Review: Criterion’s BLACK (PS2, Xbox)

March 4, 2006 Off By Tommy Gun

black.jpgNote: This is a short, casual review. This review refers to the PS2 version.

I just started Black yesterday. I’m a huge Burnout fan, so I was really looking forward to it, but then it got some not so amazing reviews. Nothing terrible, just that it gets boring after a while and whatnot. I’m on the fifth level I think (most levels take around 45-60 min. each).

First thing I noticed…it’s pretty slow. Slow controls, slow movement…I was hoping to just run through blasting everything in sight. You also can’t jump. Ugh. The screen blurs when you reload, kind of annoying, but not a big deal. It makes sense, but still.

It takes a million shots to kill each person since everyone is wearing armor, unless you go for headshots. It is cool how you can really hear the bullets go into the armor, though.

There is a lot of destruction, and it’s cool, but not as cool as I was hoping for. The reviews are right–there are seams everywhere something is going to break, and it’s…bad. You don’t really notice it unless you’re pretty close, but still, kinda takes you out. The Xbox version may be better about that though.

I (along with many others) always find it hilarious in games how there are always barrels of gasoline everywhere. Why stand next to it? Move! Like a review said, you know to just shoot the tanks when you see them with a bunch of guys nearby.

Get this…you have to shoot doors open with a shotgun, or use a grenade. What? At least put a big lock on the door so it makes some sense.

Grenades are fun though, you can carry nine at a time. There are a lot around the level, I have to remind myself to use them more often. In one of the levels you have to clear out these buildings. Well I got to the top of one after clearing it (roof blown off), and looked down and the next one had big holes in the roof too. So I lobbed a grenade into it, killing both guys inside. “Building 2 of 5 clear!” It was cool. Grenades almost seem to work too well, I swear I didn’t aim correctly a few times and it still killed all the people.

The sniper rifle kinda sucks. Really, for what I was hoping this game would be, there shouldn’t even be a sniper rifle. Imagine if Burnout had a section where you get out of your car and run uphill on foot. Then again, this is based on the type of game I was hoping for. But that just raises the question–what type of game is this supposed to be?

I was hoping they’d do for FPSs what they did for racing, but it’s just not crazy enough. It’s actually pretty standard stuff almost. Red Faction already did the destruction thing. It’s still a fun game. Rather than be blown away at first and be bored at the end, I was just content at first and think it will remain that way till the end. Remember how fun it was to shotgun someone in Turok as they ran at you? I was hoping for that, but faster and crazier.

So, to sum up. Fun game, but not fast enough, and if you’ve played a lot of FPSs…it’s really not that different.

Update and final thoughts:

I finished the game, and it was basically what I thought–consistent, nothing that really blew my mind though. Considering it took Criterion three Burnouts to nail it, this is a great first entry. I imagine there will be a BLACK 2, and I’ll definitely play it if they change a few things.

Recommendation: RENT. It’s short, and probably not something you’ll want to keep playing.