7.5

Good gameplay doesn't hold too strong when there isn't much of it.

One of the promising (looking) titles to join the ranks of PS2 FPS's in 2006 was Black, a story set in the Baltic states when you're the commander of an operation to exterminate a terrorist cell that went wrong somewhere along the line. The story, as you can tell, resembles countless action movies, and it turns out to be just as bland as the genre as it tries to emulate. However, no one plays FPS for stories, so let's get to it.
The first level really gives you a feel for the game, which is a good thing. Too many games ease you into it like an old man getting into a bathtub, while this one throws everything at you. In each level, you have certain objectives, such as destroying that, finding this, killing them, and so on and so forth. However, there are several secondary objectives (which aren't too different from level to level, in fact it's all the same) that you must complete, however the number of which you need to accomplish is based on your difficulty setting.
The levels are quite well designed, to an extent. They all use several levels of sight, which makes going into a wide open area a lttile more different from other FPS's. there might be guys up, below, behind, or in a far away building. In fact, out of those in my collection, I'd have to say I was most impressed by how the levels were designed and how the enemies were placed in Black. However, except for the occasional fork in the road, the levels are quite linear.
But the action is where the game shines. Each gun looks perfect, sounds perfect, and shoots perfect. In fact, the style of aiming and shoot is very reminiscent of Counter-Strike, where if you have plenty of guys in front of you, spray might do your fine, but short bursts will get you farther. The guys at Crierion obviously didn't want to stop the action either, because you'll pretty much never run out of ammo. Also, there are a few little gems during the gameplay that make you smile. For instance, when you reload, the vision beyond your gun gets blurry, similar to how your eyes would reall focus.
When you play this game, there is one little thing you have to remember: Everything, EVERYTHING is descructable, sometimes a little explosive as well. Whenever your cursor turns black, (which can get a little hard to see) that means you're aiming at something explosive. This is very helpful when there's some sentries hanging out near a mine, for some unknown reason.
The graphics are really good for a PS2 game. The explosions are also quite noteworthy, being some of the best I've seen on the console.
The AI is on the so-so side. While they do take cover when you shoot at them, react to grenades, and sometimes even flank your position, they never really feel like much of a challenge
But besides all the good, there is plenty of bad. The first thing that urked me off was the fact that there's no "jump." What? No jump? I know, It's rediculus. Second, no online multiplayer, which might have been a redeeming factor of this game. Third, too short. I easily beat this on the default difficulty in less than seven hours, and chances are you will too.
So what does IHB advise? Rent it if you have an itch for some destruction, but buy it if your addicted. It isn't a bad game, but, like many, it just could have been better, and the sad thing is, it could have taken just a few more featres to make it so.

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