EA’s latest First Person Shooter shot straight in to the top slot in the games charts, but is its success repeated in the gameplay?
It’s the usual story. You play a solider wrongly accused of breaking the rules and are now stuck in an interview room explaining what happened and why it all went wrong.
The story is pretty formulaic and it’s the usual twists and turns that are expected to make you want to come back for more.
Interspersed between the cutscenes are the levels themselves and these involve completing a set number of tasks to proceed.
The cutscenes, although having a strong movie feel to them, aren’t that great on the storyline side of things and without the ability to skip them you’ll be left sitting their bored waiting for them to end.
Get into the action and like the premise, the gameplay will come naturally to those used to playing First Person Shooters on the PS2. Analogue sticks are used for movement, shoulder buttons for shooting and lobbing grenades and the d-pad to switch between weapons and their shooting mode - single fire, short burst, fully automatic.
Weapons and bullets are picked up along the way and you can ony ever hold two weapons at any one time.
In-game and the enemy AI is awful with the bad guys not really aware of their surroundings or you. In Splinter Cell you are petrified that you’ll be spotted - or worse a guard will spot you and then do his best to sneak up and stab you in the back. Here show up and shoot a guard and then run around aimlessly firing at nothing in particular. No alarm is sounded and on most occasions you can get quite close in front of them before they even start firing.
Get past the guard and the levels don’t hold much of a challenge either. Playing on the normal setting we managed to carve our way through the first couple of levels within minutes rather than hours and while the scenery is nice, it appears the main focus has been to make sure your surroundings include lots of glass to break and oil barrels to blow up.
While black offers a polished game in its presentation, the actual gameplay is nothing out of the ordinary. The AI is poor and the levels for the hardened FPS fan not very taxing. That combined with a lack of multiplayer support means this game is likely to only last you hours rather than days or months.
Good for a quick blast, but nothing more.