Blacklight: Retribution is the free-to-play sequel to Blacklight: Tango Down, an online multiplayer FPS that was released for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. Retribution is currently only available on PC with no signs of a console release. It stays true to its predecessor as a multiplayer FPS with a wide variety of game modes and deep gun customization.
So how does the game make money? Blacklight: Retribution has two types of in-game currencies: GP and Zen. Zen is bought with actual money, and is that how Perfect World gets their revenue. Everything can be purchased with Zen where as GP is more limited. GP is earned by playing matches and at a somewhat decent rate; about 150-300 a match. You can either rent gun parts for either 1 to 7 days or you can outright purchase them permanently. The downside is that to purchase permanently is extremely expensive, especially when spending GP.
The game for the most part is like most typical multiplayer shooters. It has a variety of match types like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch; they have even taken a page from CoD by adding a Kill Confirmed match type, with players collection tokens instead of dog tags. Nothing real special in the modes department, and for the most part they seem flushed out.
The most unique element of the Blacklight series is the Hyper Reality Visor, or HRV for short. The HRV gives players an X-ray type vision that lets them see enemies’ positions regardless of what’s in front of them. This ultimately opens up a new level of strategy for a player, since they’re able to see where everyone is and where they are going. The weakness to the HRV is that you are unable to fire any weapons during this time, which serves to nicely balance out its advantages.
Character customization is very deep in Retribution, with options to change just about everything on the character, and most of it will have an impact on you character’s performance in game. This is the gamest biggest draw and for a number junkie like myself, can add considerably depth to what could have been just another loadout based shooter.
First of all, you’ll have your character’s base equipment, which consists of what armor you are wearing, what kind of gear you have (knives, grenades, etc), and what is available in your depot. The weapon depot is available on all maps in any game mode and allows a player to purchase weapons or resupply on the battlefield. As you get kills or complete objectives (depending on game mode) you will be awarded points that you can then spend at the weapon depot. Aside from ammo and health, you can also pick up various heavy weapons like rocket launchers and flamethrowers.
The biggest treat among these is the Hardsuit. I’s a large mechanized piece of armor with tremendous firepower, sporting a minigun and railgun. It very hard to kill, but has a few weaknesses. Outside of dashing, it’s quite slow moving, and using the HVR you can locate weak points on it for dealing massive damage, even with conventional weapons.
Datanodes are similar to runes from League of Legends in that they add a variety of different enhancements that for the most part most other pieces of equipment wouldn’t give. They are acquired by either by Datanode chance packs that will give you a random node or at random after every official game you play. These aren’t major game changers but can add a bit of extra oomph or better enhance your playstyle.
Gun customization is a major part of Blacklight: Retribution and the deepest element to the overall gameplay. There are up to eight parts to choose from, from the receiver that determines the type of gun to options like barrels and muzzles that can effect the little thing like the bullet spread and recoil. This leads to an astonishing number of possibilities and can ensure a player they have whatever kind of gun they want.
There are pre-built guns available in the shop, made by other players, that you can rent out for a day or two if you just want to look quickly for a gun to use and don’t want to rifle through all the options in building your own.
The shooting mechanics are fairly solid, but can be rough if you don’t pay attention to how you build your gun. When building a gun, the parts you use can determine the spread of your shots, both for hip fire and when looking down the sights. If you haphazardly put together a gun, you may find that your shots aren’t going where you think they should. There is no bullet drop, so long distance sniping is simple. Otherwise – nothing out of the ordinary for a shooter.
Graphics and Audio
The graphics in this game are nothing spectacular. The levels themselves are pretty basic, with nothing really proving itself as a stand out in my mind. Most were either bland and boring or too busy with extra objects that didn’t really add anything.
The levels also tend to be a tad dark. This is especially true for levels that utilize the sun for lighting as trying to increase the brightness will just result in being blinded by any bright areas. When in HRV mode the entire level becomes just a blue background losing the ability to see objects in-depth, but you become able to see both allies and enemies well in either a blue or orange outlines respectively.
The audio, however, was well done. Gunfire sounds are realistic and do a good job in adding depth to the guns. There are very few voices in the game but each seems to have been acted well and don’t distract from the game.
So, Is It Worth It?
The answer is maybe, as I really can’t give a definitive reason one way or another. There are a good points to the game like the deep gun and character customization and audio was pretty solid. But on the other hand the prices for buying gun parts with the currency to earn in game is a bit high for especially for how much you make per match, paired with only 2 loadout slots and the price ranges for Zen, it feels more like a pay 2 win game which I personally can’t 100% get behind.
Since it’s free 2 play, that also means it’s free 2 try, so if you are into PC shooters, give it a try for yourself.