When you look at the free-to-play games market, some genres are already looking saturated. The Chinese-themed strategy games, for instance, are more than you really needed and a lot of them are just identical, with a few cosmetic changes. The free FPS genre is also starting to see too many games for its own good, but there’s always room for one more MMO, as long as it’s a good game.
And Project Blackout is a good game. Although far from revolutionary and without anything that makes it stand out from other games, it’s a competently made free MMO and well worth a look for players searching for a new fast-paced shooter. It’s comparable to games such as Counter-Strike, Combat Arms or Cross Fire, but still a valid alternative.
There’s a story to place two teams shooting at each other, but as usual it’s not particularly deep or interesting, so we’ll skip that part. Let’s just say that rival corporations are fighting for supremacy in the streets.
This is a game so easy to play that it’s completely understandable that there’s no such thing as a tutorial. Just choose a game mode and step immediately into the action, although it is recommended to enter the missions against bots, to do a little training. In this mode, the difficulty gets higher the more kills you get, so it’s a nice challenge to hone your skills.
Project Blackout doesn’t require a powerful PC to run, so if your machine is feeling comfortable remember to push the resolution to the max and activate the anti-aliasing. This way you get a good looking game without much of a compromise for speed and playability. Project Blackout is as fast-paced as they come, a shooter with a great feel to it, and the weapons are handled in a way that just feels fun to use, without the usual hassle of exaggerated recoil and all over the place aiming. Level design fluctuates between okay and awesome, but the environment could use a little more destructibility. Also, the number of maps is somewhat scarce and leaves us wanting for more. The Mortal Kombat-style commentator, with his deep and persuasive voice, adds a nice touch to the matches.
The five game modes are pretty familiar to players used to this genre. Besides the missions against bots, we also have Deathmatch (actually Team Deathmatch), Search & Destroy, Sabotage and Demolition. Nothing particularly new here.
There are some features to keep us playing the same modes over and over again, namely the mission cards. By accomplishing some specific missions (a required number of headshots or kills with a particular weapon in a single game) the player unlocks credits and experience points. These can be used to buy new items and even new characters – at the beginning, there are only a couple of male soldiers, and the first female fighter needs to be “bought”. This is a nice incentive to work your skills and evolve your character. Also, you can unlock different titles according to your performance.
Project Blackout enters a competitive market and scores some points. Not in the originality department but more on the gameplay side, being a fast and fun FPS that can be played for a few minutes a day or several hours in a row and still remain fresh. To be the best of the best, however, it would need more game modes and a few more maps.
by Vítor Braz