Blacklight Retribution Hands-On Preview

Blacklight Retribution was the first game I played on the PlayStation 4. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous. Not because I hadn’t played a shooter in a few months. Not because I was about to play the PS4 finally.

Not because I was about to do both of those things in front of judging onlookers and cameras. But because the Dualshock 3 on the PS3 sucked. At least for first-person shooters.

A few rounds of team death match against a group of bots on Blacklight Retribution and I can happily say that the PS4 might turn out to be the system for first-person shooters. If Sony can get its network up to par with Xbox Live, that is.

Blacklight Retribution takes the redesigned PS4 controller into account, utilizing its trigger buttons for shooting instead of the R1 button the PS3 controller used.

Moving around Blacklight Retribution in its fast-paced, no-clip frame rate felt natural, no doubt in part to the redesigned analog sticks offering optimal precision. I got more than a few headshots and even managed to sneak in a double-kill without so much as trying.

The booth attendant told me they made sure to take advantage of the PS4 controller’s revamped trigger design. While it might throw off people used to playing FPS’s on the PS3 scheme, it’s definitely a better fit.

As for Blacklight Retribution itself, it’s is the sequel to the PS3 downloadable, Blacklight: Tango Down, developed by Zombie Studios and set to release along with the PlayStation 4 later this year.

If no one told me, it was free-to-play, I would’ve never guessed it from the quality game I was playing. It doesn’t exactly scream next-generation, but what more can you expect from a free-to-play game? It’s a miracle it looks as good as it does. Compared to current-gen, it’s incredibly smooth and fast-paced, allowing for some intense firefights only helped by the improved precision of the PS4 controller.

The details of how Zombie Studios plans to handle monetization aren’t finalized, but with the PC version, in-game currency known as GP is used to purchase upgrades without having to spend actual real-life cash.

Other modes included in the PC version of Retribution and expected to make it to the PS4 are Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Domination, King of the Hill, Confirmed, Onslaught and Siege mode. Retribution retains the original Blacklight Hyper Reality Visor, allowing you to see through walls for a brief period of time.

This adds a certain tactical level not found in your Call of Duty’s or Halos. Oh, did I mention it’s FREE-TO-PLAY? I did? Good.

By John Kilhefner

Johnny is a freelance writer whose work features on PopMatters, Critical Distance, Nightmare Mode, Writer's Weekly, GlobalPost and much, much more. Um, If his mom is reading this, he says he applied at that "one place" but they're currently not hiring. Now he's telling me to tell her that he'll, uh, be back with the car by six...


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