Electronic Arts – Black review

action, action and more action
Photo of Electronic Arts – Black

You’d be hard pushed to find a first-person shooter that takes quite the same delight in wanton destruction that Black does. Within ten minutes of its company, you’ll have seen environments shot to shreds around you, intense gun battles, heard an opera of explosion and just about had time to catch your breath. It’s therefore no surprise to learn that it’s from the same development company that created the Burnout franchise.

It’s not just carnage that Burnout and Black have in common, though. Both are highly accessible games that look terrific, and both give you the simple tools to go off and do an awful lot of damage. The two do deviate, however, not just because they exist in separate genres. No, the main difference is that you’ll get far longer term appeal out of something like Burnout 3 than you will, unfortunately, with Black.

But it’s great fun while it lasts. There’s a plot, of course, with some rubbish about working on unsanctioned military operations where you have evolving missions to complete by any means you like. We say any means, but as you may have guessed, Black is absolutely not the kind of title that champions stealth, crouching round corners or sneaky tactics. It makes no bones about admiring the gamer who blasts their way through a tricky situation, and it’s far more inclined to reward them. And that, you’ll probably not be surprised to hear, is where Black gets things right, and conversely, where it also lets itself down.

There’s little denying that it offers outstanding entertainment, particularly in the first few hours. The controls are simple (although, as with most console first-person shooters, there are moments when the precision of a keyboard and mouse wouldn’t hurt), and the pace is relentless. On your side is a broad arsenal of weaponry, of which you can carry a couple of guns at a time, and tactics often play second fiddle to all-out action.

This, however, narrows the focus of the game a little too far at times, and while Black is undeniably chock-full of adrenaline-pumped moments that would shame half the output of Hollywood, there’s not an awful lot of glue to hold it together. Given the fact that you’ll get to the end comparably quickly, plus the lack of any multiplayer options, there’s not too much in the long term to keep you interested.

But where that would be the death knell for some games, Black carries on regardless, oblivious to the fact that it’s providing short, intense bursts of entertainment that have few rivals on any format.

Company: Electronic Arts

If you can forgive the fact that a month ahead you'll be through with it, then Black could be the most fun you've had with a PS2 or Xbox all year.