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Memory Usage
First Person Shooter
Criterion Games/Software
Electronic Arts
59KB Minimum
February 2006

Black is the new color for destruction!

Review Date: 29/08/06

Criterion is a Game Developer based in Guildford, England. Which is best known for its amazing stunning work on the Burnout series. What they did for the racing genre they are trying now do for the FPS genre with this game Black. By bringing the fast paced adrenaline metal mangling destruction of burnout into the form of exploding cars, buildings, towers from rockets and everything being blown to rumple by bullets and grenades.(Please read on to see if they done what they have planed to do.)

The story follows your character Sgt. 1st. Class Jack Keller who is a Black Ops soldier which is a specialist CIA covert group. It begins with you being interrogation with questions about terrorists and the operations in was in that toke place in the last 4 days. As Keller describes about his missions and what happened the game flashbacks to each missions which you then play.

Just like what Criterion did on the Burnout series was stunning, the same is said here if not better. So much detail it has in the game it really does have the Wow factor to it and it be very hard to choose 5 games that comes close or equal to the gorgeous graphics Black has got not only on the PS2 but on any console. From even something as everyday items like glass windows have that amazing reflecting lighting. The glare of light from metal objects that if possible you could fell the heat. Ok you maybe thinking yeah that sounds great but that is when everything is calm, nice and has that new look to it. When the bomb drops then destruction has never looked so beautiful.

Starting with the bullets, letting rip with a clip of your rifle around the place will have the glass smashing the small pieces, following your trail of fire leaves bullet holes through the walls, floor cars anything. See that tower up there? Not for long, shoot a rocket at it and it explodes in the pieces with the tower coming down in half leaving smoke to pour out. Stuck in a room then just blow the doors of its hinges with a shotgun. How about being on the other side and want to get it, Throw grenades through the window and get back. As what you get is not only the shattering of the glass and even the door being blow back outwards towards you but even the bricks, mortar and the roof can be demolished with enough force will let the beams of light in.

The last level is a great place to mention the level of destructive graphics. Where as you in a big room with a walkway at one side with loads of windows right the way along it, rooms full of big boxes which I'm guessing has ammo in it, explosive barrels around the place too. What I like doing here and many other times in the game is to just go mad by throwing all my grenades through the windows, switching to my heavy machine which holes loads of ammo and start blazing bullets everywhere, with panels of shattering glass, ammo boxes and barrels exploding into multiply bursts of flames along with the grenades. Ones the flames and dust settles down it's greatly satisfying to see everything obliterated even the 4 big pillars destroyed right down it's bones of the metal rode like you would see in the lobby area of the Matrix film but even to the more extreme.

Taken into account what that room is like and what grenades can do to towers and buildings, through out the whole game you will encounter areas like this everywhere you look and I am glad the makers of burnout has made a FPS.

With destruction at this amount in the game you would really be let down if the sound was bad but Black also gets top marks here by ticking the right boxes. From the shattering of the glass the sounds it makes is like sweet music to my ears and its odd to think that the equivalent in real life would make you jump. Rumbling explosions that could deafening you for real with its thunderous booms that real adds to the atmosphere and really know Criterion has giving you something special to play.

The same goes for the music, at times when you are walking about and the place is empty, totally deserted there's a calm tune playing with a hint of spooky sounds take starts that gives you the feeling that's something is about to kick off and it usually does with rockets and loads of enemies ambushing you in the open. Plus there's the fast paced music in some of the gun fights that's adds to the action of the gameplay.

The controls just like any other FPS are all ways basically the same, where as the L1 is to aim and R1 to shoot and the other 2 buttons are used for Crouching and throwing grenades. The square button is used for pick up and swapping weapons as only two you can hold. You have a melee attack with the O button and the triangle can be used to attach or detached your suppressor if you have it and is for that gun. You can also change your fire mode from single to burst and fully automatic with up on the d-pad, which of course I did not bother with at first but relished that the single shoot has much more accuracy. The only problem I had with the layout was that I sometimes wasted health packs by pressing down to use them when I was thinking it was to change fire mode.

The gameplay is just basically a simple shooter and which they have done a great job and you could even say done to perfection. With other games of this type you may get things to do like pressing switches, using computer points, finding keys to open doors and so on with mean different things, but with black you get non of that and its just a straight shooter letting you destroy everything in your path. From the start the first level lets your cause chaos by blowing up cars, taking out the pillars of a museum, blowing the door of its hinges, destroying phone boxes and any everyday objects can be mangled. Turning a street in to war zoom has never been this much funny.

Some of the levels keeps you as a one man team but others you will be accompanied by 1 or 2 other special ops members and keeping with simple play of the game there's no orders involved, so you can get on with what you are doing while the other team members attack and also watch your back. They have been given good AI so they move and attack with good intelligences, making the game feel that extra bit real and even they shout out if there's a incoming rocket or if they under very heavy fire and need your help.

There are 8 levels which all you have to do is get to the end while either taking out all the enemies, blowing defense points or breaking into there bases to find info and try to take out the leaders of these terrorists. The first although great is very short but as you progress the levels not only dives deeper into the story alone with tougher enemies but also the length of the levels change. Starting off in a street fight, you continue through big wooded area, attacking there base and getting to a farm that's under fire. Then onto many different locations that all well designed like the bridge where you get to do some long range silent shots, to cities, ruins, underground bases, sewers and even a graveyard where you most hind behind gravestones as a sniper is take shots at you, which is another great level as the is debris of stones flying everywhere as you working you way close to the sniper and to somewhat safety of a building.

Other cool effects that makes the game feel more real and gives it a better atmosphere is when you reload your gun the surrounding area goes into a burry as your character focuses on he's gun which is what you get in real life for example if you were to look and focus on your finger close up everything around you goes into a blurry. The other effect is when you been shot to a very low amount of health the screen slows down and goes black and white to show you are about to die plus as its slows down it gives you a bit of time to realize it and then heal your self with a medi-pack. Although if you don't get shot again you will heal slightly this then brings the color back to the screen and to normal speed.

Although this type of chaotic destruction is very rare on consoles and is special in Black this will be the norm for many games to come on the next-generation of gaming for the Playstation 3.

The is any easy mode which should that long at all as I played it first time on normal and completed it in about a week, ones completed thought you unlock silver weapons which I though would be new weapons but all it was is all the guns are make out of very shiny silver metal, that does look really good and also have unlimited ammo apart from grenades but is great fun walking around with a rocket launcher. There also a hard mode which is probably really only for experts as normal was very hard at the end but if completed then unlocks Black Ops difficulty mode from which I've found out is extra hard and it also gives you a M16 Assault Rifle with an M203 grenade launcher.

So apart from replaying the game on different difficulties there is nothing else to play or unlock. If they were to make sequel then I really do hope that add a multiplayer mode plus online mode and maybe a co-op mode.

This is one of the greatest games on the PS2 and is a must to play, but as there is very little replay value that may last up to 2 weeks then you should either rent it or try to get it cheap.



Replay Value,
Final Rating:

Review Date: 29/08/06

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