Black Squad Early Access Review – A Well-Executed but Uninspired FPS

By   /   Aug 7, 2017
Black Squad

Trying to make a military based First Person Shooter which stands out from the rest is probably the most difficult task one can do right now in the gaming industry. Black Squad was recently released into early access and hails itself as the ‘best free multiplayer FPS on the market with realistic graphics and dynamic visuals’.

So is it different enough to deserve a chance? Or is it just another pay-to-win cash grab Call of Duty clone?

As a person who has over 6000 hours in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Promod and almost 1500 hours in Counter Strike Global Offensive, it was instantly clear to me that the developers were trying to create a hybrid of the two. The guns seem to function more like Counter Strike but the pace gravitates towards classic COD.

The guns have recoil like CS, but the spray patterns are not that consistent which means burst firing is very effective. Even though it is obvious that the developers wanted the rifles to be like Counter Strike, they end up behaving more like Call of Duty instead due to the maps being so close quarters that the recoil is insignificant in most engagements.

The Bolt-Action Snipers are usually a one hit kill to the torso and quick scoping is a thing, so get ready to be a part of some 11 years old’s dubstep fuelled montage if the game takes off. And from the little time I have spent playing the game, 11-year-olds do make up a large percentage of the community.

Any experienced Call of Duty player should feel right at home with the CZ 805, one of the most accurate and low recoil weapons in the game. I was surprised when I top fragged my first five games in a row. The gameplay is 90% Call of Duty and 10% CS. And this was me playing at double the sensitivity I usually play at.

Credit where credit is due though, the gameplay, while being a rehash of Call of Duty, is extremely smooth and aesthetically pleasing. The weapons shoot where you are aiming and the mechanics of the game are general skill based, even though a couple of the weapons are over powered.

The developers claim that the game has an amazing net code and they are right. The hitboxes are consistent while the bullet registry is spot on. However, peeker’s advantage is still a problem as is with most online games. A large majority of my deaths came from snipers jiggle peeking me around the corner and killing me before I had any time to react.

As a game which requires a core2duo, 2GB RAM and a GT 630, I would say it has as good graphics as can be expected from such a low resource demanding game. The game is optimized pretty well and gives over 60 FPS on a low-grade PC while on medium settings.

The maps draw inspiration from both Call of Duty and Counter Strike. The map Outskirt has a long alleyway akin to ‘Banana’ from the Counterstrike map Inferno whereas the map ‘Storage’ owes its heart and soul to the Call of Duty 4 map ‘Killhouse’. The maps are generally well designed but they have the tendency to be extremely small which causes problems during Team Death Match. There is also spawn protection which lasts extremely long and causes a lot of unbalanced gameplay moments. Not all of the maps are small though, and I am sure people of all play styles can find something which suits them in the game.

The maps are generally well designed but they have the tendency to be extremely small which causes problems during Team Death Match. There is also spawn protection which lasts extremely long and causes a lot of unbalanced gameplay moments. Not all of the maps are small though, and I am sure people of all play styles can find something which suits them in the game.

On the game’s steam page, the developers mention the fact that the game has absolutely no pay-to-win elements. Although they are correct to a large extent, they are not one hundred percent right. Most of the weapons in the game can be purchased with in game currency, however, some of them require medals which can be bought with real life money. All in all, the CZ 805 is the most efficient rifle in the game and that can be bought with the starting money that you get, so players who actually pay for the weapons in the game are just making a big mistake. There is also a free DLC which unlocks most weapons in the game for 14 days for the user to test.

Black Squad has almost 20 maps for you to try, with 4 game modes. Team Death Match is very self-explanatory while Demolition is just a fancy word for Search and Destroy/Bomb-Defuse. The demolition mode has two versions, 5v5 and 8v8.

Some of the smaller maps can become quite cluttered and grenade spam can become an issue but the larger maps can easily accommodate 16 players, allowing for diverse firefights to engage.

Assassination is like the extraction game mode from America’s Army: Proving Grounds, but instead of one team attacking and one team defending, both teams are simultaneously doing both. The last mode is called Battle Match which is played on 2 large maps and you have to destroy the enemy base to win.

Assassination is like the extraction game mode from America’s Army: Proving Grounds, but instead of one team attacking and one team defending, both teams are simultaneously doing both. The last mode is called Battle Match which is played on 2 large maps and you have to destroy the enemy base to win.

The game also has a clan system and clan matches, although considering all of the factors mentioned in the review, I do not think it will be used much.

Is this a game that veteran FPS players will enjoy? Almost certainly not. It has nothing that makes it stand out from the hordes of different shooters in the market today. However, it does have smooth, well-executed game play with amazing net code which will definitely make me play the game for a few days before I delete it.

This game is also great for people new to the FPS genre, as the general skill level of the community is quite low and game play is quite responsive, not to mention the game can run on a potato. If you want to have fun for a little while, then download this game. It’s free so you can’t go wrong. However, if you are a hardcore gamer then I would recommend something like America’s Army, Insurgency or Day of Infamy as they offer simulation elements and a much higher skill ceiling.

Featuring smooth but uninspired gameplay, good graphics for very low hardware demands, and a good microtransaction system, this game is perfect for people new to First Person Shooters.

6
Featuring smooth but uninspired gameplay, good graphics for very low hardware demands, and a good microtransaction system, this game is perfect for people new to First Person Shooters.
6
Gameplay
6
Graphics
0
Story
6
Value

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