Black (Xbox)

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Written by  :  AkibaTechno (254)
Written on  :  Aug 01, 2010
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  1.71 Stars1.71 Stars1.71 Stars1.71 Stars1.71 Stars

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Sad, sweaty gun porn.

The Good

Black is one of the worst games I have ever played. The developers tapped into that shameful, primal desire to shoot things and blow shit up and ended up creating this total joke of a game. Therefore it is funny to play this game in short bursts. That's a positive attribute I suppose.

The gun models in Black look brilliant and the fantastic faux HDR and depth of field effects are very impressive.

The Bad

Black is at its core nothing more than gun porn. It's one of the shallowest, most vacuous things I have ever played. You play someone who might as well just be Doom guy running around eastern Europe blowing up slums while killing the exact same Russian guy over and over again.

The laughable thing is, there is supposed to be a plot here. There is an arms smuggler known as the William Lennox who is part of some sort of overwrought, ridiculous operation called Seventh Wave trying to fuel countries in political turmoil with arms. It gives me a headache even thinking about the trite, Tom Clancy-esque crap that the game relies on to carry the flimsy gameplay.

If you REALLY want to play Black, you will play it for the shooting. Criterion not only put no effort into providing a compelling FPS experience they actually omitted things like jumping and the ability to OPEN DOORS, most likely to fit in some more pew pew sound effects. This effectively turns your character into a camera on a stick with a gun sticking out of it. There is not one ounce of realism in this game. I don't expect my games to be ultra realistic, but by 2006 I would expect to be able to jump and open doors in a first person shooter. Oh, I'm sorry, you can open doors but you have to shoot them with a shotgun to dislodge them from their hinges. You don't have a shotgun? Too bad you never learned how to turn a doorknob.

The level design is atrocious, amounting to nothing more than a monotonous, endless slog through eastern European slums, refineries and asylums. There are no level goals, no objectives, only the exact same collectibles every single level and a hilarious parade of this identical Russian guy.

I'm not exaggerating. It's basically the exact same person every single time, whether he is dressed in riot gear, an army uniform or some sort of other generic garb. How do I know? They all act and sound identical. The AI is absolutely woeful. Your enemies will walk up to you firing their weapon or slide in and out of cover. In a game that offers nothing more than simple shooting having bad AI is not a good thing. There is one hilarious example of the crappy AI that stands out from all of the others. There is a riot shield bearing soldier later in the game, who kneels down and protects himself from grenade blasts when you throw one near him. However he just totally ignores you while he waits for the grenade to explode. What does this mean? It means he leaves his back completely exposed letting you simply throw another grenade at him blowing him to high hell.

One last thing. When you shoot people in Black, which is pretty much the only thing you can do, they emit sparks and small puffs of smoke and fall down in an awkward, comically timed scripted animation when they die. It's like you're fighting hordes of Putty Men from Power Rangers.

The Bottom Line

Black is a game that could only appeal to the most testosterone intoxicated of players. It has virtually no substance, no variation in level goals, no conceivable objective system, ugly environments with no variation and an endless procession of the most brain damaged AI opponents I have ever faced. The control system is archaic and inconceivably rigid and the story is one of the most hackneyed I have ever witnessed.

The only redeeming feature of Black are the gun models and nice lighting effects. That's not a very long list is it?