With the overwhelming success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back in 2007, the near-future FPS genre exploded in popularity, producing several clones and copies. With generic first-person shooters being pumped out and sold for full retail price, it's nice to see a developer break the mold, if only slightly. Blacklight: Tango Down is yet another shooter set in the not-so-distant-future focusing on online play and addictive shooting action. It's best selling point to separate it from the competition? It's a downloadable title, and it only costs $15.
At first glance, Blacklight does look like a Modern Warfare clone. And it is. But once you factor in the low retail price at launch, it starts looking less like a cheap rip-off, and more like an extremely well polished downloadable game. There are a few unique touches, such as the Hyper Reality Visor, which uploads valuable information to your HUD at the cost of being unable to fire your weapon. And then there's the digi-bomb, which covers an area in electric interference that resembles a mass of moving pixels. But on the whole, Blacklight is a standard first person shooter, and it's fine with that.
The game is exclusively online, and offers 12 multiplayer maps and 7 game modes, such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and the like. Up to 16 players can play in a match. Zombie Studios, the game's developer, has confirmed that the game will feature 4-player co-op in some form. The game also features a leveling system, where you gain experience points in order to unlock bonuses to help you in-game.
Customization also plays an integral role in Blacklight: Tango Down. There are hundreds of gun combinations possible, with different scopes, stocks, camos, and more used for personalizing your soldier. Armor can be customized as well, making your character appear unique on the field of battle.
In the playable E3 demo, the action in Blacklight was very fast-paced. More often than not, the first person to shoot in a confrontation would come out the victor. The controls were standard for a FPS, and the aiming was smooth and accurate. And instead of a knife, the melee button causes your character to swing the butt of his gun. This creates for some pretty intense close-quarters combat, as you can't simply kill your enemy with a quick click of the thumbstick.
In the end, you have to look at Blacklight: Tango Down for what it really is: a $15 downloadable game. If nothing else, it shows that people shouldn't be paying $70 for a standard, competitive shooter, as that very experience can be downloaded for a fraction of the price. Look for Blacklight: Tango Down on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and PC later next month.