Zombie Studio’s made big claims when they first revealed Blacklight: Tango Down way back when. They promised to give gamers many of the features they would expect to find in a full $60 retail first person shooter, but in a small $15 downloadable package. Now the game has finally hit the Xbox Live Marketplace. Have the team at Zombie Studio’s managed to create something that would rival today’s heavyweight first person shooters? Well that’s what we are here to find out.
Let me start by saying, Blacklight: Tango Down should be regarded as a multiplayer only game, it does have a co-op mode that allows you to play single player, but with only four maps, I’m pretty sure you will grow tired of that in a matter of hours. Multiplayer, however should last you a long time. The game comes with seven multiplayer modes, 12 maps and a Call of Duty style leveling system that gives you access to a wide variety of weapon upgrades and perks.
My first experience of multiplayer was to be honest, terrible. I don’t know if it was because the game had just came out or no one bought it. I found it difficult to get into any type of multiplayer game. I had a few instances of the matchmaking server saying “Search Succeeded” then nothing happening, I also had some of the longest searches I have ever experienced in my gaming life. When I finally did get into a game it only contained the bare minimum amout of players, which is six if you wanted to know.
However, after I checked all my connections, I did get the chance to play a few rounds of Team Deathmatch. I found the gameplay to be very Call of Duty esque. The aiming and hip firing is what you would expect a first person shooter to feel like. The walking and running movements on the other hand seemed to be a little too fast for my liking. If I was to compare the movement to another game I would have to say it felt like I was playing an old Unreal Tournament or maybe even the first Doom.
How you gain XP is also as you would expect. You gain XP for kills, assists and completing in-game challenges, but instead of unlocking new guns as you progress through the ranks you unlock weapon parts. These weapon parts range from things like stocks, barrels, scopes, mags and camouflage. You can even unlock these weird little emblems which you can hang from you gun. These “Emblems” work in a similar way to the perks system found in most games these days. You unlock one, add it to your gun and boom you have a slight boost in damage, speed or armour.
If you grow tired of playing competitive multiplayer you can jump into the co-op mode. This mode allows you and three buddies to take on various mission on four co-op maps. These missions are your typical go to a waypoint, hit a switch and move on to the next waypoint type affairs. The mode felt tacked on to me, there is no real incentive to play other than to have some fun with you buddies or to practice your aiming. You do earn XP playing co-op, but its not a huge amount and you can earn way more, in less time by simply playing either deathmatch or team deathmatch.
The co-op mode also has one huge problem, Can you guess what it is?…., Anyone?. No, well let me tell you. Blacklight: Tango Down’s co-op mode has no matchmaking. Yes that’s right, you either have to get three of your gaming buddies to cough up $15 and join the match with you or you have to resort to sending out random invites to people on your friends list and hope someone who bought the game decides to join your lobby.
Overall Blacklight: Tango Down is a pretty average game, the visuals are what you would expect an arcade game to look like, that pretty dated by today’s standards. The matchmaking also need work and the lack of matchmaking in co-op is a real letdown. My only plus point would be the weapon customisation. I found it to be a rather nice twist on the usual, level up and get a new gun dynamic. I just wished I could stand to play the game long enough to get those higher level unlocks, but at this current moment I can’t.