Blacklight: Tango Down
Blacklight: Tango Down (XBOX 360 Version) (**MULTIPLAYER ONLY GAME**)
Developer: Ignition Entertainment
Publisher: Zombie Entertainment
Systems: PC, PS3, XBOX 360
Genre: Shooter (FPS)
Recommendation: Buy (If you are “between games”)
+ For a game without the backing of a major publisher or developer such as Ubisoft, EA, or any of a large number of others, it is really a great game
+ Automated turrets prevent deep spawn camping
+ Digital grenades (Think smoke grenades, but digital =])
+ Maps provide excellent opportunities to take down “tangos” from well concealed locations (It woks both ways, keeping you on your toes)
+ Ambient noise
+ All standard game modes, plus “BlackOps”
+ Well constructed leveling system (As far as equipment goes)
+ Nice, technological, but war torn environments
+ Checkpoint hacking
+ Health is not regenerative (see last below)
- Menu can be a little difficult to read, depending on distance from the screen, and size of print
- Character movement is a little but clunky
- A little too much activity on screen
- Lack of game explanation (outside the script in the help menu)
- Health is nor regenerative (see last above)
· Low player turnout, but it deserves more
Before jumping into the review, I want to say these few things first. This is not Halo, and this is not Modern Warfare 2. However, this is also not junk. It is a little weird at first, but after giving it one or two rounds in order to acclimate, it becomes a very enjoyable experience.
Blacklight: Tango Down, as it stands right now, is a game that deserves a whole lot more credit than it is receiving. The game is by no means perfect, but for fifteen dollars on XBLA, it does a lot of things right that make it hard to dismiss. First off, for the fact that it does not have major backing from powerhouses and giants like EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft Game Studios, and so forth, it does exceptionally well stepping into the ring and holding its own. Character movement is, at first, a little odd. Moving feels a little too clunky, and aiming feels a little strange, but that's after coming off of Modern Warfare 2, Halo, and the Medal of Honor beta for me. After one to three rounds, you finally get a feel for the character, weapons, and grenades, and movement becomes a lot easier and a whole lot more streamlined. Once you're able to move around better, you can focus on the construction of the maps, and begin to realize that they are built quite well. The environments provide great opportunities to take down your enemies, while sitting far away, behind perfect concealment. However, once your first shot is fired, the muzzle flash and barely visible lights on your suit give you away, therefore serving two purposes. The necessity to have to act fast and stay on your toes, because now they know where you are, and taking away any unnecessary advantage you might have at camping that location for an inordinate amount of time. Keep in mind though that this great concealment works both ways, and if you aren’t paying attention to those indicators, the opposing player is as good as gold when hiding in the same spot.
To add a little extra security for those that love, absolutely love to sit in that back corner of your spawn, picking people off as the head out into the battlefield, automated turrets make quick work of them. However, if people choose to sit in their own spawn, these turrets can be easily abused to a completely unfair level. But I, or my friends, have yet to encounter this issue.
The game's plot sits in the future, with special operations personnel from the U.S. who have all the latest and greatest in technological weaponry heading over to Europe to pick up a well respected top commander taken hostage by former special operations personnel with their own little army. Visors allow you to see where your enemies are, but only for a short moment in which you cannot fire weapons, and after its use, you must wait for it to recharge, preventing any abuse (believe me, once I knew about this, the first the I tried to do was see if it could be). Smoke grenades are replaced by “Digi grenades”, which make an area of vision for the enemy, and friends, nothing more than a massive blob of pixels, one which standing in is a terrible idea. EMP grenades do just what you would expect, knocking out the visors forcing them to reset (think of Flash Bangs). Basic fragmentation grenades are still in play, and guns are all standard with optical, stabilization, and accuracy upgrades (just bullets, no wirelessly transferred viruses, trjoans, or the like here). In addition, armor can be unlocked to add extra protection. This is all a part of the leveling system, which adds nice incentive to keep playing. It works very much the same way as in Modern Warfare 2, just without perks or kill-streaks, only the weapons and their attachments.
The environments are actually very cool, and reflect a war torn location, in the technology-induced warfare of the future. Neon signs light up streets and alleys, as piles of rubble show the explosions and battles that are scaring this portion of the world. Fighting in these environments is very enjoyable, providing high ground, low ground, and occasionally, below ground options for movement, making it imperative to have sound situational awareness, keeping the “dull” out of straight on head to head battle.
The noticeable downsides are that menus are a little small, and the contrast for them is terrible (black letters on a gray background, a little odd of a choice). Also, as stated before, character movement is a little clunky. Like I said though, you do get used to it after a few rounds, but even after that, it is always in the back of your head that it just feels a little robotic. There is a little too much occurring on screen (small print but large amount of information regarding of current deaths/kills, decorative colors for the visor, type of weapon, ammunition count, and so forth) making it a little bit difficult to focus on the action. But, again, after a few rounds, you get used to it, and can see past it easier. The only other issue is that the only game explanation is in the help menu, with is more of a bother than a con. It only takes five minutes to read, and makes the game a lot more enjoyable.
Overall, the game is an amazingly good time for fifteen dollars, and certainly worth the purchase. If you are looking for a different pacing than Modern Warfare 2, and want to try something new, get Blacklight: Tango Down, it is certainly worth the 1200 points. Health is not regenerative, which is nice because it forces you to be more calculated in your movements, but a little bit irritating, simply because it is against the standard (a sorry reason, but I think I can safely say we all like or regenerative health). The reasoning behind it was that players wouldn’t force their way when they had to think about health, but they still do it anyways. It is easily remedied by health stations placed throughout the maps. The only other gripe (which is certainly not the fault of Ignition Entertainment, in any way) is that player turnout is low. This game really deserves a chance, and I would love to see people get into it. For fifteen dollars, a low budget, and not having a big name developer or publisher, they did very well, and did a lot of things right with this game. So, forgo the coke at lunch for a few days, and use that money to pick this up because these guys need all the support they can get, and they certainly deserve it with this.
The game lacks single player, which was already well known, but single player is a big thing on my list. However, it was geared strictly to be a multiplayer game. The only reason I say this, is because they added a single player kind of game type called “BlackOps”, in which players from Blacklight go against The Order on four player co-op style missions. Pretty straight forward, noting like co-op in Halo or Splinter Cell, but helps give the game’s story a little life.
To close this, I just want to clarify again, this is not Modern Warfare 2 or Halo, and it does not have massive backing from a beast of a publisher or developer, and it is not perfect by the standards of someone like EA or others mentioned. But for the budget these guys had, it has a hell of a lot of heart, a hell of a lot of passion, and the enjoyment, game-play, and mechanics to back it all up. So pick it up, play it, and give them some feedback.