a name that you would normally associate with Burnout
rather than guns, guns and more guns. Well, that’s set to change now that they have rolled out with EA
and Black. They brought their expertise in adrenaline fuelled destruction onto the field with First Person Shooters and the result is a definite step in the right direction.Story
Special Operations is the bag for Black, you play the story through the eyes of one of these Spec Ops and what a twisted X-files like story it is, only without the aliens and strange paranormal phenomenon. You have been accused of…well…let’s just say that Tom Clancy
would be proud of Black.
The story is told through live action cut-scenes, these seem to be a nice way to tie the various missions together – as you’re interrogated about the happenings by an arrogant investigator – you recount what happens at each juncture by playing the game, it’s a nice little trick that blends the story and game together.Gameplay
Black is rather like Criterion’s other offerings, it’s not an intelligent tactical stealth shooter; Black is a violent tour-de-force of real-world guns and over the top Hollywood style explosions and effects. It doesn’t have a complex control system and it doesn’t endorse safe play where you sit and pick foes off with a sniper rifle from half a ‘klick’ away.
There’s no jumping or jumping based puzzles, there aren’t any puzzles at all, no key-carded doors and no complex physics to manipulate the environment. It is just you, sometimes some AI buddies and your guns vs. a veritable swarm of angry and accurate enemies. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use the environment to your advantage, Black actually encourages you to shoot things, lots of things, some of those things explode and some of those things explode violently.
You pick out those kinds of interactive objects through the reticule, which turns Black when you find something tasty to pepper with gunfire. It might only be a fuel drum that kills one guy, or it could be a fuel drum carelessly left next to a landmine, which in turn is in proximity to a bunch of others. Black likes to throw in chained explosions to reward the player with volumes of noisy eye candy.
In Black you come under fire a lot, there are so many bullets flying around that certain sections of the game make the Lobby Scene from The Matrix
look rather shabby and dull in comparison. The missions are linear and you don’t have to do much except pump your trigger finger, hurl grenades and fill the air with streams of hot smoking lead!
Black isn’t trying to be the next Halo
or Half Life 2
and comparing these games would be like comparing a banana and a hand-grenade. It sets out to create an explosive gameplay experience where you don’t have to think, apart from perhaps using the environment creatively to eliminate large numbers of enemies rather than trying to take them on one at a time. There are certain sections of the game where you’re going to get swarmed by a never-ending wave of bad guys, until you achieve an objective (usually blowing a heavy bunker up, or lasting until the waves of enemy troops are exhausted) and can proceed.
There are several difficulty levels for Black, right the way from Easy to Black Ops mode – each one has a series of objectives, and sub objectives. The harder the game mode the more objectives you have to fulfil – there are rewards for doing the harder levels of the game and those are unlocked at the end of the game’s story.
Black harkens back to the good old days of the arcade shooter, like say Operation Wolf
except its using new FPS technology and has a definite flair for the dramatic.