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Electronic Arts






M (Mature)



Q1 2006



- Delivers on the promise of guns, guns and more guns
- Adrenaline-filled gameplay to keep gamers coming back for more
- Great-looking graphics prove that the Xbox still has graphical muscle



- Where’s the multiplayer?
- Gameplay can get too linear
- A.I. at lower difficulty setting gets too predictable



Review: Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (XB)

Review: Far Cry Instincts (XB)

Review: Breakdown (XB)

Review: Burnout Revenge (360)



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Score: 8.6 / 10


black review          black review


With the “stars” of the game being touted as the multitude of military weaponry you wield against your foes with extreme prejudice, the first-person shooter Black has been self-described as “gun porn.” It’s true you may need a cigarette or two to calm you down from the exhilarating gunplay at work in Black. But the game has uneven and predictable A.I. and a sometimes-too-linear path to follow in addition to the ultimate FPS sin today, a lack of online multiplayer. Ultimately, Black doesn’t provide much more than an early, point-blank adrenaline rush before being a bit off the mark later on, although overall it still is another good FPS within striking distance of the bull’s-eye it intended to shoot for.

Straight from the development folks at Criterion Games that took a new, hardcore and intense spin on the racing game with its Burnout franchise, Black follows the strike force activities of the BLACK ops squad of the United States military, serving




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as a special protector of the American way from foreign and domestic threats. Black’s solution to solving theses threatening situations? Blow them the hell out of the existence with a vast array of impressive military weaponry. Black is proud of the fact that you’ll be eradicating the enemy with a cadre of soldiers trained to kill, kill, and kill some more with pistols, rifles, machine guns, rocket and grenade launchers and everything in-between and beyond, all


in the name of the U.S.A. way of life.

Black tells its story through live-action cut-scenes retelling the entire game’s single-player adventure as an after-the-fact interrogation of what really happened. But the plot gets a bit too twisted and convoluted to follow closely. Fortunately, the gameplay picks up the fumbled story and takes it to a action-packed, intensified end zone of a full-fledged running and gunning, adrenaline-filled kill-fest.

The primary objective of Black is to get from point A to point B while purging everyone foolishly in your path. However, although the action is hot and smoking as the barrel firing hundreds of rounds from your weapon, Black sometimes get lost in a maze of linear gameplay and predictable A.I. While the A.I. does ramp up to the Mensa zone on higher difficulties, on most it isn’t too tough to shoot hot lead into most enemies you’ll face The best tactic, one that the game actually encourages and rewards, is to use destructible objects strewn throughout the game to help you in your killing task, such as conveniently placed gasoline storage containers outside buildings enemy soldiers may be currently occupying or vehicles with opportunely unobstructed gasoline tanks in your gun’s sightline.

Just a few shots from your gun and you’ll unleash an exhilaratingly explosive maelstrom upon the enemy and clear a road (linear, at that) towards the next mission at hand. Using the strategy of blowing up key components of the game environment is the easiest way to make a winning journey through Black, particularly taking into account that killing enemies strictly using your weapon is a sometimes-arduous assignment. It seems like almost every enemy you wind up shooting instead needs practically a full clip pumped into him for him to perish, unless you use another overtly suggested killing methodology, the headshot.


black review          black review

Graphically, Black is a visual stunner, joining the A-list of handsome Xbox titles. The guns again are the stars in the graphic department, with some of the most gorgeous weaponry visuals you’ll ever see. The character models and varying game environments are also extremely well done, proving that while the next generation of console graphical greatness is already upon us with the Xbox 360, the Xbox still has a visually stellar performance or two still left in it.

Unfortunately, while Black is fun while it lasts, it doesn’t last very long, ending your immorally enjoyable shooting spree too soon. Making matters worse, there’s absolutely no multiplayer at all. Black’s entirely a single-player affair. It’s hard to believe that there’s a FPS released today without the standard multiplayer that extends the lifespan of even the most average of FPS gaming undertakings.

Black comes at you with all guns blazing, but lacks the firepower to be a truly special game in the caliber of Halo 2. The A.I. predictability coupled with linear game levels somewhat dampen the invigorating, bullets-flying-everywhere gameplay that will have your ears ringing from gunfire hours after playing. And no multiplayer? Why Black is missing that aspect, which is practically a given feature in each and every FPS released today, is harder to figure out than the “magic bullet” theory. But Black’s still a heart-and-gun-pumping thrill ride for most of your dark journey, sure to please the card-carrying NRA member in all of us gamers.

- Lee Cieniawa

(March 31, 2006)


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