E3 2011: Blacklight Retribution – like any other multiplayer FPS, only…freer

Zombie Studio%26rsquo;s previous Blacklight installment, Blacklight: Tango Down on the PSN and XBLA received positive, but mixed reviews. It was praised for its incredible graphics for an arcade title, but damned for its sub-par campaign. One thing that nobody complained about was its price – it was a solid, good looking FPS multiplayer for just $15. Yet the price is one aspect that is definitely changing with Zombie Studio%26rsquo;s newest game, Blacklight Retribution. It%26rsquo;s being published by famed free-to-play company Perfect World Entertainment, which means it%26rsquo;s coming in a tad under $15 this time around.

We started our brief hands-on with a fully customizable menu. We were given the opportunity to modify our character head to toe, helmet to pants to gloves. Then we spent some time adjusting each of our weapons. After Barbie dress up time was over, we dove into the game.

Retribution handles much like any other FPS military shooter with some moderate adjustments. A %26ldquo;Hyper Reality Visor%26rdquo; helps determine targets and notable objects in the game. Players can also take control of a powerful mech suit that is nigh unstoppable. However, the visor allows gamers to spot a randomly generated weak point in every mech suit, helping to bring it down.

Much like the last iteration, the graphics are just as good as in a full retail title. Retribution uses the Unreal 3 Engine and it looks fantastic. Even the animations were impressive, especially for a pre-beta build. Loadouts, now considered obligatory in FPS multiplayers, are completely customizable and practically guarantee no two players will look or play alike. Other weapons and upgrades are also unlockable throughout the multiplayer experience. Zombie Studios has been playing a lot of Call of Duty: Black Ops and looking to incorporate elements of that game in Retribution, so expect to see evidence of those efforts.

Zombie is aiming make a serious leap in quality from Tango Down to Retribution, and considering how good the latter looked, this is a pretty awesome goal. Considering none of us are paying for this game either way, let%26rsquo;s wish them the best of luck. The closed beta is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011. We%26rsquo;ll be ready %26ndash; that%26rsquo;s about the time we%26rsquo;ll be broke from all the holiday gift-buying, so a free to play title should come in pretty handy.

June 15, 2011

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