Project Blackout – Tactically Twitchy
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
SG Interactive is taking a departure from their usual bright and colorful online games to bring us a gritty and violent look at modern warfare with Project Blackout (PB). Released back in 2010, Project Blackout is a multiplayer online first-person shooter, which contains a mix between tactical and fast pacing. PB looks and plays very similar to many FPS games before it, but is it hiding something to make it worth the download?
When starting out, you’re not granted any customization options. You simply type in your desired player name and go. Once you check into the game’s item shop, you’ll find a hefty amount of different weapons, avatar models and other misc. items to choose from. The weapon selection is incredibly vast, but you can’t tweak or modify your weapons in any way, so if you were thinking about adding a nice little silencer or modified scope to that shiny new assault rifle you just bought, you can sort of forget that… unless, of course, the weapon you just purchased already has the features you were looking for.
PB also features the option to change your character’s look with avatar items, but these items are restricted to head items such as face paint, masks and hats, and avatar sets that completely change the look of your player model altogether, and just like the weapons available, none of these can be tweaked. For such a modern game, it’s pretty disappointing that you’re only given access to bare bones customization options, and to make things worse, most of the customization is locked away from non-paying players, only being obtainable using points (real currency). The only other bit of customization available to all players would be the mission system and ACT ranks (Advanced Combat Training) that lets you tweak your character in various ways to fit your playing style.
Customization rating – 2
Controls for PB are typical of your standard first-person shooter. There isn’t even a tutorial at the start of the game, but if you’ve played just about any first person shooter title before this one, you’ll know exactly what to do: Use WSAD keys to move, mouse to aim and shoot, R key to reload, number keys to switch weapons, etc. The only slightly unique feature in PB’s control scheme is being able to trigger weapon functions using your MOUSE2 button, which lets you use various features of your weapon such as looking down the iron sights of your rifle, steadying your grip for increased accuracy while gimping your mobility, speeding up your ability to switch between two magazine cases, etc. All firearms seem somewhat accurate to their real life counterparts.
Controls rating – 3
The visuals of PB are simply not up to snuff in comparison to other modern shooters out there. They may look nice from a distance, but taking a closer look will reveal dank and blurry textures all over the place. Shadow effects, light reflections and all other effects simply look plain and dated. The only decent part with PB’s visuals comes from the wacky action ragdoll that makes dead bodies flail like crazy. As an added touch, every time you get killed in battle, there’s a deathcam attached to the head of your character, so you can watch every moment of your flailing dead body in glorious first person view, which adds a bit of shits-and-giggles value.
Dying the way I lived!
Graphics rating – 2
The core gameplay found in PB contains almost nothing out of the ordinary: Game modes available contain your standard matches including Team Deathmatch, Bomb Run, Elimination, etc. Nothing special or amazing regarding these modes since you can find them in just about every other multiplayer FPS game out there, but you can also play these modes with special conditions such as Sniper Rifle or Shotguns only. This adds a nice change of pace, but gets old quickly. There is one mode that I did manage to have a blast with, and that would be their recently added Dino Escape mode, where dinosaurs (controlled by live players) have to stop human players from escaping a Jurassic Park-Esque landscape, complete with a big ‘ol T-Rex.
Don’t worry, I can take it!
Battling out in PB also feels average at best: Run, shoot, stab, crouch and throw a grenade or two while cooperating with your teammates. No matter how much better or worse your weapon is compared to your enemy’s, one or two well-placed shots to the head can pretty much do you in, and with all the different weapons available, PB has a strange balance between luck and skill.
In terms of cash shop balance, it’s WAY off. There are so many different boosters you can purchase to give yourself hefty advantage over non-paying players, such as quick reloading, extra grenades, faster/slower respawning and even (get this…) weapon pick up.
That’s right. You know how most multiplayer FPS games have the option for you to pick up someone else’s gun if you’re out of ammo? Well you can’t do it here, unless you pay for it. The game literally takes features that are common with FPS titles and then sell them back to you… That right there made me pull out the WTF card.
Features/Gameplay rating – 2
The community of players for Project Blackout seems to be pretty large and active. Lobbies for both the newbie and open channels are usually full during peak hours and there’s enough variety in interest for game types that you won’t have much of a problem find a room for a game type that you’re willing to play. Working with random public players is about as average as online gaming communities can get: Most players keep to themselves and seldom communicate with each other, but you will occasionally get some nice, supportive players here and there, as well as the occasionally trash talker/sore loser/troll.
Community rating – 3
Overall, Project Blackout is a functional online multiplayer FPS title base on modern warfare and that’s about it. There’s nothing much here that sets it apart from the competition and has some wonky balance issues on the side. Give it a go if you need a quick fix, but there are far better alternatives out there.