So, once again, it’s Friday and as usual I’ve sat down with 24 hours to spare until my deadline expires to talk about what I have been playing this week (mostly loads of Day Z). But this week I’m more excited about it being Friday than most weeks because today is payday and yesterday the Steam Summer Sale started. So against my better judgement I’ve spent all I can afford without making myself homeless or losing my internet connection on new games (well not all of it, some. We have yet to see how the flash sales and community votes pan out).
Blacklight: Retribution is actually not a new game. It’s been out for a while as a standalone download from perfectworld.com but on July 2nd it was released on Steam. It’s the Sequel to a game called Blacklight: Tango Down. A game which was a very good idea but very, very poorly executed. Retribution aims to correct this by not having a story as far as I can tell, removing the single player and co-op elements of Tango Down and making it a free 2 play game (more on this later). So if you strip away the story of a game and remove the offline parts what do you have left (apart from a sibling that’s trying to ignore its failure of an older brother)? Well, obviously, you’re left with an online FPS, duh! But seriously what is good about Blacklight: Retribution? Well, it has guns. Things explode, it has a deployable mech that you can equip your hero with and the weapon customisation is, in theory amazing.
Now, I can hear you all saying “but why so stuttery? What’s wrong?” Well, you see, Perfect World is the Publisher and Perfect World has this habit of taking a very good game (before the public knows it exists) ripping out all the single player and similar bits, making it free to play, sorry, I meant pay to win, then completely screwing up its launch by basically Publishing a bastardised, buggy version of what they first saw. I fear Blacklight is no different. There are 6 game modes and 4 of them are basically identical (Domination, Capture the flag, King of the hill and NetWar). The other 3 (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Kill confirmed) are nothing special either. Combine this frankly boring and uninventive gameplay with the maps, and it’s very easy to get bored very quickly, especially when matches only last for 10 minutes and there isn’t any way to change that.
The next problem is the free to play implementation, which as I have already mentioned, can be described as pay to win. The game has two currencies, GP and Zen, Zen being the “give us your money cobber” variation. The problem is that if you want to buy anything permanently, for example, a barrel for you assault rifle, you either have to play for many hours to collect enough GP or hand Perfect World £2. I can here you all saying “well that’s not so bad” but it gets worse. Want an additional load out slot? £10. Want to start a clan? Yep that’s a tenner too. Oh you fancy being a girl in game coz your bored of being a guy (you cheeky transvestite, you) that’s a jaw dropping £25 and it goes on. It’s almost like somebody at perfect world has forgotten that the point in premium items in a F2P game is that they are there to enhance the experience for everybody. Whether you want to pay hard cash for it or grind it out. These prices are extortion.
The funny part is they are trying to extort money out of you for a game that isn’t even finished. There’s no party support for a game that is supposed to be social-ish, there are major performance issues associated with using it in DirectX 11 mode, and how the chat box works (i.e there’s a memory leak in it and the fix was to limit it to 100 remembered lines, Instead of actually fixing the leak).
I do think it is a shame. Retribution has some very interesting mechanics in it. For example, it has a visor you can use to locate enemy targets across the battlefield. The problem is it can be exploited and turns into a very efficient and easy to install wall hack, which in turn ruins the game. Also being a free to play game there is the usual cacophony of cheaters. Blacklight: Retribution also seems to suffer from insane latency issues so if you are one of the few people that have a sub 100ms ping you win! What more could you ask for?!
I’m not even going to bother going in to more detail. There isn’t any point. It’s a game that had the potential to be fantastic. I wanted it to be fantastic. But unfortunately it’s just another under developed, lack lustre offering from Perfect World. This is a game which has more focus on making money for its publisher than anything else. 2 out of 5 stars but do yourself a favour, pick up something like Pay Day: The Heist while it’s at 75% off. It’s a much better game and has the added bonus of you get to rob a bank, and a gang’s safe house and hijack a police escort. Way more fun, trust me, I bought it at full price and I still play it with my brother at our bi-weekly LAN party.