BlackLight: Tango Down is a new title release on XBLA by Ignition Entertainment, developed by Zombie Studios. It's a multiplayer only FPS with a sorta-standard-by-now rank up system and all the modes that you would expect to see in a multiplayer FPS. It has this interesting cyberpunk thing going for it and one or two cool features but it being release as multiplayer only on XBLA and several in-game hindrances won't make this game last too long on anyones radar. It feels like the game is just...there. If that makes sense.
Since it's multiplayer only I'm not going to talk about story as there is just a paper thin justification as to why you're playing as these people. Let's be honest, I'm one of three people who even skimmed that section of How to Play. I just wanted to know the controls, which mimic Call of Duty spot on. Might as well take from the best. Mode's to pick from are the usual that you would expect from a FPS. Team Deathmatch is the most prevalent while I played a little Domination and Detonate, which is where there is one bomb you need to fight over and place at a certain point to win. I'd be surprised if people played more than just TDM. More often than not I would end up starting a new lobby and waiting for other people to join the different modes, giving up after sitting by myself for five minutes.
Once you get in game you shoot guys with guns. You can customize these guns in a lot of ways. As you level up you unlock weapons and weapons attachments. These do actually affect your guns but in what way I don't know. When you customize your stuff there are three bars that dictate the stats but don't give any real info beyond "Attaching this will make this bar go up higher so that must be good." BlackLight has this thing about making you feel like you're really fighting in some kind of digital warfare age too. There is a cool feature called the Hyper Reality Visor that will light up your HUD and show you a lot of information about your teammates or objectives, but what you'll really be using it for is looking through walls. Yes, you have free wall hacks. There are also EMP and Digi Grenades which literally shut down your visor and blind you or act as "digital smoke" and give you cover, respectfully. It's all things that you've seen before but applied in such a way that it seems cool again.
Playing BlackLight is a bit of a frustration for several reasons. First, matchmaking is either not working correctly or there is really a serious lack of people playing even on the third day of release. Matchmaking will hang and hang and hang some more. It won't even drop you into your own room to start a new lobby. It will just sit there. If you do manage to get into a lobby and load into a game, BlackLight will perpetually load occasionally. When you start playing you notice the maps are all pretty symmetrical, making playing from either side no different and really bland. The way you cap points in Domination is just plain silly, making you play a quick game of Simon Says to cap a point immediately. All this, if you're not getting completely pushed against the wall and spawn raped. If you use your Hyper Reality Visor then you can corner anyone and run back to where they leave their spawn and kill them over and over, mercilessly. There are spawn turrets to protect from this kind of thing, but they don't work well. There are blind spots and place they simply can't shoot to. I've has more games end where the other team left completely than end by scoring. The HUD leaves something to be desired too, being waaaaay too busy and having a lot of needless fluff.
The things like I like about BlackLight are it's cool, cyberpunk-ish style. I haven't seen something so into being "digital" since Dystopia, a Half-Life 2 mod. I like the fact that this doesn't have Call of Duty's regenerating health. You have a health bar and you will need to find a medic station to heal up. You also can't take a lot of hits. A shotgun will demolish you a close range. The game is fast. You move quickly and sprinting is very fast. Sadly, all the good I find doesn't stack it against the bad.
BlackLight: Tango Down is a game that just happens to be there. It's on XBLA, which doesn't boast games with the longest lasting multiplayer communities. That combined with the problems it has right now leave a bad tatse and I don't see BlackLight having a community in a month. If you want an online multiplayer experience, shell out the extra cash for a more popular, better game like Bad Company 2 or Modern Warfare 2. BlackLight doesn't offer anything these games can't and will still be there a month down the road.
So, you may remembered in the middle of last month, Dtoid had an all nighter wth Capcom over Lost Planet 2. Good times were had. People were sleep deprived, they kept showing off these kick ass cupcakes, the Capcom guy passed out early, and I kept asking for Tactix's hat. That was an awkward night where I actually went to bed early to try to get some sleep. Obviously didn't happen, but that's ok! Instead, I won the last comment contest of the night and got a big box of swag!
Fuck yeah signed by Niero!
(That shirt is actually from a previous contest I didn't know I won until I checked my email. :x)
Signed by Jun Takeuchi.
I actually got the poster early, and a Lost Planet 2 shirt, but the shirt is in the wash right now.
Huge thanks to Destructoid. You guys have been rocking for a long time now. Keep it up!
I am about to solve one of the great mysteries of life for you. One of those unsolvable questions of gamer life has just been given an answer and I am going to let you guys and girls in on it. Ready?
What defines a game as hardcore? What defines a game as casual?
Nothing. It's the player you define as hardcore or casual and how far they are willing to take the game.
Take this for example. My mom fucking loves Zoo World on Facebook. If she isn't working, she is playing Zoo World. She is hardcore about this game. He has three different browsers open, she has spreadsheets going for what kind of animals to breed, she works with people on Facebook to find exploits to get unlimited animals, she has Firefox open with 20 tabs refreshing over and over to multiply her zoo worth. It's insane. I hate it. It lags the whole house internet and I can't play Bad Company 2. She is hardcore about that game.
I play Halo 3 occasionally. I have all the map packs, but I still only boot it up once every few weeks. My rank is always reset back to 1 when I play. It's an easy game for me to just jump into and shoot the shit (literally) and have fun. I don't have a problem with this. Halo 3 isn't a game I plan to play for hour and hour and hour. It's just a game I bought because it was the multiplayer game to own for 360. I am really casual about playing Halo 3.
You can't really define a game as "casual" or "hardcore". Anyone can play any game. It's just how much a person is willing to take said game. SHMUP's can be played by anyone. The hardcore players will be finishing it in one credit without dieing. Anyone can play Demon's Souls, but if you're me then you can run through the game blindfolded knowing all the exploits and tricks. Sure, people will sit around on Facebook and play Farmville or Zoo World just to occupy time, but it's a person like my mom who take it to the next level. It's not about the game, it's about the player.
And personally, I think it always should have been thought like that.