Deep Black: Reloaded sounds like a fantastic idea on paper. A Third-Person Shooter that takes place primarily underwater featuring a complex science-fiction story? That is enough to get anyone interested. However, expectations have been destroyed as Deep Black: Reloaded’s unbalanced combat, tedious game play and no real sense of accomplishment sets the bar extremely low.
Though it features everything you’d expect from a Third-Person Shooter today, it suffers from bad game design. Covering system? It sorta works. Amazing weapons? Not really. Enemies that you can inject all your bullets into? You can try but you’ll fail and be consumed with sorrow and great frustration.
There’s not a single time where I felt like I was a hero. Your character is extremely vulnerable to death, even while in cover. It’s extremely hard to reliably kill the enemy with your weak weapons. Even on low sensitivity, I was easily over-aiming because of how far the cursor jumps on even the slightest nudge. Despite aiming issues, the auto-aim feature does help in that it will lock your target on the enemy’s head. However, this doesn’t help with the fact that the enemies can kill you extremely fast. The health regeneration system in this game is excruciatingly slow and you’ll find yourself pinned down in every single encounter. It’s just not fun when you can only stick your head out for only a nano-second to get some shots in. Stay out a second longer, you die.
Dying sucks in this game. The checkpoints are too spread out for a game of this difficulty. Every gunfight is a struggle and going through numerous battles with a huge chance of something random happening where you die is just frustrating as hell. Sure, you can proceed with caution but the moment someone appears on your screen with a gun, it becomes of a matter of hopefully being close to something that you can hide behind. If not, you die. Trial and error situations should not have checkpoints that far apart. Cheap deaths are simply not a good mechanic with checkpoints being placed far apart.
When switching things from Normal to Easy difficulty, health regeneration is a lot faster and you’re less prone to dying. However, this doesn’t make the game any more enjoyable. Even in cover, you’re still very vulnerable to attacks from the front and when you’re dealing with a stream of bullets, you’re still pinned down with no real way to retaliate. Despite being less prone to dying, you’re still placed in situations where you have way too many enemies with their guns aimed at you and is only made worse by the fact that when someone charges at you, your only option is to melee kill. When you melee kill, you’re in a cutscene and you’re not invincible. You’re standing, exposed and dying.
Promising to be a game that primarily takes place underwater simply gives a mistaken impression. After the tutorial, there were no opportunities to shoot anyone or practically anything underwater for the longest time. While you’re underwater, you’re harassed by robots that forces you into a QTE cutscene and are non-threatening. Eventually you’ll run into mines that simply do next to no damage and slows you down. For the short bit of water combat that I’ve had, it wasn’t fun at all. If there was more later in the game that might make a better impression, I certainly don’t care about it enough and I don’t see many people wanting to force their way through it.
Honestly, the only satisfaction I got from the underwater combat is hearing the long death screams that comes from defeated enemies. They are so long that they’re incredibly funny and cheesy.
However, the graphics in this game are great considering that it has very little impact on my system’s performance and that it’s a budget title to begin with. I was able to run the game on max settings at 1080p and it still looked amazing with very few frame drops. The music actually tries to encapsulate the action and it’s sad that the action can’t keep up with it. The amazing feel of traversing underwater would be great if it had good game play.
What really irritates me about playing through Deep Black: Reloaded is that I haven’t reached half of the game. In fact, I’m not even half way through Act 1 and I’m already throwing in the towel due to how frustrating this game is. I want to appreciate it, I want to enjoy it. I think that a third-person shooter taking place underwater and the underlining story might lead into something entertaining. However, I’m extremely put off by the game. The impact is lost. What was solid was only made pointless by how boring and uninspired the game play is. Playing it on Easy helps but it doesn’t fix all the aspects of it that makes it such a task to enjoy.
This review of Deep Black: Reloaded was based on the PC version with an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 release coming later this year.