Blacklight: Retribution Review

Platform: PC, PS4
Developer: Hardsuit Labs
Genre:  Free-to-Play Online Multiplayer First Person Shooter
Release: 2012

It’s kind of odd that while in a dance bar, I met with an old schoolmate who was then the event photographer and our talk suddenly took a turn to computer games. Perfect topic to go with some EDM music, right? Anyway, we talked about Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Heroes of Newearth, blah, blah, blah…then he mentioned an interesting shooter named Blacklight: Retribution.

Another online first person shooter? Or so I thought. Until he explained the unique game mechanics that would make it kick-ass: one is the HRV feature, where each player has the ability to toggle his Hyper Reality Visor and see through walls, making EVERYONE on the map visible, even through multiple layers of concrete. Two, is that everyone can buy mechs called Hardsuits and wreak havoc on the battlefield.

Even though I consider myself a conservative gamer (I’m really picky with my games nowadays since I’ve got lesser play time), BLR still caught my attention since the game concept seemed too interesting. And what’s more, it’s free! Watch this awesome launch trailer:

Here’s the initial login interface.

BLR is a FREE multiplayer online first-person shooter (FPS like Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc.) developed by Zombie Studios and published by Perfect World Entertainment, utilizing Epic Games’s Unreal Engine 3. You can download the PC game at their website here, or just download it on PSN if you’re on PS4. The installer spans up to around 6GB so unless you don’t have an uber-high speed internet connection, better leave your machine doing the dirty work while you eat, sleep, or whatever.

Upon installation, you will have to make your own free account at Perfect World, as well as in BLR. You’ll be given your Agent (male or female) and that will be your avatar from now on which you’ll get to level up, upgrade and customize. What’s the catch for it being free? They have their ways- you can buy custom skins for your agent, certain limited items, experience boosters and other whatnots. It affects the game balance a bit but personally, it didn’t much affect my entire gaming experience. I still was able to wreak a killing spree on those pay-to-win people.

Here’s a sample of the HRV in action:

How does the HRV change the game? First of all, you can only use it at a very short amount of time, and must be fully refilled before you can use it again. Also, while on HRV mode, you cannot do anything but walk around- making you completely vulnerable should any enemy nearby see you. You’re gonna have to strategize when or when you’ll use your HRV, as well as plan out a carefully devised attack to your enemies after seeing them. But like how you can see them, they can see you too. So how will you go about that?

On my first games in BLR, I can’t help but feel completely naked while in the battlefield, ’cause it’s making me paranoid that everyone can see me, and that they can jump me anytime. But the fact that I can see them too levels the playing field.

And after seeing the screencaps, you can see that the graphics are good, but definitely not the best. Well, we can’t have an online FPS get too heavy with cutting edge GFX.

Next unique feature would be the Hardsuits, which you’ll get to buy on your base’s Weapon Depots. You get to ride them, and be almost completely invulnerable! But of course, there’s a weapon for regular agents to carry that’s pretty harmful to the suits: the Flamethrower. The concept here is that you heat up the mech so much that the pilot/rider would get out of it.

With regards to game modes, there are plenty to choose from: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Domination, Capture the Flag, etc. Paired with it being online, replayability pretty much secured.

While leveling up, you also get to customize not just your Agents, but your weapons as well- everything from the muzzle to the stock is modifiable! To acquire gun parts, GP or ZEN can be spent to unlock them for varying durations, including permanently. So you can either buy them, or play your way to get them. You decide.

RATING: 7/10

Story
Gameplay
Visuals
Audio

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