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Blacklight: Retribution (PS4) – E3 Preview

June 17, 2013 Written by Dan Oravasaari

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Blacklight: Retribution is a first-person free-to-play shooter, developed by Zombie Studios, set to release on the PS4 this year. Being the sequel to the average-reviewed downloadable PS3 title, Blacklight: Tango Down, this iteration will have to prove that it not only improves upon the original formula, but will also have to fight against a number of other games looking push similar business models.

Plaything a few matches with a DualShock 4 at E3 2013, it was easy to see that Blacklight: Retribution is not going to be representative of its asking price, as it controlled like a regularly priced FPS and not something that needs to be given away for free. Working much like any atypical shooter, customization and weapon loadouts are the defining aspects that drive this multiplayer only title. While the show floor was only demonstrating Team Deathmatch against a group of bots, other modes like Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Domination, King of The Hill, Kill Confirmed, Onslaught and Siege mode are available on the PC version and should be making their way to the console adaptation upon release.

Keeping a few similar aspects of the original Blacklight, the Hyper Reality Visor or HRV has made its way into the latest iteration and continues to add a new level to players’ ability to survey the battlefield. By simply clicking a button, the in-game display converts to a white layover that displays all enemies and potential threats, but prevents the user from being able to do anything more than move around. This tool did add a bit of depth to the game and allowed anyone unfamiliar with the level (me) to quickly get a grasp on the environment and where to lookout for opponents.

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Being a free-to-play title, premium content will have to be at the forefront of the title so that the developers can recoup costs and eventually turn a profit. With the PC version, Perfect World is publishing the title, but on the PS4, Zombie Studios is taking advantage of Sony’s allowance to let developers self-publish. So, instead of following the same monetization method as Perfect World, Zombie Studios has said that they are going to use this partnership with Sony to handle things a bit differently.

While details are still scarce as to how exactly things will be handled differently, some content has been confirmed to be available on the PSN store, and premium gear like helmets will continue to be available for purchase. As with the PC version, if you want to just use in-game currency (GP), you are still able to purchase some the same material without having to spend real money – although, some content has been said to only be available through real world transactions.

With the numerous F2P games hitting the PS4 on or near launch, it could be hard to find the time to time to try all of them, but if you are a fan of FPS games and want to try a game that could turn out to be a solid shooter, Blacklight: Retribution seems like it is heading in the right direction – so give it a shot.

Also, check out our interview with Zombie Studios.