If you’re a PC FPS nut you’ll probably agree that there’s one thing that FPS games have been lacking: wall hacking…

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HRV allows you to see through walls temporarily enabling you to stalk prey that has strayed from the herd.

 

That’s right, while most games are quick to throw in anti-cheat measures, this new MMOFPS embraces something that has been frowned upon since the dawn of multiplayer fps gaming. The game comes with a “new” feature known as the Hyper Reality Visor (HRV) which enables the player to see through walls to see where their enemies and allies are around them. This doesn’t come without drawbacks, however, and you definitely won’t be seeing a 100% uptime on this.  It follows a standard energy usage policy meaning you can use it in short bursts to get some temporary spacial awareness or you can use it for extended periods of time to give yourself more time to calculate your next move. Either way you’ll need to wait for the energy to fully refill to use it again.

Here’s the catch: You can’t attack while using your HRV wallhack.

This gives the game a really nice tactical layer as taking it off is not exactly instantaneous and a skilled player would have easily killed you while you’re busy trying to take your visor off. Blacklight gives all players access to a tool that some have become almost reliant on over the years which is a nice touch. What makes this even nicer is that you can get “gear” that will allow you to place decoys of yourself to misinform your opponents which does give this tactical layer a bit more depth.

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Customising your weaponry gives you the opportunity to add your own personal touch to your weapon of choice.

Blacklight features a nice amount customisation outside of each game that allows you to create your own personalised play style, but the system lacks the depth that it truly needs to make this a real selling point. While you can create a variety of “loadouts”, your armour and tactical gear does not change between them, only your primary and secondary weapons. This really harms the system as you do not have as much flexibility as the game would want you to believe. Instead you will probably stick with one build and possibly use the other loadout slots for minor changes to tweak your gameplay rather than give you a wide range of styles to pick from. That being said, the minor changes are where the system really starts to shine. Blacklight’s weapons are completely modular; you start by selecting a “Receiver” which dictates what the gun “does” (Assault Rifle, Semi-Automatic, Bolt-Action, etc.) and from there you get to change the muzzle, barrel, scope, magazine and stock with each part affecting things from recoil and bullet spread to reload times and run speeds while not punishing those who haven’t researched everything about guns beforehand.

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The colour of your armour makes all the difference when your head gets blown off.

 

Blacklight is free to play and features a micro-transaction system without being a “pay to win” title. Instead it features a system similar to other games like League of Legends whereby you can put time in game to earn an item or pay for it and get it quicker.  People willing to shell out cash also gain access to premium skins for their guns and armour which bare no impact on gameplay. They also have the opportunity to access items normally unlocked by levelling up which doesn’t really cause any noticeable balance issues as you’ll typically be playing with people of varying levels anyway. The micro-transaction system also allows you to rent items at a drastically reduced cost allowing you to test out weapons and attachments before you can afford to permanently buy them with renting for a day generally costing what you would earn in between 1 and 2 games. This is a really nice touch as it enables you to test out different equipment without having to pay the full price for something and feeling like all the time you spent earning that was a waste if you don’t actually like the item.

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"Hacking" is a number matching mini-game that you're just going to have to get used to.

 

Blacklight doesn’t bring any new gameplay modes to the table while still feeling fairly fresh due to HRV adding a new tactical layer to tried and tested modes such as Death Match, Team Death Match and the more objective based King of the Hill, Capture the Flag and Dominion. Blacklight does however add another feature to these modes: hacking. To take points in the Dominion game mode and to open some of the mechanical doors on various maps you must play a “number matching” mini-game. While this may be okay if you have an organised team a lot of the time it just makes whoever is unlucky enough to be the one hacking completely defenseless for a couple of seconds. If that wasn’t bad enough, picking the wrong number will stop you from being able to hack for a couple of seconds while also resetting any effort you’d put in. While most of us will be able to tell the difference between two different two digit numbers under normal circumstances it doesn’t always play out so simple while you have the enemy team bearing down upon you.

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Combat Points allow you to choose exactly what killstreak you want for each situation.

 

There’s also a fairly robust killstreak system that rewards players for playing well while not punishing those who aren’t doing so well. Throughout each match you will earn Combat Points (CP) that are reset at the start of every match. During a match you can visit depots around the map to cash in your hard earned CP for weapons and items that you may use to your advantage. Such rewards include ammo refills, health packs, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and even a “Hardsuit”. From the customise screen, along with all of your other gear, you may change what killstreaks you have access to in the same way that you change gear. While all that seems fun you can be killed while interfacing with the  depot and any killstreak reward that you purchase can be looted by other players so caution is advised while trying to grab that costly Hardsuit.

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Sometimes a hardsuit comes round the corner and you just have to take one for the team.

 

All in all the game is fairly well polished and is currently in open beta with it being scheduled to release next month. While there are some features that I dislike the game is a much needed fresh breath in the free-to-play FPS market right now. The client can be downloaded from Perfect World’s website absolutely free so check it out at http://blacklight.perfectworld.com/

-Caysilou
 
 
 
 
 

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Title : Blacklight: Retribution
Format : PC
Developer : Zombie
Publisher : Perfect World Entertainment

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