Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Co-Op Night #1

Blacklight: Retribution
Developer: Zombie Studios
Platform: PC

As someone who plays games a lot, I find the experience is enhanced 100-fold when you can play a game with one or more friends (it also helps if the game itself is good). So in these articles I'll be bringing you co-op games that I have enjoyed with my fellow gamers and introducing you to them.

Such a magnificent beast.

Today we'll be looking at Blacklight: Retribution (also known as BLR). A first-person shooter developed by Zombie Studios and recently made it's debut as a free-2-play game on Steam. Expect cash shops and a lot of negative attitudes, but a generally good game with high production values - most of all: fun!

Typical FPS deathmatch maps with the usual game types (team deathmatch, capture the flag, king of the hill, etc) with a few interesting variations such as Domination and NetWar and each game supports up to 16 players fighting it out. I would say there are three main selling points to this game: the customisation system, the HRV and the fact that you can pilot big mech suits.

It's like fuzzy dice, but for your boomstick.

The customisation system allows players to customise their loadouts. From areas such as your: armour, your head, body and leg pieces all contribute to an overall health total and also affects the speed of your avatar; support equipment such as healing items, grenades, repair tools; you are also able to piece together various bits of your weapon to customise it to suit the way you play. 

Want a bolt action rifle with a killer scope so you can play the part of the sniper? Just get the relevant parts - done! You want to get up close and personal and do some serious damage, pick the high damage parts! Or maybe you can't decide? Select from a range of premade weapons to discover the right type for you, then you can get to customising one you actually want.

Only the manliest men pimp their weapons with cute charms.

All items are rented using in-game currency (GP) for 1, 3, 7 days at a time or they can be purchased permanently for a much higher rate. For example, many items can be rented at 200GP a day but if you wish to keep that item then you'll have to pay for something in the region of 9000+GP. Considering you make 150-200GP in an average game it's not too much effort if you're playing a few games at a time. For first timers I recommend renting things for a day at a time and trying everything!

The next aspect that might be of some interest to some people is the HRV. You press V and it activates your visor which allows you to see an x-ray view of the entire map for a limited time of around 5 seconds. This leads to interesting strategies by both sides as they try to out-maneuver each other. Naturally using the visor means that you are temporarily unable to attack so this can lead to some terrible deaths if you're activating your visor in an open space. There's also another element to the HRV that is worth mentioning after the next section...

Those orange guys headed towards that turret - it's gonna be messy.

The final element of the game that I would like to talk about is spending your CP points during a match. As you play, tasks you complete, kills you make, or assists your perform - they all contribute to your CP as well as your overall score. Using the CP you can go to depot stations and buy additional items (these loadouts can be customised too!). The things on offer range from health recovery, ammo, flamethrowers, miniguns, turrets or my favourite THE HARDSUIT.

Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie.

Essentially the Hardsuit is a game changer but by no means overpowered. It has insane firepower in the form of a minigun and railgun, going head-to-head is suicide. It is even equipped with a booster unique for a quick forward movement but with a large cooldown that can be easily exploited. The biggest downside is that it is a massive target and using the previously mentioned HRV, you can scan the suit for a weakpoint. The beauty of this is that the weakpoint allows you to do 10x the usual damage to the hardsuit (beware the weakpoint changes on every hardsuit).

Nothing in this game is sweeter.

As mentioned before, it's not overpowered and can be easily defeated by a group of shrewd ground troops. So a few team mates protecting the suit wouldn't go amiss as you can't utilise the HRV in the suit and have no idea where people are.

Am I a Gundam yet?

Simply put, this game is FREE and a LOT of fun. Especially in a group of friends. Don't believe me? Go download it and try it for yourself. And if you really like it, buy the Steam pack and get a few cheap items for it! Support games you love!

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