Blacklight: Tango Down Impressions

Grab your M17 and shoot up your friends in this downloadable shooter.

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Military-themed, multiplayer-centric shooters have proven to be a gold mine for developers, doling out shiny nuggets to players itching for the realistic weapons and environments that are part of the daily lives of real-life soldiers. Ignition Entertainment is going to serve up its entry this summer, but there is one major difference between this and the vast majority of similar games: this one is downloadable. This economically priced offering ($15 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC) has plenty of content to lure players to the fight, but is it fun enough? We got another look at it today.

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The competitive multiplayer is spread across 12 maps and seven modes, including deathmatch, capture the flag, and control point. There's also a four-player cooperative mode called Black Ops that is reminiscent of the spec ops missions from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. These linear levels do not contain the story or over-the-top set-piece battles found in campaigns from other shooters but instead focus on smaller objectives against an army of AI-controlled soldiers. Black Ops can be played alone as well, though it's designed to be experienced with a group of friends in tow.

The multiplayer, cooperative, and single-player offerings all dole out rewards for success on the battlefield. You earn experience points that add up over time, and every so often you level up your rank. With every promotion you unlock a new gun to play around with, but there is a lot more customization for those who fancy themselves masters of gun tinkering. When you unlock a new gun, you also unlock access to each individual piece from that gun. Magazines, barrels, scopes, and other parts can be mixed and matched with other guns, letting you craft a gun that is geared toward your play style. There are also unlockable baubles you can clip to your gun to give a slight boost to your accuracy, health, and other abilities.

The health system is also slightly different from other games in the genre. If you find yourself injured after a fight, you still do regenerate some of your health like in most other games, but you get only some of your total energy back. To get all the way back to 100 percent health, you need to find health stations scattered around levels. What this accomplishes is that it makes it so players have to move around constantly. You cannot just stand behind cover and expect to be fully healed, and the emphasis on action means that the most aggressive players are rewarded. Run and gun isn't the only way to play Blacklight, though. There are still sniper rifles if you enjoy camping, and there are proximity mines as well if you just love sneak attacks.

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It's unclear how Blacklight: Tango Down will fare in the crowded military-shooter market, but stay tuned to GameSpot for more information and a final assessment on this game. Blacklight is currently scheduled to come out sometime this summer.

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