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Blacklight: Retribution (beta). review

Permanent Linkby Enemyonwheels on Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:19 pm

After a conversation in chat about how little we trust review sites I have decided to have a try at writing a proper review. Bear with me and let's see how it turns out.

For those of you that don't know Blacklight: Retribution is a free-to-play FPS game. It has CoD sized maps with many of the familiar game modes included. While it faces some serious competition to within the genre it sets itself apart from the big AAA titles by having a sense of humour and not taking itself seriously. For example. The description of the Kill Confirmed game mode is "This is my kill, there are many like it but this one is mine"

When most people see that a game is operating on a free-to-play system we automatically worry about micro-transactions. While they are present they are not obtrusive and don't give those that do pay a huge advantage. At the start you get a standard assault rifle and a standard pistol once you unlock the attachments you can add them to you gun by paying a fee. You have the choice of using credits earned in game to rent the attachment for a fixed period (one days rental on a sight can be earned quite easily in one match) or pay real money to unlock it permanently. There are a few other ways to spend real currency but these are still not game breakers by any stretch. I have put about 10-15 hours in to the game without spending a single penny and have never felt at a disadvantage.

The map design is well balanced offering a good variation of locations along with various tactical positions and flanking opportunities. Many of the maps also make good use of verticality with elevated walkways, elevators, rooftops, underground passageways etc.

The first slight downside you notice is the graphics. While the looks are in no way bad they do fall a little short when compared to the games turned out by the big development houses. The maps vary from night time streets to sunlit rooftops with everything in between and the graphics can cope with all the lighting effects etc well.

Navigating through the menus is straightforward. Everything is laid out in a very easy to understand way with no frills and distractions. Although the HUD is a little full and clumsy. With no manual (it's a digital version only) it can be a little daunting at first but it is pretty easy to work out what it all means.

There are also some unique points within the game that make it refreshingly different in a genre full of copy and paste games. In the game your soldier has a visor which, when activated, allows you to see through all objects in the map so you know where all players are. However while it's activated you cannot fire your weapon and after you have used it you need to wait for it to recharge before using it again. Then there is the point capturing mechanic in the Domination mode. As well as standing in range of the point and slowly capturing it, you can hack the point to capture it quicker using a simple mini-game. Thirdly there are shops scattered throughout the maps. While in game you earn currency along side exp. This currency can be used at the shops to buy health refills (health only regenerates up to 50%), ammo refills, rocket launchers and even small mech suits. Make sure you use this as at the end of the match this currency is wiped and you start from 0 in the next match.

There are a couple of other places where this game falls a little short. Chiefly is the fact that it runs on a peer to peer system meaning there is a certain amount of latency in the game. This means you do experience some lag but I have seen more lag on games with much bigger budgets so it's not as bad as it could be and it is still playable. Secondly you need to remember it is still in the Beta phase. There are some bugs lurking and you do encounter them from time to time but it is no more buggy than some of the supposedly finished games that we have paid to play.

So on balance this is a good game. Yes it has a few shortcomings but it also has some very good parts. But what really matters is how it makes you feel. This game does exactly what games should do. It makes you smile. It seldom induces rage and even after a bad night on Battlefield I know I can switch to Blacklight and chill out for a while.

Hope you all enjoyed my 1st attempt at a review. Any comments or criticism gratefully received. Hopefully I'll be doing some more soon

'Conflict' by Disturbed

I came here to cap flags and chew bubblegum.......and I'm all out of gum
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