Blacksite: Area 51 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Blacksite: Area 51 box art
System: PS3, X360, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Midway 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Midway 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Dec. 10, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-10 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Aside from this aliens-in-our-own-backyard appeal, Blacksite feels pretty average. Not bad, just not remarkable in any way. The shooting feels good-although we would have enjoyed a few more weapons. The simple squad commands work okay, but seem mostly unnecessary and occasionally forced; we would've been okay with opening our own doors and setting our own explosive charges.

Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot

The story offers the usual mix of government conspiracies and human experimentation, and when Blacksite leads you to a military compound or secret government facility to drive this narrative, it ironically feels less interesting than fighting back chemically-engineered super soldiers on Main St. Blacksite also features a morale system that, like the squad commands, doesn't so much interfere with the experience, but never seems to add to it either. Based on how well you're fighting your squad will receive a boost or a hit to their morale; on-screen text prompts when this is happening, but we never noticed a significant difference as far as the tide of battle turning in our favor or not.

Blacksite's audio and visual presentation generally gets the next-gen job done, with the only notable exception being the absence of some ambient sounds; water bursting from pipes and boots trampling over ever-changing terrain are two areas in particular that could've upped the immersion with appropriate audio cues. However, the guns and grenades penetrate the ear with meaty pops and explosions, and the summer-blockbuster-like score will keep you hoofing it to the next check point. The graphics are supported by some nice set pieces; an enormous multi-tentacled alien wrapping his many mits around an interstate bridge is a highlight, as are many other moments where screen-filling foes surprisingly pop out of real-world structures. The levels also get injected with a bit of visual variety via fast-moving vehicle segments where you're patrolling Nevada's highways in a Humvee and taking to the skies, above the red-canyon landscapes, in a military chopper.

Advertisement

Blacksite is a good shooter, but in a season packed with game-of-the-year caliber FPS offerings, "good" might not be enough to get it noticed; seems Midway would've done themselves a financial favor by releasing this during mid-winter when we're starving for quality titles. If you're looking for a ground-breaking experience or a robust selection of multiplayer modes- Blacksite's don't offer much more than a weekend distraction--this isn't it. However, if you find the idea of fighting aliens in your own backyard appealing, you won't do better than Blacksite's relatable, the-truth-is-out-there experience. Master Chief might be a universe-saving hero with a beam-of-blue-light hottie for a sidekick, but has he ever felt the satisfaction of turning a trailer park into a mass of alien-ooze-splattered twisted metal?

By Matt Cabral
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • A living, breathing squad--your elite Special Forces squad, assembled from the finest soldiers in today's military, responds to your orders and your leadership in the most realistic in-game visuals imaginable.
  • Online multiplayer modes--players will have a wide variety of traditional online modes, such as Death- Match, Team-Death-Match, and Capture-the-Flag.
  • Drive, shoot, and ride--drive the latest military HMMWVs, ATVs, and commandeer civilian vehicles, or take a seat in the gunner's position in daring, low-level helicopter raids against enemy positions.
  • Realistic, fully interactive environments--in the ultimate mission-based, player-driven FPS game, take your Squad down any one of multiple paths to solve problems and defeat enemies.
  • Unique one-button squad command--as Squad Leader, you have the power, the authority, and the duty to command your troops to perform a variety of complex actions, including planting C-4, sniping an enemy in the guard tower, or taking control of various vehicles.


    RATING OUT OF 5
    RATING DESCRIPTION
    4.5
    Graphics
    Real-world locales--gas stations, convenience stores, strip malls--look great.
    3.5
    Control
    Good, but squad and morale system feels unnecessary.
    3.5
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Nice, despite some ambient sounds missing.
    4.0
    Play Value
    Its present-day settings and backdrops are a lot of fun to play-through. Multi-player adds minimal replay.
    4.0
    Overall Rating - Great
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
    Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge Blacksite: Area 51 screenshot - click to enlarge

    X
    "Like" CheatCC on Facebook