Blacksite Area 51 PC Review - -

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 7.5
Sound 7.5
Value 7.5
Developer: Midway
Review Date:
February 2008
Edwin Millheim
Classification: PG


Blacksite Area 51

Game reviewed on an Alienware system

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A game that tries to be a tactical shooter, it just can't hide its true roots as an arcade game. If you don't take the game too seriously like say a full blown awesome sci fi shooter, you will be blissfully oblivious and may actually have some fun with this game. In the end that's what it's all about right? The fun factor? So while Shael and I did not think much of the game for our tastes.  We can say that it may be a fun game depending on what platform you get it on. For instance even on the Alien ware system, and even after the games own patch, there where just too many graphical stutters and those darned awful invisible walls mid game to make this a top notch shooter. More like a casual shooter masquerading as a tactical shooter game.

While it does get some points for some of the story, it's more than a bit crippled with the dumber than dirt redundance. Wave on wave of enemy is coming at you, one of your guys yells at you to carry out a task. Cool, so what do you get to do? Order the guy that just told you to take on the task, and they in turn do the deed. Ok. Duh. Too many redundant things are spouted by your fellow soldiers; in retrospect one can say it's actually an ingenious way to include a non pop up, non intrusive hint guide in the middle of the game. Yea, that's what they intended to do!  That makes more sense. Koff.

So ok, that's out of the way. Are you happy Shael? She nods and smiles. So how many other female Impulse Gamers are out there that love their shooters have some semblance of a good story at least? Shael and I both agree while not cutting edge, Blacksite: Area 51 does deliver some at times satisfying game play.

So here we are at Blacksite: Area 51. The Government is out right desperate to keep such horrible secrets from the world. Oh say it isn't so. NO, not a Government! So there are secrets about Alien's and all kinds of nasty things going on. Now they are over running a small town and if not contained, who knows what may happen?

That's where the Special Forces team comes in. It all depends on the player character Aeran Pierce. If nothing else there is some semblance of back story history, even if it's not overly clear. Some time ago the lead character goes on a failed mission, and blacks out in the middle of an alien attack. Jump ahead to this new mission and it's some of the same alien creeps. Hmmm can this be all tied together?

Leading a squad of soldiers, each with his/her own specialty skills aids the player along in some tight situations.

The heavier action takes place in Rachel, Nevada, explosions and gun fire look pretty darn good, lighting and effects all make for some pretty good eye candy. The world is interactive too, so this lends itself well for those cool graphics and lighting effects when you get to blow crap up. Taking cover does not always give you unlimited cover from enemy fire. The cover your behind can be blasted away bit by bit from the enemy. This is a nice touch that some other games have done as well, and the designers here pull it off pretty well.

Add in some not too bad voice acting and sound and music and the game really starts to pull you in here and there. Playing through some of the missions though I guess I just wanted there to be more. I felt the game itself could be more, while not being a bad game; the conspiracy style atmosphere is well done. Unfortunately Blacksite: Area 51 does not rise too much further than a mediocre game.

Online Multiplayer Modes are not very inspiring at all with some of the same old same old. Would have liked to see something different here, you can't really fault the designers too much. What other types of multiplayer could there be? Perhaps an out and out survival mode, get from point A to point B?

There are some things that make the game easy to pick up and play, such as the one button commands to your troopers. In the heat of battle I found myself accidentally hitting the wrong buttons, but that's just my gaming style, or lack of it some may say.  That being said, I could have done with some better high adventure moments when some of the beasties showed themselves, a little drama goes along way, just not here. When something new reared its head and or tentacles I just could not help but feel like I was just in an arcade popping quarters to get to the next level.

Though I do have some issues with the game having the term tactical or tactics associated with it, because issuing orders to troops does not a tactical game make.

The game does make you work pretty hard to finish, enemy AI seems fairly aggressive and they all have one goal to pretty much finish you and your team off.

Even with the patch the game struggles, the controls are pretty poor, some graphic stutters and game freezes bring this invasion to a halt. As noted earlier on the game has its moments, it's as if its trying to break out of the designed rut it's in and then comes crashing down. I can only hope that some of the other versions yield a better experience for players. You can root around and find a PC demo someplace online and if you want, you can even find the Xbox 360 version of the demo on Xbox live. Try before you buy folks. If you walk in not expecting much, you may actually not feel the stinging pain of oh crap did I purchase the wrong thing? If you go into this expecting a stellar game you may be disappointed.  Take it for what it is, a casual romp with some action moments that may just keep your interest long enough for you to actually finish the game.

Have fun, play games

Edwin Millheim



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