Even though we just talked about managing the build up of games we haven’t played yet, a new entry into the crowded FPS multi-player field just debuted yesterday. Only, if you went to Blacklight: Tango Down’s official website, you wouldn’t know it. Even though the game is live on XBLA for 1200 points, the site still says “coming summer 2010”. For an otherwise well-done site, that’s a critical error for a developer trying to break into a very crowded field.
That aside, how does the game play? Let’s fire it up and find out!
First impressions: the game has an obvious futuristic vibe, something which is present throughout the overall visual and audio presentation. Seeing that it’s only $15, will the gameplay hold up to AAA releases like Modern Warfare 2?
The emphasis here is clearly on a pseudo-RPG unlock structure. We’ve talked about different methods of ‘realism’ in FPS weapon design. Blacklight clearly falls on the Modern Warfare side of the divide, with numerous weapons and unlocks on offer. I’ve only just scratched the surface, so time will tell if this is a better or worse structure.
Still some technical glitches. It took several tries to get an active match this afternoon, but the game’s UI makes it difficult to tell if that’s simply because there’s no one online or something else is going on. Nor is the aforementioned poorly informative website much help, either.
Impressive graphics for $15
- A great future vibe for people sick of the pseudo-Arabian and Eastern bloc environments of Modern Warfare 2. Combat occurs in streets, alleys, and in one map– the tops of buildings that you must jump around to keep from falling to your death.
- Carrying a different primary weapon drastically alters running speed. In fact, switching from carrying an AR to an SMG increased my speed so much that the first time I did it, it was almost disorienting.
- The re-spawn and death animations are cool. When re-spawning, the player model (as much as you can see in an FPS) appears as pixels and then gradually forms into shape. When you die, your body crumples like in the Medal of Honor beta, but as it falls, it deforms into pixels. It’s a neat little addition to differentiate the game–only it’s over so quickly, it’s near-impossible to get a good screenshot of it.
- Fans of Modern Warfare will feel right at home. Much like the Medal of Honor beta, it’s clear the designers wanted players of Activision/Infinity Ward’s juggernaut to be able to jump right in and play. The control layout is exactly the same–minus the game-changing kill/death-streaks
You spawn in the same point every time.
- You die–a lot. Also like the Medal of Honor beta, it takes very little to get hit fatally. And when you do die, depending on which side of the map you’re on, you’ll spawn in the same point. It’s too early to tell whether this means repetitive gameplay, but personally I hate seeing the same space every time I spawn.
- Will it gain enough support to make matches easy to find? This will only become evident over time.
Should you buy it? The demo is free, which gives an hour of active gameplay (i.e., it only counts down during a match, not during menus), which gives a good sense of the game. Try it–and for $15, it’s pretty damn impressive.
Need a card? As much as I plug for my local Gamestop, Amazon has much better deals on Xbox Live points cards–if you have the patience to wait in the mail.