Deep Black: Reloaded has left me at a personal crossroads. On one hand, the game has enjoyable moments and offers surprising innovation with its underwater portions. On the other hand though, the shooting and action segments of the game can get rather bland, despite obvious attempts at emulating other popular genres.
Deep Black: Reloaded offers a unique shooting premise: underwater combat. Taking the fight into three dimensions by opening the capability to go above or under enemies seemed to promise exciting combat options. Sadly, it largely fails to deliver on distinguishing the underwater portions from the ground-based combat. The biggest difference between the two would be the annoying drone minigame where you mash the melee button for a set amount of time to survive. This was a welcome surprise initially; it felt like I needed to be on my toes while underwater. Then, it happened in the very next room, and again in the next. Eventually, I came to expect these "ambushes", and it didn't do much but slow down the flow of the game ultimately.
Flow and consistency is another area Deep Black seems to tread lightly in. Being a shooter fan, I found myself aiming for headshots as often as possible. Sometimes an enemy would drop in one hit, but other times they wouldn't. The enemies seemed to have a random amount of health which seemed to lead to me spending entire clips trying to clear out two enemies. When I wasn't trying to shoot my enemies down, I was being insta-killed as I passed a certain barrier and the enemies decided to rush in and melee me to death. I will admit that this adds a shallow layer to the combat, but again, it boiled down to hammering the melee key once I saw them running in my direction.
All that said, Deep Black: Reloaded is a surprisingly gorgeous game. Everything looks very crisp and, although the enemy models come in a limited variety, they're all very well detailed along with the environments. Underwater is where the game truly shows off. The lighting is slightly distorted and all the sounds are muffled just enough to mimic the feeling of being underwater.
On the issue of sound, the lack of it both helped and hurt the game. There isn't much in the way of music throughout Deep Black: Reloaded, but it adds to the feeling of isolation. However, most battles come with an energetic piece to really sell the action. Where the sound truly falls short are the voices. Pierce and all his contacts sound rather flat and unmotivated about bringing down a terrorist cell, and each and every single enemy has an extended death cry. No matter how they're killed, the enemies want you to know that they're dying slowly, even if you managed a headshot on them.
Despite its shortcomings, Deep Black: Reloaded isn't a terrible game. Though I couldn't find a match for the multiplayer, the campaign showed some promise with its interesting concepts. It's simply held back by bad design choices which mar the experience. That being said, it's an impressive title for an arcade game and really shows off what can be done with the right tools in a developer's hands.
GameDynamo's Score for Deep Black: Reloaded (PC)
|Joey Blackwell II
Avid gamer who's more passionate about writing. Hopes to be a renowned writing voice in the world someday, while still being addicted to games.
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