We all love games with epic stories, lovable characters dramatic set pieces, but every now and again, who doesn’t want to just sit back and play a simple FPS multiplayer game with friends? Sure, we have tons such as Battlefield and Call Of Duty, but what if we want something a little simpler? This is where Blacklight Retribution comes in, and it’s FREE. Whose ears don’t prick up at the sound of that?
Blacklight Retribution is a free-to-play FPS multiplayer game, where two teams fight in various modes across different sized maps. And…that’s all there is to it. No story, no overarching narrative; pure multiplayer madness. Don’t let that scare you away though, because it’s incredibly fun.
The game is very simple in its core mechanics, a far cry from the current style of FPS multiplayer games. The game itself feels like the classic arcade-style multiplayer games. The movement feels quick and fluid, and the weapons feel strong and fun to shoot. Matches often comprise of fast-paced shooting, as other players run around the map and duck between buildings. Camping (at least in my experience) is non-existent here, and it feels like a fairly tense but always enjoyable fight. Such movement harks back to the days of Team Fortress 2, Resistance 3 and others, which is always welcome.
The character has simple but effective equipment too; a grenade, a knife, and a heat scanner. This allows the players to see where other players are through walls, ensuring no-one ends up going the wrong way. However, due to the fact this can be exploited, once you enter this mode, you cannot shoot until you come out of it. This prevents it from being abused, and means it is a tool for finding enemies and detecting ambushes, at the momentary expense of using your weapons.
The game has customisable classes that are unlocked as you level up. Each allows you to customise your weapons, armour and gear; weapons can have various mods added, and can change the dynamic of the game. I added an ACOG scope to my Bolt-Action Rifle, going from medium ranged combat to mad dashing around and picking off enemies at a distance.
The issue with this, however, is that dreaded word all gamers fear; microtransactions. Before we all get our pitchforks and torches, however, know that it is almost COMPLETELY unnecessary to purchase them. Most guns, armour and gear need to be purchased, but this can be done via earning currency by completing matches, and weapons can even be rented for a day for a very cheap price, so you can decide whether it’s worth a full purchase. We all hate microtransactions, but because the game is free, the currency can easily be earnt by PLAYING THE GAME, and weapons can even be unlocked, then no real money needs to be spent unless YOU want to. It isn’t forced, or completely pay-to-win, and considering the game is free, it can be forgiven for this.
Killstreaks are out, and in their place are Depots positioned around the map. These offer various bonuses, be it a health or ammo refill, flamethrowers or rocket launchers, or even a mech suit (named a Hardsuit). They’re earnt through Credit Points, which are similar to killstreak points, but don’t disappear when you die, and remain with you for the rest of the match. These can change the tide of battle, with the Hardsuit being an amazing power-up (though it can be defeated with a flamethrower or rocket launcher), and benefit those who are new to FPS’ too.
Alongside the public matches, the game also has private matches, which can be done with friends or even bots. What’s interesting (and perhaps terrifying), is that the bots aren’t simple meatbags used for score boosting like in other games; they’re competent, they’re intelligent, and they’re skilled. They play like real players, running round and overpowering you with their guns or even grenades. Get into a Hardsuit, however, and they’ll home in on you, and try to burn you out. This results in them standing directly in front of you, which does give you easy kills. This adds a comedic part to the game, as the bots become Olympic runners in their pursuit of you.
This also suffers issues though, and it does need fixing. If you’re in a PSN party of 5 or more, regardless of how many are ACTUALLY playing the game, it prevents you from joining public matches. This could be because it prevents friends from taking up lobbies all to themselves, in which case it’s understandable. But it needs to be changed so it can see how many players in the party are actually ON Blacklight. However, with the bots in private matches, it’s at least still playable.
Despite the few issues, Blacklight Retribution is a lot of fun and a blast to play with friends. The game feels arcadey, simple and easy to jump into, and due to it being free-to-play, it’s definitely worth picking up.