Blacklight Retribution Review

The beta for Blacklight Retribution has been kicking around the Playstation store since the launch of the Playstation 4. Initially plagued by bugs, framerate issues, and an awkward PC-ported control scheme, Blacklight retribution offered very little appeal. Despite this somewhat awful beta experience, beta is beta, and it’s only fair that we look back on the title now that Blacklight Retribution is leaving beta, and Zombie studios are releasing version 1.0.

For those unaware Blacklight Retribution is a online multiplayer first person shooter, featuring a variety of competitive and co-operative components. The games notable differentiating feature is the use of a batman x-ray-like mechanic in place of a radar and map system. Your use of x-ray vision is sustained through a constantly recharging bar at the bottom right of the screen, once full you can view everyone on the map for a few seconds, but then you’ll need to wait for about 10 seconds before you can use it again. It may sound unbalanced, but it’s fairly restrained, particularly because you can’t fire you’re gun or even melee when the x-ray vision is active. It does cause some problems though, if you’re running around and someone expects you to pop round the corner it’s a pretty surefire way to get killed. Ultimately all it serves to do is make the game slower-paced, and perhaps more luck influenced, as you can’t be sure who’s recently seen you on their x-ray vision.

BL1Aside for the x-ray gimmick, there’s little on offer here that you haven’t seen before. You shoot aesthetically generic soldiers, with a selection of truly uninspired weapons across a variety of boring and bland environments, the obligatory dubstep doesn’t make things better either. It’s true that many of the problems with the beta have been fixed, the controls now work which is always nice, but there are still some problems; for instance you don’t stop running if you move your left analogue stick backwards, you just start running backwards. It’s weird, and doesn’t make sense, and it’s odd quirks like that that make it clear that you’re getting a third rate experience from the get-go. Furthermore whilst the framerate issues are largely gone, and the controls much better, it’s not as fluid an experience as games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, and the games poorly constructed netcode causes the experience to chug as you move shakily across the map even in apparently ideal network conditions.

To the games credit, it does have a lot of modes. Everything from capture the flag, tdm, groundwar and some zombie co-op survival affair are represented, it’s got a lot of content for players to get their teeth into. However none of this is interesting if the game is fundamentally bland, even if everything were working perfectly, let’s say hypothetically Blacklight Retribution had perfect netcode, there’s still not much merit to what remains. To top things off the game is severely monetized, Z coins which can be bought for real money can buy you all sorts of equipment, and this equipment can feature significant statistical improvements over what you start out with. Most of this you can earn with in-game credit too, but that doesn’t make the experience any less unbalanced. Whether you pay with real cash or spend hours on end grinding for credits you get significant statistical improvements over players who’re just starting out, and there’s no place for that kind of progression system within a competitive FPS.

BL2

Good

  • Now seems to be stable on PS4
  • Interface is now console friendly
  • Plenty of customisation options for your soldier and weapon

Bad

  • Controls are better but implementation still feels sloppy relative to other console FPS
  • Netcode is horrendous, causes game to stutter frequently
  • Fundamentally bland

 

Despite being out of beta and undergoing a myriad of improvements to make the experience more suitable for consoles, nothing has been done to provide this game with any flavour of its own. This is a poor man’s Call of Duty in every sense of the term, and a generic sci-fi coating does nothing to alleviate this problem. The plethora of still present technical issues don’t make things better either, and the unbalanced nature of the experience as a result of a skewered free to play model serve as the icing on the cake for an experience that ultimately isn’t worth your time. The best that can be said about Blacklight Retribution is that it’s free, but that solace won’t bring back the hours I wasted reviewing this game. 

 

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Author: Jozef Kulik

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  1. Zachary - good.
  2. VGF Commenter - Hi,That nice post Tks

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