Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3071 posts) -

I finished Black in just under four hours. All in all, this does not serve as a fair commentary on the game’s length. What I feel I must admit is that I have previously cleared Black many, many times -- not so many as to be uncountable, but enough times to where I’ve stopped bothering counting. I know enemy patterns and I know all the surprises. You can glean from this that I am not the most impartial person that will ever critique Black. I like Black, and I like it a lot. For me, I can very clearly pin my respect for the game upon the fact that it has an impeccable atmosphere behind it that I find almost unparalleled in this generation’s first-person shooters. I am well aware of Black’s flaws, for they are many, but Black is one game where the flaws simply do not affect how fun the game is.

Design


 One of my favorite areas in a level is the bathroom in the Tivliz Asylum level. Essentially every part of this large room is breakable. Enemies hide behind cover, but can all be chopped away. The dust and the particle effects are brilliant.

Good level design

I found the level design to be streamlined. It doesn’t harbor any revelations, but it is interesting and multi-faceted, and it does provide for many different scenarios across the eight levels. Some of the levels are quite linear, taking place in buildings (indoor levels are especially well done) while some areas are very open, like in the countryside or in large city plazas. The game is linear, but it often doesn’t feel so. I imagine that a more open Half-Life would feel like Black.

Everything explodes

Everything in Black blows up. I can’t quite decide whether it’s bad design or whether it’s good design in that it provides for various methods of dispatching enemies. Literally everything explodes: if there’s a sniper or a gun emplacement in a tower, there won’t just be red barrels -- there will literally be a way to raze the whole tower. Brown, nondescript crates that both the player and enemies might take cover behind are utterly combustible. Finally, red kerosene tanks and barrels are commonplace around every corner. The explosions look great, though, so the inclusion of so many dangers is justifiable. I did witness an enemy taking cover behind two red barrels, however, which leads me prettily into the matter of enemy AI.

Enemy AI is quite dull

The only reason the enemies in Black pose a threat to the play is because they have powerful guns and they can shoot straight. Otherwise, they seem to rejoice in standing still, out of reach of cover, and firing openly at the player, or, alternately, simply running up to the player while simultaneously firing their arms. The fact that the few enemies that do take cover are frustrating to dismiss is a good indication that the player isn’t accustomed to encountering enemies who want to stay alive.

 The masked enemies are troubling because they're tough to kill and they spring out of nowhere. Above all, they charge relentlessly at the player.

The masked enemies are terrifying

Although the AI is, frankly, thick, the enemies with the metallic full Phantom of the Opera face masks are scary. They’re scary because they combine two of the game’s flaws: the enemy is a bullet sponge, and the enemy has bad AI; that is, it charges straight at the player. Unfortunately (for the player) it charges with a shotgun. They pose concerns because they pose a danger, and their shots hurt.

The blur during reload is unsettling

Here’s a design choice that is utterly nonsensical: every time the player reloads the screen blurs so as to not allow the player to see what’s going on. I’m not sure why this was included; in reality soldiers do not suffer from blurred vision while reloading, though Criterion may not be aware of this. It only serves as a hindrance: it is of the utmost importance for the player to see where enemies are, but this feature completely destroys that ability. Compulsive reloaders or twitch reloaders will suffer.

Blatant aim assist

It’s possible to hover on an enemy, remove one’s fingers from the sticks, and watch the reticule traverse tens of feet across the screen as the enemy moves. The aim assist feels good during battle but it is noticeable. Also, it doesn’t work perfectly. On multiple occasions I noticed the aim assist locking on to hostiles through indestructible walls and indestructible cover.

Artificial difficulty increase

The difficultly increase in Black is rather half-hearted: it seems to be that the enemies take more damage and dish more damage with each incremental difficultly level. Many games do this, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. It just makes it hackneyed, and rather wretched.

Ridiculous checkpointing

It doesn’t help that the checkpointing is silly. Every level is in the range of half-an-hour in length (for first-time players), but there are on average about two checkpoints throughout each level. There should be more like twenty. It’s an artifact of the aged game design, but the checkpoints are unforgiving, and are therefore unforgivable.

Fantastic music provided by Chris Tilton

Black features a breathtaking score (and I appreciate how hackneyed the word “breathtaking” is, but I think it’s a fair employment of the term) by Chris Tilton. I cannot claim to have had the pleasure of hearing Tilton’s other soundtracks, but I have repeatedly heard Black’s, and I can unreservedly say that the expansive theatrical action score is utterly fitting and brilliant. I also find that the music is subtle enough to serve as a nice, low ambient companion to other media, such as books.

Sound design is great

All the sounds in the world are accurately channeled through two speakers. The game is most immersive when one uses a good set of headphones. Every enemy can be placed merely using the acoustics, which is very important for the player. Sound in the environment is well rendered -- birds and wind and the like. I feel I should also mention how great the guns sound, but only because I recognize most of the sounds the firearms make. The corky report of the MP5 is John McClane’s MP5 from Die Hard; the metallic thud of the pistols is plainly Jack Bauer’s from 24. This game is essentially one massive action movie, and it’s very nice for action movie aficionados.

The introductory credit sequence cannot be bypassed

Although the introductory credit sequence features music from Tilton’s excellent score, it is both lengthy and unskippable, and is probably not the best way to introduce a game to a player before the player has even reached the “Press start button” screen on the menu. Unskippable introductions are more commonplace today, but at least there is an excuse: games have to update DLC, or install to a console’s hard drive. No such excuse saves Black, especially when the lengthy end credits are also unskippable.

Graphics and animation


 This summarizes Black: good looking guns, muzzle flashes, particle effects, blinding light, and dust.

Black is a technical marvel

I don’t think anybody has quite yet understood how Black manages to look and feel so good. Even as a PlayStation 2 game, it is more accomplished than most early XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 games. To be sure, the ground textures are not magnificent, and there are some troubles with the character models; it’s not so much that there is one flaw here and one flaw there, it’s more to do with the fact that holistically the game does look terrific, and the well rendered gun models and well rendered ally character models importantly reflect on the environment as a whole. Environments are good-looking: the particle effects, and explosions, as I mention shortly below, are, simply put, great.

 If enemies inexplicably fly into the air, one should assume that something that didn't look as if it was an explosion probably was.

The explosions still look magnificent

I had not recalled how well realized the explosions in Black are. They are spectacular; I suspect that the explosions are better done in Black that they are done in many current generation games.

Enemies will repeat the same animation

Enemies shot in the same region of their body will execute the same animation repeatedly. I once crouched behind cover and fired eight or nine rounds at a hostile’s thigh, only to see that hostile do the same animation for all of the eight times save for the last: he would stumble down, place his left hand on the ground to steady himself, and regain his balance. The fact that there should have been craters the size of a man’s fist in the hostile’s thigh did not seem to trouble him much.

Gameplay


Control is heavy

I would suggest that this was a design choice made by Criterion, but the control in the game is extraordinarily heavy. There is no sprint button, and the player character seems to slug around -- there’s no momentum, there’s just mass. Aiming is just as heavy. I could not find any slider to increase analog stick sensitivity in the options menu. I have not felt anything like it in modern games. I soon grew accustomed, but the sheer weight of the game is most definitely unsettling, at least at first.

Every gun is great

There are many firearms in Black. Each firearm has its strengths and weaknesses. I am less inclined to use the shotguns because they are inaccurate and slow, but aside from those two instances, I enjoyed using every gun. My only complaint would be that the different ammunition is very specific. There are no randomized ammunition caches. I love using pistols in games, but there’s just not enough pistol ammunition in Black, and I find that regrettable. (I also like the fragmentation grenades in Black. While they’re not guns, they are weapons -- their strength lies in their range, which is perhaps the most realistic thing in Black. The grenades feel real and are very dangerous.)

 Headshots are a reliable way of eliminating hostiles. Also, explosions.

Enemies are bullet sponges

One thing I found troubling was the fact that enemies can take a tremendous number of bullets, not just in their extremities, but also in their chests. Above I recall an incident where I shot a hostile eight times in the leg. As frighteningly unrealistic as that may be, the same extends to anybody the player shoots in the torso or in the abdomen. The head is the only assured mode of felling an enemy. This is not just limited to enemies wearing body armor: ‘weak’ enemies seem to shrug off repeated rounds to the chest, ignoring the fact that black shrapnel (which one supposes is clothing or, in the case of other enemies, armor) propels from their person with each shot. There is then the issue of armor-donning enemies being able to sustain several magazines of fire. I am certainly no authority on how people react when taking shots to body armor, but if action films and shows like 24 are to be believed, the body still takes some shock or damage, certainly enough to make a person reel on the floor for some time.

Nothing feels as good as a clean headshot

Black is the only game where I get in the zone and can execute headshot after headshot after headshot freakishly quickly. Typically with games I don’t bother, because it’s easier to aim for the chest. There’s something about the way headshots are designed in Black, though -- perhaps it’s the tangible sound a headshot makes, a ‘plink’ in the headphones that let the player know they’ve hit the target.

Using suppressors has never felt better

The guns in Black sound great, but I find that using a suppressor provides for a good feeling. It’s bizarre, because as I understand, suppressors greatly reduce the speed and punch of bullets (at least in reality), but there’s no clear effect in Black. It just makes the guns look and feel great. This is all putting aside that suppressors can be found everywhere, and in the most inexplicable places -- right in the middle of a battlefield or on a catwalk underneath a bridge, awaiting the player in every case.

Story


The story and live-action sequences are a little silly

I won’t serve Black a reprieve by saying that one shouldn’t expect much of a story from an action game; nor will I employ the phrase “For what it is...” Black simply doesn’t have much of a story. Strangely, very little is explained at the beginning -- something has gone wrong, players are told; someone has been betrayed, and there’s a unit of several warfighters and they’re chasing somebody, somewhere. There’s also a plot twist at the end that feels a little unfair but is nonetheless surprising. The narrative is paper thin; the blunt rim of a plate could slice through it. It’s not particularly interesting, and it serves as little more than something that barely explains why characters are moving from one place to another. The live-action sequences, which only feature two men, are actually interestingly directed. Not much acting is seen. My only issue is that it’s plainly obvious that voice work was dubbed on top of the actors. Things don’t quite line up right, and it doesn’t sound good. In that respect, the cutscenes are somewhat let down.


I would not be surprised if you, the reader, are confused after reading this summary of my feelings about Black. In retrospect, much of what I think is worth mentioning, and have therefore mentioned, are negative things about the game. It speaks volumes, however, that I feel Black transcends all that. For me, as I have indicated above, I think Black’s design is often less than stellar. That doesn’t stop it from being fun. There are plenty of games that are excellently designed but are not fun. Black is not one of them. I look forward to Codemasters’ Bodycount, the very blatant spiritual successor to Black, and hope it will improve upon the design of Black, but failing that, I hope that it will merely capture the same atmosphere and be as fun as Black is for me.
#1 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3071 posts) -

I finished Black in just under four hours. All in all, this does not serve as a fair commentary on the game’s length. What I feel I must admit is that I have previously cleared Black many, many times -- not so many as to be uncountable, but enough times to where I’ve stopped bothering counting. I know enemy patterns and I know all the surprises. You can glean from this that I am not the most impartial person that will ever critique Black. I like Black, and I like it a lot. For me, I can very clearly pin my respect for the game upon the fact that it has an impeccable atmosphere behind it that I find almost unparalleled in this generation’s first-person shooters. I am well aware of Black’s flaws, for they are many, but Black is one game where the flaws simply do not affect how fun the game is.

Design


 One of my favorite areas in a level is the bathroom in the Tivliz Asylum level. Essentially every part of this large room is breakable. Enemies hide behind cover, but can all be chopped away. The dust and the particle effects are brilliant.

Good level design

I found the level design to be streamlined. It doesn’t harbor any revelations, but it is interesting and multi-faceted, and it does provide for many different scenarios across the eight levels. Some of the levels are quite linear, taking place in buildings (indoor levels are especially well done) while some areas are very open, like in the countryside or in large city plazas. The game is linear, but it often doesn’t feel so. I imagine that a more open Half-Life would feel like Black.

Everything explodes

Everything in Black blows up. I can’t quite decide whether it’s bad design or whether it’s good design in that it provides for various methods of dispatching enemies. Literally everything explodes: if there’s a sniper or a gun emplacement in a tower, there won’t just be red barrels -- there will literally be a way to raze the whole tower. Brown, nondescript crates that both the player and enemies might take cover behind are utterly combustible. Finally, red kerosene tanks and barrels are commonplace around every corner. The explosions look great, though, so the inclusion of so many dangers is justifiable. I did witness an enemy taking cover behind two red barrels, however, which leads me prettily into the matter of enemy AI.

Enemy AI is quite dull

The only reason the enemies in Black pose a threat to the play is because they have powerful guns and they can shoot straight. Otherwise, they seem to rejoice in standing still, out of reach of cover, and firing openly at the player, or, alternately, simply running up to the player while simultaneously firing their arms. The fact that the few enemies that do take cover are frustrating to dismiss is a good indication that the player isn’t accustomed to encountering enemies who want to stay alive.

 The masked enemies are troubling because they're tough to kill and they spring out of nowhere. Above all, they charge relentlessly at the player.

The masked enemies are terrifying

Although the AI is, frankly, thick, the enemies with the metallic full Phantom of the Opera face masks are scary. They’re scary because they combine two of the game’s flaws: the enemy is a bullet sponge, and the enemy has bad AI; that is, it charges straight at the player. Unfortunately (for the player) it charges with a shotgun. They pose concerns because they pose a danger, and their shots hurt.

The blur during reload is unsettling

Here’s a design choice that is utterly nonsensical: every time the player reloads the screen blurs so as to not allow the player to see what’s going on. I’m not sure why this was included; in reality soldiers do not suffer from blurred vision while reloading, though Criterion may not be aware of this. It only serves as a hindrance: it is of the utmost importance for the player to see where enemies are, but this feature completely destroys that ability. Compulsive reloaders or twitch reloaders will suffer.

Blatant aim assist

It’s possible to hover on an enemy, remove one’s fingers from the sticks, and watch the reticule traverse tens of feet across the screen as the enemy moves. The aim assist feels good during battle but it is noticeable. Also, it doesn’t work perfectly. On multiple occasions I noticed the aim assist locking on to hostiles through indestructible walls and indestructible cover.

Artificial difficulty increase

The difficultly increase in Black is rather half-hearted: it seems to be that the enemies take more damage and dish more damage with each incremental difficultly level. Many games do this, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. It just makes it hackneyed, and rather wretched.

Ridiculous checkpointing

It doesn’t help that the checkpointing is silly. Every level is in the range of half-an-hour in length (for first-time players), but there are on average about two checkpoints throughout each level. There should be more like twenty. It’s an artifact of the aged game design, but the checkpoints are unforgiving, and are therefore unforgivable.

Fantastic music provided by Chris Tilton

Black features a breathtaking score (and I appreciate how hackneyed the word “breathtaking” is, but I think it’s a fair employment of the term) by Chris Tilton. I cannot claim to have had the pleasure of hearing Tilton’s other soundtracks, but I have repeatedly heard Black’s, and I can unreservedly say that the expansive theatrical action score is utterly fitting and brilliant. I also find that the music is subtle enough to serve as a nice, low ambient companion to other media, such as books.

Sound design is great

All the sounds in the world are accurately channeled through two speakers. The game is most immersive when one uses a good set of headphones. Every enemy can be placed merely using the acoustics, which is very important for the player. Sound in the environment is well rendered -- birds and wind and the like. I feel I should also mention how great the guns sound, but only because I recognize most of the sounds the firearms make. The corky report of the MP5 is John McClane’s MP5 from Die Hard; the metallic thud of the pistols is plainly Jack Bauer’s from 24. This game is essentially one massive action movie, and it’s very nice for action movie aficionados.

The introductory credit sequence cannot be bypassed

Although the introductory credit sequence features music from Tilton’s excellent score, it is both lengthy and unskippable, and is probably not the best way to introduce a game to a player before the player has even reached the “Press start button” screen on the menu. Unskippable introductions are more commonplace today, but at least there is an excuse: games have to update DLC, or install to a console’s hard drive. No such excuse saves Black, especially when the lengthy end credits are also unskippable.

Graphics and animation


 This summarizes Black: good looking guns, muzzle flashes, particle effects, blinding light, and dust.

Black is a technical marvel

I don’t think anybody has quite yet understood how Black manages to look and feel so good. Even as a PlayStation 2 game, it is more accomplished than most early XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 games. To be sure, the ground textures are not magnificent, and there are some troubles with the character models; it’s not so much that there is one flaw here and one flaw there, it’s more to do with the fact that holistically the game does look terrific, and the well rendered gun models and well rendered ally character models importantly reflect on the environment as a whole. Environments are good-looking: the particle effects, and explosions, as I mention shortly below, are, simply put, great.

 If enemies inexplicably fly into the air, one should assume that something that didn't look as if it was an explosion probably was.

The explosions still look magnificent

I had not recalled how well realized the explosions in Black are. They are spectacular; I suspect that the explosions are better done in Black that they are done in many current generation games.

Enemies will repeat the same animation

Enemies shot in the same region of their body will execute the same animation repeatedly. I once crouched behind cover and fired eight or nine rounds at a hostile’s thigh, only to see that hostile do the same animation for all of the eight times save for the last: he would stumble down, place his left hand on the ground to steady himself, and regain his balance. The fact that there should have been craters the size of a man’s fist in the hostile’s thigh did not seem to trouble him much.

Gameplay


Control is heavy

I would suggest that this was a design choice made by Criterion, but the control in the game is extraordinarily heavy. There is no sprint button, and the player character seems to slug around -- there’s no momentum, there’s just mass. Aiming is just as heavy. I could not find any slider to increase analog stick sensitivity in the options menu. I have not felt anything like it in modern games. I soon grew accustomed, but the sheer weight of the game is most definitely unsettling, at least at first.

Every gun is great

There are many firearms in Black. Each firearm has its strengths and weaknesses. I am less inclined to use the shotguns because they are inaccurate and slow, but aside from those two instances, I enjoyed using every gun. My only complaint would be that the different ammunition is very specific. There are no randomized ammunition caches. I love using pistols in games, but there’s just not enough pistol ammunition in Black, and I find that regrettable. (I also like the fragmentation grenades in Black. While they’re not guns, they are weapons -- their strength lies in their range, which is perhaps the most realistic thing in Black. The grenades feel real and are very dangerous.)

 Headshots are a reliable way of eliminating hostiles. Also, explosions.

Enemies are bullet sponges

One thing I found troubling was the fact that enemies can take a tremendous number of bullets, not just in their extremities, but also in their chests. Above I recall an incident where I shot a hostile eight times in the leg. As frighteningly unrealistic as that may be, the same extends to anybody the player shoots in the torso or in the abdomen. The head is the only assured mode of felling an enemy. This is not just limited to enemies wearing body armor: ‘weak’ enemies seem to shrug off repeated rounds to the chest, ignoring the fact that black shrapnel (which one supposes is clothing or, in the case of other enemies, armor) propels from their person with each shot. There is then the issue of armor-donning enemies being able to sustain several magazines of fire. I am certainly no authority on how people react when taking shots to body armor, but if action films and shows like 24 are to be believed, the body still takes some shock or damage, certainly enough to make a person reel on the floor for some time.

Nothing feels as good as a clean headshot

Black is the only game where I get in the zone and can execute headshot after headshot after headshot freakishly quickly. Typically with games I don’t bother, because it’s easier to aim for the chest. There’s something about the way headshots are designed in Black, though -- perhaps it’s the tangible sound a headshot makes, a ‘plink’ in the headphones that let the player know they’ve hit the target.

Using suppressors has never felt better

The guns in Black sound great, but I find that using a suppressor provides for a good feeling. It’s bizarre, because as I understand, suppressors greatly reduce the speed and punch of bullets (at least in reality), but there’s no clear effect in Black. It just makes the guns look and feel great. This is all putting aside that suppressors can be found everywhere, and in the most inexplicable places -- right in the middle of a battlefield or on a catwalk underneath a bridge, awaiting the player in every case.

Story


The story and live-action sequences are a little silly

I won’t serve Black a reprieve by saying that one shouldn’t expect much of a story from an action game; nor will I employ the phrase “For what it is...” Black simply doesn’t have much of a story. Strangely, very little is explained at the beginning -- something has gone wrong, players are told; someone has been betrayed, and there’s a unit of several warfighters and they’re chasing somebody, somewhere. There’s also a plot twist at the end that feels a little unfair but is nonetheless surprising. The narrative is paper thin; the blunt rim of a plate could slice through it. It’s not particularly interesting, and it serves as little more than something that barely explains why characters are moving from one place to another. The live-action sequences, which only feature two men, are actually interestingly directed. Not much acting is seen. My only issue is that it’s plainly obvious that voice work was dubbed on top of the actors. Things don’t quite line up right, and it doesn’t sound good. In that respect, the cutscenes are somewhat let down.


I would not be surprised if you, the reader, are confused after reading this summary of my feelings about Black. In retrospect, much of what I think is worth mentioning, and have therefore mentioned, are negative things about the game. It speaks volumes, however, that I feel Black transcends all that. For me, as I have indicated above, I think Black’s design is often less than stellar. That doesn’t stop it from being fun. There are plenty of games that are excellently designed but are not fun. Black is not one of them. I look forward to Codemasters’ Bodycount, the very blatant spiritual successor to Black, and hope it will improve upon the design of Black, but failing that, I hope that it will merely capture the same atmosphere and be as fun as Black is for me.
#2 Posted by EpicSteve (6487 posts) -

Black is fantastic. It's such a dumb-awesome game it should be played by everyone.

#3 Posted by Yummylee (21615 posts) -

What really stood out for me was...YOU..CAN'T....JUMP!

#4 Posted by Dolph_Zigler (11 posts) -
@Abyssfull: 
Hi, I'm Dolph Zigler.
#5 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3071 posts) -
@Abyssfull said:

" What really stood out for me was...YOU..CAN'T....JUMP! "

That didn't bother me as much as the no sprint. In fact, I'd never even thought of that before you mentioned it. But no sprinting really bothers me -- maybe because the control is so slow. I think Doom/Quake and Black are literally polar opposites.
#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I rip on Black, even going so far as to have put it in my top 10 worst games ever. Though to be fair, that was just due to a lack of shitty games I've played. Custer's Revenge and Superman 64 can beat the hell out of Black in terms of pure shittiness.

#7 Posted by BionicMonster (1032 posts) -

why isn't this in the Black forum?

#8 Posted by Yummylee (21615 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:
" @Abyssfull said:

" What really stood out for me was...YOU..CAN'T....JUMP! "

That didn't bother me as much as the no sprint. In fact, I'd never even thought of that before you mentioned it. But no sprinting really bothers me -- maybe because the control is so slow. I think Doom/Quake and Black are literally polar opposites. "
It was plenty noticeable for me when I'd get stuck against a small wall that you'd think I could just step over, let alone need to jump over it. I did enjoy the amazing presentation and such, but I still never completed it. I think I gave it up when it started forcing stealth onto you.
#9 Posted by Sweep (8858 posts) -

This is a really great blog but i'm sorry, I can't help myself. 
 

Moderator
#10 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -

I always thought of Black as " that game that looks pretty. " I never bothered playing through it apart from the odd section of a level if it was sitting on at a mates house or something.

Good review as ever dude. MAD depth.

#11 Posted by W0lfbl1tzers (1789 posts) -

Damn I love that game.

#12 Posted by Ghostfish (234 posts) -

Always bet on black.

#13 Posted by DoctorOptimist (502 posts) -

black iz a stooped consoul shootr 4 teh consoletardz!!!! go playz da half-lifez! they da bestest effpeeass evar!!!! 
 
pc iz da bestests!!! consouls r 4 babiez whos cantz spellz goood!!!

#14 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3782 posts) -

Racism, mostly.

#15 Posted by Goldanas (546 posts) -

Your blog is extensive and informative. 
 
I especially like your "spectrum".  If you managed to work in a parabola in there as well, I'd be most mystified and fanangled. 

#16 Posted by thai_jedi (81 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze: 
There are two amazing things about BLACK. First, the menu screen. "HOLY SHIT IT'S  A GUY UNLOADING CLIP AFTER CLIP!!" Then there is the fact that when you beat the game, you get SILVER GUNS with unlimited ammo! I spent so long with the rocket launcher just plowing through that game with unlimited RPG ammo. I think I beat the game in 3 hrs once.
#17 Posted by Gmanall (1683 posts) -

I thought this was going in a different direction. This is a blast from the past.   

#18 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3071 posts) -
@Goldanas said:

" Your blog is extensive and informative.  I especially like your "spectrum".  If you managed to work in a parabola in there as well, I'd be most mystified and fanangled.  "

I will totally work in a parabola next time. :)
#19 Posted by Hailinel (24700 posts) -

I've never played Black, so I can't comment on it, other than the fact that I found the whole concept of marketing the game as "gun porn" absurd.  Does the name of the game "Black" actually refer to anything?

#20 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -

I always wanted to play Black, but I never got around to it. Seeing all the professional reviews rip into it made me a bit sad too, because it just sounded like a really fun arcade shooter in the writing. Hopefully I'll be able to make amends for my passing over of this game by getting around to play it's spiritual successor (or is it sequel?) that's being developed.
 
Also, that was some really in-depth coverage of the game. Nice.

#21 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3071 posts) -
@Hailinel said:
" I've never played Black, so I can't comment on it, other than the fact that I found the whole concept of marketing the game as "gun porn" absurd.  Does the name of the game "Black" actually refer to anything? "
 
"Black" doesn't refer to anything in-game, no. I kind of wish it didn't have such a generic title, because it makes it hard to search for anything related to the game online. Nevertheless.
 
@TheFreeMan said:
" Seeing all the professional reviews rip into it made me a bit sad too, because it just sounded like a really fun arcade shooter in the writing. "

That's basically what it is. The game does have flaws, but I really think those reviews did it an injustice -- it's a very, very fun game. There are many better designed games that aren't as fun as Black is. To my mind, Black would be the better game in comparison with those, because having fun is the most important thing for me. Others may not feel the same way.
#22 Posted by scarace360 (4828 posts) -

O god i thought you meant black people. Ok I i liked the game but i think it came out at a weird time.

#23 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

It seemed pretty generic to me. Like a Madden Football game, here's something new, but it's the same. Enjoy.

#24 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -

I'm going to say that the game's flaws do prevent it from being fun. I didn't enjoy it so much. In fact, I'd say parts of the design can be downright retarded. A few times, these lame decisions developers made left me running around in circles so much that I ended up needing to use a guide to find out what to do next. That's never cool.
 
I think most of the points you make are solid, though I in particular wasn't impressed with the level design. I thought that bathroom level was great, but that was the only area that stood out to me as being impressive. The more I think about it, I guess there were a few other cool spots, though I felt many of the areas were dull and derivative.
 
I will say that I'm impressed by looking at the screenshots. The graphics really do seem to hold up quite nicely. I do agree that the motion blur during reloading was kind of lame. I don't know, I didn't care for the game much at all. I didn't think the gameplay was even very good. There wasn't much that really impressed me. It had a lot of potential, but I wasn't satisfied with the end result.

#25 Posted by yinstarrunner (1197 posts) -
@scarace360:   I'm so glad I'm not the only one who totally thought that was what this thread was gonna be about.
 
What's even worse though is what I thought after I thought that.  I didn't say to myself, "Oh, that's horrible!"
 I just mentally shrugged and thought, "Oh well, just another day on the Giantbomb forums!"
What does that say about the state of these forums?
#26 Posted by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -

Awesome blog for an awesome game. Finishing it all on Black Ops difficulty is a cherished gaming memory for me, although that last room after going down the long tunnel was a bitch to finish. I also loved blowing it all to kingdom come with a customised breaks soundtrack I'd carefully pieced together to suit the explodery action - not enough Xbox games utilised this function.
 
But goddamn that story was some poorly written, indecipherable, dense (in both senses of the word) F-grade straight-to-video FMV rubbish.

Moderator
#27 Posted by Meowshi (2911 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:
" @Hailinel said:
" I've never played Black, so I can't comment on it, other than the fact that I found the whole concept of marketing the game as "gun porn" absurd.  Does the name of the game "Black" actually refer to anything? "
 
"Black" doesn't refer to anything in-game, no. I kind of wish it didn't have such a generic title, because it makes it hard to search for anything related to the game online. Nevertheless.
It stands for Black Ops.
 
I thought black was an excellent game.  I mean, it was on the PS2.  Were people expecting the greatest FPS ever created?
 
Gaming journalists are ridiculous.
#28 Posted by TwoLines (2810 posts) -

The Fun Factor is pretty damn important.
*snicker*
 
Sorry, couldn't help myslef. 

A well written blog otherwise, I played some Black back then, it was cool, but got too annoying.
Never finished it.

#29 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3071 posts) -
@Meowshi said:

" @ZanzibarBreeze said:

"Black" doesn't refer to anything in-game, no.
It stands for Black Ops.  "
My bad!
 
@buzz_clik said:

" Finishing it all on Black Ops difficulty is a cherished gaming memory for me, although that last room after going down the long tunnel was a bitch to finish.  "


I cannot even imagine attempting Spetriniv Gulag on Black Ops. That last room, let alone that whole level, must have skewered you.
#30 Posted by c1337us (5751 posts) -

I have Black but never played it. One day I should I guess.

#31 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Michael Bay the game.

#32 Posted by jonnyboy (2920 posts) -

Black was more of an homage to stupid fun 80's action movies than The Expendables could ever hope to be. 
 
It's 'Commando: The Game', and I love it for that.

#33 Posted by adoggz (2067 posts) -

when ever someone talks about that game this happens 

#34 Posted by SpiralStairs (1020 posts) -

I thought this blog was about racism.

#35 Posted by BulletproofMonk (2720 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" Black is fantastic. It's such a dumb-awesome game it should be played by everyone. "
This.
#36 Posted by scarace360 (4828 posts) -
@yinstarrunner: It just says that its part of the internet.
#37 Posted by DG_Nick (5 posts) -

I'm pretty late in responding to this but I just read it today looking at the page for Black. The issue you had with blur during reloads was probably an attempt to focus on the gun while it's reloading like a camera lens. Human eyes work the same way, though it is probably a bit exaggerated in Black.

#38 Posted by laserbolts (5321 posts) -
Thank you for bumping this dude. Black was amazing when it first came out. This was an awesome blog by the way.
#39 Posted by DavoTron (151 posts) -

This is one of my favourite first person shooters ever. It really had a sense of combat, there was nothing quite like unloading a clip in the vague direction of an enemy for it to smoke up everywhere and become messy and disorientating that I can only imagine gunfights to be. I was just playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and it really reminded me of Black. For the technology, it was very impressive.