These days it's rare to find a first-person shooter without any kind of multi-player component, but Black isn't afraid to stand alone and be that one game that is single-player only. Criterion has always contended that they wanted to focus on Black's campaign, making it the best it could be. But with only eight levels most fans of the genre shouldn't have trouble beating it in around eight hours. With nothing more to do than beat the game again on the other difficulty levels some may find Black lacks depth. Usually this sort of problem is rectified with a fun multi-player mode, but not Black. Black stands alone as a short game with limited replay.
A short story and limited replay can usually be forgiven if what you're experiencing is at least interesting. The action and explosions found in Black are great … for about the first three levels. Since the missions rarely deviate from you rushing to a bunch of enemies and killing them you might get bored of the game's limited scope. There are no puzzles to speak of and with bad guys pointing you where to go it's almost impossible to get lost; this story is straight-up action almost to a fault.
And then it all ends. There's no notice, no peak in the story, it just ends. Abruptly. And not only do the credits roll far too early, but the ending may make you angry you played the game at all. I won't spoil anything, but you would be hard pressed to find a more disappointing ending to a video game, it's almost a slap in the face.
Black is hurt by its simple game play, short story and crummy ending, but that doesn't mean it's not worth experiencing at least once. With no multi-player features it's hard to recommend Black as a purchase, but if you're looking for a game that will turn your weekend into two days of action-packed bliss, then you can't go wrong with Black. The style is there, but Criterion Games forgot to provide the substance … see, it really is like a Hollywood summer blockbuster.
With its amazing production values and stunning visuals Black makes a great first impression. But dig a little deeper and you'll find that Criterion Games' newest first-person shooter is short, shallow, and kind of boring.
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