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Black Member Review for the PS2

jam33 By:
GENRE First-Person Shooter 
DEVELOPER Criterion 
M Contains Strong Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

"Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins." ~~Ayn Rand

Black is a guy's game (no offense). It is an FPS, with an unusual amount of gunfire and violence. All the more reason to want to play it. It is the sort of game that needs to be cranked up loud in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, in your basement with the lights off, with all your best friends sitting around watching in awe on your 64 inch plasma TV. That being said, that will be all your friends will be doing, as the game does not feature any form of multiplayer mayhem, and there's a snowball's chance in Hell they'll be taking the controller away from you. And as you watch the screen, you let your mind slip, and you begin to wonder, "why?" Then the fun slowly begins to dissipate.

Black is something of an anomaly; it is suffering from Michael Bay-ism. It features an awe-inspiring engine, with stockpiles of various weapons, and a world where you are good, they are bad, and everything between you and them is fair game. If the game was being rated on sheer destruction, it would be an automatic A+, blowing away virtually all other games of the genre (ie. the Tom Clancy chains), no pun intended. The controls for the game are surprisingly good as well, with an overall learning curve for the game's format lasting only about five minutes. It's not the controls or the graphics/destruction that cause the problems with the game. It's when you get into the heavy duty firefights later in Black that problems begin. The enemies, dressed to look like your common terrorist, featured in almost any modern-war FPS, are standing still, possibly striding back and forth, unloading at you, while you are helpess to stop it. Okay, maybe not helpless, but it's not like your gun is going to help you out, you are better off just throwing it; these enemies are monstruously difficult to take down. It gets fun later on when the heavily armored soldiers come rushing, with shields and shotguns, in pairs and threes. But hey, that's still alright, because at least you are still able to rain down all sorts of hell, blowing **** up in every direction before they take you down, right?

Unfortunately, there are some other structural problems as well. Take for example, the story. Or, should I say, lack of one. The 'plot' is that the main character is being interrogated by some kind of federal officer, because of some crime commited by the 'protagonist'. As the game develops, we are supposed to be learning more about the story through the interrogations, and what is actually going on. However, it is nonsensical, and boring, leaving you wanting to skip through it and get right to the action. But, to the disappointment of many players, the action is over a lot sooner than many were originally anticipating. The game only has 8 missions (but granted, ther are rather large missions), but despite the difficulty, there's no reason why it can't be completed in ten hours.

As a whole, I would still say Black is a decent game...if it's taken at face value. It's a shooter, and stuff gets blown up. And as said before, it's definitely one to show off to your friends. But if you like your games with a story, or, to take longer than the weekend to finish, Black may not be the best choice. Then again, people face the same choices when watching Michael Bay movies: some people just like their action with no plot.

~~Joe Mac

More information about Black
B Revolution report card
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