Blacksite: Area 51 Reviews



Day of the Tentacle.

Maybe it's just creative fatigue. Maybe it's just an attempt to go with what sells. Maybe it's just another US government conspiracy to train us to be elite super soldiers against an impending alien invasion. Maybe aliens have already landed and have sucked out the creativity of modern game developers. Whatever it is, the absolute deluge of shooters appearing these days can't be a good thing. Not for the reviewers such as I playing their 15th inside of four months. Not for Joe Public stuck wondering which ones to buy, and certainly not for the publishers who end up releasing less-than-brilliant offerings that are pushed to one side as the genre juggernauts roll over everything else.

Blacksite is, like it or not, just another shooter. It's not a turkey, but nor is it even close to providing the kind of thrills that its heavyweight contemporaries have managed so forcefully during the latter part of this incredible year for games. Quite simply, what probably looked like an exciting, cinematic prospect in the early part of development now finds itself completely out of its depth, unable to bring anything new to the table both in terms of gameplay, nor technically - where it arguably struggles most. It is, also, criminally short, with its six episodes all clocking in at well under an hour each. It you stuck on Blacksite after dinner, chances are you'd finish it before bedtime, with ample time for a toilet break, a quick check of the footy scores and a drink break between episodes.

Undoubtedly designed primarily to appeal to a US audience, Blacksite is nevertheless a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, and the climate of military dissatisfaction of recent years. But enough about politics. The game kicks off with a fairly humdrum episode set in Iraq, where you, Aeran Pierce, lead a band of generic military beefcakes on a forgettable mission that culminates with the discovery of some kind of alien infestation. A few years later, it transpires that this same threat has found its way to Nevada, and you find yourself seeking out the source of the disturbances, set against a backdrop of moral dilemmas and often baffling military orders.

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