8.6
10
A nice stroll down Deadlock

Get ready for a ride of huge customisation, great Free to play action and legal wall hacks!

Two years after a somewhat disappointing game known as Blacklight: Tango Down, comes a new, refined, enthralling shooter from Zombie Studios for PC, Blacklight: Retribution. Blacklight: Retribution, or BLR for short, is a fanatic multiplayer experience including a huge (And I mean huge) plethora of customisation abilities and deadly battles spanning over large industrial maps! Taking a somewhat unexpected move, BLR is also a Free to Play, creating juxtaposition against the route originally taken by Tango Down.  BLR features many game changing features, such as HRV, a visor that allows you to see through walls temporarily! Key features help BLR stand out from the crowd of generic shooters on the market today!

Looking for a story?
Sadly, this is one of the gaping holes in BLR. Featuring only a multiplayer mode, there is no opportunity to dive into the hidden backstories that a normal single player experience would provide in other shooters. Needless to say, it is a sore point to bring up, but it’s all made up for in the frantic action of online multiplayer.  It would have been a great journey to learn the story of the Blacklight agents fighting the Order and SIVs but alas, not here. If you want to see a glimpse of story line, you’ll want to pop over to Tango Down.

Just in case you’re not to eager to venture backwards:
BLR is set around 50 years into the future in a bleak, corporate greed fuelled world in a dystopian “Neo-Tokyo” feeling environment (Try saying  that quickly). As for why each agent fights against one another, is not completely understood.  There is another faction seen in a special game mode called Onslaught. They are called the Order, and are the main enemies to the “Blacklight” faction. Other than that, its mainly furious fire fights against the Blacklight Agents!

Gameplay

Get ready to wage war in large and confined, industrial settings with your enemies, sharing fire lanes, flanking them and undermining their morale! 

BLR features quite an array of multiplayer, ranging from humble 16 player Team-Death match, to Domination, CTF, Siege and Onslaught, just to name a few. Teams are divided into 8 and set upon the world trying to complete their objectives, killing, capturing, and surviving. You can also create premium (All the cool features) and private servers too if you want a personal touch!

A key feature of BLR is HRV. HRV is a HUGE feature and is a necessity! HRV, also known as Hyper Reality Visor allows you to temporarily see through walls to locate targets, plan attacks and see objectives! Yes, legal wall hacks! Wait; don’t get mad, there are repercussions. Players using HRV cannot fire whilst it’s active and there is a cool down to limit spam of the tool. This tool is to keep the game flowing, and to target those campers, which are near non-existent due to this feature!!!

As for literal gameplay, maps are very spacious and fire fights break out in an instant! BLR feels very fluid in some aspects, such as general manoeuvring, but lacks a little when it comes to sprinting and jumping, looking a little rushed in animation.  Gun-Play is also quite varied as you usually find that everyone is running something different, but you can sometimes feel a bit of the unbalanced guns seeping through the game as it wages on. Other than a few imbalances and a few minor issues, BLR is quite a solid shooter, that being bullets, recoil feel realistic. However, since a recent patch, recoil acts a little more less predictably, which I welcome. 

As you complete objectives and kill enemies you can earn CP, combat points, which you can purchase in game (In the battle) items, such as heal packs, ammunition, missile launchers and Hardsuits, strong  mechs with railguns and miniguns! After the match, according to your game-play time and performance, you earn GP, the main currency to purchase items to go into battle with! GP =/= CP

Customisation
It’d nearly be totally fair to say that Blacklight: Retribution features the largest customisation ability when it comes to weapons and armour in game, not to mention other incidentals, in the entire scene of online shooters. You have (near) total control over your Agent’s physical appearance, weapons, gear, tactical equipment and taunts! Each individual part in BLR serves a purpose and each has its own positives and negatives. There are tonnes of options to try and use, to find your own fit! Heaps of melee weapons, lots of receivers, depot items, armour pieces, and the list goes on to choose from! You can also use taunts to enrage your enemy for a little bit of fun!

As stated before each part performs differently, this is very obvious when it comes to weapons. You can customise the weapons; base receiver, muzzle, barrel, scope, stock, magazine, camouflage and weapon tag, of which each part has over 25 different options to choose from, trust me, you’ll find one you like. Remember each part behaves differently when you add it to your gun! You can build a beast that deals huge damage, but risk having large recoil too! Find your balance! Also, go pick yourself up a nice sharp machete, or throwing knife.

BLR also features (Well does/did/kind of) a rent system. Instead of purchasing an item with GP (in game currency) permanently, you can rent it for a week, 3 days, or 1 (They took out 1,3 which made a lot of the community mad(Apparently coming back)) to test it out, to see if you like them. However, for new players, purchasing some of these items can be quite expensive and may intimidate them! Do not fear however, if you are willing, you can purchase ZEN, real life currency for your items. And if neither of those sound good, as you level up, you get small packages with that levels items to try for 3 days!

Overall, BLR nails customisation, but items can be a little expensive at times!

Graphics
Blacklight is no Crysis 3 by a long shot, but is still quite a nice looking game, especially with the graphics, AA, and blur options all enabled! The general pallet for BLR is grey, black, more grey. Hey, come on, it’s a dystopian, bleak setting, are you going to riddle it with bright colours? However, aside from colours, the actual textures and graphics are quite well down, very notable with DX11 and weather + tessellation enabled!  Weapons look quite crisp and armour, rugged, dirty and in deep detail. 

There are a few faults, such as pixelated fences, but these are minor. Another little issue is difference in textures for walls. They are very similar… even on different maps. Probably one of the more noticeable ones are the blandness off the SIVs in the game-mode Onslaught. They are so similar, ones with black hoodies, ripped shirts, and that about wraps it up. I would have like Zombie Studios to make them look a little more deranged, and varied!

Sound
Retribution’s sound is a mixed bag. Title screens and menus are greeted with; brace yourself, a breed of dubstep. Don’t be put off right away, it’s not stupid, it’s not just noise, it’s quite well put together, slow and fits will. It might even grow on you. If you want a taste, search on Sound cloud for “Necron 99 – Ballard of the hardsuit”.

As for sounds in other departments, it’s a little disappointing. Guns sound good, but not, “Wow, this is a freaking huge, powerful Bolt Action”. Guns sound a little bland, and a suppressor doesn’t do it any justice. Bear Claws (6 Barrelled Grenade Launchers) sound a little, underwhelming. The “pop” isn’t as deep as you’d expect and grenades in general sound a little mundane. 

There are a few sound effects that come in here and there, such as the HRV, which makes a digital “wachhg” noise, which is surprisingly satisfying.  Onto the mode called Onslaught, I am heavily disappointed. Repetitive, mundane, not scaring the heck out of me. *Also if you didn’t pick it up Onslaught is basically zombies, BUT THEY ARE NOT ZOMBIES*

Being picky aside, the general sounds of BLR are, average.


Performance

Blacklight is not a performance hog, due to the fact that it isn’t graphically demanding or needing of a beasty CPU. Hell, I run BLR on medium (DX9) graphics with Intel HD 4000 graphics + an Intel Pentium B950 at playable FPS – So if I can run it, you guys can too. Turning the graphics up to High DX11 and all the frills will take a little bit of a toll on that graphics card but in turn gives a sexy game! [Friends PC chewed that up]. Try to get atleast 4GB of ram to render in those textures and weapons!

I know it doesnt really fit here, but BLR is a bit of a beast to download. In total, patches, game and all, BLR is around 10GB of glory.

 

Issues/bugs/annoyances 

There are a few glitches in Retribution, such as small map overlooking, where players can access areas they aren’t meant to but these are slowly being squished! There is also a comical glitch where players may start having a huge fit and contort their bodies after death! Good laugh at times, little annoying at others. Also, remember to update your drivers to play without errors! Also, servers are a little fritzy, being operational at one time and crashing the next! This occurs very rarely, but hella annoying! There are very little problems that majorly hamper the game!

Also the lack of a core competitive league to some may be a disapointment.

 

Overall Lasting Impressions
BLR, a game that has had me hooked since 2012, is a great F2P shooter to experience. There are millions of combinations to choose from to go into battle with, you are unique, a hard thing to do in the hyper-competitive realm of online games! There are few faults, and issues, such as dying fan base, but that’s all said to change when BLR comes to PS4 this year! 

Play this if you want to be ready for a great time with mates, capturing the objective, being a bad ass and destroying the enemy your way in style, beauty and in retribution!!

 

I see you there!