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Andy_Tanner
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And after rereading the Eurogamer review it's almost like I'm reading one big fat lie. Either my playing style rips BLACK a new arsehole, or this game really is released in multiple builds.

That Eurogamer review sounds a bit iffy. The part about the AI chasing him up buildings stands out because the game is full of enemy spawns that happen every time when you go into an area or do a secondary objective. Same thing about the intensity which is only really felt in the final room due to the lack of checkpoints, nothing to do with the fire fights.

Why do all the reviews mention frame rate problems? I never once had a smidgen of slow down on the xbox version.

And this bit

Criterion not only makes the visual experience unlike anything you've encountered, but also makes the core combat a determinedly brutal affair that'll test the best in ways that even FPS veterans will be forced to admire.

Bollocks, it's the easiest FPS in a long while. Maybe the retail version got dumbed down severely at the last minute. I want to play the review version. Hell I want to play this mythical Burnout style version that was promised.

What exactly happened in that version that is different to the final release?

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Up to the asylum level so far and I'm loving it. There seems to be little nods to The Rock in this level (advantages in elevated positions etc) and it fits so well.

There's moments that constantly have me praising Criterion's technical achievement. The levels are massive, have shitloads going on and I've yet to see a flicker of slowdown. The game world just feels so solid. Weight and inertia feel spot on too, elements that can really make or break a FSP for me. Far Cry Instincts would be so much more enjoyable if it wasn't so 'floaty'.

At first I thought the lack of radar would be annoying but with the excellent audio, it's really not necessary. Playing with headphones is an experience in itself.

The destruction is pretty much at the level I expected (I never expected absolutely everything to be destructible and unscripted) but it would have been great if the environment had more bearing on taking out the enemies. Shooting out the massive skylights with the intention of ripping the enemies to shreds was met with some disappointment.

Good to see that custom soundtracks are available from the start. Playing through though, the in game soundtrack is excellent, absent most of the time but chiming in at just the right times. It would be great if the custom soundtracks blended in just as well, only playing upon certain cues instead of just playing constantly. Instrumentals seem the way to go so far, and I've been using the OSTs of Predator and Leon. Both ideal yet I always revert back to the game's score. Which custom tracks are everyone else using (if any)?

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Totally agree with the 'easiest FPS in along time' sentiments. The enemies drop that many health packs on normal, that you can go rambo no bother. I didn't play it that way though cos it takes so fucking long to kill anyone unless you go for headshots. Most efficient way to play is just pick people off at distance. It's dull but then so is emptying clip after clip and watching the stupid fucking knocked-down-stand-up animations again and again.

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Bollocks, it's the easiest FPS in a long while. Maybe the retail version got dumbed down severely at the last minute. I want to play the review version. Hell I want to play this mythical Burnout style version that was promised.

What exactly happened in that version that is different to the final release?

.::: The September Version contained a few different aspects:

- Constant in-game 'body count'. A small thing but it constantly reminded you of how much enemies you shot down. It would 'bling up' Burnout style, whenever more were added.

- 'Burnout-tricks'. Essentially just like every way of shunting, crashing and ramming got a different shoutbox in Burnout so too would BLACK notify you of your actions. HEADSHOT! DOUBLE KILL! That sort of stuff. It made the entire game come alive, and urged you to think of even more zany actions to kill your enemies with. It fitted the over the top atmosphere.

- Explosions. When I saw the September Version there was carnage and explosions everywhere. As weapons were demonstrated, their firepower became instantly apparant. I remember smiling from ear to ear when I saw the shotgun in action. After a few simple demonstrations the RPG came into the player's hands and everybody just started laughing and wowing. Considering the damage the other weapons had done, this had not only take the cake, but rape it violently. And it did.

The RPG now is almost a simple smoke effect in comparison. It feels cheap.

- Sound. The sound is still excellent, no mistake on that (except for the highly annoying radio-chatter). But the audio-drop has gone. I know 100% percent sure this was in, as after the demonstration me and veloS actually asked the Criterion guy whether it was a bug or an added effect, but it was a consistent effect. The effect in question being a half-a-second complete silence before a big explosion would happen. The only trace of this I can find in the current game is the subdued audio as you're on your last shreds of health.

- Amount of enemies. There were MANY more enemies evenly disitributed instead of the stop-go hotspots the retail has. The PS2 demo from last month exemplifies this perfectly. Immediately after starting you are not undergoing a constant bullet-rain from outside anymore. Likewise the enemy on the balcony just after blowing open the door is gone just as his brethren near the car directly in front of the stairs, only a single guy remains. The entire firing-squad opposite the museum is removed, only a few clips remain at that position if I recall correctly.

Those are the most glaring differences out of the top of my head. Now, this might be because I simply got a look at a version that was not meant to be and had my experiences coloured by that. But considering a lot of comments and especially reviews I'm starting to doubt it's just me. There seems to be something else going on as well.

And it's slightly driving me mad in the process...

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Well, at least the producer of the game makes clear why the Burnout-tricks were removed:

De ontwikkeling van BLACK is met een ruim jaar aan de korte kant. Toch ziet het spel er behoorlijk anders uit dan de op de E3 van 2005 getoonde versie. Onder andere het Burnout-achtige puntensysteem is uit het spel gesloopt. “We hadden al snel door dat het puntensysteem bij BLACK geen toegevoegde waarde heeft en af zou doen van de beleving.

BLACK is een redelijk serieuze game met een grimmige sfeer en schreeuwerige schermen met ‘kijk je hebt zoveel punten behaald door dit headshot!’ ligt naar onze mening niet in lijn met de rest van het spel.”

Yes, that's unreadable for the most of you since it's Dutch so I'll just sum it up in English: He thinks Black's a pretty serious game and with the points system thingy it would be less serious, and it would add nothing to the immersion.

Uhm, okay...

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.::: The September Version contained a few different aspects:

Wow good read. That sounds a lot different and more like the Burnout meets FPS that we were promised compared to this straight FPS that seems to take itself rather seriously.

The problem with playing it straight is that some design elements remain to remind you that it was once a crazy ass shooter like the Destruction objective or the Masked Shotgun guys. It seems odd that they would fall in line when they'd been boasting about ripping apart the genre for so long.

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Wow good read. That sounds a lot different and more like the Burnout meets FPS that we were promised compared to this straight FPS that seems to take itself rather seriously.

.::: Why do you think I'm gutted beyond repair? :)

If someone from Criterion reads this, can they send me button-codes or Action Replay codes, or maybe even a seperate build, to get the September BLACK version back? :P

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Thanks for that information Cyhwuhx. I really enjoyed Black but I can see how it could of been so much more with what you've described WAS in there. No wonder you're disappointed. That 360 version of Black is screaming even more loudly...

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:(

Two completely opposed and (as far as im concerned) both completely wrong opinions.

Of course it hasnt got amazing longevity (which Dave White will probably find out further into the game), but to say its only got one run through in it is just as absurd, especially when its been made clear that the (admittedly small) changes Hard brings makes you play in a very different way and the fun new weapon you get on Black Ops difficulty.

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I'm playing it on hard though as my first run through. Its not locked. The thought of playing it through again with a new gun on black ops fills me with yawns.

When will developers learn that a new gun adds nothing to an experience unless it changes the way the game feels. For example, the shotgun felt amazing in Doom because it turned things to fucking MUSH. In oddworld the thudslugs you get halfway through the game make enemies explode from the force of the things. thats how to do it.

The problem with ragdoll physics is that the enemy never gets damaged. They get bounced around all over the place but never hurt. if black gave you a new gun that turned the badguys to strawberry jam then i'd play through again, but the thought of just blowing ragdoll bodies about the place does nothing for me. Once its done on hard its coming off the harddrive and it wont be played again.

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Some stats.

Total Game Time: 3:41:54

Number of Headshots: 222

Total Enemy Count: 839

That last one used to be called 'body count', I smell political correctness.

Compare those numbers with those in the Eurogamer review, where he had a body count of nearly 3000 on his run through.

Is this due to him playing it on higher difficulty, spending longer hanging around spawn points, or have they castrated the review game for retail? :(

I need to know before I splash my wad.

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I'm playing it on hard though as my first run through. Its not locked. The thought of playing it through again with a new gun on black ops fills me with yawns.

When will developers learn that a new gun adds nothing to an experience unless it changes the way the game feels. For example, the shotgun felt amazing in Doom because it turned things to fucking MUSH. In oddworld the thudslugs you get halfway through the game make enemies explode from the force of the things. thats how to do it.

Playing on Black Ops does feel different though. You get to play every level with the M16A2 with infinite ammo and it makes the game a much more action packed affair and far more fun than sneaking around like a pussy. It doesmake the game much shorter though.
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Oh god, surely there aren't infinite spawns are there?

No, a couple of people have made comments like this, there are points that trigger enemy spawns but they are a set amount and they usually have proper points of entry, they don't just pop out from behind you.

Didn't realise silver weapons haev unlimited ammo, I may just play level5 again on hard to check it out.

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I'm really enjoying this. Graphics on the PS2 version are just :o , and I'm finding it a lot more fun than I thought I would after some of the comments I'd read. I think it's the settings that I like the most: the world just feels so real - which makes it all the more rewarding when you blow it all up :D .

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Gamespot just kicked the shit out of this in their video review, I don't think they had anything positive to say. All of the concerns raised on here were mentioned, as well as some other niggles that I hadn't really noticed.

Their main points were: Shallow, repetitive, too short, no replay value, weak plot, poor ending.

Still managed to score 7.4 though.

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