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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Mar 5, 2012

Review – Deep Black: Reloaded (PC)

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Product Information

MSRP: $29.99

Developer: Desura

Publisher: Biart

Platforms: PC

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Genre: Third-Person Shooter

Every once in a while a game will release that not many have paid attention to, that’s somehow slipped under the radar. Deep Black: Reloaded is one of those games, but once you play it you’ll have some questions that get you asking how it was stealthy at all. It’s a game that immerses players in a different type of action combat, pitting them in underwater situations and warzones. Coming to us from Desura, Deep Black: Reloaded has some surprises that make it interesting, and worth a play through. With that said, let’s get into what the game’s all about.

Story and Presentation

In Deep Black: Reloaded you are in control of Syrus Pierce who is an ex-mercenary that’s been called back to duty. The game is set in 2047 when terrorism and corporate espionage has taken a hold on the world at large. Your commanding officer, General Jack Sterling, has pulled you from the shadows and sent you back into the action for one last effort to bring justice to the wicked.

Well, for storyline that’s about it. There’s some talk of bio-terrorism, but not enough to pick up on a central plot point. When playing the game there are constant questions that arise, making you wonder if there’s a storyline at all. Out of the gate the game is hard to follow to say the least. Once it gets going, however, it becomes bearable. Through the opening cinematic we don’t learn much, and the main character speaks like a robot in command of the overlords supreme while acting out his mission. When it comes down to it, the story in Deep Black: Reloaded is severely lacking. I’ve devoted hours to the game and I still have very little grasp on what’s happening. I’ve been able to gather that the terrorists have some experimental weapons equipment, and Pierce needs to make sure all the bad guys are dealt with while extracting as much data as possible. Well, that’s about it for that.

When it comes to visualization, however, the game does a better-than-average job. When first looking at the game it may come off as another generic third-person shooter, but diving in it’s more than that. The rendered environments don’t look half bad, and you’ll be spending most of your time in underwater bases that have you going for a swim here and there. The scenery reminds me of that in Metal Gear Solid, as it’s mostly operations compounds and bunkers. There are underwater caves that look expansive, and your eyes want to wander. Character models aren’t the best, but they’re far from the worst. Each enemy has their own detail, wearing different types of body armor and wielding different weapons. Underwater movement is polished, and each of the details are painted out. The bubbles, lighting on the walls, and movement trail are all given a certain attention. Blood spatter on the screen is flush when taking damage, and scene transition is solid. Deep Black: Reloaded just looks really good the more you get into it. For one of those “under the radar” games it doesn’t give that impression when looking at how it’s presented.

Gameplay and Combat

When I describe Deep Black: Reloaded I think of a game called Winback. I remember playing it on the N64, and while it isn’t anything like this game in looks it performs much the same way. This title is a third-person cover shooter that mimics gameplay of console titles like the mentioned Winback. You’ll survey areas, move around obstacles, and take out bad guys using a variety of weapons. You’ll take cover behind crates, barriers, and walls, using patience and tactics to your advantage. While on land, the game is pretty straightforward. It’s when you head into the depths that it gets interesting.

You see, Pierce is equipped with a suit that allows him full movement underwater. On the suit is a jetpack that lets him dodge obstacles and move through areas at a lightning speed. With this full movement, it adds a brand new dimension to combat and overall gameplay. You’ll also use your built-in harpoon to assassinate enemies who lurk too close to the water’s edge as well as hack into terminals and drones to advance through areas. A large part of the game lies under the waves, so having these mechanics is important. They make the game interesting and keep players involved while providing a new experience. You can swim circles around enemies, gain cover advantages, and sneak up on unsuspecting targets. Also, all of your weapons work underwater, so you don’t have to resort to some crappy one-shot gun like in other games.

Now we look at combat. Combat is really a straight line in Deep Black: Reloaded, and if you’re familiar with any other third-person shooter you’ll be right at home with this one. You’ll use a variety of weapons, such as an assault rifle, pistol, shotgun, and EMP grenades to name a few. Using tactical advantages and cover, you can enter an area with enemies, dart in and out of cover, and drop targets one after another. Reload, grab any fallen weapons for ammo, and move forward. On the surface it would seem repetitive, but I found myself enjoying it time and time again. The only issues with these situations are that the controls for the game are somewhat stiff, and ended up forcing me to see many death screens. The cover, while it’s a huge part of the game, is sometimes unreliable and enemies can still peg you with a few shots. Also, if you get cornered or double-teamed by enemies, you might as well count yourself out. The enemies will melee you, and in order to counter these attacks you need to hit a button at a certain time. Going back to sticky controls, this often times didn’t work and I would get pummeled to death. The game isn’t very forgiving, and you have to get each situation right or you’ll repeat it over and over. This becomes severely frustrating and made me quit more than a few times.

The reward for giving it another go, however, was sweet. The enemies’ death screams were hilarious and added to the horrible voice-acting in the game. Characters weren’t really deep at all and they came off as drones.

The game also plays host to some bugs that, while minor, can frustrate you to the point of hitting that rage quit button. I several times was stuck on stairs, wasn’t able to benefit from an object as cover though I should, and the game would minimize on me for no reason when I was in a room full of enemies which always meant death for me. These bugs aren’t game-breaking, and a patch has since come for the game that could have them all fixed.

Conclusion

All-in-all Deep Black: Reloaded was a fun game. Though it aggravated me at times, all games have that potential, and I still found it fun. It’s a great game to jump into and mess around for a while when you want to kill some time. It adds to the third-person shooter genre by taking players underwater and invites them to leave their comfort zones. With a botched storyline and horrible voice-acting, though, you won’t be getting attached to the game in a quickened amount of time. For $29.99 it’s a bit pricy for an arcade game, and it doesn’t boast enough content to be a real full game. Still, if you want to get into a new type of shooter that does provide hours of fun, Deep Black: Reloaded isn’t your worst choice.

The Good

  • fun gameplay
  • underwater areas make the game interesting
  • straightforward pacing and interactive gameplay
  • hours of play

The Bad

  • botched storyline is hard to follow
  • voice-acting is horrid
  • bugs make the game frustrating and hard to play at times
  • controls are stiff and unreliable at times

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