From the developers Zombie Studios comes the newest downloadable FPS on the market. The game focuses primarily on online multiplayer that boasts an experience system that will be very familiar to those savvy with current competitive multiplayer shooters. The game takes place in a futuristic fictional Eastern European city. The former Soviet state now lays in ruin and serves as the battlefield.
Can this budget title stand its ground amongst the popular franchises that have take hold of the FPS genre? Here are the HOTs and NOTs.
Blacklight Tango Down contains some commendable competitive multiplayer aspects. Gamers can join one of seven different mode types. The modes available are: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Retrieval, Domination, Detonate, Last Man Standing and Last Team Standing. All of these are what you would expect from the genre. It is all about attacking, defending or just getting kills any way you can. The maps that this mayhem takes place on are all satisfying. They range from underground subway stations to close-quarter city streets. None of them can match up to the scale of Battlefield’s maps or even most Call of Duty’s, but it works here. The size keeps the action consistent since it does not take too long to run into your opposition. The placement of debris, broken down vehicles, health/ammo stations and upper level access points allow for tactical planning and attacking. A well executed advancement through cover is always a rewarding feeling.
If you check the Field Locker you can look at your Personnel File or Awards. The awards are a set of challenges that upon completion present the player with more experience. There are ones such as obtain a God-Like killing spree five times. There is even one called “Want Some Tea” that shows a picture of a teabag. I am sure most of you can figure out how to nab that one. These challenges also have different ranks corresponding to each like bronze, silver, etc.
The meat of the multiplayer holds up well against its competitors. The shooting mechanics are refined for the most part and feel solid. Shooting and reloading all look great in terms of detail as well. The detail overall actually looks great in HD. Each gun packs a punch and even new comers will not feel too overpowered by higher level enemies with their decked out arsenal. This type of balance is hard to accomplished, but all in all it seems to be done well here.
This is Blacklight’s selling point. Being able to customize weapons has become almost a standard in these types of games. Borderlands looked to take things to the next level with their insane amount of combinations for cooperative play and Blacklight is looking to amp up the customization we can use for competitive purposes. Depending on the weapon you will have option to alter the magazine, barrel, muzzle, sights, grips, camos and even something we have not seen before. The new addition is something called weapon tags and there are over one hundred waiting to accessorize your weapon. They are unlocked by leveling up and some can even be used by entering cheat codes. These include flags from different countries. Although they help personalize your loadout they also include specific perks that boost certain attributes. Not to mention when you take an enemy’s weapon and kill them with it it feels even better because they have made their gun their own. It pretty much adds more insult to injury.
Weapons in each type unlock as you level up. Not only do you get new weapons to play with, but eventually those come with new attachments. For some, it may seem like there are not enough weapons per category, but when you take into consideration that you can alter the gun however you want five guns turns into hundreds. A simple 9mm becomes something out of Splinter Cell in no time and before you know it you will have a .45 to turn into a beast.
Blacklight Tango Down comes with a lot of bells and whistles, but what it leaves out is the full retail game price. For $15 you can snag this FPS bundle. If you need a break from the shooters you play routinely and have a few extra bucks, then this can be added to your collection. Full retail game quality at the budget title price. If only more developers followed this business plan.
Black Ops is the game’s attempt at a Single Player portion. It can be played cooperatively with other players, but it is the only available mode to play by yourself at the moment. Unfortunately, there is not much there. The levels consist of waves of enemies assaulting you as you progress through areas by finding the corresponding button to proceed through obstructions. This may not have been terrible had there been a story present. Without one it just becomes a generic run ‘n gun experience that does not do much to stand out. Personally, I found myself completely ignoring this mode. Besides the reasons previously listed this could also be because Black Ops does not include a checkpoint system. If you try and do a level solo (even on Normal) it can be quite difficult and having to repeat levels from the beginning after each death gets old fast. Unless an update reaches this mode I doubt you will find too many people playing there.
As I mentioned earlier the maps are not large in scale, but they do well with what they have. This becomes an issue when one team starts to spawn camp. With smaller maps it does not take long for downed enemies to rush back to their opponent’s spawn point. Spawn points are equipped with turrets inside, but this does not deter many people from waiting outside the exits or tossing grenades inside. This scenario can be reversed too. Some teams – especially in Last Team Standing – will just wait inside their spawns, protected by their turrets, with snipers equipped and aimed down range as they await your arrival. Issues like these detract from the experience and unfortunately it seems to happen often in this game.
Aiming (Early On)
Aiming in general in the game is fine and scopes are very useful. My issue with the aiming early on is that when your weapon is bare you do not really aim down the sights. The gun centers as if it should aim down the sights, but the crosshairs are still present above the gun. All other sights and scopes result in aiming down the sights. So why did they create the animation for the aiming down the iron sights and leave you with a crosshair? It seems pointless since I will be aiming with the crosshair and not the gun itself. This is not a huge issue, but it does raise the question “If they were going for full retail quality why did they cut a corner on something that simple?”
Blacklight Tango Down promised to live up to $60 FPS experiences at a quarter of the price. In some areas it does bring retail quality at a price that will not break the bank. In other areas it suffers from the mediocrity that most budget titles bring. If you are dying to freshen up your FPS collection, then go ahead and check it out. Be sure to weight the HOTs and NOTs beforehand though so you are aware of the possible shortcomings/annoyances that you may face. Overall though the game is solid and has the potential to become an ongoing series, one that hopefully maintains the affordable price tag.
[Editor’s Note: Blacklight Tango Down was reviewed on a Xbox 360 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher.]Blacklight: Tango Down Review,