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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Novalogic / Vivendi

 

Developer

Rebellion

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

July 26, 2005

 

 

- Intense and action packed gameplay

- Online Play is decent

- Cooperative Mode is quite good

 

 

- Cannot drive vehicles

- Visuals are quite bad

- Gameplay is fairly straightforward and simplistic

- No real storyline or character development

- No bots for offline play

- Weapon balancing causes problems in online play

- Upgrading system seems pointless

 

 

Review: SOCOM: US Navy Seals (PS2)

Review: SOCOM II (PS2)

Review: Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain (PS2)

 

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Delta Force: Black Hawk Down

Score: 6.9 / 10

 

History Lesson:

 

In 1992 the United Nations, along with the United States, launched Operation Restore Hope in an effort to suppress the growing famine, insecurity and clan warfare that had ravaged the East African country of Somalia. The military force which arrived on the beaches of Somalia in 1992 was made of mostly American troops which played a pivotal role in opening supply lines, protecting Non-Governmental Organizations and ensuring the safe distribution of food and aide. As success was being made in the horn of Africa, the newly elected Clinton Administration took office and scaled back its presence in the country. As the slow withdrawal of American troops took place, insecurity and clan warfare began creeping back into Somalia.

 

In the summer of 1993 President Clinton ordered the deployment of Task Force Ranger, which consisted of elite US Army Commandos (Army Rangers and Delta Force Operatives). Codenamed Operation Gothic Serpent, Task Force Rangerís mission objectives differed from those troops who were involved in Operation Restore Hope. Task Force Rangers mission objective involved targeting a powerful warlord by the name of Mohammed Farah Aidid in the capital city of Mogadishu. The movie and the book, Black Hawk Down are based on the final mission US troops were involved in during there operations in Somalia. The final raid Task Force Ranger carried out in Somalia left 18 American Soldiers and over 1,000 Somaliís dead. The political fallout and the grizzly image of a dead American soldier being dragged through the dusty streets of Mogadishu forced the Americans to withdraw all their troops from the region and scrub any plans of apprehending Aidid.

 

black hawk down review          black hawk down review

           

Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (BHD) lets you experience the ten months US forces spent in Somalia and itís important to note that BHD is in no way connected to the movie or book of the same name.  None of the characters from the movie or book make appearances in the game.

 

The first few missions of the game put you in the shoes of a 10th Mountain Infantry soldier carrying out missions such as protecting convoys and destroying weapons shipments. From there you take the role of a Special Forces soldier carrying out more dangerous missions that center around targeting individuals who are of interest to you.

 

BHD consists of sixteen single player missions. Each of the sixteen missions plays out exactly the same. Each of these levels is comprised of linear environments that see you shoot down gunmen after gunmen with some variation thrown in for good measure. Aside from the regular on-foot action seen in so many military shooters there are some ďon railĒ segments where you can ride in humvees, little birds and Black Hawk helicopters. Unfortunately you cannot control any of the vehicles, just sit in them or take control of the machine guns mounted on them.

 

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For all but one of the missions in the campaign youíll be accompanied by AI controlled soldiers. They can be given commands by use of a fairly simple command system or via the headset. The AI for your own soldiers is decent, but not outstanding. Targeting enemy soldiers can sometimes pose a problem for your troops as youíll have your soldiers sending dozens of bullets towards the enemy, but the enemy wonít die. Other times your soldiers will incapacitate an enemy within a fraction of a second before you can react.

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The enemy AI is fairly simplistic. Usually enemies will run into your fire and towards your team. There are some occasions where enemies will take cover and shoot at you. To be fair though, the Somali militiamen in real life didnít exactly display a tactical fighting style.

 

Since a majority of the game takes place in urban locales in and around Mogadishu, the levels have been populated with civilians. Unlike the PC version the civilians just really stand around and do nothing. In the PC version, civilians would each act differently towards you. Some civilians would pelt you with stones and other civilians would wave to you or ignore you to give you some kind of a feeling you were in a hostile or friendly environment. Unfortunately none of this is evident in the PS2 version of the game.

 

The PS2 version features a skill system. Each time you complete a mission you earn a certain number of stars based on your performance. You can use these stars to buy new weapons, med kits, ammo or even use the stars to improve your soldierís performance in areas such as marksmanship, leadership, endurance, etc. Honestly speaking though, I didnít notice much of a difference from when my soldier was underdeveloped in stats to when he was fully developed.

 

black hawk down review          black hawk down review

 

The single player campaign is extremely short, regardless of what level of difficulty youíre playing on. You can easily finish the game in five hours. There isnít much of a reason to go back to the campaign mode, but there are ten missions out of the campaign that can be played co-operatively with a friend. The co-operative mode is extremely fun and allows you to play alongside two AI controlled soldiers. BHD also offers split screen play for up to four players, but itís nothing special, considering there are 25 maps to choose from and no bots to play with.

 

The real bulk of BHD lies in the online mode. BHD supports a ridiculous 32 players online at once, but donít be fooled by that number. You can only play with 32 players online through dedicated servers, but if you host a game on your own connection you can only host a maximum of eight players. The online setup is fairly good, supporting an in-depth ranking system awarding players with medals based on performance. There also are friends lists available, but unfortunately no clan support exists.

 

There are a total of seven online modes, most of which center around team based play and variants of capture the flag. The online play is fairly enjoyable as firefights can prove to be intense and big with 32 players spanning an entire map. When you play online you can choose from a number of character classes like in Battlefield 2 (i.e. medic, sniper, etc.) so this really emphasizes team play as a good team should evenly spread out character classes.  One of the biggest issues to arise from having so many players online for a PS2 is lag. Lag wasnít too big of a problem while I was playing online, but it really depends on what connection youíre playing on. There were some moments where the lag was quite bad, but nothing you wouldnít see in a lot of other online games of the same genre. My only real gripe with BHDís online play is the horrendous weapon balancing. Grenades are much too powerful and the blast radius is way too large. Most of my online matches saw players from both teams chuck a plethora of grenades at the other team and a large number of kills would come from grenade kills. This really takes the fun out of the game as grenades become the primary weapon of choice for a lot of players online. Not just that, but a lot of the weapons seem to handle the same. A heavy machine like an M60 and an assault rifle like the CAR-15 feel like they have the same stopping power and the recoil feels the same on both weapons as well.

 

The visuals in BHD are quite poor for the most part. The textures have a muddy look to them and some of the character animations look awkward. Given that the game takes place in East Africa, expect to see lots of brown in terms of the color palette. The environments look extremely run down, much like in real life. Youíll frequently come across bombed out buildings, shanty towns, huts, etc.

 

Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is a relatively simplistic shooter set in modern times. With so many shooters on the PS2, BHD fails to stand out from the rest of the pack. Diehard military shooter fans will certainly enjoy BHD as it carries all the intensity that was showcased in the movie, but casual fans should look elsewhere.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(September 6, 2005)

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