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Black Review 154

Posted by Zonk
from the bang-bang-bang-you're-dead-no-i'm-not dept.
Console First-Person Shooters have come a long way in the last few years. While titles like Resident Evil 4 and FarCry Instincts were moving the genre forward for gamers with joypads, Criterion Games was working on the FPS title simply called Black. Touted as 'gun porn', the game offers a fully destructible world where every bullet's trajectory is a story of its own. While such precision is laudable, the focus on the game's physics and mechanical feel has resulted in mediocrity elsewhere in the title. Read on for my impression of the good and the blah in Criterion's Black.
  • Title: Black
  • Developer: Criterion Games
  • Publisher: EA
  • System:PS2 (Xbox)
If you've seen any ads for this title, you know that the marketers are upfront about the realities of this game. Your purpose in Black is to shoot things. There's no mention of the plot (which is weak) or the graphics (which are only so-so for the current generation); The title offers gunplay as a form of zen experience, a purity of purpose which most games don't attempt. With good reason, I think. Black is essentially a moving shooting range with animated target dummies and scrolling scenery.

Before you get to the shooting, though, you'll need to get past the required plot elements. Live-action segments shot in a smoky briefing room introduce you to the forgettable backstory that punctuates each mission. You're a 'black' operative, pulled from a jail cell where you were awaiting judgment in the wake of some highly questionable actions. A superior officer grills your character under the swinging light of a naked bulb, and the missions you undertake are flashbacks; They are moments remembered by the men in the smoky room rather than ongoing events. Like everything not involving the trajectory of a bullet, this plot feels tacked on after the fact. The live action scenes are an excuse for your movement through the game rather than a force driving your advancement. Given the purpose of the title, I didn't expect much from the plot and so wasn't terribly disappointed. That said, I find it kind of sad that game companies are still willing to okay this thin-mint of a plot; Titles like Half-Life 2 and Halo have more than proven the value of frosting with your wheat.

Gameplay itself is the height of simplicity. Level maps allow for occasional stealth moments, but for the most part you'll know there are enemies about because they start shooting at you. Once you've identified the points in space you need to click on, you'll notice the numerous explosive crates and gasoline-filled vehicles nearby. In an effort to show off their work on the game's physics, the designers provided flammable cover for your enemies. After you've exploded the obvious targets, you can move out among the wreckage and take down the remaining stragglers. Aside from an understandable desire to flee a thrown grenade, the enemy AI is only slightly more advanced than that utilized by some witty mailboxes. Their most confusing move is the 'don't fire at the player' maneuver. While they're more than willing to take badly aimed shots at you from afar, if you do enough juking around up close they seem to get tired and give up. Firing a gun can be confusing when you're that dumb. Maybe they're confused by the boring sameness of the weapons. Despite the concentration on what happens once the trigger is pulled, the weapons themselves are all pretty much the same. You've got your AK, your shotgun, your silenced pistol, etc. None of them feel appreciably different, and the result is that you'll be switching weapons as soon as you find a new one just to keep your ammo levels up. Strategy is hard to come by on pretty much every level of this title.

Beyond that, the game's focus does result in some fairly impressive gunfights. Bullets spatter and spark off of every metal surfaces, throw up clods of dirt as you walk a burst into an enemy combatant, and chew convincingly through the scenery. The term 'fully destructible environment' is not just marketing; The AI never seems to fully grasp that hiding behind stuff isn't that helpful. When you can break up a downed tree into lumber with a few well-aimed bursts, it's easy to get to take out cowering bad guys. It's even easier when the terrorists shoot out their own cover, but that's another story. Other physical elements are just as convincing. Explosions bloom outwards with smoke and fire, and leave noticeable marks on the environment. Bodies fly heavenward when prompted by a grenade or vaporizing vehicle. Criterion chose to make virtually every other element of this game a secondary priority, and it shows. Black's physical environs are one of the most impressive in any shooter I've played.

That physical environment could have looked better, though. In the graphics department, the game looks merely adequate. Screenshots of the Xbox version seem quite polished, but I had to play the PS2 version. I sold my Xbox to offset my purchase of a 360, which won't play this game at all. The PS2 version of Black has the jaggies problem that plagues many titles on that console. Though that distracted from the experience, the quality of the textures throughout the title match up with the best the PS2 has to offer. The game also moved with a very crisp speed. Even when explosions were dominating the screen, there was little to no slowdown. My only real peeve was the monochromatic color pallete used in many of the environments. Urban areas all trend towards a grey sameness, and more naturalistic maps are dominated by simple greens and browns. On the PS2 the drab colors and jagged pixels made navigating through areas like dense jungle somewhat disorienting.

On the other hand, the aural elements of Black are extremely well developed. The detail found in actually firing a weapon is here, with every weapon managing to sound unique. Their watery action prevents a real differentiation, but you can always tell what your opponents are firing merely by the sound their weapons make. All the sound elements are well-crafted, resulting in very satisfying explosions and gunfights that at least sound exciting. Curiously, the occasional musical stings are nowhere near as polished. Ostensibly used to heighten tension, they come across as mostly annoying. After the first few levels I turned them off, and didn't miss them a bit.

Black is a title that could have captured some of the core of gaming fun. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a stripped down shooter that focuses on the gunplay element of the genre. I reviewed two games that captured that quite well at the end of last year, in fact. What makes me dislike this title over those is the immaturity of the game's language. Whereas Quake IV was a military game, focused on the business of shooting, Black feels more like some cynical kids playing at war. The 'bad guys' do dumb things because they're bad. The good guy always has a ton of ammo at hand, and there are copious explosions. Occasional radio chatter with HQ is so loud I can literally hear the sound of the radio's feedback echoing off of the surrounding terrain. The impression I get from the game is that this secret, stealthy agent is working way through the jungle when suddenly you hear "KSHHHHH AGENT BE AWARE OF POSSIBLE TARGETS INCOMING!!!" The fact that your opponents don't react to this loud and obvious element of their surroundings may indicate that you are listening to your radio through earbuds or headphones. I just think it means their AI wasn't programmed to react to that part of the game. The most interesting and telling element of the game's language, though, is that there is no 'use' button. You want to open a door? You shoot it. You want to destroy information on a laptop? You shoot it. Compared to the nuance of another 'black ops' title such as Splinter Cell, the childlike stupidity of the gameworld is almost embarrassing.

To me, that's what makes Black ultimately unappealing. I could tolerate the sameness of the weapons and the flimsy plot. A lack of sophistication can be appealing sometimes, but even Full Auto is a more grown-up game than this particular title. In focusing on one singular aspect of the game, Black's developers have created a title that falls short of its audience. Criterion's other well known franchise, Burnout, manages to bring the zen experience they were aiming for here to the racing genre. I applaud their effort to distill the FPS down to its most basic elements as well, but the result is an uninteresting mess that I have to work to enjoy. If you're an Xbox owner and just need something to take the edge off of the Halo 3 wait, Black will be a great rental for you. Otherwise, you can feel free to give this one a pass.

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Black Review

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  • by BRock97 (17460) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:18PM (#14892853) Homepage
    "Nothing to see here. Please move along."

    Wow, it was that bad, eh?
  • a fully destructible world

    Ooooh! A chance for a Trial Run [qntm.org]?

  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:24PM (#14892930)
    "Level maps allow for occasional stealth moments, but for the most part you'll know there are enemies about because they start shooting at you." ...after level three, I had taken down 345 enemies, 161 with head shots. And I'm not good at first person shooters when the shooting gets quick. If you proceed carefully, you can sneak up on the enemy more often than not. Scout out where they are. And the graphics are quite nice.

    Remember, tracers work both ways.
  • by Ectospheno (724239) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:28PM (#14892967)

    I have to disagree with this review as well as the other reviews on gaming sites. This game is fun. Period.

    I don't give a rats ass about how the graphics compare to other shooters, whether or not every region of my brain is being properly stimulated, or if the plot is "weak". It's just a fun game. Why don't reviews talk about that anymore?

    This game is fun in much the same way Mercenaries is fun and if you let reviews like this keep you from buying it then you are an even bigger idiot than the reviewers.

    • by torchdragon (816357) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:39PM (#14893070) Homepage
      Your scale of fun doesn't relate to my scale of fun. Some of us require cortex stimulation for fun. Blowing stuff up was cool in Mercenaries, Serious Sam 2, Serious Sam, Grand Thef Auto, Half-Life 2, Half-Life, Quake, Quake 2, Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, etc, etc. There are some of us now who would like to have a little more to our games than a spoon and a jar of frosting. Some of us actually want the cake.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Most of the review is spent bemoaning that he did not, in fact, find the game fun.
    • Because if we talk about just in terms of "fun" it shows that we're reviewing mere games. Didn't you get the memo? Games aren't supposed to be fun anymore. They're high art now, like cinemahr.

    • by Lisandro (799651) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:11PM (#14893398)
      I don't give a rats ass about how the graphics compare to other shooters, whether or not every region of my brain is being properly stimulated, or if the plot is "weak". It's just a fun game. Why don't reviews talk about that anymore?

          Much agreed. I have the same issue with movie reviews - i mean, i can enjoy a well crafted, meaningful movie as much as i can enjoy turning my brain off to watch a B-action movie on TV or the latest summer blockbuster. Some reviewers seem to be insulted by the idea that simple entertainment can be, well, entertaining. I have no idea why it is so damn hard to find reviews that can ignore the cheezynees and focus on the fun value. Roger Ebert has been getting better at it though.

          Never mind. Commando [imdb.com] will always be sitting next to Citizen Kane and Dr. Strangelove in my DVD collection.
    • I have to agree, halfway. This is a fun game. I've been playing it for a while. I stopped, however, because I felt the saving was too difficult. I'm not a hard-core gamer so I don't want to spend time doing over the same scenario. If you are a casual gamer, you will do this over and over. Sometimes, you cant save to disk until you finish several checkpoints. Again, some gamers like a challenge.

      I think this game would have been great if it wasn't for this. The graphics are incredible and it would hav

      • Limited saves are a copout for hardcore gamers to make themselves feel better. For the most part, the people that don't want them don't need them, and, for the most part, the people that want them need them, or at least want insurance so that they won't have to shoot their way through the same part of the level that is a bitch several times just to progress. Hard drive space isn't much of an issue to most people these days, especially to those who game.

        It pisses me off to no end that the folks willing to sp
        • I basically agree with you, but unlimited saves is a two-edged sword. Unlimited saves adds a non-fun element to gaming - saved-game management. If you save frequently enough then you get to the point where the UI hiccups when displaying your save game snapshots. So then you have to pick savegames to delete. And unlimited saves also opens the door to perfectionism, where you feel compelled to repeat a section until you feel you've done it well enough to make it worth saving. It can be quite frustrating
    • Because such a review is useless in a world where everyone's idea of "fun" is different.

      A more involved review attempts to describe the experience and the reviewer's reaction to it. Good reviews try to do so in a way that let's the reader figure out if they would agree.

      I thought this review was pretty good because it outlined what the game was about, some things the reviewer thought were good, some he thought were bad, and even better, he explained why he thought so, so I could decide to some extent whethe
    • Mercenaries is vastly more fun, in part because there's so much more to it. I still haven't played every possible Merc scenario. That's how much playability it has. Black is a fun, highly linear shooter that runs out far too soon.
    • You're completely missing the point. Sure, Zonk could have added a "fun" score. And Black would have gotten a low score being Zonk determined that it wasn't fun. He's reviewing a game, of course he's going to seek out the fun. However instead of handwaving, "Hey, it's fun!" or "This isn't fun!" a review has to explain why. Zonk took eight paragraphs to explain his position. He summarized gameplay and had positive things to say about parts of the experience. But for him it didn't come together and he
    • I have to disagree with this review as well as the other reviews on gaming sites. This game is fun. Period.

      I agree with you. I've seen a number of dumb reviews of this nature, and might well have passed this one up. Fortunately, I had a chance to play the demo, and I ran right out and bought it. This game is definitely a blast to play, as long as you don't confuse it with some kind of military simulation. It is more like a playable action movie, with about the same level of plausibility--think "Dynasty Warr
      • I've now had a chance to play the PS2 demo, and I have to admit that the game loses a great deal of its lustre. This is really a game that relies upon immersion for its appeal, and playing it 4:3 aspect ratio and 480i (perhaps the release version at least offers 480p?), with weaker graphics and sound seriously detracts from the appeal of this title. It's still kinda fun, but it's a pale shadow of the XBox version.
  • What Do You mean? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    People are chewing his ass for posting a game review, stating this is not the place? But in the last posted article "How to Clear/Find bottlenecks" in a gaming system is fine... You cant have one without the other... Geeks Play games... whats the problem?
  • by Bromskloss (750445) < ... <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:39PM (#14893066)

    You want to open a door? You shoot it. You want to destroy information on a laptop? You shoot it.

    You want to steal the information on that computer? You shoo... Gah!

    • Re:You shoot it (Score:1, Insightful)

      You want to open a door? You shoot it. You want to destroy information on a laptop? You shoot it.

      That's how it is in real life. When a cop needs to open a locked door he blows the handle off with a shotgun.

      I've Always hated running up to a locked door in a game and it means, oh no you can't go this way please follow the linear game play. Even in games like gta that are supposed to be open ended, you can not simply open a wooden door because it was locked. I think opening doors this way should be included in
      • That's how it is in real life. When a cop needs to open a locked door he blows the handle off with a shotgun.

        I think you need a refresher course on the meaning of "real life". Real life is not what some actor does in a movie or television show.

  • by GweeDo (127172) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:39PM (#14893069) Homepage
    While titles like Resident Evil 4

    Resident Evil 4 was a third person action/horror adventure game, not an FPS...

  • by Khakionion (544166) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:43PM (#14893108)

    I had to play the PS2 version. I sold my Xbox to offset my purchase of a 360, which won't play this game at all.

    Must be nice living in the next generation of gaming.

    ...oh, wait.

    • Since Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter makes Black its bitch, I don't think anyone is really complaining.

      For co-op fans out there: drool over GRAW:
      4 player split screen co-op
      2-16 player co-op online
  • i've played it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ActionAL (260721) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:46PM (#14893142)
    i've played it, and it's not as bad as reviewers make it out to be. the first 1 and 1/2 stages are pretty boring and uninspiring BUT! it gets much better.

    i have to say i love playing some of the latter stages over and over again because sometimes some games create great classic fun scenarios that you find yourself wanting to play that part over and over again. black definately has those stages.

    while black's graphics may be great to look at they truly add to the experience, there's a stage where u hide from a sniper behind gravestones and suddenly the gravestones are shattered by the bullet from the sniper! now you find yourself running and ducking for cover as gravestones shatter around you from sniper fire.

    two words: mine field, you'll come across mine fields more than once in the game, and it is abundantly fun.

    also have you ever wanted to take a heavy machine gun and just stand up like rambo and unload on an entire building, several cars, dozens of enemeies in front of you and have the whole screen explode and go insane for 15 minutes? well black can give you that.

    for those types of scenarios, it's a fantasy well lived.
    • also have you ever wanted to take a heavy machine gun and just stand up like rambo and unload on an entire building, several cars, dozens of enemeies in front of you and have the whole screen explode and go insane for 15 minutes? well black can give you that.

      for those types of scenarios, it's a fantasy well lived.

      I always get a kick out of levels where you get to man a turret/machine gun and just mow down the opposition.

      It's kinda fun.

      On the other hand, I didn't really enjoy Serious Sam 1 or 2. The waves of

      • Gotta disagree about Serious Sam 2. The whole joy of it was that endless stream of enemies, so many that your eyes roll back in your head and you start having uncontrollable spasms. I love that feeling!
    • also have you ever wanted to take a heavy machine gun and just stand up like rambo and unload on an entire building, several cars, dozens of enemeies in front of you and have the whole screen explode and go insane for 15 minutes?

      Every single day of my life. Now, please excuse me. I've got seventeen thousand letters and postcards to sort before the afternoon is done.

  • Plot nazis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cereal Box (4286) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:55PM (#14893223)
    I can't get over the fact that guys like the reviewer will condemn games for not having an intricate, engrossing plot on one hand and on the other hand cry about the lack of "fun" games. As far as I can remember, games like Pacman and Super Mario Brothers didn't really have much of a plot at all (far less than Black, I'm sure), but nobody cared then, and nobody cares now. They're fun games. If you're looking for mental stimulation in video games, you're not doing enough thinking in your day-to-day life. Graduate high school and enter the real world and maybe you'll come to appreciate mindless entertertainment.
    • He also cites Half Life 2 as a good example of a game with a plot. If I recall, the plot of Half Life 2 was kind of flat as well. You're a guy who kicks ass, on a mission to take down an evil dictator and his alien chums. In a twist from the original Duke Nukem, you are a doctor. What made Half Life 2 more immersive than your average shooter wasn't the plot, so much as the characters. Especially with the care and patience Valve took to get the expressions just right on everyone's faces, the people you
    • When I saw reviews of games like Metropolis Street Racer, having people complain about the lack of plot, I just had to say "WTF?". It's a racing game. The only plot I care about is the land that the track is on.

      If I ever see someone complain that Tetris doesn't have a plot, I don't know when the beating will end.
    • Hes so poor, he cant even afford an xbox thats less than $150.

      Surely doing this review he could have at least RENTED an xbox, and if he had any friends
      gone to their house.

    • I think the way some of us have come to feel is that after you've played a first person shooter there isn't a whole lot else too them. In such a scenario a great story is what can make a mediocre game awsome. My favorite game "tie fighter" comes to mind. I mean you run around in a starfighter shooting junk and that's about it. Random things happening with a running story line makes the game less repedative since you are sort of unfolding the story as well as playing through the game.
  • A superior officer grills your character under the swinging light of a naked bulb, and the missions you undertake are flashbacks; They are moments remembered by the men in the smoky room rather than ongoing events.

    Wasn't Max Payne the exact same way? Everything but like the very last level was you being interrogated in a jail cell, and then the final level was you running around the jail shooting things?
  • by dinskeep (657760) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:09PM (#14893373)
    "I applaud their effort to distill the FPS down to its most basic elements as well, but the result is an uninteresting mess that I have to work to enjoy." He applauds their goal but criticizes their success at achieving that goal? That doesn't make sense. Like he said, this game is aimed at people who just like to shoot the crap out of everything in sight. It's great for that. Plots are for books and movies. I also question his assessment that the weapons are boring and all the same. I'm guessing he's never fired a real gun. As you'd expect, the AK-47 is powerful but not very accurate; the HK G36 is both; the submachine gun is neither. The sniper rifle, rocket launcher, and and grenade launcher are fun for their special purpose. Maybe he played it on "easy" and never got the first level, and is pissed?
    • Of course, it ticked me off that the weapons models were wrong. Just taking the AK:

      (1) I've never seen a left hand eject AK, let alone picking one up randomly.
      (2) Silencer? What?
      (3) I've never seen a 60 round box mag for an AK. 50, 75, and 100, sure, but never 60, and not as an issued thing.
      (4) 3 round burst AK's are pretty rare.

      Don't get me started on the other guns.
      • Don't forget the copper jacketed lead bullets sparking when they hit things.

        If they wanted to be realistic, they would give you loads where every other bullet was a tracer round.

        Israeli defense doctrine is to load a magazine so that tracer rounds alternate with regular rounds. In operation, the personnel aim by walking the tracers onto the target.

        Linky:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzi_submachine_gun [wikipedia.org]

        • No one said that they are copper jacketed lead. Indeed, with an AK used by terrorists, they're likely Wolf, which is (if I remember) a steel-washed copper jacket, and they do spark sometimes when they hit the backstop at the range.

          I think US doctrine is every third round, but I'm not sure.

          Besides, remember - a lot of these are being taken from terrorists, so who knows what their combat doctrine is.
          • No one said that they are copper jacketed lead. Indeed, with an AK used by terrorists, they're likely Wolf, which is (if I remember) a steel-washed copper jacket, and they do spark sometimes when they hit the backstop at the range.

            Steel jacket with copper wash, but yeah, they spark like crazy when you hit concrete or stone.

  • Gah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman (158191) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:13PM (#14893412) Homepage Journal
    "The term 'fully destructible environment' is not just marketing; The AI never seems to fully grasp that hiding behind stuff isn't that helpful. When you can break up a downed tree into lumber with a few well-aimed bursts, it's easy to get to take out cowering bad guys. It's even easier when the terrorists shoot out their own cover..."

    Same thing used to happen to me playing Space Invaders.
  • My take (Score:5, Interesting)

    by payndz (589033) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:17PM (#14893452)
    I actually returned it (and swapped it for the Seinfeld season 4 DVDs, which are almost infinitely more entertaining) because I'd seen everything there was to see in three days.

    The main problems I had with it were:
    * Bizarre definition of 'headshots' - sometimes I could hit a guy five or six times in the face with an M-16 from close range, and he'd just shrug it off rather than dying.
    * For a game that was touted as being like a Hollywood blockbuster (I was thinking Commando, Rambo, Die Hard, The Rock), there was a distinct lack of gleeful mayhem and carnage - it very rapidly became 'shoot each guy 30 times to make sure they die. Unless they're armoured, in which case shoot them 60 times.'
    * Unskippable (and boring, and irrelevant to gameplay) FMV before each level - if for whatever reason you power down before finishing a level, you have to sit through the whole thing again next time you play. And unskippable credits? Which are just white text on a black background? What the fuck is that all about?
    * Several levels were tedious attrition rather than all out action. I hated the bridge level. For a start it was almost the same as a level in some WW2 FPS I played last year. And the gameplay was just 'advance slightly. Take cover. Deal with bad guys hiding behind cars. Wait as more bad guys run up to take their places. Advance slightly. Take cover. Deal with bad guys hiding in a bus. Wait as more bad guys run up to take their places. Advance slightly. Take cover. Deal with bad guy with rocket launcher shooting at you from some angle you can't quite figure. Advance slightly...'

    I was hoping it would be the Burnout Revenge of FPS games. Unfortunately, it was just the Burnout. Wait until Black 2 or 3, and they'll probably have got the right amount of fun into the game. But all the tedious advance/cover/shoot stuff made it exactly the same as any other 'realistic' console FPS.

    If you're going to have a game that's 'gun porn', why not treat it like an OTT action movie and just throw in hundreds of disposable, easily-killed goons coming at you from all angles a la Arnie's Commando? I mean, Jesus, why does it take 12-15 bullets to the chest just to put one generic bad guy down? I want a hilarious blood-spurting ragdoll death spasm if I hit him in the toe!

    • * Bizarre definition of 'headshots' - sometimes I could hit a guy five or six times in the face with an M-16 from close range, and he'd just shrug it off rather than dying.

      People don't always die from M16 headshots. Now, use something heavier, like an FN, and there's no question. But it's quite possible if you don't get the target right, that a headshot wouldn't stop them.
      • One shot to the head might not kill you, but it is going to seriously fsck you up. That bullet is designed to penetrate 3.5 mm of steel plate at 570 meters.
    • Returned it? Where did you buy it that they let you return an opened game? This would be good to know.
      • Returned it? Where did you buy it that they let you return an opened game?

        I bought it in the UK, where being able to return goods (for an exchange, even if not a refund) is not only good business as it keeps the customers happy, but also the law.

        UK chains like Game actually offer a 10-day, no-questions-asked exchange policy on all their games, even used ones. In this case, though, I got it from a supermarket - Asda, which is now owned by Wal-Mart - hence the Seinfeld DVD exchange.

    • You sound in desperate need of Painkiller.

      http://pcmedia.ign.com/pc/image/painkiller_012904_ 003.jpg [ign.com]
      To
      http://pcmedia.ign.com/pc/image/painkiller_012904_ 005.jpg [ign.com]

      In just a few easy shotgun blasts.

      Not once since Doom has slaughtering everything that moves been quite so fun.
    • "* Unskippable (and boring, and irrelevant to gameplay) FMV before each level - if for whatever reason you power down before finishing a level, you have to sit through the whole thing again next time you play. And unskippable credits? Which are just white text on a black background? What the fuck is that all about?"

      No kidding....I started watching the credits.....got very frustrated that I couldn't skip them....came on here and made this post...and they're STILL going. What parent didn't mention is that t

    • "If you're going to have a game that's 'gun porn', why not treat it like an OTT action movie and just throw in hundreds of disposable, easily-killed goons coming at you from all angles a la Arnie's Commando? I mean, Jesus, why does it take 12-15 bullets to the chest just to put one generic bad guy down? I want a hilarious blood-spurting ragdoll death spasm if I hit him in the toe!"

      Congratulations. You've just reinvented DOOM!!

      This isn't so bad... considering DOOM is not only my fave video game, it's also th
  • Above review is bad and stupid.

    My review:
    "Piss poor save point design make this game unplayable".

    (1) Bought this game when it came out.
    (2) Tried to return 3 hours later.
    (3) Went through corporate customer service to finally get the store to take it back.

    Problems:

    (1) Game marketed for people 17+ (M rating). Not really a problem, but....
    (2) Levels are so long that some of them take almost an hour to complete - unless you die.
    (3) If you die, you go back to a checkpoint (level 2 has 6 of them, each one taking a
    • It's weird about the game save points. At first they didn't work at all. But later, they did. If you have autosave on, the game will restart at the last checkpoint. But sometimes it didn't work. I think there's a bug in there.
  • by smoker2 (750216) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:38PM (#14893681) Homepage Journal
    After we've just read this ( Blizzard CEO Lays Gay Guild Issue To Rest ) surely this should be entitled " Review of Colour " ?
    • After we've just read this ( Blizzard CEO Lays Gay Guild Issue To Rest ) surely this should be entitled " Review of Colour " ?

      I think I'll wait for the U.S. release.

  • the game offers a fully destructible world where every bullet's trajectory is a story of its own.

    By "fully destructible" do they/you mean in the same manner as Red Faction? Can i blast my way through any wall i choose rather than using the door? Can i did giant holes in the ground with rockets for other players/NPCs to fall in? Can i find secret rooms with cool stuff by tunneling through rock in a similar manner?

    I thought Red Faction was great, if Black is similar to that in the gameplay elements i'd pr

    • Not to that extent. You can blow your way through certain plaster walls, but not the tunneling like in Red Faction...
    • Unfortunately not.

      In purchasing this game, I was hoping for sort of a F.E.A.R. + Red Faction kind of experience. It is kind of a little brother of that collaboration. Not bad, and it takes some time to get there (level 1 is so short, and level 2 is basically an FPS version of Metal Gear Solid 3), but it picks up on level 3.

      Mind that it is only $40 MSRP, so if you have a few bucks to spare and are looking for something just to occupy some time, its a decent buy.
  • The impression I get from the game is that this secret, stealthy agent is working way through the jungle when suddenly you hear "KSHHHHH AGENT BE AWARE OF POSSIBLE TARGETS INCOMING!!!" The fact that your opponents don't react to this loud and obvious element of their surroundings may indicate that you are listening to your radio through earbuds or headphones. I just think it means their AI wasn't programmed to react to that part of the game.

    While the rest of us understand that a "stealth" agent would be we

  • That said, I find it kind of sad that game companies are still willing to okay this thin-mint of a plot; Titles like Half-Life 2 and Halo have more than proven the value of frosting with your wheat.

    What does that even mean? Frosting with your wheat? Is he talking about some twisted yet seductive frosting sandwich [mnstate.edu], the likes of which can only be safely handled via robot? I can't even tell what kind of value judgement he is trying to levy against (for?) Half-Life 2 and Halo!

  • Does anyone else hate it when companies name games things like "Black"? Look, guys, if I want to see something about a game, I should be able to Google for the title. Searching for "Black" is not going to get me anything about this game. I even have to go to the second page if I search for "Black +game", because of the proliferance of "Black & White" and Half-Life ("Black Mesa") references. Not to mention that I'd feel more than a little stupid walking into a store and asking "Do you have Black in s
    • Try searching for Driver. Yeesh!
    • ...a little stupid walking into a store and asking "Do you have Black in stock?"...I'd expect to be directed to the paint isle.

      Come on, now. Paint at a paint store, games at a games store. Maybe you're going to someplace like Walmart to get your games, who also sells paint. But you're the idiot if you're asking for games help anywhere besides the electronics dept. .

      It must be realy embarasing when you go to the Cristian book store to get your scat videos.
  • I guess this one will be banned in Tennesee [slashdot.org].
  • Red Faction? Man I really wish they implemented that system a bit better. Geomod FTW.
  • when I get my copy, I'm gonna crank my Pearl Jam CD up to 11 and play Black on my speakers while I blow away all the opposition.

    I don't like FPS, but this one sounds FUN!
  • The game's way, way too short. I was shocked at how little game there was to this game. I remember how long it took to play all the levels of both Halo games. Black has maybe one-third as many maps. Just as you really get good at it, it's over. What a drag.
  • OOOoooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.... things that go boom!
  • I think this game was really good, although I do agree that the plot was really weak. Maybe the PS2 version isn't as good, but the Xbox one that I played had really good graphics, IMO, and the physics and everything felt fine. It was a pretty short game, but I found it fun playing it a second time on Hard. I think it had 8 levels total, but each level is really REALLY long. I played one level on black ops (the difficulty past Hard) and it's cool because you get unlimited ammo and you always start with a
  • Very typically a Halo fanboy review: search for Zonks and Halo - my god, youd think its the only game hes ever played. The review makes alot more sense after seeing that.

    "Its not Halo, so it must be crap".

    Some of his comments are almost hilarious:

    "That physical environment could have looked better, though. In the graphics department, the game looks merely adequate. Screenshots of the Xbox version seem quite polished, but I had to play the PS2 version. I sold my Xbox to offset my purchase of a 360, which won

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.

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