Blacklight Tango Down First Impressions
It seems as if Ignition Entertainment wasn’t prepared for the number of people who were interested in this game, because finding a match proved to be insanely difficult today. Speaking to a couple of other people, I know that I’m not the only one experiencing this problem. That being said, I wasn’t able to sit down and play for a particularly extended amount of time. I played a few team deathmatches, as well as half a dozen last team standing matches, and, so far, it’s looking like a pretty solid title for just 15 bucks.
The look, feel, and style are extremely reminiscent of MAG’s Raven faction. Many have made remarks that it seems like a twitchy, almost MW2 type game but…I have a feeling they weren’t trying out the unique things that Blacklight has to offer. It took me a couple of matches to figure out how to use the HR visor, which allows you to see objectives AND enemies through walls. This feature alone pits the game in a totally different category. You know when someone is coming, and from where, if you’re playing tactically. And if your enemy hasn’t figured it out yet, you’ve got a huge advantage over them–especially if you’ve started to get a feel for the maps. Once that happens, you’ll start to feel like some sort of ninja when you come up behind someone and smack them in the face.
Unlike any other FPS I’ve played, Blacklight is a game of subtleties and mindgames. Knowing where your enemy is, when they probably know where you are, too, calls for a playing style that becomes almost ridiculously meta. And here, I thought I’d never say something like that about an FPS! It’s all about information. You have two types of grenades, one, a normal frag, the other? Similar to a flashbang grenade, only everything becomes pixellated (and there’s another that makes your visor give you the blue-screen-of-death for a little while). Naturally being blind is not a benefit, but in Blacklight, the sense of being helpless is intensified.
It’s not just about blinding someone, though…
The effects of these grenades can be seen from anywhere, and thus they’ve almost become a distraction agent unique to Blacklight. In one of the developer diaries for this game, someone mentioned that an issue with future warfare is that soldiers have too much information all at once. And what he means is obvious when you’re looking out at the battlefield and see one of those grenades go off. Is that where the enemy is, running through the pixellated field? Do I look at where it was thrown from? I found myself throwing these grenades into bottlenecks and then flanking the enemy, who were unsure of what to do in the situation–wait for it to die down and then risk going through? Just shoot blindly? More often, people choose to not move altogether–they figure you’re in location A, and so, moving means possibly losing sight of where you are. The idea of putting on the HR visor and seeing less seems counterintuitive, but it’s almost always the correct answer in that situation. But when you’ve got gunshots all over you, you see someone else from the corner of your eye, and you can’t see in front of you…it’s too much information at once! What do you do? Information, and it’s manipulation, is your biggest weapon, more effective than any of your guns ever could be. And sure, when it comes down to it, it’s always about who shoots who the best/first/the most, right? Blacklight just seems to add a few more layers to that mix.
Speaking less ideologically here, I did notice some strangeness with hit detection and accuracies and recoil. Nothing Gears-like, it wasn’t that spotty, but I still found many issues while playing today. I’m not sure if it’s my connection, or the shoddy servers, or even simply that I’m not used to the game just yet (aka, do I suck?). The other thing is, it may just be that guns are supposed to be that inaccurate when you start out, and that’s one way unlocking mods/attachments betters your guns. In less than a dozen matches, I managed to reach level 4, which allowed me to unlock a couple of things, but nothing that would help me determine whether or not my suspicion is true. All I unlocked, really, was a shotgun, an SMG and some different camos/color. I noticed that people who were level 17 had way less trouble killing their enemies than I did, and I figure it’s because they had a much better pick of guns, attachments, mods and charms to take me out. It makes for a nice bevy of goals to work towards, but it may make the game horribly unbalanced for people who just want to try out the demo or who are trying to play casually.
All in all, I’m not regretting my 15 dollar purchase just yet–but, I’ll have to get back to you once I’ve properly sat down with the game.