One Lukewarm FPS Serving in the Form of Project Blackout
By Mitch Baylosis-Benesa (Syllica)
There are types of food that doesn’t taste quite right at the first bite. But as soon as you swallow the measly portion in your mouth, the aftertaste begins to resurface. But although there is no strong craving for it, there is still that consistent pull that makes you throw caution to the wind and just shamelessly dig in. To stop beating around the bush, the free-to-play online tactical FPS Project Blackout is simply like that. It looks unappealing, and the features are nothing you haven’t seen in other FPS games. It doesn’t fall into the “gourmet” group, but it certainly doesn’t taste like trash food either.
Project Blackout is simple and somewhat bland, but it is rather unpretentious–something that can be a good and bad thing at the same time. It doesn’t offer anything extraordinary, innovative, or something refreshing yet there is a certain charm to its mediocrity that hits the right spot. It is easy for anyone to forget how time passes flies once they get to play Project Blackout.
It’s All In The Title
Project Blackout takes place in the fictional country of Korogese that is currently rife with civil disorder and political instability. Aegis Inc. (Blue Team) is formed by a group of corporations who want to “support” and be part of the government, while The Corps (Red Team) is a group of citizens who resist the Aegis. At the start of the game, it will not matter whether you have chosen to be uphold The Corps’ ideals or support the Aegis’ movements. You will have access to both characters. Project Blackout doesn’t offer any options to customize its looks, but you can add more playable characters–an additional male and female for each team–should you decide to purchase them via its item mall.
Like most FPS games, the most you can do to your character is to upgrade its arsenal and armor. Some items can be purchased via ingame currency called Credits, but some items would require Points (credits paid for by the player) or a title. A Title is different from a rank in Project Blackout. You gain your rank by reaching the required experience, but earning a title means having to reach a certain amount of experience, rank, credits, and items that you received mostly for finishing a mission. Missions in Project Blackout are not simply just eliminate, search and destroy, and deathmatches. Missions can also be for individuals, like a personal achievement thing. Completing personal missions such as getting two headshot kills in one round, or using a specialized item during a mission yield good rewards especially when you get to complete a POINTBLANK mission set. You can upgrade your title on your avatar’s skill tree and you will also gain benefits from this like jump or accuracy boosts.
The system requirements for Project Blackout is not that high, so this is tantamount to saying that there is nothing spectacular about its graphics. The characters are rendered in simplest and cleanest manner, but not to the point that it looked like they have flat personalities. The maps actually do resemble an urban environment suited for shootouts. Map designs look a little simple and small. Even a well-aimed grenade can take out more than a couple of players passing by a certain opening. But on the bright side, your mission location actually takes damage when you shoot, stab, or throw a grenade at it adding a bit of realism in the gameplay. Pillars crack and darken in color, walls get knife marks, and windows get broken to create a sweet spot for aiming. So far, I’ve boarded a helicopter during one of our bomb missions (unless there’s a new update of a map having humvees or tanks at the players’ disposal), adding a bit of thrill into the game.
Another feature in Project Blackout is the voice over when you do something cool like a headshot, mass kill (i.e., that well-aimed grenade in the previous example), triple kill to chain killer. The voice was just generic, but it still provides a surprisingly good ego stroking. The controls are basically the standard FPS keys: WASD for the directional buttons, shift to add speed, Ctrl for crouching, Spacebar for jumping, and 12345 for your weapons or via the mousewheel. For any FPS beginners, I’d have to say that Project Blackout is newbie-friendly although chat text are pretty small, hard to read (I have to squint) and are hardly noticeable when you’re new. You can go on solo missions and finish the training missions with difficulty level starting from three levels of Easy, Normal to Difficult. This is a good way to find out your shooting rhythm in the game, and familiarize with the maps. Also, Project Blackout’s hitting accuracy seems to be more forgiving compared to other online FPSes today.
Though it is indeed generic and unorginal in terms of concept, Project Blackout still managed to project that it is a straightforward and no nonsense game. Upon logging in, there are no elaborate options for character personalization, or cinematics to watch before you start the game. You log on, you pick a character, you either choose a map or mode to join, or you can create your own room already without being picky with the other players’ ranks. It is simply a game where you log on to lock, load, shoot and kill (or in bomb mode’s case, plant). If you wanted to something more, then load up your credits and purchase items. However, if you’re only up for a casual gaming experience, then Project Blackout is a generic option even without you having to shell out a cent. It’s easy to play, and honestly, the players I’ve encountered so far aren’t douchebags so props to the community. Project Blackout reminds me of a lukewarm homecooked meal: it is nothing fancy, not even served plated, but can still be enjoyed and will still fill an empty stomach. I’m not saying it’s completely delicious, but the tastet is somehow passable, which means I wouldn’t mind eating it again when the best concoctions are out of stock.
– Very straightforward gameplay: lock and load
– Missions and title system
– Mediocre graphics
– Everything is just way too… standard