Blacksite: Area 51
Blacksite: Area 51 is the successor of the not-so-bad shooter Area 51 where David “Mulder” Duchovny took the lead. Blacksite on the other hand, has as much to do with its predecessor as apples with bananas. They’re both shooters where you get to kill some aliens but that’s where the comparison stops.
Where Area 51 was quite enjoyable thanks to its fun weapons, campy conspircy atmosphere and decent voice acting, Blacksite is one of the least noteable shooters of the past years. Without exaggeration, there’s not one element in Blacksite that we haven’t seen in tons of other (and better) shooters. Superficial team controls? Check! Some vehicle levels (where you don’t even get to shoot yourself)? Check! Ultra linear levels where there’s no fuck happening? Check!
Add to that a story that could have easily been left out about aliens, Iraqis and some cover up operation and you get something that never becomes exciting. Even worse: compared to this the B-movie storyline from the original game looks to be Tolstoi or Dostojevski.
You blast yourself a way through some very boring levels with a couple of weapons (pistol, M4, grenades, something that looks like a shotgun, …) and also the AI shows itself from its dumbest side. Your team members wouldn’t be able to shoot down an elephant from three feet away and die faster than Britney losing the right to care for her kids. The opposition doesn’t do much better though. Aliens come rushing onto you linea recta and the more human opponents haven’t been blessed with more than seven brain cells. Agreed: they sometimes take cover, but in which shooter of the last five years did they not? The AI even makes a sport of getting stuck in the decor.
As said, the levels are boring and quite lifeless. What a difference with the rich surroundings of let’s say Call of Duty 4, let alone Bioshock. The models miss detail and are filled with annoying clipping errors. The framerate hardly ever falls down but when looking at the lack of eye candy you immediately know why.
Blacksite can easily be called the ugliest Unreal 3.0 game that I have ever seen and with Gears of War having been out for over a year that’s an absolute disgrace. Add to that the stupid voice acting (after hearing the x-th Army slogan you really reach the boiling point), the sterile music and the dialogues that seem to have been made up by an enfant from kindergarten with a mental disability, and you’ll just about have had it with this game.
To prolong the roughly six hours of gameplay, the levels have been filled with (easy to be found) intel. The more you find, the more achievements you can gather. Also there’s a multiplayer mode for only 10 players (and even then you’ll rarely find a full server!) with obligatory modes as Deathmatch, Team DM and CTF, but also “siege” and “Reborn vs. Human”. In the latter you have to take over territory from your opponents while defending yours carefully. Due to the low amount of players, however, fun is far to be found.
With Blacksite: Area 51 Midway disappoints me for the second time this year (the first being Stranglehold). The game is ugly, linear, boring and even badly finished. Even fans of the original really shouldn’t look into this one. Those wanting a decent shooter better buy one of the other games I mentioned above.