By Philip Dunkley
Blacksite, or Blacksite Area 51 as it’s known elsewhere (no idea why we get it under a different name in this country, anybody??), is a game that has created a lot of controversy since its release, and has been slated in most reviews. Reviews are what can also make and break a game, and I must just stress here that reviews are merely the opinion of someone, and to some people, a game that is reviewed badly or average, could be a game that is awesome to someone else, and likewise, a fantastic game to someone, could be really bad to another. I have been hit from both sides of the table here before, and I don’t always agree with what another reviewer might have to say. We do however look at all of the common factors, and try and rate a game from the most professional angle we possibly can.
This brings me to a game that has been out for a while now and one which I have seen plenty of reviews of, and to say the least, I was not impressed by these reviews. It was called very average, and buggy as hell, and just not very good (for a lack of a better word). It even appeared on the ten worst Games for XBOX360 story that we published a few days ago, that About.com released.
I do not agree with this game being on this list at all. Yes, it is not going to break any sales records or revolutionise the way we play games, but it’s also not that bad at all.
I would definitely call it more straightforward than average, cause I quite liked the story, as I did with its first game on PS2, though it’s very loosely based. I like the fact that you have human and alien enemies, and each has their own characteristics to separate them.
I enjoyed the Graphics, they were just unpolished, and yes, it was particularly buggy, but this did not ruin my experience of the game too much, and I never got stuck in the environment, and it never froze on me. I did however experience the quick hang up issues for a second every now and then, but I think that midway had not quite got to grips with the Unreal Engine. Even they have admitted to having serious issues with developing on this Engine.
Now I know this leads to developers blaming each other and then trying to blame this platform or that platform, but this is not good for the industry and for us gamers alike, and it’s not an excuse for them to release a buggy game that give everyone issues. But at least they’re trying to get this right now, and we are seeing better and better games being released.
The story revolves around your squad, and you start by looking for some hidden weapons in Iraq, but find out that this is not the only thing that’s there, and some rather dubious looking alien/human hybrids have reared there ugly heads. After this brief Iraq mission, you end up back in Nevada, where the rest of the game takes place, and a story of deception unfolds as you progress through the game. It’s not that deep, and things are not quite explained, but it strings together the plot nonetheless.
You also have some squad tactics in the game, but these are not good, and it’s basically a single button experience that gets your men to do some menial task like open a door or plant a charge etc, but seems really slapped on. Squad AI is also not good, and they can be very erratic.
Multiplayer is a bit of a flop, due to lack of players on the network, but when you do find them, the games are your standard multiplayer modes providing a few hours of entertainment.
Sound wise the game is also pretty standard, but expect some bugs here, and some of the talking is miss-timed throughout the game.
Overall, I agree with what the critics are saying about the title, but maybe I’m not as harsh as them, as I found the game to at least provide me with entertainment, and I enjoyed a big part of the game. I did find bugs, but not that bad, and this game does not go down as one of the worst games on XBOX360, not by a mile. Would I purchase it at full price? Probably not. Bring it down to R399.00, and yeah, I probably would, and I’d play it all the way though, as I have with my copy.
If bugs really bother you, avoid it. If they don’t, give it a try, you might be as surprised as me that it was not as bad as everyone made it out to be, and it will provide you with a decent length single player campaign, that I rather enjoyed. Remember, just my opinion.
We’d like to thank Ster Kinekor for providing us with the games, we really appreciate it.
Graphics – 75%
Playability – 60%
Originality – 60%
Tilt Factor – 70%
Overall – 68% (Not Bad, But not Great)
Last Updated: March 18, 2008