Available now for PC, consoles later in the year.
The future will be a bleak place, based upon the evidence presented by video game developers.
It will be a horrific dystopia, controlled by zaibatsus, sophisticated terrorism, biological and chemical weapons on the open market, warring corporations, and a distinct lack of crumpets. However, what will be bad for our future selves and progeny, enslaved into a neo-industrial Giedi Prime-esque hellscape, makes for compelling and interesting video games for our current selves. Because screw the future, right? It’s not even real.
Deep Black: Reloaded is a decent atmospheric, claustrophobic underwater/cover shooter. The plot is largely irrelevant. You are an ex-espionage-type person who gets called in for one final mission etc. There are various factions that are fighting for supremacy and terrorist groups that are trying to subvert the efforts of the factions to try to get the upper hand and steal new weapons. Yes, they went with that. But who plays video games for the plot?
The main part of the game is where the fun is to be had, and it’s novel – you have a jetpack and you have to get from A to B deep underwater. As you are floating around in the water you get the sense that you really are in a proper 3D environment. You can attack the drones and other bad guys that come at you from any angle using your jetpack to manoeuvre and this is quite innovative. The exploration and puzzle-solving is quite intuitive and boredom rarely sets in. The basic HUD is just what the game needs and a lot of the onscreen action is achieved through visual cues as opposed to text and big warning klaxons. The game did remind me a little bit of Dead Space but this could well have just been the basic type of game and the similar colour palettes. Unfortunately, the parts of the game that take place on solid ground in the various underwater military-type complexes and above water in warehouses are not very polished compared to standard-setting games like Gears of War, Uncharted 2, or even Army of Two.
It is frustrating to see games that don’t take lessons from existing or older games or game franchises. You would have thought that if you were making a cover-based game that you would at least aim to be as good as the best, if not try to improve on it, But I digress. The cover system in Deep Black is a bit messy, you stick where you shouldn’t, and you pop up when you don’t want it to. It’s not that bad, but could be better and it would have elevated this game to the next level. It is a good job that the water-based movement and combat is so good given that the majority of the gameplay is set there although I didn’t like the way that the auto aim/lock didn’t seem to be able to be disabled when swimming. The voice acting and radio noise is at best bland and at worst, quite bad. What is much more appealing though is the grunt of the guns and these really sound good and set the scene for bringing the pain.
Two very surprising and welcome plus points for the game is that it supports Nvidia 3DVision (which is PC exclusive) and it also supports use of the Razer Hydra controller. I am not saying that this game warrants you buying the controller to play it, but if you have one already for other games (and it works with about 150 or so at the moment) then this would a great way to experience this Deep Black: Reloaded.
The multiplayer aspect was also well done although limited to just deathmatch and team deathmatch. The cat and mouse type gameplay in the open water with plenty of cover is quite compelling although I didn’t manage to find many other people to play with (could well have been because I was testing it pre-general release). If a few more modes could be added to the XBox and PS3 versions later in the year (and the PC version patched) then it could be quite exciting to play with a group of friends/non-insane online people.
Overall, this is a very good arcade-type game and it will be interesting to see how competitively priced this will be when it hits the consoles as if it is the right price then this should be a must buy simply for the parts of the game that do well.