Judging by the amount of emails I’ve received over the past couple days asking “you’re playing Black? how is it?”, I’m assuming people actually check out my Currently Playing section.

So, how is Black you ask? It’s just as rad as you were hoping it would be! Criterion have taken their desire for extremely fast paced action with tons of shit blowing up that made the Burnout series so great and applied it to a first person shooter. I was fully expecting this game to be pure run-and-gun, but it’s not entirely. There’s actually a strategic element to it where you’re forced to use cover to get around well hidden enemies. It’s very tough at times as just about everything in the environment can be destroyed. So that concrete wall you’re hiding behind might not be there in 5 seconds.

Black

I’ve played the first 4 missions so far and impressed by the variety in the environments and mission style. The first one groups you with a squad and takes place in a modern city. It was pretty intense fighting the entire time and only lasted about 11 minutes. Where the second mission you’re on your own in the middle of a wooded area and have to sneak you’re way through a few security check points. Granted, I didn’t get through one undetected and blew up just about everything in my path along the way. Missions 2, 3 and 4 lasted about 40-50 minutes each, putting me at almost 3 hours of play time so far. There’s no quick save (which is hella annoying) and the check points are few and far between. While on mission 4, I was about 15 minutes in when I got rushed by a handful of dudes and was taken down. I was shocked to find myself back at the beginning of the level. I didn’t mind redoing it ’cause it was wicked fun. I’m just hoping I don’t find myself back where I started several times in the same mission.

They’ve done some pretty cool things with Black to set it apart from the other first person shooters. When you reload, your vision is focused on the weapon and everything in background is blurred out. The crosshair is a tiny, white dot which changes to red when you’re on an enemy, green is for friendly, blue for objective (lots of documents, etc. to destroy along the way) and black for explosive. I get all giddy each time it turns black as there’s always a fantastic explosion to follow.

One thing I had heard in previews of Black that had me a little worried was the use of live action cut scenes. I hate seeing real people in video games. It totally takes you out of the game and for the most part the acting sucks and it looks like a made for tv movie airing on a local station. I’m stoked to say this is not the case with Black! The cut scenes are fantastic! You hardly ever see anyone’s full face and they’re stylized enough that they almost don’t look like real people. Very well done.

I’ll be doing a proper review of the game once I finish it – which shouldn’t be too long at the rate I’m going. I picked up a capture device so I can now grab video from consoles, so I’ll be including video footage for my Black review as well. w00t!

More to come…

11 Comments

Looks pretty darn fun, but then I never play FPS games on my PS2… although I’ve never tried…

Wondering whether you’ve played Shadow of the Colussus because I’m seriously thinking about buying that as it’s been getting some amazing reviews.

Yeah dude, I’m having lots of fun with Black. Played a few more missions now and pretty hooked on it.

I’ve only played Shadow of the Colossus briefly, but it was pretty cool shit for sure. It seems to be getting more buzz since it’s UK release than it did a few months ago when it was released here in North America. Thinking about renting a PS2 for a few days to play it… and God of War again. Man, that’s a good game!

My claim to fame, I just got back from Italy, snowboarding, having met one of the lead programmers for the Burnout games and Black =)

Irrellevent maybe, but I’m gonna have to get a hold of this!

I’m planning on getting an xbox again, i had one when i was at my parents but left it with my little brothers. And this game has got my attention and reason to get an xbox again, and media centre that bitch up!

@Sam: That’s pretty rad. I’ve seen some interviews with the Criterion guys and they seem pretty cool.

@Joshua: Nice. I don’t know if I would say Black is good enough to go out and get an Xbox, but if you’re planning to mod it and use XBMC, then definitely pick one up! XBMC is the shit!

yeh well i’ve been meaning to get one for a while and mod it up. there are some other games that i wanna get into aswell. well alot of the sport ones. (i have a secret love for some sport games 😡 )

and you’ll have to give me your MC software or at least the theme you use, from what i seen i really like it.

@Josh: If you can believe it, the screenshots you saw on Flickr were of the default theme. The latest builds of XBMC have been simply amazing. They’re adding huge features with every release too.

So far I haven’t been impressed but I’ll be the first to (freely) admit, I’m not in the target "core gamer" demographic. I expect more from the industry than simply shooting and blowing things up.

While I completely understand that BLACK fills a desire for many gamers, it’s ultimately disapointing for me to see something so base and unimaginative in a long line of disapointing and unimaginative titles.

Frankly, at this point, a box of matches and a can of gasoline, cleverly packaged as a video game might get a really great review too.

No disrespect to any of you who love this game, I’m just not as jazzed about it.

Great blog!

@Paolo: Your comment wasn’t offensive in the least, so no worries.

I definitely see where your’e coming from and can understand how you would be sick and tired of mindless run-and-gun games. However, I do see black as standing out in the crowd… a bit.

The empaphasis is on the guns and destruction. The pure chaos that fills every environment and balls-out action. That’s it, in a nutshell. The developers were going for an 80s action movie feel. They wanted to bring the hollywood blockbuster, old school Arnol/Sylvester type action to gaming. And in these areas, Black excels.

Oh shit, if i keep writing, I’m gonna give away my review. Probably not the best thing to do while I’m waiting for the edited video to render. 😉

Anyway, thanks for your great comment. I will say that I was in no-way blown away by Black as I have been with other games recently. You’ll have to come back for my review and see if you agree with some of the points I will cover.

I’l be here; no worries.

For the record, I’m a fan of 80s action. Those were my years and there is no badder ass action star than Bruce Willis playing John McClane in Die Hard. Now that’s action! Smart action!

"Shoot the glass!"

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