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Old 07-21-2010, 07:31 AM   #1
pwnophobia
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[XBLA] - Blacklight: Tango Down Review

Title: Blacklight: Tango Down
Platform: XBLA
Platform Reviewed: XBLA
Developer: Zombie
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
MSRP: 1200 MSP ($15.00)
Writer: Adam 'pwnophobia' Cogswell

Blacklight: Tango Down Review

The Poor Man's Call of Duty

With the onslaught of multiplayer modes that has been plaguing consoles you may find yourself hard pressed to find a game that you'd like to stick with. Specifically the FPS genre, dominated by Call of Duty and Battlefield, it would seem almost impossible to penetrate that market. Blacklight: Tango Down tries to take the fast paced deathmatch action and mix it into an affordable and downloadable package without the help of a single player campaign.


Blacklight: Tango Down offers up two ways to play online with Black Ops (think Modern Warfare 2's Spec-Ops) or your conventional multiplayer firefight. Spread over 12 maps and a handfull of game modes including Retrieval, Team Deathmatch, FFA or Domination, Blacklight comes off as a fairly generic shooter. When you load into any game you can customize your loadout or pick a pre-defined one and then jump into the twitch-style games. Every kill and game completion awards experience which is used to level up and unlock guns and small tweaks for your character which will be used to subsequently unlock more items. One of the few problems that Blacklight suffers from is the learning curve: if you're not accustomed to any console FPS then Blacklight isn't for you, and if you are then Blacklight will seem a re-hash of what you've already played.


Besides the fact that the game is only $15, it does have a few interesting features but nothing that really sets it above and beyond its competition. The game lets you wall hack for a few seconds at a time as you can equip a Hyper Reality Visor to see through walls to find enemies and ammo crates. Another neat gadget in the pack is the digi-grenade which tears a cloud in the arena and scrambles the enemies field of vision as they run through it. After you've played with those two gadgets you might be tempted to fire-up Black Ops with a buddy because you enjoyed Spec-Ops, right? Well, don't head in with too high of hopes because Black Ops is just a few maps of killing waves of enemies that do far too much damage and take no coordination to kill. Scattered through the modes are a few puzzles, including a Simon style mini-game, but overall it is a very lack luster experience. If you die you don't re-spawn and it could take your partner another ten minutes of "crouch and hide" to finish one map; not very multiplayer friendly.


I would be more apt to recommend Blacklight if they had included a single player campaign to explain what each force was. As it stands you'll have to go through the lousy menu system to find the "How-to-play" section and learn about the game that way. If you're like me and just want to jump into the action than you'll probably feel like the game is just too similar and muddy to stick hardcore to. The world is dark, dreary and GRAY (as are most post-apocalyptic style games) and leaves a lot to be desired as it isn't aesthetically pleasing. An hour or so in the multiplayer and you'll be begging for the vibrant colors of the Frostbite engine.

For $15 you're getting a similar experience to the latest generation of multiplayer shooters albeit with lesser quality graphics. Had the game added hyper-realistic weaponry instead of your "every day" machine guns and grenades, it may have pulled more of those niche players that only play Call of Duty because "there is nothing better." As it stands, Blacklight: Tango Down is only an acceptable subsititue if you want new scenery or something to do while you wait for your buddies to log on to Xbox Live.

Score: 3 out of 5


The Good
  • Plays very smoothly.
  • Fast paced enough to hold your attention without going over the top.
The Bad
  • Halo jumping.
  • Generic guns and add-ons.
The Ugly
  • Gray and muddy textures.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:12 AM   #3
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Game looks good, but I can't seem to get into it.. Multiplayer deaths are to fast too. Seems like any weapon takes you down in almost 1 or 2 shots.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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I love that the technical execution of modern shooters is coming down to the XBLA price point and I was bothered that this game was getting drilled for flaws when it should be compared to the value proposition of a MW2 mappack. So I put some effort into loving it. But I just don't love it.


Running with the default loadout seemed loose and cartoony.
Not sure but it seems there may be no zoom-auto-aim like in CODMW2
May as well have provided auto regen out of the box. Health bar is useless?
Spent way way too long in the lobby waiting to play a round.
The presentation is so bleak it seems to camouflage enemy players.

Overall, I have to say its not comparing well to BF 1943, even though the leveling mechanic really appeals and there is "more" content, if you can get to it. Another title I had a lot more fun with was Section 8, which is probably about the same pricepoint, and available as a download from PSN
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demo_Boy View Post
Running with the default loadout seemed loose and cartoony.
They tried to make it more realistic by really bouncing around while running. I didn't like it all that much but you can look past it.

Quote:
Not sure but it seems there may be no zoom-auto-aim like in CODMW2
It's just like '43, as you mentioned. That game had no aim assist either.

Quote:
May as well have provided auto regen out of the box. Health bar is useless?
I'm fairly certain it had some sort of regen, but I agree...it was pretty much pointless.

Quote:
Spent way way too long in the lobby waiting to play a round.
I should have spent a little time on this. For anyone that is curious, the net code is pretty bad and you spend a bit of time waiting around. I had mixed circumstances though, some times the games would fire right up and others it would lock up.

The game also suffers from a lack of players and full lobbies will quickly empty after someone gets killed by...(see below)

Quote:
The presentation is so bleak it seems to camouflage enemy players.
I ran into this a few times while playing where people would camp in areas that I couldn't see them.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:53 PM   #6
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This game REALLY needed join in progress, being a small title who was mostly going to depend on word of mouth for success. "Oh, I'll give this game a shot!" *Sits in lobby for 10 minutes with mic-less strangers* "Ah, fuck this."

Some really good ideas but with mediocre execution. I could have recommended it if the single player was any good but it's quite dull. Give the 60-minute trial a shot if you're on 360, but otherwise steer clear.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:19 PM   #7
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While I applaud the developers for creating a fairly nice looking and playing game, I question their choice of genre. I mean, come on--military FPS? If you're wanting to compete, why not try something different? Maybe a really well-executed space combat game, or if you HAVE to go the FPS route, then doing something creative with it like the Borderlands team did, by overlaying it with RPG numerics. I just don't see how they ever could have expect Bl:TD to be anything but lost in the sea of military FPSs.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:02 PM   #8
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Not really a fair comparison. Borderlands is an extraordinarily higher scope game than BLTD. Singleplayer, Bosses, retail release.

But it still has lots of quality competition at the 1200 and even 800 price point.
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:13 PM   #9
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Don't get me wrong--I have tons of respect for these guys for making a high-quality game. I just think it might have been a better choice to pick a genre that was a little less crowded and packed with AAA competitors than "military FPS". I still wish them all the best, and hope this sells gangbusters; it's just that I suspect it probably won't because of the crowded field in which its standing.
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