Hands-on with PS4′s free-to-play shooter Blacklight: Retribution
Blacklight: Retribution from Zombie Studios has been out for a while on PC, but it has only since been announced as a free-to-play title coming to Sony’s next-gen contender.
While there aren’t many differences in the game’s actual mechanics other than featuring a controller rather than the intuitive control of a mouse and keyboard, calling it a “port” isn’t 100% accurate. The game felt very fluid–half because of the PS4′s excellently crafted controller, but the other half is accounted by the title’s superlative fluid dynamics.
At their E3 booth, Zombie Games had the PlayStation 4 in full view, and players got their hands on the console’s new controller to try out Zombie Studios’ newest adaptation.
The twin analog sticks were impressively designed and were a perfect balance of tough and sensitive, affording for quite surprisingly high control factors. Both movement and aiming were easily and fluidly maintained throughout, and Retribution’s fast-paced combat felt like a sci-fi Counter-Strike.
The PS4 adaptation of Retribution comes with the game’s full array of customizable weaponry and armor, allowing gamers to mix and match a dazzling array of weapons and cosmetic upgrades.
The hands-on demo featured the game in its early alpha stage, but even still it performed quite well, and the controls were adequately placed so that it felt like an authentic shooter rather than a title where half of the fight is battling the controller itself for aiming.
Additionally the demo featured firefights against a team of bots rather than tackling straight-on player-vs-player deathmatch action, but the gameplay was no less challenging. The game’s innovative infrared scanner features a level of dynamic strategy that allows gamers to see where enemies are and plan their next moves accordingly–the only drawback to this extremely advantageous mode is that you can’t shoot during this mode, leaving gamers unprotected.
The loading times also have to be spaced out, as every weapon has its own cooldown reload circle, and of course reloading must be strategic or you’ll risk death. The game makes use of interesting features that add that authentic balance to gameplay, taking away the new age of perks and skills and reclaiming that required skill and strategic prowess that was prominent in early PC shooters.
The PS4 version of Blacklight will be free-to-play, but Zombie Studios will be making up for that with in-game micro-transactions–a trend that has been on the rise in the mobile and free-to-play gaming sectors.
Overall the demo was impressive and had a lasting impression on the player, and was quite addictive regardless of the way the bots are apt punish you for your mistakes. Gameplay is satisfying and rekindles that distinct FPS thrill that isn’t always found in modern shooters and it’s great to see a studio like Zombie Studios master both a console and PC version of their title.
Gameplay is fluid, and the firefights amp gamers with that feeling that anything can happen; you can tear down the whole team of enemies with a single clip, or get overwhelmed and taken out–or maybe even make an impossible sniper shot or grenade throw that nets you a triple kill.