| Strong Language, Violence
| The Good
| The Bad
Lack of story
Length is short
Where's the multiplayer?
Black is the highly anticipated first person shooter
by Criterion, the makers of the wonderful Burnout series.
Can the company that has changed the face of arcade racers
do the same to the FPS genre?
Black begins with a video introduction that features
live actors and sees your main character being questioned
by a mysterious man. He wants information and claims that
if you tell him what he wants to hear, you just might be saved
from going to prison for the rest of your life. While the
story that is there is suitable, don't expect to be blown
away by the revelations in the game. This game is all about
the intense, adrenaline pumping, hands sweating action. Black
delivers this in spades and must be commended for the insane
action that is seen and heard onscreen while you play.
As the man questions your character you relive past events
and see what unfolded. This is how the story progresses and
you will find out while you are being questioned. You're a
no-holds barred man and do whatever it takes to get to the
bottom of the problem. You start the game off in what could
seem like a city under attack. The enemy has made you and
all hell breaks loose and once it starts it hardly lets up.
You are allowed to hold two weapons at a time in and there
is always plenty of ammo around. Enemies drop health packs,
grenades, and ammo. While making your way through the eight
levels, you will experience moments that seem pulled right
from the biggest action movies seen. Crumbling buildings,
explosions, cars blowing up, shrapnel going everywhere, dust
flying in the air, and debris being scattered all over is
just about all that will be left when your done with the levels.
This game focuses all on the action and does it so well that
you can't help but be in amazement and it definitely helps
cover up some of Blacks other problems, which I'll get
to in a bit.
The game looks and runs amazing for current gen systems.
This is easily one of the better looking FPS on Xbox and I
wouldn't be surprised if some people thought the game could
almost be next gen. The guns all look very realistic and have
a nice shine effect to them went moving around and reloading.
The reloading animations are done quite well and really show
the time and effort that Criterion really put into the look
and feel of this game. Enemies look good but they unfortunately
don't have too many different looking ones. You're stuck with
about 3-4 of the same looking enemies the whole way. Levels
are varied and wide. Urban streets, dark forest, and old cemetery
are just some of the places you will travel through while
fighting your way through many enemies.
What adds to Blacks great feeling of action is the
sound. Sound plays a key role in delivering the intense action
experience and giving you yet another reason to play this
game. Explosions will rock your speakers to the max. You hear
the deafening sound of the concussion shock wave from grenades
and RPG's. When things explode you know it and the game constantly
keeps you on your toes. The enemies constantly taunt you in
their foreign language and they go screaming when you throw
a grenade. The soundtrack, while not constantly playing,
chimes in at the right time to add that extra feeling of being
in an action movie. All the guns give off a unique sound and
even when equipped with a silence they give a piercing, silent
yet deadly effect.
Control-wise, the game plays like most first person shooters.
At first the aiming seemed a little different and unfortunately
there isn't anyway to calibrate the sensitivity for it. After
a while though I became used to it and was killing soldiers
left and right. If you've played one FPS before then you'll
get the controls down just fine.
Now where Black seems to fault is in a few key choices
and I do believe if they had just mixed the game up a little
bit more they would have had a greater title on their hands.
First thing that comes to mind if the fact that there is no
multiplayer, off-line or online. For a shooter this is just
strange since these games practically all require multiplayer
in some form. The story is an interesting one but just when
things are heating up, the game ends. Also, aside from all
the shooting, well you will shoot and shoot and shoot some
more. The game revolves around pure and constant action and
that's about it. Considering the game only has eight levels
and the action is fast, don't expect this game to last you
more then six to eight hours, if that - I clocked in about
While Black does a lot of things great it took a few
steps back and didn't really add anything new to the FPS genre.
Interesting mission objectives and story really lacks. What
Black does do right is the fact that you are almost
guaranteed to not find another game this action intense in
a long time. I've never played a FPS with this much going
on and stuff flying around on the screen. So while the game
may be shallow in some ways if you're a hardcore action buff
then you should enjoy Black immensely. Does killing
nonstop and blowing everything to smithereens interest you?
Then give Black a try.
- Justin Celani