Though the era of 256-bit system is long gone, it doesn’t stop us from revisiting some of our favorite games. We are going back into the late 2000’s and we are picking BlackSite: Area 51 as our choice for spotlight of the week. Midway, the company famous for the success of the Mortal Kombat franchise, Blitz the League and Stranglehold is behind this military sci-fi shooter known as BlackSite: Area 51. We had the chance to storm through the game’s content, and are impressed with a number of features being offered. Though the game is nowhere near as technical as Gears of War or Call of Duty 4, Midway has found strength in its use of the “Unreal” engine, giving the game a clean visual presentation and a solid squad-based experience. What’s nice about BlackSite: Area 51 is that the gameplay is remarkably easy to pick up. Most of your actions such as picking up items are triggered by the RB button. Midway has the knack for developing games that revolves around arcadish gameplay, a trademark which had attracted thousands of casual gamers out there.
“BlackSite may not be as technical as Call of Duty or Gears of War, but it is still a remarkably fun shooter.”
The emphasis is on casual gamers because hardcore shooters may not find this game very challenging. Most of us here in hotwire3d.com are hardcore players, but sometimes we just want something straightforward like Midway’s BlackSite: Area 51. The story starts with you as Aeran Pierce, who is part of a special force that carries out the most dangerous work for the military. As usual, the government didn’t disclose classified information as to what you’d be facing in the frontlines. During a mission to Iraq, you lose one of your men upon discovering alien fragments within the vicinity. With all the commotion, you blacked out. The story picks up again three years later. You have been given an assignment similar to the one you had in Iraq. This time you’ll be battling against different species of aliens and it all takes place in Nevada where the infamous Area 51 is located. The single-player campaigns are pretty entertaining but it would have been better if we had access to cooperative play. Needless to say, we manage to forgive the missing tag team option as we were enjoying ourselves blasting away hordes of ugly mutants, weird sludgy crawlers, gigantic bugs, and many more. One of the nice features of the game is the inclusion of the morale system.
If you perform well as individual, you’ll boost the crew’s morale, and they will be more effective and aggressive in their fight. But the opposite is true; when you starts to slump in your performance, it’s hard to get the crew to follow orders. Not to worry though. The AI intelligence is forgivable so if you start to slump, you can still complete the mission. Graphically, BlackSite: Area 51 is impressive. The designs on aliens are surprisingly creepy and the game puts weather and lighting effects to good use that create an intimidating illusion. One of the higher points of the visual presentation is how it denotes a shocking moment. Monsters pour out of hiding and enemies are springing out from corners that give you little time to react. It’s nice to see that certain environment is destructible. You need to be careful though because the boxes you are taking cover from can bust out as enemies shoot at you across the distance. In the audio department, the game does a good job producing realistic sound effects. The sounds of shotguns, rifles, and other armaments are faithfully translated.
“The action is non-stop with lots of freedom to execute different types of offensive and defensive strategies!”
The ambiance for background has some bone-chilling effects to it. The musical score is okay for the most part but some of the dialogues can be cheesy. Overall, BlackSite: Area 51 is a solid arcade shooter for casual gamers who are looking into a straightforward FPS. The gameplay is simple to pick up and the action is non-stop. The graphics are excellent and very clean throughout, allowing you to see clearly what you’re shooting at. Thanks to the all-in-one action button, you have more freedom to execute other offensive and defensive strategies. Squad tactics are literally at your fingertips! The biggest downside of the game is that it is missing a cooperative mode but that’s forgivable since the single-player campaign gives you plenty of exhilarating moments. Besides, if you get tired of the single-player experience, you can at least jump online for a game of deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, or abduction. Nine of your friends can participate in each of the online mode. Suffice it to say, BlackSite is a fun game but it’s not recommended for hardcore shooting fans. If you’re a casual gamer looking into FPS, this one is for you.