War Of The Humans In Tanks: Blacklight’s Siege Mode

This is, of course, exactly what Johnny Cash was talking about when he wrote that one song. He's the robot, obviously.

Blacklight: Retribution is a bit like a surprise birthday party. For the longest time, I thought nothing of it and went on with my daily business. Then, one day, it crept into my home, turned out the lights, and shouted “SURPRISE!” so loud that I dropped my groceries and grabbed a lamp to brandish in a threatening fashion. I continue to be shocked by how enjoyable Zombie Studios’ follow-up to the rather uninspired Tango Down is, though. Certainly, it’s got roots in traditional multiplayer weapons, upgrades, and other such standbys, but X-ray vision’s a game-changer, and everything feels great. And now, another pleasant surprise: the tank-centric siege mode.

Basically, it sounds like an escort mode – but with one human player serving as pilot to spice things up. Also, Blacklight matches tend to be fairly spread out – often dividing into a series of smaller skirmishes all across each map – so a focused attack on a single target certainly shakes things up. Admittedly, Blacklight’s not the sort of shooter that aims to strain your brain too terribly much, but variety’s always nice. As is pure chaos. Something tells me Siege will bring both in equal measure.

Right now, Siege is simply “on the way,” but updates to F2P games don’t usually stay that way for long. Seeing as Blacklight doesn’t generally charge for these sorts of things, I imagine it’ll be available to everyone the second it rolls out. I am, however, keeping my lamp handy. Just in case.


  1. Xardas Kane says:

    Fine, fine, I’ll try the game, internet, Jesus! It’s like I’ve been bombarded with Blacklight left and right the last month or so. I was rather sceptical considering Zombie Studios’, ummm, sketchy performance, but I guess they have learned their lessons.

    • Aluschaaf says:

      It’s great! Go play it! ;)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Yeah, Tango Down was utter crap. This one is genuinely good, though – the starting gear is solid (middle of the road in everything) and the F2P pricing isn’t too bad.

      • DrGonzo says:

        I would say this new one was as good as an as bland as the original myself. Didn’t think the original was all that bad though.

    • derbefrier says:

      Guess I am gonna have to try this out. Doesn’t look too bad.

    • Shooop says:

      If those lessons are about hit detection, then nope. They haven’t learned a thing.

      The hit detection in this game is nothing short of an atrocity we haven’t seen since Bad Company 2. I can play WARFACE(!) in Russia from my computer in the US and not have an issue. Zombie should stop making games.

      • hemmingjay says:

        not sure what hit detection problems you are having, but I have 50 hours in this game and have yet to see any.

        • Shooop says:

          Any time you fire two 3-4 round bursts at a guy not 10 meters from you and he spins around and kills you with one shot, that’s horrendous hit detection.

          I get a ping of nothing higher than 80 ms and this happens constantly. I play WARFACE(!) on servers in fucking Russia and I have no problems. Blacklight’s netcode is shit.

          • KDR_11k says:

            If it’s just that the game does not compensate for lag so you have to lead a target by an arbitrary distance based on ping that’s just the Unreal Engine 3 being crap as always. I’ve lost count of the games that were ruined online by that engine’s netcode. It was a much bigger problem in the original Blacklight because that used player hosted games so pings were significantly worse. People simply specced for speed and raced around, using the netcode as a shield.

            Section 8 is among the games that suffered heavily from the netcode, especially Prejudice where it’s pretty much all explosive spam because hitscan weapons were too unwieldy because you had to compensate for lag. Also dropping a jammer beacon was practically invincibility because most players couldn’t track you with hitscan weapons without using the lock-on.

          • Shooop says:

            That doesn’t explain why it’s impossible to hit stationary targets though KDR. My ping is never higher than 80ms and is usually 40-50.

            It’s as if the game forgets I’ve even fired a weapon and is giving my opponents magical one-hit-kill ammo. The exact same thing plagued me in Bad Company 2 until I uninstalled its buggy ass.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            If I had a dollar every time I point-blanked someone with a shotgun only for them to spin around and kill me, and then see that despite the cloud of blood still on the kill cam they are at full health- I could afford to buy a better game.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Is it really that bad? You just might scare me off here :D

  2. Dominic White says:

    In before whining about ‘Play2Win’ from players who don’t realize that in literally 15 minutes of play, you can buy any of the pre-designed guns (which are endgame-grade, often built out of components you’re not nearly high enough level to buy separately) for 24 hours. Play for an evening and you’re armed for a week.

    It helps that the default assault rifle is the base average for all guns in the game. Good range, power, accuracy, recoil, etc.

    Anyway, yeah – I’ve been playing this one on and off for quite some time. It’s really polished, and while the core gunplay is very Call of Duty, the Hyper Reality Visor system changes EVERYTHING. You can see when enemies are coming, you can see snipers behind cover, and the enemy can do the same.

    It’s almost like Frozen Synapse as a shooter – everyone can see everything, and it’s whoever has the best plan wins.

    • KDR_11k says:

      I like tactical helper stuff like the HRV, the sensors in Section 8 and whatnot, I’m apparently above average when it comes to using tools like that and get an advantage over many other players with it. In BL:TD I used to play as a counter flanker, using the HRV to spot enemies attempting to bypass the frontline and surprise our team.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Retribution is Pay2Win no matter how you try to candy-coat it. Players can buy the best weapons and items in the game right off the bat, and some of those weapons and items are only available via real-life cash purchases.

      Sure, you can Rent2Win by spending match points on 24-hour equipment, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that Retribution is designed around a P2W philosophy.

      The starter weapons are complete shit when compared to the purchasable stuff, by the way.

      • WeHeartKatamari says:

        The only things you can’t buy with GP, to my knowledge, are heroes. They’re not that important, honestly. What else is bought with zen only? If you mean the early access to everything for money, then I’m afraid you’re more or less mistaken. Everything in the game is a side-grade. Nothing is strictly better than anything else. For example, if something makes your gun do the most damage in the game, then it’s also going to seriously mess with the other stats in a negative way. In addition to that, they have to pay a matter of dollars a day to upkeep that habit, OR just drop like $5 per every single peice of equipment. That’s like $80+ on ONE loadout/equipment set. Yikes.

        Let me quote you: “Sure, you can Rent2Win by spending match points on 24-hour equipment, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that Retribution is designed around a P2W philosophy.”

        Uhh…WHAT?! So you’re saying, “people who pay money always win the game.” Then you’re also saying, “Sure, I can easily get everything they get (sans heroes) in about an hour for free…but what difference does that make?” It amazes me how much conviction people can have when they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.

        Also, you’ve all voiced your opinions on how good or bad the starter weapons are, but that is exactly what it is–opinion. Even IF that were fact, which it isn’t, mind, you can get a premade weapon for ~200GP which is one or two matches (10-20 minutes).

        I don’t mean to attack you personally or anything, but everything you said has directly differed from my experience of the game.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          I get what you’re saying, but it’s all counter to what my 12+ hours in the game showed me. Top players were inevitably equipped with paid items such as the machete (a one-hit kill item) or maxed-out sniper rifles; if you haven’t noticed yet, snipers dominate the game (at least they were when I was playing), and it’s not because of map layout.

          Maybe all these players were just better (doubtful), or maybe it was the fact that Retribution allows for team stacking (more likely). There are obviously other variable at play, but the one unifying factor among top-rankers is that they were all using paid equipment.

          If paid items are at the same level as starter items, why do people bother buying them? This isn’t Team Fortress 2 we’re talking about. Please check out the game’s forums — there are plenty of complaints about OP weaponry and balance issues.

          I stand by my assertion that Retribution is P2W.

          • Geen says:

            Yeah, the guns tend to be balanced, but the machete is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE thing. One hit kill, better range than the knife, doesn’t require the skill of a breach hammer, and when combined with a cloak it’s death incarnate. tl;dr Machete is OP as shit.

          • WeHeartKatamari says:

            The machete is not a paid weapon. You can get it if you like. And it’s not that good, especially because I run 222 health, so they need to hit me twice. It takes a while to swing that thing twice. “Maxed out snipers” I will interpret as max damage snipers. This is easy. All you need to buy is a muzzle and a barrel. That’s it. Max damage sniper in your hands for about 375GP or so. Even that only does 200 damage (220 with incendiary rounds), which leaves me with a little bit of health worst case scenario. The real problem in game (for the last little while) has been the Burstfire Rifles. Yes, there are balance issues like literally every game ever by anyone. And what you said isn’t even “paid” equipment! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you haven’t really played too much….

            In any other game, like Call of Duty, if you’re a level 1 with 1 gun…do you honestly expect to pwn everyone? You have a fair shot, for sure, but the higher levels have been playing longer than you, and have found which weapons suit their style.

            I’ve noticed you complaining about hit detection, too. Check your ping, because at 80-120 ping regularly, I’ve never encountered a single problem with hit detection. That goes a long way considering I’ve clocked 103 hours in the game. If you’re running with 170+ ping, then the game can do nothing for you.

            I’m sorry for being short with you now, but this is the second time I’ve dissected and destroyed your only arguments against the game. If you want to have your opinions, that’s fine. But there are people trying to get an honest look at it, and you’re feeding them a totally unfair and biased interpretation of the game. Yes, it can be MINORLY imbalanced at times, and you may encounter a bug or an exploit, but it’s a solid game fundamentally. And I think you just don’t know how to take advantage of HRV, so you get steamrolled 24/7. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

  3. Mr. Mister says:

    Their registration processor SUCKS. Not more than 33% of the submissions will get you a confirmation email, and the other will rewt on Limbo.

    • DuddBudda says:

      I created five separate accounts nearly a month ago, not one has been activated yet

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I can’t even get them to delete my account. All I keep getting from their customer service is a canned response.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      Just be glad that you live in a region deemed worthy enough to be able to play. *grumbles something nonsensical about racism*

    • asshibbitty says:

      Yeah this. Do they expect people to keep trying, making up new emails every time? Strange way to run a f2p game.

  4. Shooop says:

    It has absolutely shit hit detection though which kills any fun I tried to have with it. If the upcoming patch doesn’t do anything about that I’m uninstalling it for good.

    I can play WARFACE! on Russian servers without a hitch. If they can’t fix this Zombie should stop making games period.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Lag and hit detection are huge problems for the game. Meanwhile, the guy armed with nothing but the one-slice-one-kill machete is ending his matches with a 7/1 KD ratio.

      Retribution needs some serious tweaking.

      • WeHeartKatamari says:

        When you think about it, you can see that machete dude running around at ALL times. He has to make his way to you, and slice you. At any point, you can shoot him whilst he’s defenceless. But, I do kind of agree with you. Melee weapons in manshooties are such a bummer!

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          That would be great- except Machete Guy always has a cloak on as well, and since you can only see him in HRV and can’t shoot with HRV on… you get the picture.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Shooting them is a bit difficult when the hit detection is as borked as Retribtution’s.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Did you change the server to Europe(or whatever continent you reside in)?

  5. alilsneaky says:

    Everything feels great?
    What secret version of the game do you have access to?

    This game has the worst netcode in any online shooter in a long long time.

    Pretty hard to take the author (and the website) seriously if they apparently have no concept of what makes a quality fps game.

    • Xari says:

      Woah, calm down there!

    • hemmingjay says:

      I haven’t experienced any netcode issues, nor has anyone I know. It’s quite possible somewhere between yourself and the servers might be an unstable node. It’s also equally possible you are having a localized problem. I am in a group of 40-60 who play this from all different areas of the world and the only coupe that have an issue are on crappy Brazilian internet.

      • zeroskill says:

        I kinda agree, the netcode isn’t really very good. (For the record, I have a 30+mb connection, and I play multiplayer games excessively and never get any lag. 20-30ms is the norm). Also the game, at least for me, while it runs pretty well, crashes very often. I have no idea why it does that since i can run pretty much everything without any problems. Even wierder since it’s an unreal engine game.

        Not considering i’m not a huge fan of this kinda of first person shooter genre ala COD (and frankly, that’s what it is) I havn’t had the best experience with this game, so far. It’s a good bit of mindless fun though when it works well…which, as I said, at least for me, isn’t very often.

    • Shooop says:

      I think they copy and pasted the same netcode Bad Company 2 used. It’s got the exact same problems.

      Zombie should stop making games if the much-hyped patch that’s supposed to be out today doesn’t fix it.

  6. phanteh says:

    I’ve been itching for a brains-out multiplayer shooter since they ruined the CoD franchise (that is, after I got bored of Modern Warfare’s endless ‘nade spam and refused to buy another without dedicated servers), and this does the job very nicely!

    New game mode will be interesting, I find the existing modes cater for some nicely different styles of play already. Just a shame that UK Sky traffic is being routed by the f*****g north pole.

    Headshots FTW!

    Reading some of the other posts here, I’m assuming people don’t know that there’s a known issue with certain ISP’s routing the traffic for this game via America first… I get 100 – 150 ping consistently. Given this, I feel the netcode is quite robust – it’s rare when I feel like the ping difference is responsible for my failings.

  7. Solidstate89 says:

    I simply love the Ghost in the Shell aesthetic this game has from the Mechs to the quadruped tanks.

  8. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    The patch had better come with some new maps. Most of the maps work okay for one or two game types, but none of them work for all modes, and there really aren’t enough maps to make the game consistently interesting by level 25 for me.

  9. abandonhope says:

    At level 25, I took a break. I agree it could use more maps. Still, the Ghost in the Shell aesthetic is indeed quite nice, and I rather like that I don’t have to stomach man beef-sized characters here (Gears of War, etc.), as I’m not 12 and have no fantasies about being bigger than my bully.

    There are some instances where it feels a little P2W, but on the whole I usually have a 50/50 shot of killing someone with an advantage before they kill me. I have a lot of GP saved up, but my main weapon of choice is just a Briar Mod rifle, which requires no unlock. It’s exciting to try to counter cloaked players wielding death hammers, and I’m not looking for competition, so a precisely even playing field is of no consequence to me.

    There’s a ton of stats at play, and it’s crucial to pay attention to how your equipment affects them, as well as the equipment and health of players who kill you frequently. There’s a lot of valuable information there that will assist you in adapting your gear/load-outs. I’ve encountered several things I might chalk up to netcode issues, but they were few and far between.

    The escort mode looks pretty awesome. I haven’t played a pure FPS since Counterstrike:Source/Medal of Honor. It would be unfair of me to judge a bunch of games I haven’t played, but I have no interest in shooters that are marketed to kids and man-children. I’m glad I gave Blacklight a shot.