Black’s engine is a nice one, it’s been designed to display a good constant frame-rate and provide a decent level of detail especially in the eye candy department, fans of over the top explosions and realistic looking real world weapons are going to love this game since it boasts an impressively rendered arsenal, pistols, machine guns, sniper rifle and the obligatory rocket launcher are all brought to life in polygonal splendour.
It’s a busy game and the engine copes with a lot going on, the swarms of enemies that attack in waves and the sheer level of destruction from the weapons as they leave smoking holes, pock-marked walls and shattered concrete as the gun battles rage are reminiscent of such games as: F.E.A.R
The graphics engine provides lighting, shadows and special effects by the bucket as the pyrotechnics kick in from a grenade hitting a fuel drum, in turn igniting something like a giant truck parked close by carrying ammunition. Models/Textures
The models in Black are all of a sufficiently high detail. It has been said that the guns in black have more polygons than one of the cars in Burnout Revenge
, and when you look at them in action you can see why – they are in a word gorgeous, as far as guns can be described as such. The attention to detail has been lavished on the other models in the game, enemy soldiers and allies all have a good solid look to them, good realised textures and the background environments have just as much detail.Level Design
Black features linear levels for the most part but these are often fairly open and while you’re always going to know which path to take, other paths can lead to secluded areas where the developers have placed interesting side objectives. The levels in Black are also fairly big; some of them take quite a while to complete if you are trying to nail every single objective and every single bonus objective. There’s also no protection or escort missions, this game is all about you doing what you do best – destruction and chaos. Overall the level design is spotless with each environment being packed with interactive exploding objects and atmosphere, there’s a definite feeling of being in these locations and the attention to detail on the buildings is good, the architecture looks as though it would exist in the real world rather than the fevered imaginations of the game’s designers.Physics
Black’s physics engine is best described as Hollywood, it is well over the top and provides some gloriously destructive opportunities while still feeling as though it is believable enough, you won’t find the same levels of destruction in Black compared to say Red Faction
but the game comes close. Walls explode, chunks of concrete are blown off left right and centre, each weapon causes a different effect to the environment and enemies react differently when shot too.
There’s the obligatory ragdoll system in place for enemy deaths, and they are satisfyingly over the top as well. The way Black likes to do things can be summed up by the first level, when the glass is shattering from gunfire and you use a shotgun to take a door off its hinges, grab and AK-47 and start shooting at a nearby car.
The car explodes and takes out the nearby enemy soldier, the physics system hurls the soldier backwards Hollywood style and you’re left with a big smile on your face. You eventually come to a building where soldiers are shooting at you from the lower floor, you can’t get a good shot but you have a hand grenade, you toss it into the lower window, it breaks the glass and detonates setting off the boxes of ammunition in the room they’re using as a base.
Windows are blown out and soldiers come screaming out of the blast, one might catch onto the edge of the windowsill (You can always shoot him) if he’s lucky or fall to his death arms flailing madly. The whole scene goes off just like out of a movie and there’s fire and smoke everywhere, ultimately its satisfying and leaves you with a smile on your face.Animations
Black’s animations are some of the best, not just the model animations which are excellent but the animations for the guns themselves – these include the flying shells as the weapon fires, the moving parts and when you reload your character checks the clip before slotting it home and so on. Switch to the sniper rifle and the guy pops off the protective lenscap cover.
There are lots of spot animations that make the game come alive, but it has to be said that Black’s finest animations which are showcased as the game loads and appear as animated backgrounds while you prepare to go into the missions – the weapons steal the show and should make the eyes of any gun nut shine brightly.