Publisher: EA Games Developer: Criterion Games Released: 28th February 2006 Players: 1 www:ea.com Rating: TBC
From the creators of the acclaimed Burn Out series – Criterion have delivered what can only be described as an “uber-shooter”. From the outside, Black plays and looks like an average shooter – but it doesn’t take very long before you receive an all-out assault on the senses as Black propels you into the mother of all firefights. The details on this game are eye-popping with bullets, rubble and smoke flying in all directions. In fact, there are times where there is so much happening on screen at once your eyes start watering – but it’s all worth it.
Story wise there isn’t much new. You’re a secret, undercover agent set out to defeat a very nasty band of terrorists and hooded balaclava fans in a murky Eastern European urban war zone. Straight off your trusty pistol won’t cut it (despite it being adept at delivering you the perfect head-shot). In order to rendezvous with your team, you’ll have to pick up some beautifully rendered hardware and gun it out in ear-shattering surround sound, all the time watching the health meter and ducking the pinging bullets whizzing around you. There’s no hiding behind a vantage point picking them off, as they’ll quickly come looking for you at a relentless pace.
This is an aspect of Black’s shining light; the attention to detail is incredible. Muzzle blasts, ricochets, scenery damage and body shots have an incredible amount of physics injected into them. It’s a blast just standing still and shooting indiscriminately just to see what will buckle under your firepower. There’s a superb lobby scene, reminiscent of The Matrix, which shows this off with gusto, and a well-placed grenade will bring more than the house down - you’ll be bathing in rubble in no time. Just about everything in this game is destructible and the visual effects make just blasting the walls fun. This plus a detailed arsenal of weaponry (pistols, machine guns, AK-47s, the standard RPGs) and a plethora of bad guys to shoot up make for a triple-A title.