Zombie Studios aims to bring a decent online shooter experience to the digital marketplaces with Blacklight: Tango Down, an online FPS set in the near future.
First of all, the backstory: in the near-future, a Colonel and his Blacklight group travel to Balik, a fictional Eastern European city, where they go missing, you and your team are sent in to locate them and rescue them if they’re still alive. Unfortunately, the country is in the middle of a war following the assassination of their president by a group known as “The Order.” On top of all that, civilians have been infected with a virus that causes them to attack anyone nearby. Both sides are fighting off these infected civilians and Blacklight have to stop The Order at all costs.
Blacklight is a unit comprising of only the very best soldiers the world has to offer, they’re given the most advanced tech available to help carry out their missions. Then there’s The Order, a rebel group of ex-special forces and militia troops, they too have similar technology, bought through various military networks.
The story is only really apparent in the Black Ops mode, a series of missions that can be played alone or in co-op. These missions have you carrying out tasks and completing objectives. A lack of checkpoints can certainly make it frustrating if you get far into one and killed. They’re quite hard even on the lowest difficulty and enemies will sometimes spawn behind you, while the omission of radar makes it difficult to push forward and defend yourself at the same time.
As for the gameplay, it feels a lot like most other shooters, so it’s not too hard to pick up if you’re at all experienced with Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. There are a few things that make this different from a lot of FPSs of its kind. For example, there’s no radar; instead, there’s a device called the “Hyper Reality Visor” which makes for a pretty original idea. This HRV lets you see other players through walls and obstacles, but comes at a cost. While using it, you can’t shoot and it only lasts a few seconds. You have to know the maps to use it effectively though, as it doesn’t actually show any of the obstacles in the way; it’s also hard to tell the distance of an enemy with it. Then there’s the health system which fixes a problem I have with a lot of FPSs: regenerating health. Your health starts off at 175 but you will only regenerate up to 88, meaning you have to find medkits to fully heal. It works well, since even if you manage to survive a firefight, you’re still vulnerable until you can locate a health station. One thing the game does really well is customization. You can choose everything, from the weapons you have to the camo on them. Of course, a lot of the stuff is locked to begin with and as you increase in rank, you gain access to more. There are a lot of weapons in the game and each gun is customizable with barrels, stocks, scopes, etc. You also choose a weapon tag that’ll increase certain stats a little bit. There’s a lot of choice when it comes to customizing your weapons, so you should be able to find a setup that works well for you.
You get quite a bit for your money, there are 13 maps (One exclusive to the PS3 version) and 7 gametypes to choose from.
There are a few problems I encountered while playing though. Sometimes, it would take ages just to find and join a game and it would often lose connection while in the post-game lobby waiting for another match to start. Also, while a lot of the map designs are pretty good, there are a few annoying camping spots that can really throw off the balance of the game, especially near the spawn points. Additionally, it seems that while there are many game types like Domination and Last Man Standing, you’ll only have an easy time finding a game in Team Deathmatch.
There is a trial available that allows you to play the game for 60 minutes if you’re interested.
Note: I played the PS3 version available on the PSN for £10/$15. The review code was supplied by the publisher, Ignition Entertainment.
Developer: Zombie Studios
Genre: First Person Shooter
Time: The Black Ops missions will probably last a while but the online is most of the game. With 70 ranks to go through, it will last a while.
Gripes: Can be a bit laggy and not much activity outside of Team Deathmatch.
Get it for the: Multiplayer action on the cheap.