[incoming transmission... XboxAddict review of Blacklight Tango Down... Transmission begins in 3..2..1..]
With the summer time upon us, the need for good games rises with the temperature. Thankfully the people at Ignition Entertainment bring Blacklight Tango Down to the Xbox Live Arcade. We are going to go through the good and bad and see if this title sets a new standard for XBLA titles, or if it falls by the wayside of games that just fell short.
Ok to start things off; Blacklight Tango Down delivers next to nothing as far as story goes. There is a small story about some form of battle or conflict between the Blacklight U.S. forces and a group who call themselves The Order (who also are a group of ex-U.S. special forces). Sounds interesting, however, none of this is even explained unless you decided to hunt through the how to play menu and read it for yourself. This is kind of a drag, but at least the good thing is that we don't have to sit through a horrible story right?
There are multiple modes in Blacklight Tango Down, such as various multiplayer maps and the Black Ops section. The multiplayer modes are what we have come to expect such as variants of Team Death match, plant the bomb, capture the flag, and more. One of the things that make the multiplayer so interesting is the fact that the game comes with 12 maps! For FPS fans, getting 12 initial maps at release is huge, and this is not a retail release, but an XBLA title.
A wide variety of maps, plus with a total of 8 vs. 8 support means that Blacklight Tango Down will provide hours upon hours of fun. The Black Ops mode can be played via single player, or you can do online co-op with up to 3 other players. Black Ops a more story driven mode, but since the story is next to non-existent, it's just another way to earn XP and shoot a lot of people. You will gain less XP per kill in Black Ops, however, you will earn a XP bonus for completing a Black Ops level. One great feature is that you will be able to level up your character across the different modes.
Visually speaking, this game is amazing. For an XBLA title, gamers will be amazed at the quality and detail that they see put into not only the characters and enemies, but in the environment as well. The levels are big and expansive and gamers will love the fact that attention to detail plays an important role in every aspect of the visuals in this game.
Some of the unique new features are the introduction of the Hyper Reality Visor(HRV) and items such as the Digi-grenade. The HRV plays the role of a gamers' map and provides locations on health and ammo stations, to hack points and incoming enemies. This option though doesn't last forever and needs time to recharge, so use it wisely. The Digi-grenade is a fun twist to a standard frag grenade, instead of exploding it creates a bubble of pixilated interference, blinding your enemy for a short amount of time. One thing though with these new grenades is that if you throw one on yourself, you can be affected by your own grenade so be careful you don't blind yourself right before a firefight.
The sound of Blacklight is done well, but is very repetitive. Blacklight's menu music to me became annoying after listening to it loop over and over again as I browsed the different menus. The music though in the game was good. It's not going to stand out as some amazing piece of video game greatness, and it's not going to be so horrible you play this game on mute. It provides a very dark electro style soundtrack, which accompanies the various intermittent vocals very well.
The gameplay is your standard FPS style controls so you can expect to be very familiar with them from the very beginning. Blacklight Tango Down also delivers a reward system in the gameplay called Weapon Tags. What these Weapon Tags(WT) do is alter the aspects of not only your weapon that you use in the game, but your own character as well. WT's can be used for things like increasing gun damage, to shorten the time it takes to re-heal your character. There are tons of these Weapon Tags and it's a complete random drop chance for you to obtain one.
Along with the Weapon Tags are the weapons themselves. Each one of them customizable with various scopes, clips, barrels, and more, which means that Blacklight brings gamers hundreds and hundreds of ways to fully customize your character.
I guess the big question for gamers is: "Is this worth 1200 MS points?" The answer to that question is yes. Blacklight Tango Down delivers stunning graphics, hundreds of ways to customize your character, 12 multiplayer maps with more mulitplayer modes, plus innovative ranking and upgrading systems. This could easily be a $49.99 retail title, so 1200 MS points to play one of the best FPS on XBLA is a deal.
Suggestions: One thing that I would like to see in a future sequel is the addition of a well written story. Something that makes people want to play a dedicated campaign on top of multiplayer.