Brought to you by Criterion, the same guys who were responsible for the Burnout games, Black is one of the most visually stimulating and action-packed first-person shooters to hit the PlayStation 2. It’s addictive, it’s beautiful, and most importantly, it’s fun to blow your enemies into last week.
Taking control of a soldier by the name of Keller, you quickly learn that he has been held captive and is being interrogated. You play out the previous four long days of his life, in a mission to take out the terrorist group known as Seventh Wave. Unfortunately this story doesn’t continue for too long, as the game comes to a fairly quick ending, which itself is slightly disappointing. It seems as if the story has been sacrificed for the gun-blazing action aspect of the game.
One of the first things you will notice, however, is how clean and good looking the game is. It is visually stunning and will leave you amazed at the power that the current generation systems still possess. Each and every bullet will leave a mark in the wall, or blast a hole in a door – something that gives you a sense of how deep the detail in the game goes.
You’re able to shoot out individual bricks in walls to get a better vantage point, knock out glass windows with the butt of your gun to line up the enemy, or crouch behind walls or other objects as the bullets go whizzing overhead, with stray bullets raising clouds of dust as they hit the wall you are perched behind. All of these techniques enable you to progress through the levels with completely different techniques.
The gameplay shows its real depth when taking aim and firing at the completely destructible objects in the game. For example, if the enemy is perched at the base of a concrete pillar you are able to shoot the top, causing chunks of concrete to fall, inflicting a lot of harm on your rivals below. There are also many cars and barrels scattered about which will explode if you shoot at them. The explosions are some of the best seen on the PlayStation 2, matching the impressive detail gone into the rest of the game.
During the missions the sound of hundreds of rounds per minute being fired of from every direction will follow your every movement, leaving no time for any fancy background music. The guns sound excellent, with different weaponry producing diverse sounds. The heavy blast of a Spas 12 will sound notably different than the quick firing of an AK-47, creating a real sense of varying power between the weapons.
If you’re a fan of the FPS genre, Black is a game that you should go out of your way to pick up, or at least rent. Those that don’t favour the genre as much should still give it a chance, as it’s a breath of fresh air which won’t leave you disappointed.