by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
Standard Modes, Exceptional Options
The game's modes are pretty standard for a modern FPS, but where the game truly shines is in the level of customisation. The game's weapons are not set up like other games where you unlock a specific weapon and then pile accessories onto it. In Blacklight: Retribution, you start off with a standard assault rifle with a standard iron sight, a standard stock, a standard barrel, and a standard muzzle. Each and every piece of the gun can then be upgraded and customized to your very own specifics. The receiver is the basic type of your gun. Assault rifle, combat rifle, SMG, light machine gun, bolt-action rifle, and burst-fire rifle are the standard receivers. It is then up to you to equip the receiver of your choice with the muzzle, barrel, stock, scope, and magazine you want. You can essentially make any gun you desire, be it a bolt-action rifle with an extended magazine, a red-dot sight, and a short barrel, or a light machine gun with a super zoom scope and a high-damage muzzle. I don't understand why you would want either of them, but the option is what makes this game exceptional.
Upgrades are unlocked using the game's in-game currency, known as “GP”. This currency is collected through gameplay and even if you lose, you'll still find it accumulating relatively quickly in your wallet. Renting the upgrades for 24 hours is rather cheap, generally around 150 to 250 GP, which means you'll be able to unlock them after one or two rounds, but unlocking them permanently is a bit more expensive. Renting them temporarily is a good way of finding out which items to start saving up for, however, so I'd advise trying the upgrades out before throwing 5000 GP on a permanent upgrade you'll never use. These upgrades can also be unlocked using real money, or “Zen” as they call it.
Frantic Action... when Found
The game's levels can be quite confusing at times which is why I feel this game does better in modes such as Capture the Flag and Domination where the location of objectives is clearly visible. That is not to say that Deathmatches aren't fun, quite the contrary; I simply found myself having to look for the action on quite a few occasions and it was generally because I had no idea where I was going.
Matches have a tendency to be very unpredictable and that is thanks to the incredible amount of customisation and unlockable objects available to the player. In addition to the weapon customisations listed above, the player's outfit plays heavily on their mobility and damage absorption. Not only can the player chose the pants, armour, helmet, and boots he wears, but he can also unlock accessories such as riot shields and even full mech-suits to deploy in mid battle. Believe me; you do not want to be standing anywhere within their line of sight.
This game is good. It is easily the best free-to-play experience I've found outside of the RPG genre and it is to be commended for raising the bar for other games in this rapidly growing sector of the industry. Despite minor hang-ups when it comes to menu structure and user interface, the fast-paced action, beautiful visuals, weapons and characters that feel like they belong to you and you alone, and the unpredictability of the match which pushes each and every player to evolve and adapt to the situation make this game an obligation for every gamer to have installed on their PCs. Even if you're one of those gamers who prefers not to spend too much money on their games, you need to try this one out. Go ahead; we need the cannon fodder.
Fantastic customisation options, visually pleasing, great action.
Confusing and cluttered interface, fixed aspect ratio.