Reaches high, but falls short
Black is an explosive first-person shooter from Criterion Games, the ones responsible for the Burnout series. Like the implication of action, an explosion intensive racing in Burnout, the folks at Criterion hopes to engage players in similar designs in their latest shooter. Black is packed with explosions and loud gunplay settling a fantastic first impression. However, as Blacks action intensive gameplay struggles to hold up, this fantastic first impression quickly becomes a cheap thrill.
Black's narrative drops you into the shoes of Black Ops soldier Keller. He appears to be some sort of prisoner being interrogated by some shady government suit. The cut-scene's are fairly well written, and are purposely obtuse. The interrogation scenes are meant to set up each of the game's eight missions, which are flashbacks. Aside the shady Black-Ops talk, the story never truly delivers on what could have been something fantastic. This is one of Black's most disappointing dead ends.
Instead of plot, the focus is all about gunplay, and Black makes a glorious first impression. The guns are the stars, and look gorgeous. The graphics themselves are pretty damn good, and feature some of the best explosions ever seen. And trust me, you'll be seeing a lot of explosions. Their's never a slow point, and you always feel like you have something to shoot at. The guns are all loud, and powerful, and even have good recoil. You'll spend most your time rolling with an AK-47, but will pick up the occasional sniper rifle, or even an RPG to increase the already extreme amount of destruction on screen.
Overall Black is great first person shooter, with some bad AI. You can't help but stop and think about what Criterion will do with Black 2 on a current generation console. While Black seems to be a mediocre shooter with a pretty coat of paint, its still a fantastic game to take a peek at. If you have the urge to just shoot dudes and never got a chance to check Black out, I recommend a $15.00 download via marketplace.