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Blacklight: Retribution PS4 hands-on with new maps and 'Onslaught' mode

7 March 2014

The first patch is finally out for the Blacklight: Retribution beta, supplying numerous additions to the game. As the resident advocate for Blacklight at PlayStation Universe, I dive into this patch and give you the lowdown on what’s new, what works, and what doesn’t work.

The first thing you'll notice if you've been playing -- aside from a new intro song at the main screen -- is a completely revised menu with a host of new modes. You still have the ability to jump in via quick play, though I have always found that doing so puts me in a game with questionable latency. I still prefer to just choose my own playlist.

New Map Mode introduces Decay and Metro. The new maps have been added to the existing playlists, but you can play the separate mode if you want to get a feel for the map layouts. How do they rate compared to the old? Both maps are fairly cozy. They both seem to have less space to play in than most of the older maps.

Of the two, I like Decay better. It has a chokepoint in the middle and back alleyways on both sides. Metro is best described as a really small version of the underground tunnels in Battlefield 3's Metro map. I want to like it, but the spawn points are buggy as it's common to drop into the middle of four players on the other team. It makes for frustrating rounds. I feel Metro tends to be less inspired, but I will like it more once Zombie Studios addresses the spawning problems.

The Hardsuit is not playable on Metro as there's nowhere to drop it through the roof, but it can be deployed, usually pretty safely, in Decay. The challenge is navigating around alleyways and buildings with it.

If you prefer not to play in an online match, you can finally play in a private match. That would seem ideal for one of the biggest additions to Blacklight -- Onslaught Mode. I was very skeptical when I saw on the developer's community forums that this was in the works. My stance hasn't changed, but not because it isn’t necessarily bad. The difficulty needs serious tweaking. There are a few different difficulty modes for Onslaught, but even on Easy, this mode is astonishingly hard. Taking into account that playing with random groups can get messy at times, I was in a game on Medium difficulty where we were literally wiped out in about 30 seconds. I was the last to die as the horde of enemies surrounded me. I've yet to make it beyond a third round.

It can be fun and I don't mind a challenge. It just needs to be scaled better, otherwise the mode will be a wasteland in the future.

What I appreciate the most about the latest patch is the overall upgraded performance of Blacklight. The frame rate is definitely running higher and more stable. I am still running into a glitch that kills you when you spawn. It happened the very first time I logged into a game of Onslaught after downloading the patch. Since you don't respawn in Onslaught, I had to wait for the round to restart. There does seem to be an occasional glitch where my look sensitivity skyrockets momentarily, and I'm literally looking up or in an unintended direction while I'm being shot at. Lastly, I don’t really understand changing the scoreboard so that it doesn’t show kills and deaths. You can arrow over to highlight a player, including yourself, but it is extremely cumbersome to do so.

Patch 1 is a big step in the right direction towards an eventual retail release and the team is clearly doing everything it can to take in feedback and make adjustments as needed. You can give feedback on the studio's official PlayStation 4 forum.

Are you playing Blacklight: Retribution? What do you think of the new patch? Let us know in the comments section below. 


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