and get some surprise kills. There were also a lot of places in the maps to jump up on and make camp and there were no silly videos to show where you were shot from so that you had the ultimate experience in holing up and snaking kills. Of course I cannot exclude the vehicles on the maps. Black Hawk helicopters with fifty calibers on each side allowed you to go up and start raining lead down while the helicopter flew around in a slow route. Humvees would also ride around in a pair so that you could run up to one and jump in and start laying down the law once you rolled into the enemy territory. These made easy rocket launcher targets but the short lived glory of getting a couple of kills was well worth it. The sniping is the best of any multiplayer game hands down. I don't think there will be another game that could utilize sniping the way it should be as Black Hawk Down does it.
While the campaign plays around the incident it tries unsuccessfully to add blockbuster entertainment and a conclusion to the game. It is pretty much objective based with not much background and no characters that have any depth to them. It does get you into the game for a bit, but ultimately you are not going to want to go back and play it over. The game tries to conclude with a covert Delta force guy going back to assassinate Adid in some kind of revenge plot, but obviously this is not something you would want to promote. The story is not great at all although it is based on a true event and it just doesn't touch base with reality.
The graphics are pretty tough since it is a PC transfer. No effort was made to redevelop and make this game look good so compared to other games like Call of Duty or Halo, it does not stand up to the graphics test. Graphic wise, you will see a lot of tracers and bullets flying so you will know good and well when somebody is taking a crack at you. The music is close to the movie themes and you will have a helicopter buzzing in your head throughout most of the game so you won't forget that this game is about helicopters as well. The weapon sounds are great and distance is factored in well. With that glitch I mentioned earlier, my favorite part of the game after surviving that and running up behind enemy territory was to listen to the sounds of the online war getting closer and closer. And of course you will know when you are being shot at.
Do bear in mind I am reviewing this game for what is was in its prime and not as it is now. If I had gotten this game now then the replayability of this game would be near zero. The online was very fun and made this game worth shelving Halo 2 for a time. No online game is played the same way and you have an unlimited and open-ended experience limited only by a score maximum or time limit.
Final Recommendation 6.75/10
I can easily tell you that Black Hawk Down is not a game worth buying anymore. Unfortunately the experience you got online was a once in a lifetime thing to due this game being underrated. The last time I tried to play online was perhaps early 2007 and by then the dedicated servers had been removed and there were no games available by other players. Up until then the servers were still there running 24/7 with a few players popping in every now and then. So unfortunately the online community doesn't exist anymore and the campaign is not worth buying for either. In its prime however, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down was an awesome online game and I have reviewed as it was then.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (US, 07/26/05)
Got Your Own Opinion?
Submit a review and let your voice be heard.