BlackSite: A Quick Draw

Friday, February 1, 2008

The developers of the first-person shooter game BlackSite: Area 51 could have used more time to improve its bare-bones online multiplayer gameplay.

This latest saga in the Area 51 franchise offers a single-player story line that weaves Iraq and weapons of mass destruction with aliens and a government UFO conspiracy. The game plays out like a Hollywood action movie with plenty of aliens, lots of explosions and, of course, a full arsenal of weapons. Gameplay mixes things up with simplified on-foot, squad-based combat and vehicle-based shooting.

BlackSite was clearly designed for the mass market, which means anyone can jump on a Hummer and eliminate enemies or pick up an assault rifle and strafe away. The campaign is fun to play through in about eight hours. The game has glitches, including places where vehicles will inexplicably rise into the air and lame artificial intelligence that makes it easier to pull the trigger yourself rather than ordering others to do it.

The visuals are decent but appear much better on Xbox 360 and computers than on PlayStation 3. Online gameplay is limited to 10 players and a handful of options, including death match, team death match, capture the flag and abduction.

Like a summer Hollywood blockbuster, this game is fun to enjoy once and then forget.

-- John Gaudiosi

BlackSite: Area 51 Teen; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 ($60); PC ($50) Midway BlackSite: Area 51 Teen; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 ($60); PC ($50) Midway

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