Review by Jason Westhaver



Graphics: 9

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


black1xbox.jpg (15008 bytes)When Black was shown off at E3 2005 the common gamer thought, "Hey cool, and FPS that looks like it was done by Jerry Bruckheimer", but Criterion had another word for it, Gun-Porn. Sadly that term couldn't be more accurate because just like with real porn, once you get off the fun is over. It's not that Black is a bad game, because it's not it's a good solid FPS, but there's just nothing there to grip you and make you want to keep playing.

The missions are of the 'point-to-point, fire and move' variety with little effort placed on strategic combat. You'll often find yourself wanting to employ Ghost Recon-like strategy, but instead of flanking enemies the best, and oddly the most effective strategy is to just charge into the breach unloading a massive amount of ammo from an AK-47 while popping grenades left right and center.

In an attempt to add a little more substance Criterion has added "Secondary Objectives" but instead of being goals that will aid or in some way affect your mission, they are in fact nothing more then a collection fest. To make things worse you're actually required to collect a set number of these Secondary Objectives in order to complete your mission. If they had served some purpose such as unlocking hidden weapons or cheats then they'd make sense, but instead they're nothing more then a waste of time.

The graphics in Black are some of the finest seen this generation and although slowdowns are noticeable on the venerable PS2, they aren't common enough to interfere with gameplay. Unfortunately for some unknown, probably metaphorical reason, every time you zoom out or reload everything on the screen except for your gun will blur. It's obtrusive, unnecessary and in some situations it will cost you a great deal of health. Thankfully this bad idea can be bypassed by quickly hitting Reload, Melee, Reload.

black2xbox.jpg (11191 bytes)Explosions, the biggest selling point of Black, are done with the utmost level of perfectionism and look just as beautiful which should come as no surprise since Black was created by the team that brought us Burnout. Black is a stunning game visually but surprisingly the sound is even better.

Guns sound exactly like you'd want them to sound with deep bass accompanying the massive explosions and sharp surround sound highlighting the shards of metal and glass flying around you. The orchestral background music works hard to provide much needed emotion and tension and out shines the impressive explosions to become the single best part of the Black experience.

Black is short and complete lack of multiplayer causes the game to have almost zero staying power, but that being said the gameplay is solid and the explosions and sound are amazing enough to at least warrant a rent. It's a good first step into the FPS realm for Criterion, but it falls well short of its full potential


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Last updated: Sunday, March 12, 2006 11:51 PM