Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Friday, March 9th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/deep_black_reloaded/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
I'd never heard of Biart, but when the opportunity came along to try out their sometimes underwater multiplatform shooter Deep Black: Reloaded, I said, 'Why not?' Sadly, most of this review will be spent answering that question.
It sounds interesting on paper: you run and swim about various environments, taking out bad guys by sticking them with your grappling hook, machine gun, or just shoving your arm blade in their mouth repeatedly. The problems start when you quickly realize animations are mostly terrible and unexciting, movement is clunky, firing guns feels utterly generic, and the gameplay is extremely repetitive.
Most of the heavily linear experience is spent running from one set of chest high walls to another, peeking out and back in every few seconds. Similar to the Gears of War series, how long you survive is mostly dependent on how much patience you have. I've always disliked this about the Gears series, though let it go due to its many other redeeming qualities.
Damage received in Deep Black is high, so when health is low, if you're not so bored out of your skull waiting for it to regenerate and by the general gameplay that you need to relieve yourself by trying to kill something, you'll likely succeed -- if not, enjoy redoing the last three sections about.
There is a little variety, sure, but it has its own problems. The underwater sections, for example, throw robotic enemies at you which force you into a quicktime kill event if you don't take them out from a distance, which isn't consistent with other close-range melee attacks. Transitioning from underwater sections to ground sections can be cool in that you can pull enemies into the water with your grappling hook then smash their face in with your blade, but it's barely interactive, and begins to gets old after the first or second time. The option to grapple onto ground areas and attack enemies from there would spice things up a little, as would underwater battles with these human opponents.
Voice acting ranges from acceptable to unbearable, characters are mostly empty and make awkward fisting jokes, and the story quickly devolves into a blur of typical sci-fi mission objectives you don't need to pay attention to anyway since the game is so linear and features a permanently on objective indicator. Fortunately, cutscenes can be skipped.
There's a multiplayer mode sporting Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes, though in my version of the game, only LAN is supported, so nothing could be tested. Those who purchase on Steam, however, will be able to play online. Skins and a few filters are on hand, here.
Graphics for the most part feel like a standard low budget Unreal shooter, despite the game being on a propietary engine. The exception is some of the underwater sections, which do showcase some reasonably impressive lighting effects.
A handful of graphics options are featured, and both SSAO and 3D Vision are supported. In the control department, you get the usual stuff like sensitivity and a few other items, though no option to custom bind keys (yet -- as I understand it, that's to come in a patch). Alt-tab support is solid. In-game performance doesn't fare well: though averaging roughly 60fps (force capped) when maxed on a 6950 GPU / 1055t CPU at 1680x1050 resolution, it's actually quite choppy and stutters frequently, to the point it's a significant detriment to gameplay.
Some of you will remember my Scourge Project review from 2010. For all intents and purposes, Deep Black is pretty much the same game with the same problems, but a bit worse. Don't waste your time on either.
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