Deep Black: Reloaded Review
Deep Black: Reloaded takes the third-person shooter underwater for some bubbly, espionage oriented action.
Independent developer Biart are the Jacques Cousteau of video games. They’ve previously created sub-aqua specialities Fish and Reefs, Depth Hunter and Reef Aquarium. Clearly, they have a passion for the underwater world of digital entertainment, and now for the first time their focus has shifted away from hunting innocent sea creatures to the rather more difficult to catch bio-terrorist target.
The player takes on the role of Lieutenant Syrus Pierce, a hard-as-nails retired mercenary, hired to rescue some unfortunate hostages being held in an underwater facility. Soon after breaking into the facility, Pierce discovers the terrorists have an even more worrisome plot involving a biological weapon of mass destruction. Bugger.
With the assistance of his operations team, Pierce must negotiate his way through the winding, deep-sea complex, utilising a mix of stealth, hacking and full-frontal assault.
Deep Black: Reloaded caught my attention because, as far as I’m aware, the predominantly underwater third-person shooter is a concept that hasn’t been approached before. I suppose, if I were to compare it to any games based on dry land, it brings to mind Dead Space, Gears of War and possibly, Metal Gear Solid. It’s a long time since I played MGS, though, so I write that with the caveat that I may be totally deluded.
Deep Black: Reloaded begins with a short, comic-strip style introduction that tells the story of Earth in the year 2029. East and west are divided in war; world domination being the ultimate goal. Or something like that. Next comes the tutorial, which I found to be mildly helpful but mostly tedious. There’s a part involving hacking a drone that killed me around ten times, which became so annoying I moved on to the first proper mission out of frustration, more than confidence.
The underwater action is executed highly effectively by the developers at Biart; the physics are believable and swimming around is good fun. The sound design is suitably bubbly and the graphics pleasing to the eye, creating a satisfyingly immersive experience. Combat should be familiar to anyone who’s played an espionage based third-person shooter; hiding behind various obstacles and either firing blind or poking your head out to take a shot being the preferred method of attack. The enemies are bizarrely tough on normal difficulty; even head-shots requiring around ten bullets to take an adversary down. Available weapons range from rifle, pistol and shotgun to the more exotic harpoon, which can be used to pull unsuspecting villains from their look-out spot into the murky depths and a grisly death.
There are forty missions in the single-player campaign, four different environments and around eight hours of gameplay. There is an online multiplayer mode available, though at the time I investigated it, the servers appeared empty. I’m happy to report that I haven’t encountered any bugs at all while playing; the overall quality of the development is polished and impressive. Biart have implemented the omnipotent wizardry of Steamworks in DBR, thus creating fifty hip Steam achievements to impress would-be lovers with. If I could change anything about Deep Black: Reloaded it would be the script and voice acting, but I guess it’s just like playing a low-budget, yet entertaining action movie.
If you’re looking for a new shooter to play and like the idea of underwater physics, Deep Black: Reloaded is eight hours of entertaining action.
Released April 2012
Developed by Biart
Published by Strategy First
AMD 4200+ X2 2233 MHz CPU
ATI HD4670 512mb GPU
Windows XP SP3