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wanderingpixel avatar 10:37 PM on 07.09.2010  (server time)
Review: Blacklight: Tango Down

Five years ago when the Xbox 360 first launched, Xbox Live Arcade, while a neat idea, seemed destined to just be a platform for old Arcade and Atari ports. Who would have thought that in only a couple of years, Microsoft's "Arcade" would be home to retail worthy games like Battlefield 1943, Braid, and most recently Blacklight: Tango Down.

Developed by Zombie and published by Ignition -- BTD is a multiplayer only first person shooter in the vain of Call Of Duty and Battlefield. The game's story -- what little there is -- is based around the idea of "Net Warfare," which basically means that everything in the game is glossed over with neat looking digital effects. Beyond that, well, I think it takes place in europe, and there seem to be terroists or something. Blacklight isn't very clear what its story is, but luckily that doesn't matter since the entire game is based around multiplayer.

Why are war torn cities always so drab? A bit of red or blue never hurt anyone.

Blacklight: Tango Down (XBLA, PSN, PC)
Developer: Zombie
Publisher: Ignition
Released: July 6, 2010
MSRP: 1200 MP Xbox 360, $14.99 PSN and PC

Blacklight: Tango Down is a level based first person shooter like Modern Warfare 2. As you gain experience and level up, RPG style, you'll gradually unlock new weapons, grenades, armor, and accessories to decorate your guns. In fact if you've played either of the Modern Warfare games you're going to feel right at home, since even the control scheme has been ripped from Infinity Ward's playbook.

All the standard modes are here, including: free-for-all and team variants of Deathmatch, domination, capture the flag, and King of the Hill. All these modes can be played across the game's twelve maps that support up to sixteen players. As you can tell, there isn't much here that you haven't seen before, but it's all done extremely well. This ends up being both the best and worst part of BTD.

On the one hand: although it borrows heavily from other first person shooters, it pulls it off with a solid level of polish. On the other hand: although technically solid, there is very little that you haven't seen before.

The inability for soldiers to look left will be the leading cause of death in future wars.

That's not to say that BTD is completely devoid of originality. The unique net war aesthetic I mentioned before, helps give the game a unique visual presentation, which helps make up for some of the games graphical jankiness. There is also your helmet's HRV (Hyper Reality Visor), which is basically your HUD, has a neat little trick that allows you to see through walls to find your targets, instead of the traditional mini-map. There are also Digi Grenades. These are like smoke or flash grenades, except they create a corruption sphere that messes with enemy HRV, blinding them, which give you a chance to get an easy headshot. At least that's the idea. Unfortunately, Digi Grenades also blind you and your teammates when you get close, making it difficult to use unless your equipped with a long distance weapon. Besides the Digi Grenade though, all the other weapons are your standard shotguns and assault rifles.

Oh, I should probably mention that there is a Blackops mode that allows you and up to three other players run and gun your way through a couple of linear levels. However, it can be completed in a couple of hours and often feels like an afterthought. It can be fun for a bit, but by no means is it worth the purchase alone

Peaking around this corner would be a lot easier if I could see out of this damn thing!

At the end of day, Blacklight: Tangodown is a solid, but generic, multiplayer focused first person shooter. It is certainty competent, but there are other shooters, a lot of other shooters that do what BTD does better. With that said, for fifteen dollars (1200 MS funbucks), you're definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck.

You won't feel the earth move, but it'll definitely jiggle.

Score: 6.5 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)

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