Blacklight: Retribution

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Postby Kellervo » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:50 am

A game that some fellow admins and moderators might remember me pushing like some kind of crack is "Blacklight: Tango Down". It was a pretty weird name for a game, and while the community died out in just a couple months (I blame GFWL), it was one of the games which I enjoyed and look fondly upon in the glut of more mindless fare being pushed across the industry. While it wasn't that polished, and the co-op mode was rather soulless and dull, it scratched one hell of an itch.

Retribution is the free to play sequel. I'm posting about it here so I don't drive the rest of the admin team insane raving about how good it is.

I've had the privilege of being in the closed beta for some time now, and it's currently nearing the end of the final phase (January 15th, 2012). But now, there's plenty of keys around for you to grab if you want in;

http://www.alienwarearena.com/giveaway/ ... -giveaway/

So WTF is Blacklight?

Here's a list of ingredients;

- Counter-Strike style health
- Team Fortress style game modes (CTF, KOTH, TDM, along with a CP-like mode called 'Domination')
- MW1 style unlock system ratcheted up to 11.
- Borderlands style weapon modifications - again up to 11.
- Brink-style character customization - toned down a bit.



But it's a Perfect World game :[

The game's model is essentially 'free to play', with the devs going to great lengths to prevent 'pay to win'. Anything available can be bought with in-game currency along with Perfect World's ZEN system. Even if you don't sink a dime into the game, it's possible to permanently unlock items (in beta they've used 1, 3, 5, 7, and 30 day increments for unlocks) so you don't have to constantly sink 3 to 4 hours a day in the game just to remain competitive.

As a rule of thumb, you can generally buy a gun part for every 15 minutes or so played. An entire gun is only an hour, and if you're good at the game you earn more points, and thus can save up / experiment with your unlocks. Other admins can attest I'm an addict - I play enough to keep three-quarters of the armory unlocked at any given time. ._.

So yes, you can pay for items - but like in TF2, it doesn't necessarily make you better. Everything (except for the @!$!ing rocket launcher) is well-balanced, especially now that folks like myself have suffered through the earlier, less balanced days.

How does it play?

While the game's health system and 'science fact' (dev's words, not mine) theme might hint at Rainbow 6 style gameplay, it's much more run and gun, and very similar to Brink in that regard. While you lack the fancy free-running tools of Brink, it makes up for it by being much more stable and enjoyable in general.

The main goal of the beta has been to balance things out to 'let people play what they want'. You can really find just about any 'archetype' in the game's customization options. It's possible to make a class focused entirely on run and gun, packing machine pistols and submachine guns to whittle away. You can also go to the far end of the spectrum and stomp around in heavy armor, lugging a LMG and a .50cal revolver. And nearly everything in between is perfectly doable thanks to the level of customization available. Along with this, every level has 'depots' where you can spend points earned during the round to 'buy' more powerful weapons - grenade launchers, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, miniguns, railguns, airstrikes, and eventually, a walking tank (called a Hardsuit). Unlike Call of Duty, where killstreak rewards are pretty much point-and-click adventures, Blacklight's rewards require you actually get into the thick of things to use them, so you can and will die if you use them poorly (on the other hand, one good flamethrower can single handedly take down an entire team of Hardsuits). Much like the rest of the game, your depot can be customized, but that's for a little bit later.

The game's broken up into 5 different game types. I'll explain them in TF2 analogies as that's what most of the community knows.

TDM - Team Deathmatch. First to 100 kills, or highest score after 10 minutes.
FDM - Free Deathmatch. Every man for himself. Life expectancy on par with fruit flies or Scouts on fire.
CTF - Capture the Flag. Flags can only be capped if the team has their own flag at base, leading to some interesting conundrums. However, flag carriers can not sprint, and naturally they get a whole lot of heat from the enemy team. Teamwork is an absolute must.
DOM - A kind of Control Point style mode. The map has three points which need to be held. Once capped, they give everyone on the team a steady income of 'CP'. They can also be 'hacked', which is a quick minigame that lets one agent hack the point, capturing it within seconds and putting a 'firewall' that prevents it from being recapped in the next 30 seconds.
KOTH - King of The Hill. Similar to the TF2 version, only the rounds are much longer - once a point has been controlled for 100 seconds (this decreases depending on how many folks are on the point) it moves to another part of the map. First to 5.

You keep talking about customization

Yes I do. To put it this way, guns can be broken down into the basic 'receivers');

Assault Rifle
Sub Machine Gun
Combat Rifle (think M14)
Light Machine Gun
Burst Rifle
Bolt-Action Rifle

9mm Pistol
.45 Pistol
.50 Revolver
Shotgun
Machine Pistol
Burst Pistol

Each of the receivers have common add-on points. In short, the 'primary' weapons can be fitted with different scopes, stocks, magazines, handguards, grips, muzzle brakes, silencers, flash hiders, and paint/camo styles. Each category has 4 sub-categories catering to different playstyles - in short each weapon has around a million or so combinations. Some weapons also have unique parts - the pistols for example can be turned into full-on carbine rifles, shotguns can be turned into monstrous AA-12 clones, and burst rifles have their own unique stocks. If you are a gun nut or into tacticool, this is your wet dream. :D

Weapons can also be outfitted with 'elemental' ammo which specializes in certain aspects - electro rounds which paralyze Hardsuits and automated defenses, toxic rounds which poison and weaken infantry, incendiary rounds which can cook people alive (and burn pilots out of Hardsuits), and explosive rounds which stun and jar the enemy's vision (and prevents them from being revived by teammates).

Image

Along with the weapons themselves, the rest of the player's load out can be customized - there's four different melee weapons, plus 8 different throwables (grenades, or decoys / 'blackouts' which keep enemies from seeing you in the wallhack-style radar). The most important are backpacks, which allow players to heal, revive, rearm, repair, and more.

Here's an example;

Image

The player themselves can customize their appearance - and in-game 'behavior' by getting new armor. You also pick a gender (male or female) to start off, and each gender has their own line of outfits. As an example, here's what a bunch look like;

Image
Yes, there's a taunt which makes you awesomeface.

So why am I posting this? I want friends to ki- play it with.
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Postby Helios » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:15 am

DON'T YOU BE HATING ON MY BELOVED ROCKET LAUNCHER >:C

Seriously though people, check this game out. It's really a lot better than it looks and quite fun! Also the community is a tad small (closed beta and all) so it'd be nice to get more folks in here to play! (Not to mention Keller won't have to kill me all the time >v> )
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Postby Oktoberwolf » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:10 pm

Got one of the keys from Alienware Arena sometime ago - i'll look into it as soon as i get rid of all these games waiting @.@

Kellervo wrote:...the community died out in just a couple months (I blame GFWL)


Hah, very likely.
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Postby Kellervo » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:55 pm

Just as an update, BLR is now live. If you play Star Trek Online, or other PWE games, you can download the client and login using the same account to get right in.

Along with that, Blacklight: Retribution is now set for a July 1st release on Steam. If you already play it, or download it before then, it automatically hooks into the Steam overlay. It also has support for private rooms and clans, plus they have added three heroes and three primary weapons (with at least 4 more on the way) since release!

Plus, you get a pair of fancy titles if you play it before July 1st, along with a medal to wear on your avatar. :]

If there's enough interest, I'll be making an alternate account to start up a group for TFP in the game, which will let you find other TFPers in the game, as well as play on their team in the 'Showdown' servers.
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Postby Salen Stormwing » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:47 pm

It really is fun. It's not TF2-ish. More like CoD-ish, but not in a bad way. Plus, everyone gets HRV, which is "Wall Hacks 4 Everyone!". No, literally, you can see where folks are with it, but you can't do anything while using it. It's an item which adds some tactical info to you while leaving you helpless while using it, so it can be either really useful, or a great way to get yourself killed.

But yeah, go play it. Try it out. It's free. And the only thing you really have to "PAY" for in this "PAY 2 WIN" game is Camo-patterns for guns and armor, hero characters, and 1 type of weapon. Everything else, TOTALLY available for PERMANENT using ingame money.
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Postby Oktoberwolf » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:35 pm

Salen Stormwing wrote:But yeah, go play it. Try it out. It's free.


That is the problem for me. So far each time i tried to DL it before, the download ended up stopping abruptly, giving me an incomplete file, and i tried 4 times at that! D:
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Postby Salen Stormwing » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:39 pm

Oktoberwolf wrote:
Salen Stormwing wrote:But yeah, go play it. Try it out. It's free.


That is the problem for me. So far each time i tried to DL it before, the download ended up stopping abruptly, giving me an incomplete file, and i tried 4 times at that! D:

That's odd. Hmm. Probably PWE being weird with their patch servers... as usual. You could always wait for the Steam version. It can't be that far away.
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Postby Kellervo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:04 am

From the devs, and the "totally an accidental coincidence", it's still on track to be released via Steam on the 1st. The event for the "pre-Steam veterans" ends on the first of July, so it would make sense.
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Postby TheScottishUnicorn » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:40 am

I've had my eye on this game for a while, but I haven't got around to downloading it. I ought to give it a shot now that it's on Steam now.
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Postby Cercris » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:46 am

Small bump here. Yeah, tried to get into the game prior the steam release and it was really buggy, however pretty much all install bugs and most other gameplay bugs have been dealt with so it's no longer a massive issue to download and install anymore. It's free, it's open for anyone, it has amazing graphics considering it's free, most everything is customizable even to filtering of maps/ping/game type, and there is always people playing.

I don't see a reason why not to add this game to your list of steam games. It's amazingly fun and addictive, and the way you play the game differs with how much you can mod your weapons. And it's really easy to get mods for your weapons! Just play! The GP (game points, I think) you get from playing is very steady. Even if you loose a match you still get a decent amount of GP, plus with every level you get a free 3-day pass to a random assortment of various gun parts and gear. So without spending any GP you get to try out various gun mods, receivers, grenades, backpacks, camo, you name it! Plus, as a added bonus, I think you also get a little doodad for your gun that further changes stats however you wish, and it doesn't expire!

It may sound like it would take a while to earn enough GP to start buying permanent stuff, but it doesn't. In the course of a two-day stint of a total of I think 8-10 hours of gameplay I pretty much accumulated enough GP to permanently purchase the gear I found myself liking the most.

Personally I am hauling a burst-fire rifle that is geared towards hip-fire accuracy with a mid-range scope to switch easily between close-range to sometimes mid-far range combat. My sidearm is a magnum revolver (one of the few weapons that doesn't have very many mods, unfortunately, but that's due to its intrinsic design) with a holoscope and geared towards reducing the recoil. Other than that I am sporting a frag grenade, a heavy frag grenade, a machete (trust me, it's absolutely fun to use!) and a mod that allows me to hop into a hardsuit and temporarily 'ping' all enemies within a certain radius of me.

Otherwise I have the standard CP gear (stuff you purchase mid-match via Combat Points, CP) layout, which includes health, ammo, stinger missles, and hardsuit, but replaced my flame thrower with turrets. Handy little bastards in CTF and DOM.

Best part about the weapons selections and the modifications, what it comes down to is what you are most comfortable playing with. I've seen people in the lvl 30's using stock gear (absolutely NO modifications) because that's what they are most comfortable using. There is no single mod that can make a weapon OP or even a series of mods that can make a weapon ultimately unstoppable. It's all about how you play and what mods enhance your own style. Want to choose on hip-fire accuracy, semi-automatic, burst fire, full auto, bolt action, power, zoom, reload speed, magazine size, fire speed, run speed, armor rating, slot allotment, health rating, "wallhack" recharge time, cloaking, melee weapons, et cetra ad nauseum? This game pretty much covers everything you could want out of a futuristic FPS while still maintaining a very good balance by making it so the modifications simply enhance what skill you already have! Your weapons can be bare-bones or modified to all living hell, but in the end it still comes down to who is the better shot!

The community that plays Blacklight: Retribution is really cool, too. Seriously, just today I added 3 different people to my friends list. I NEVER simply add people to my friends list. One person was really excited over my in-game name (MuffinDivin... short story, but off-topic), and turns out to have a knack for being exactly where they most annoy me when playing against me. Another guy who is simply almost exactly as good as I am and is not afraid to try new and interesting things to get under my skin but has an awesome attitude that makes me want to try a few wild things to try and get back at him, and last guy I met because we just kept on finding ourselves in a situation where we are both dueling with our machetes. Seriously, it was pure kill-for-kill with our large knives, each of us either getting a jump on the other or otherwise finding ourselves in a straight-up charge and hope your timing is perfect.

Anywho, to the downsides.

Like all games that have public servers there is definitely the occasional smack-talk or sore winners/losers, but nothing worse than what you find in TF2, KillingFloor or GlobalAgenda. The maps are few right now, but hopefully they'll come out with more soonish. There are still some glitches and bugs, like a memory leak in some thing or other that makes it so the game may run better if you turn DirectX 9 off (which, thankfully, you can do in the standard in-game options menu under the visual sub-menu).

The biggest turn-off for the game that will take some getting use to is navigating the menus. They look pretty and are quite dynamic, but do have a tiny bit of a learning curve to figure out how to do some simple things. Took me a little bit to figure out how the friends list works, how to send whispers to others, and how to change the purchase timeframe for gear.

However, if you are patient enough to learn the menu navigation, then I guarantee that this game will be one hell of a ride! Okay, enough rambling. Must play MOAR!
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