Lets say you’re the sort of person who likes nothing more than to take his First Person Shooters online, either as a lone wolf or part of a team. Then a title like Blacklight Tango Down should be on your radar. Using a bunch of middleware and Gamespy for its networking and developed by Zombie Studios, this game is only played online. There is no offline component to this experience other than the time you spend tweaking your loadout.
With the story being relegated to text within the menu’s, this near future shooter will feel mostly familiar with its mixture of assault rifles, SMG’s and sniper rifles. However as this is the future, each soldier is equipment with a Hyper Reality Visor (HRV), allowing players at the click of a button to view all friendly and enemy units along with health and ammo stations.
Other than a featureless co-op mode, the bulk of this game will see you matchmaking through a number of competitive modes including objective scoring rounds and Team Deathmatch. When the sides are split and the match starts, Blacklight Tango Down maintains a familiar control style to other popular FPS titles. However like all new games, expect to have your ass handed to you a lot when you first start. This is the games major fault, the only way to learn is to go up against other human opponents, something that can be off putting. However if you’re willing to man up and learn the old school way, then keep reading.
Within a few rounds I started to realise that this game rewards carful consideration on how you traverse the environment and pick your battles. Players are also very vulnerable, think Hard Core modes from Call of Duty. Part of the learning process involves knowing when to pull your trigger as there is no indication that shots are making contact, but after a few rounds it starts to make sense.
The near future setting and the players HRV do make for some interesting gameplay features. With a quick tap of the button your vision turns into a detective mode, allowing you to quickly scout the arena before making your move. Traditional smoke grenades have been replaced with Digi-greanades, does the same job by blurring all of the areas pixels. Plus a grenade with the ability to force a reboot of an enemies visor leaving them temporarily blinded.
Blacklight: Tango Down stands its ground against the competition at the moment by being something a little different but still retaining the long term player aspect with XP and its obligatory unlocking and upgrading system. I did experience some unplayable lag issues mostly in objective modes, but nothing a new game search wouldn’t solve.
Finally, what I love about Blacklight Tango Down is less credit to the game itself but more how it positions itself within this very competitive genre. At a very reasonable and deserved price of £10 this game will live on your hard drive as long as you want it to. It may not be a shooter you grind through, but as a change of pace and perfect palate cleanser then for me it will sit nicely next to Battlefield 1943.
MLG Rating: 8/10
Platform: PlayStation 3 (Xbox 360, PC) Release Date: July / October 2010
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Blacklight Tango Down for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on a PS3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.