As a heavy FPS gamer, it takes a little more to get me excited about another one coming down the pipe. Blacklight: Tango Down is one of those games that didn’t excite me too much beforehand, and doesn’t really after playing it. It’s not a bad attempt and it is relatively inexpensive compared to the competition out there but it’s not too impressive of an FPS. I mean, if this was a $60 game, I’d be appalled I spent so much money but coming in at $15, it’s OK if you’re looking for something cheap to play with.
Blacklight: Tango Down is mostly a multiplayer first person shooter with various online modes and a pretty short co-op mode that can also be played solo. There’s really no plot presented as you’re thrust into a multiplayer game or co-op game depending on your choice. You’ll have to dig a little deeper into the menu system but for all intents purposes, this is just a typical multiplayer shooter without much of a backstory to get you in the mood.
12 maps are available along with seven multiplayer modes of play. There’s more than enough content for a $15 game in that aspect so you can’t fault Blacklight: Tango Down for skimping here. I mean, compared to, say, a map pack for Modern Warfare 2, there’s a cornucopia of content for you to play with.
The game is a fast paced shooter so you’ll be running around quickly and dying quickly as well. In the vein of Unreal Tournament or Quake, the characters can move around the level rapidly and I found out I did better running constantly rather than being cautious. Well, that is the case at the beginning of each game as there was a pattern that seemed to follow each time I played.
All too often, the game boils down to one team pushing far enough to the others spawn point and it devolves into a battle at that area. While the enemies can’t enter the spawn point because it’s guarded by some indestructible turrets, the games I played still turned out to be this way until the round ended. Because there’s only one static spawn point for each team, you’ll know where they will come out at after the requisite spawn time, making it easier to just camp at the openings to the spawn point exchange gun fire.
As for character progression, Blacklight: Tango Down features an experience system whereby you earn points when killing an enemy or assisting in a kill. Players can achieve up to level 70 and you’ll be awarded various unlocks as you raise your level such as grips and armor.
Unlocks are plentiful in the game but you really don’t know what you unlock during the course of it until you are in-between gaming sessions and moving about in the menu looking for it. It’s just the descriptions of the unlock can be cryptic so it’s hard to even be excited when one comes into play.There is a good assortment of weapons,
and each weapon has various upgrades you can add to it as well. Whether it’s changing the barrel, putting in a different magazine, or using a different paint job, there’s a great deal of items you can earn to change about your weapon of choice. Some, of course, affect how well the gun works so it’s in your best interest to see what you did earn to help improve your efficiency in killing with that particular weapon.
Powered by the Unreal engine, the game has a futuristic look about it with two distinct factions. The sci-fi theme is highlighted by the uniforms that the characters wear and a few pieces of equipment. The game looks better than many of the $15 games on Xbox Live but there’s nothing really special about it. It seems a little generic for a shooter, but there are some neat little visuals here and there. Overall though, it’s not a game that’s going to blow you away graphically.
Something different for Blacklight Tango Down is the Hyper Reality Visor or HRV. The HRV, when activated, will let you “see” through walls and point out enemies or caches that you can restock or heal yourself at. Activating the HRV only nets you a small amount of time to use it, and during which, you cannot fire at all. So, you better make sure you’re behind some cover before checking around as you’re pretty much helpless at this point. To prevent a player from constantly using it, you need a small amount of time to let it recharge before you can use it again. It’s not a bad concept and it can help a team out well should one person be using the HRV to call out where the enemies are to their teammates.
Since you are viewing the world through a digital visor, one of the cooler things about that is if you get hit with a digi grenade which is a grenade that causes your electronic visor to go haywire, the visor blue screens on you for a short period of time. The first time I saw it, I was pretty amused by the effect being a Windows user and all. Even in the future, the blue screen of death knows no bounds in annoying you and in the case of this game, can cause you to lose a life.
The one bad thing about the digi grenade, though; if you are the tosser, it causes such a big blocky disturbance in the playing field that it hides anyone that’s caught in the effect making the grenade kind of useless if you are trying to follow up with a kill. You’ll just have to spray wildly into the grenade area and hope you hit someone, which makes it a crap shoot. It’s an interesting idea but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
The Black Ops campaign are missions that you can play solo or with a few buddies but suffer from a few problems. There were numerous times the enemies would stand right in front of me and not engage until I shot at them. Whether it’s someone with a gun or even a melee weapon, there were many occurrences of the AI not doing anything.
When the enemies are moving, there were a few times where the enemies got stuck or just had a seizure in place as well. Seeing an enemy shake uncontrollably near some walls made for an easy but unsatisfying kill. It’s experiences like these in the Black Ops portion of the game where it just makes it not too challenging.
I can’t fault Zombie Studios for the game at the price point they are pushing it out at. If this was a $50 game, then yes there are a ton of flaws that make this game an easy pass over. At $15, it’s a lot easier to swallow and I would hope Zombie Studios continues to improve upon the game to make it a solid multiplayer shooter. At its current state, veterans will probably get bored of it quickly and get easily annoyed by some of the issues the game has. For those on a budget, it’s not a bad buy and it will give you your multiplayer fix with features that are available in more expensive games.