Blacklight Tango Down Review

Gaming

Blacklight Tango Down
Developer: Zombie Studios
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Platform: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3
Genre: Shooter
Price: 1200 MSP – Buy Now!

Overview:
We’ve all played Online FPSs, so many in fact that there are becoming nearly dime a dozen.  What sets a good FPS apart is the way that you can customize your own weapons and your experience to fit how you want to play.  Plus a good hook is always good to put a little bit of your own flavor.  A major advantage that Blacklight Tango Down has over it’s competition, is it only costs $15 to own. So will Ignition’s futuristic Blacklight Tango Down stand above your average FPS? Partially.

Graphics & Design:
There are a number of different stages in which you can do battle on, however the way that the maps are designed are unfortunately a failing point for the game.  Each of the maps you will play on will have static spawn zones, which means you will always spawn in a certain area in the same exact spot.  This is a major error in level design due to the fact that spawn camping can become a heavy issue during the game, and can make new players simply give up and quit the match.

Weapon effects and digital grenade effects are interesting to see, especially during an EMP grenade attack. The overall appearance of the levels is well done, if not a bit smooth around the edges with no textures.  You have your standard gray and brown environment with little to distract from the battle, minus the advertisements that is. Because for being set in a futuristic environment, seeing a billboard or a poster with an advertisement that you can get on shelves now, is a bit of a stretch.

Gameplay:
The abundance of the time spent playing Blacklight Tango Down will be the online multiplayer.  However there is an initial flaw to this mode, which is the fact the game does not have dedicated servers for the matches. This means that not only does it occasionally take upwards of five minutes to enter a match, but at times there will be a heavy amount of lag that will only result in your players death through means unknown until you hear the explosion later.

The problem with the lag is that your own character only has 175 hit points in his health bar, and though the health does recharge if you happen to survive a fire fight, it won’t be often.  The game plays through as a more realistic type shooter, where a few bullets from nearly any weapon can drop your gunner to the cold ground.

As for the firearms you can use there are a your standard variety of weapons, from SMGs, Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles, Light Machine Guns, etc.  They each have a very large amount of customization available; anywhere from changing the barrel on the gun to attaching something akin to a cell phone accessory to it.  Each of these various customization options, and there are a lot mind you, affect the stats of the weapon in either positive or negative effects.

The way you access these new custom weapons however, is the painful level grinding as you advance through fight after fight.  Each kill or assist in the game will provide experience points and when you level up you will gain new accessories, guns, or equipment.  Though you will have to search the customization menu to see exactly what you unlocked as the message saying what you have unlocked is nigh unintelligible to read on most TVs. Take it as you will but the eventual level difference can make your gun seem like it is doing barely anything compared to the other guns used by higher levels.

The problem here arises that the way that the gear is unlocked, you will have a tough time starting out due to the basic weaponry provided and practically zero customization.  Put this together with the fact that the matchmaking is not very balanced and there is a problem.  When a team of five level 30 players faces off a team of four level 5 players then the distinct advantage is with the higher leveled characters.

Since this is the future though, you would expect to see some fancy new technology right? Right, well that is one thing that Blacklight provides.  The essential player combat has the feeling of playing in a fully armored soldier such as in Halo.  The neat feature here though is that your visor can be used for a number of different things, most impressive of which is the HRV, or the Hyper Reality Visor.  The HRV will allow you to see through walls and identify where your allies are and where the enemies are.  It will also show where your objective may be if you are playing one of those game types.  A balancing issue with the HRV is that your weapon is not useable in this mode; so if an enemy catches you using it the chances of your death are very high.

Your visor is a hindrance as well, in the way that there are two special grenades; essentially they are flashbang and smoke grenades but with different effects which create more of a futuristic feel.  The EMP grenade will shut down the visor in a blue screen of death and cause temporary blindness.  With the DIGI grenade exploding into a digital disturbance in the air making everything in the area appear in a jumble of pixels.  When coupled with the HRV it turns into a deadly weapon to pick enemies off that are confused with the digitized environment.

With a minor note there is a single player aspect of the game, but the game recommends that it is played co-operatively.  This is more of a forced recommendation than a suggestion though.  As the game does not adjust it’s difficulty for a single fighter as you will face wave after wave of enemies and one death meaning the end.  Plus the co-op mode is only accessible to your own friends that have the game, there is no co-op lobby to join random games. In this mode we are introduced slightly to the story, that the Black Ops team is attempting to destroy the Order; but overall the story is paper thin.

Overall:
If you are looking for an adequate first person shooter with a few interesting features and a cheap price tag then Blacklight Tango Down is your game.  It has it’s flaws and the graphics are not the best you would find in a retail title, but they are some of the best you will find in an XBLA game.  Ignition made a great attempt to step into a genre already occupied with stiff competition, and has cut out a little niche for itself.

I give Blacklight Tango Down

6-5-capsules-out-of-10

Overview:
We’ve all played Online FPSs, so many in fact that there are becoming nearly dime a dozen.  What sets a good FPS apart is the way that you can customize your own weapons and your experience to fit how you want to play.  Plus a good hook is always good to put a little bit of your own flavor.  A major advantage that Blacklight Tango Down has over it’s competition, is it only costs $15 to own. So will Ignition’s futuristic Blacklight Tango Down stand above your average FPS? Partially.

Graphics & Design:
There are a number of different stages in which you can do battle on, however the way that the maps are designed are unfortunately a failing point for the game.  Each of the maps you will play on will have static spawn zones, which means you will always spawn in a certain area in the same exact spot.  This is a major error in level design due to the fact that spawn camping can become a heavy issue during the game, and can make new players simply give up and quit the match.

Weapon effects and digital grenade effects are interesting to see, especially during an EMP grenade attack. The overall appearance of the levels is well done, if not a bit smooth around the edges with no textures.  You have your standard gray and brown environment with little to distract from the battle, minus the advertisements that is. Because for being set in a futuristic environment, seeing a billboard or a poster with an advertisement that you can get on shelves now, is a bit of a stretch.

Gameplay:
The abundance of the time spent playing Blacklight Tango Down will be the online multiplayer.  However there is an initial flaw to this mode, which is the fact the game does not have dedicated servers for the matches. This means that not only does it occasionally take upwards of five minutes to enter a match, but at times there will be a heavy amount of lag that will only result in your players death through means unknown until you hear the explosion later.

The problem with the lag is that your own character only has 175 hit points in his health bar, and though the health does recharge if you happen to survive a fire fight, it won’t be often.  The game plays through as a more realistic type shooter, where a few bullets from nearly any weapon can drop your gunner to the cold ground.

As for the firearms you can use there are a your standard variety of weapons, from SMGs, Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles, Light Machine Guns, etc.  They each have a very large amount of customization available; anywhere from changing the barrel on the gun to attaching something akin to a cell phone accessory to it.  Each of these various customization options, and there are a lot mind you, affect the stats of the weapon in either positive or negative effects.

The way you access these new custom weapons however, is the painful level grinding as you advance through fight after fight.  Each kill or assist in the game will provide experience points and when you level up you will gain new accessories, guns, or equipment.  Though you will have to search the customization menu to see exactly what you unlocked as the message saying what you have unlocked is nigh unintelligible to read on most TVs. Take it as you will but the eventual level difference can make your gun seem like it is doing barely anything compared to the other guns used by higher levels.

The problem here arises that the way that the gear is unlocked, you will have a tough time starting out due to the basic weaponry provided and practically zero customization.  Put this together with the fact that the matchmaking is not very balanced and there is a problem.  When a team of five level 30 players faces off a team of four level 5 players then the distinct advantage is with the higher leveled characters.

Since this is the future though, you would expect to see some fancy new technology right? Right, well that is one thing that Blacklight provides.  The essential player combat has the feeling of playing in a fully armored soldier such as in Halo.  The neat feature here though is that your visor can be used for a number of different things, most impressive of which is the HRV, or the Hyper Reality Visor.  The HRV will allow you to see through walls and identify where your allies are and where the enemies are.  It will also show where your objective may be if you are playing one of those game types.  A balancing issue with the HRV is that your weapon is not useable in this mode; so if an enemy catches you using it the chances of your death are very high.

Your visor is a hindrance as well, in the way that there are two special grenades; essentially they are flashbang and smoke grenades but with different effects which create more of a futuristic feel.  The EMP grenade will shut down the visor in a blue screen of death and cause temporary blindness.  With the DIGI grenade exploding into a digital disturbance in the air making everything in the area appear in a jumble of pixels.  When coupled with the HRV it turns into a deadly weapon to pick enemies off that are confused with the digitized enviroment.

With a minor note there is a single player aspect of the game, but the game recommends that it is played co-operatively.  This is more of a forced recommendation than a suggestion though.  As the game does not adjust it’s difficulty for a single fighter as you will face wave after wave of enemies and one death meaning the end.  Plus the co-op mode is only accessible to your own friends that have the game, there is no co-op lobby to join random games. In this mode we are introduced slightly to the story, that the Black Ops team is attempting to destroy the Order; but overall the story is paper thin.

Overall:
If you are looking for an adequate first person shooter with a few interesting features and a cheap price tag then Blacklight Tango Down is your game.  It has it’s flaws and the graphics are not the best you would find in a retail title, but they are some of the best you will find in an XBLA game.  Ignition made a great attempt to step into a genre already occupied with stiff competition, and has cut out a little niche for itself.

I give Blacklight Tango Down
6-5-capsules-out-of-10

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