Blacklight Retribution First Impressions
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
Perfect World Entertainment continues to pump out new releases and their latest game Blacklight Retribution does not disappoint. Although the game is still in its beta phases, it plays great and provides hours of entertainment to its players. Like all FPS games it recycles the typical FPS style but also brings new and exciting features to the table.
In this day and age, everyone should know how a FPS game is played. Players use their WASD keys to maneuver their character while using their mouse to aim and fire. This remains the same in Blacklight Retribution as no shooting techniques were added. It is still locate, scope and fire to land kills.
This game was made to be a shooter paced faster than Counter Strike but slower than Tribes. The maps are medium sized with various hiding and flanking areas but the built in Hyper Reality Visor (HRV) makes sure there is always action. The HRV is basically a built in map hack. It allows players to see enemies and allies through walls. This feature keeps the game going and always keeps you on your toes. If you have never been a fan of campers, you will love HRV.
The HRV in action.
To maintain some balance, I have noticed that while the HRV consumes an energy bar when in use, it can only be activated if you have full energy. This means that players cannot use the HRV constantly while walking around to always have knowledge about an enemy’s whereabouts.
Just like every other FPS game, it offers the basic game modes. Currently in the beta the game offers: deathmatch, team deathmatch, domination, capture the flag and king of the hill.
All of these game modes are self explanatory as we have all seen them used in other FPS games. However, while playing the game I came to love one simple yet effective feature offered in domination.
As we all know, the domination game mode is the typical control point game mode. Opposing teams battle it out to reign over multiple control points until the goal is reached. In most FPS games players simply need to stand by the control points to capture them.
In Blacklight Retribution, capturing points is not that simple. Players must play a very simple hacking game to capture the control point. While this mini game is very simple, players just need to match numbers using their keyboard, it offered something new to the game mode. This very simple mini game forces players to complete it very fast because of the action surrounding the player. It is great to see Zombie studios adding new features to already existing game modes and would love to see what other innovations they have up their sleeves.
Blacklight uses a points system to award skilled players during matches. Points are earned by doing basically everything that is beneficial to yourself or your team. Some examples include kills, defending and capturing control points.
These points get reset every round and can be used in game at weapon depots to purchase upgraded weapons such as the rocket launcher and flamethrower. These upgraded weapons are dropped on death and can be picked up by other players.
The weapon depots also offer items such as health and ammo refills but the item everyone is aiming for is the Hardsuit. When purchased, your character is basically given a mech suit to be worn! This is a very powerful weapon both in terms of damage and survivability. However, you will have to spend a good deal of the game conserving your points to unlock it.
While a player equipped with this suit is very hard to kill, the HRV can be used to locate the suit’s randomly generated weak spot. Shooting this weak spot will cause the suit to take ten times the normal damage.
I do not see myself using the weapon upgrades from the weapon depot for reasons other than killing players in Hardsuits. If a player uses the flamethrower on a Hardsuit, they can burn the player which allows them to steal the Hardsuit! An educational video was prepared by PWE demonstrating this very maneuver!
Why can’t I just buy the item?!
The game allows for a lot of customization to suit every player’s playstyle but I was disappointed when I saw the shop.
You gain credits by completing rounds or purchasing them with real cash. Unfortunately these credits cannot simply be used to purchase items you are interested in. Instead they are used to rent items. You decide how much you want to pay between various options with the highest cost allowing longer rental periods.
I hate this feature in FPS games as players are forced to continuously play to effectively use their hard earned credits. It also means that if players do not play enough to earn sufficient credits before their expiration date, they will be forced to play using different play styles until they can purchase their weapon. Finally, it also limits the number of weapons a player can own. If your old weapons keep expiring, it is quite hard to maintain a large number of weapons.
All in all, this is a great F2P FPS game. While it may not offer completely unique gameplay, the game does a great job at recycling the classic FPS style while still adding new features such as the Hardsuit and HRV. Keep in mind that these are just my first impressions, the game is still in beta and could change for the better or worse. I would just love to see the weapon rental feature be reworked or replaced.
Blacklight Retribution is going into its next closed beta phase today so be sure to check it out for yourselves!