Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Developer: Zombie Studios
System requirements: Windows XP/Vista/Win 7, dual-core CPU, 256 MB DirectX 9-compatible graphics card, DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound device, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB hard-drive space, broadband Internet connection
ESRB rating: Not rated at press time
Release date: 2012
The future might be a hellish, war-torn landscape, but it can still be a fun, if violent, romp. Having corporate-sponsored high-tech toys can make even the bleakest outlooks feel like a McDonald’s birthday party if done right. That’s what Blacklight Retribution is all about. The sequel to Blacklight: Tango Down, Retribution is a free-to-play FPS that’s all about insane customization options and x-ray vision. That’s right; the main gimmick in Tango Down returns, and it’s just as awesome as before. For a short time, you can activate your super peepers and locate enemies through walls. It worked really well in the first Blacklight, and it works just as well here. It keeps the game flowing very fast and prevents any sort of camping and cheap kills. It’s a good mechanic around which to build a game, but there’s a lot more in Retribution.
All the standard FPS game modes are present, but with a slight twist. While you earn points for kills and assists, the actual point value of each player can change. Players on hot streaks are labeled as “high threat” targets and are worth more, while the best player is the “Warlord” and is worth even more. It’s up to you whether to run or take the shot. Meanwhile, weapon depots scattered throughout levels allow you to spend the money you’ve earned that round to buy health and ammo refills, or special heavy weapons. You can bank the points you’ve earned to unlock upgrades after the round, or gamble and buy a single-use flamethrower and hope to earn even more.
While Blacklight: Tango Down was merely a cheap downloadable game, Retribution is going the F2P route. All players begin with a starter pack, which includes some basic weapons and armor. After that, you have to purchase the rest of your arsenal, either with GP or Zen. GP is earned as you play, while Zen can only be purchased with real money. Each weapon is pieced together from half a dozen different categories of parts, each with a huge list of components to buy. Once you factor in the various pieces of armor and camouflage options, the potential for customization is utterly staggering.
It’s no stretch to say that Blacklight: Retribution is the best-looking F2P shooter out there. In fact, it looks better than most AAA releases. Being developed exclusively for the PC means the developers can take advantage of all those wonderful DX11 goodies. We’ll see everything the corporate war of the future will hold when the game releases later this year.