by Brandon Waldenberg
previewed on PS3
Affordable and Downloadable
Blacklight: Tango Down is the new brain child of development company Zombie Studios. Published by Ignition Entertainment, Blacklight is an interesting new first person shooter that hopes to enter the already very competitive first-person shooter market. Boasting the ever awe-inspiring Unreal engine, Blacklight will bring players into the near future. Here two factions vie for supremacy in a world that is dominated by an older European aesthetic with a technologically advanced twist. The real kicker though is that Blacklight will be downloadable, priced around fifteen dollars.
The FPS genre is chock-full of slightly futuristic games. Modern Warfare and G.R.A.W. are just two of the many that come to mind. This future is much darker and more foreboding than the near future of other games. From what we have seen, the game seems to be set in a kind of Blade Runneresque future, a future that is gritty and real, full of blinding neon signs and dirty alleys. The main storyline puts the player in a conflict between The Order and Blacklight, who fight for domination of an Eastern European city, around twenty five years in the future.
Fighting for Domination
One of the two factions, The Order, has been detailed by Zombie Studios. They are a military organization that has moved into the town of Balik to take the place of the local government. This world of the future has been devastated by disease and warfare and the people of Balik were abandoned by the world when their government was decimated by strife. The Order has since moved in and established order and law, claiming they are here to right the wrongs of the previous rulers of Balik. This group uses technology and law to wage war on chaos and disease, helping their citizens and humanity as they see fit. Unfortunately at this time, the other faction, Blacklight, has not been detailed, so we will have to see what is in store when the game comes out.
Being a downloadable game, Blacklight has to try as hard as it can to keep up with other FPSs for the consoles. The game looks like it will play like a more sci-fi version of Modern Warfare 2, not that that is a bad thing. Players can sprint through the multiplayer maps and use a variety of guns, depending on what they see fit. The game also features a seventy rank XP system, allowing players to level up their character over time. Each time you level up, a new, random weapon tag will be awarded to you, allowing players to make subtle changes to their gun. In addition to this, Zombie has also included dozens of customizable features that players can tweak to their liking.
Blacklight will allow players to fully flex their creativity when choosing their load outs. They can choose to fully customize each of their weapons, adding scopes and barrels as they see fit. When a player starts a match they can choose from numerous load outs that they can change as they wish. Players are dropped into a match with their guns, primary and secondary equipment. Primary equipment is pretty standard, smoke grenades and such, but secondary equipment shows Zombie’s twist on the genre. Here you can choose from futuristic equipment like DigiGrenades and EMT grenades. DigiGrenades create a digital bubble on the battleground, scrambling characters HUDs and blinding them momentarily. It also stops them from using Hyper Reality Visor, an important tool for the future soldiers of Blacklight.
The HRV displays some of Zombie’s creativity. It will define combat for Blacklight and will rely on good teamwork and strategy to use. The HRV allows players to temporarily see through walls, allowing them to perceive enemy and ally soldiers. This feature can only be used occasionally, and while players are using it they must rely on their team to keep them safe. HRV looks like it will be an interesting addition to Zombie's already impressive game. The HRV will be balanced by players use of secondary equipment and their reliance on their team to keep them safe while they are using this tool.
Highly Competitive Multiplayer
Despite being a downloadable game Blacklight boasts an impressive number of maps, rounding out at twelve. Each of them will feature a different part of Balik and up to sixteen players will be able to join the matches. Zombie and Ignition are also proud to be bringing a co-op mode to Blacklight. This part of the game, called “Black Ops” will allow up to four players to join forces to clear the streets of Balik. Players will use Blacklight operatives to seek out and destroy their Order opposition, gaining experience, ranks and new guns. Players vie for the top of leaderboards on Black Ops, allowing massive replayability to this awesome feature. You can play the same level again and again, perfecting your team’s tactics to get the best possible score, each time getting graded better and better in the end.
Blacklight: Tango Down proves that downloadable games can compete with regular full games. Zombie and Ignition Entertainment have made sure that they are bringing their A game, saying they are going to raise the bar for DLC. Blacklight, with its online multiplayer, looks like it is going to fulfill that promise. With massive multiplayer over numerous maps, Blacklight will definitely be worth the fifteen dollars that Zombie has estimated for release.