What I like about this sequel title is that it is true to everything about the game to the core. Although there was nothing truly broken in the original game, Blacklight: Tango Down, Retribution generally improves on many of Tango Down's aspects but also makes radical changes to the mechanics.
Blacklight: Retribution is a Free-to-Play futuristic themed First Person Shooter. Contrary to popular belief, the Free-to-Play system in Blacklight: Retribution was built upon keeping a balanced playing field between paying and non-paying Blacklight Agents as it goes with the philosophy kept at Perfect World Entertainment.
Retribution essentially runs on two currencies. The GP currency is earned by playing the game which allows you to rent all of your currently unlocked armors, weapons and attachments for a limited time. The ZEN currency is the real world money exchange you can use to buy the plethora of content in the game even before you unlock them. There will be content you can ONLY buy using ZEN.
Even though I recently became a regular player, I've been a Blacklight Agent in Retribution since the first public beta began. At the time my machine could barely run it on the lowest settings so my time with the game was little to no playtime until now. My slightly capable machine has given me the opportunity to finally get in there and show everyone what I've got.
Now, on to the actual game.
One thing a lot of new players will notice is the extensive customization. From your scope to your barrel, from your magazine to your trinkets. I believe that to make the best weapons work for your playstyle, you have to be able to recognize your in-game habits.
I like function and power over everything else. My armor consist of a Dataluxe Slant-X2 helmet, Guardian WarmongerL1 upper body armor and Guardian WarmongerRC2 lower body armor. As with any armor you would expect to be used for tanking purposes, this set offers you the most HP that GP can rent you at my level of 15. A tank isn't a tank if you're spitting seeds at the enemy so I rented a Heavy Assault Rifle loaded with a Lightsky L3 Aim Point scope, a Vulcan Stalker 1T6 barrel, and a Silverwood BRS Tactical stock. These attachments give me the best accuracy, range and firepower stats but make me even heavier so I have to be careful where I drag myself to or I might scare the other guys.
The selection of game modes consist of traditional modes you would expect from other First Person Shooters like deathmatch, kill confirmed, last man standing, search & destroy, capture the flag[node in this case] and domination to list a few. A recent free expansion named Onslaught has been released adding a zombie defence mode. Rather than fending off against the same old boring Romero zombies, this time the zombies are more varied. During the early rounds you will be fending off the lame easy zombies, but later you will be fighting zombies that come equipped with assault rifles, shields and event rocket launchers for those that though spawning an Armor Suit was the best idea.
Gameplay Mechanics. This is the biggest part that any developer should focus on first and over anything while making the game. Well, aside from aesthetics obviously. Blacklight: Retribution is a very tight and rewarding game the more you play and learn. Unreal Engine 3 lends itself almost naturally because ballistics for this game feel very realistic whether you're playing in a long ranged map or a close quarters one. Every weapon combo feels unique and with the customization being an essential cog in the clock, you are assured that your playstyle will find it's place in this game.
There is enough balance balance throughout the game that it's near perfect, but one thing that I feel is missing is the strong presence of a competitive scene. Although we had the '30 Days of Fight' promotion from Perfect World themselves, it wasn't enough to liven up the competitive scene for Blacklight. While there are some leagues here and there, sometimes I feel like I'm playing a game past it's prime. The best servers I see as competitive are the ones that disable a feature known as 'Hyper Reality Vision'. HRV give you vision through walls and reveals enemy positions. I have argued with many of the players that this is not making the game any more challenging but their usual argument is that it is what sets Blacklight: Retribution apart from other games. Through the promotion of challenging yours instincts without the aid of HRV, I believe we can pick up the pace for a striving competitive scene withing the Blacklight: Retribution community.
With high fidelity graphics, high resolution textures and your typical Unreal Engine 3 graphical options to tweak your visual experience with, Blacklight: Retribution will put your machine to the test. Detailed dismembered throats will add to the excitement of every headshot along with the cracks and pops. The audio is very raw and clean. Can't find anybody? Listen in on cues such as agents reloading near you, agents running around you and even a cloaked agent de-cloaking right behind you attempting to go for a stealthy kill. The music may be considered dubstep to some extent but I would most closely relate it to electronic hardcore with some jungle influences.
My Final Verdict on Blacklight: Retribution:
•First off, deep customization. It's like playing Armored Core but instead of mechas it's all about your weapons and your agent. I am surprised at how balanced the game is with the amount of options they give you.
•Second, the music is something I would actually listen to on a regular basis. It sets the mood of the game perfectly well.
•Third, the aesthetics. The color palette feels hand picked just for this game. All the greys, blues, whites, browns fit in pretty well for the maps keeping them in a futuristic tone. The geometry used in a lot of the armors are very unique and something you probably haven't seen anywhere else.
•Fourth, gameplay. I love the transition to the aim-down-sights they decided to do for Retribution. Some of the best ballistics I have seen in a game in a while. I like the Weapon Tag trinkets they give you to attach to your weapon for small incremental stats that work sort of like perks. The node system is really nice for when you want to really boost up your character or increase your point percentage by a small volume.
•Fifth, the GP currency. It may not mean much but this is what I believe actually keeps Blacklight alive. The better you do the more you get. You can wait until you have enough to get some permanent items or you can continue to rent them. Spend it however you want since GP flows in like pennies.
Blacklight: Retribution can be downloaded from Perfect World Entertainment's website or directly from the Steam distribution service.