Black (Xbox) review
"As I walked away from a pile of fiery rubble with dead soldiers scattered about (originally a heavily-guarded canal), I heard the darnedest thing come out of my guy's mouth: "
As I walked away from a pile of fiery rubble with dead soldiers scattered about (originally a heavily-guarded canal), I heard the darnedest thing come out of my guy's mouth:
"Blockhouse made safe; minimal resistance; proceeding to RV; out."
There are many ways I could describe the action in Black, and all of them don't include the word "minimal". You'll realize this the moment you begin the first mission in this frantic FPS. Everything is calm (except for the chatter on the radio) as you stack up on ammo and weapons in a rusty, small room, but the minute you exit the building (by force of a shotgun blast through the door) and look down at your first target (who I originally thought was one of my guys), all hell breaks loose. As you kill the soldier, you realize you just walked into a warzone on the city streets of Veblensk: people are screaming and cursing over the radio, enemy soldiers come out of hiding like ninjas, a hail of bullets fly through the smoky sky, and there you are, in the middle of it all, not knowing whether to take cover or shoot like a madman. And you'll love every second of it.
One of the first things you notice in Black is how almost everything you shoot at can be destroyed or ripped apart. You can blow up cars (along with the men hiding behind them) with a pistol, kill a sniper with a rocket launcher and watch as he falls from the crumbling tower, and throw a grenade into an office building and watch as the windows shatter simultaneously with soldiers flipping out. It's all visually impressive to watch, and thankfully, there's absolutely no slowdown at all in this game. This all happens in the first mission that lasts under ten minutes, by the way.
Don't fret, the rest of the missions are much lengthier, making the first look like a sneak peek of what's to come. Take for instance the second mission, Treneska Border Crossing, in which you're running through a forest at night and forcing your way through several heavily-guarded checkpoints (y halo thar, blockhouse) with no help whatsoever. Then there's Naszran Town, where you'll be dodging sniper fire in a graveyard and running through ditches in a crippled city avoiding missile fire. Hell, it felt like I was invading Nazi Germany at times. If you think the action is insane in those early missions, then you're in for a rude awakening when they beef up the intensity in the later missions. The Graznei Bridge mission is a very good example. Here, you and two other INVINCIBLE soldiers (I swear, no matter how much they get hit, they never die) take on a heavily-guarded (noticing a theme?), lengthy bridge where you'll be met with every type of soldier Black has to offer. That, and landmines.
The only "big" flaw I can point out in this action-packed extravaganza is that it's a short game. Eight missions in all, you can finish Black in a week if you play a mission a day. Or, if you have no life, beat it within a day. But each mission packs enough oomph to them, that you'll keep coming back and drown in a sea of adrenaline that they throw at you. Black may not be as epic as Halo or Half-Life 2, but it offers a lot of DESTRUCTION, CHAOS, AND DEATH in a small package. Only a sissy wouldn't want that.
Are you a sissy?
Featured community review by dementedhut (March 16, 2006)
Alternative header: Rock and a Hard Place
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