PS3 Previews: Blacksite: Area 51 Preview

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Blacksite: Area 51 Preview

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Scheduled release date:

Q3 2007




Midway Austin

Number Of Players:

1 (10 Online)


First Person Shooter

Release Date:

If one thing's certain about this particular generation of console games, it's that there won't be a shortage of first-person shooters across both the PS3 and Xbox 360. And not just from 3rd party developers, but even both Sony and Microsoft have a number of FPS franchises under their sleeves. With Resistance and Gears of War out, the standard for a great FPS game has been set really high by both publishers, and with Killzone 2 and Halo 3, that bar will likely get higher. So here's one of the many FPS titles that will be aiming to stand level with the aforementioned games: Blacksite: Area 51, the sequel to 2005's Area 51.

Developed by Midway Studios Austin, Blacksite is poised to deliver a chaotic, tense and satisfying experience that will utilize "cutting edge technology, game design and story writing". By "cutting edge technology", Midway is likely referring to the game running on Unreal Engine III. What with Midway publishing Unreal Tournament III, it makes perfect sense for them to do so. Using the Unreal Engine means that the gamer can expect terrific physics and some pretty solid visuals. The engine is constantly being optimized and updated, meaning Midway Austin will have potential to put out a product that can be more polished than other games running on the engine.

The game will hang the responsibility of people's lives over your shoulders, and ultimately their survival will be determined by you. You must either abide by your professional orders, or hold on to your morals and ethic - the choice is yours. The game will give you, what Midway likes to call, a "living, breathing squad" of Special Forces soldiers. These soldiers will respond to the orders you give out, and aid you in battle when you need them to. But, again, their actions and morale is determined by your actions. If you fight brave, they will too; if you fear an enemy, run and demonstrate cowardice, your team will be affected negatively. Negative affects include poor aim, fatigue, low morale, and a lower will to fight.

Controlling your squad will be done by single button commands that you'll issue as you play the game. Commands will range from C4 planting, sniping, or taking control of the game's vehicles. On that note, if you've played various FPS games in the past three years, you've noticed a new found staple featured in every one of them: vehicles. Blacksite will be no different. When on the field you'll have the ability to pilot an ATV, civilian vehicles, a large Hummvee-esque auto, or act as a gunner in a helicopter as you swoop down low-levels obliterating every enemy in sight.

Progress is made by completing missions, but there are multiple paths to go by to reach the end of each level. To further add to the game's sense of freedom and scope, Midway promises that nearly everything you see will be destructible - and blowing up stuff for the hell of it is always fun.

Lastly, you can't have an FPS game without online multiplayer modes, so here's what Blacksite will offer...the traditional modes will include: Death-Match, Team Death-Match and Capture-the-Flag. But the unique modes are Human vs. Reborn mode, and Siege Mode. Siege Mode sounds very interesting, as the point of it is to not only capture control of your enemy's territory, but also the enemy's squad members. No word has been said on how many players can compete per match, but we expect it to be 16.

Midway's current plan is to have Blacksite released in the third-quarter of 2007. Release lists have it pinned down for a September 3rd, 2007 release, but that can change pending on the game's development. If you enjoyed the first Area 51 game, and are looking forward to Unreal Engine-based alien-killing, FPS goodness, then Blacksite should be just for you.

2/15/2007 Arnold Katayev

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03/27/07 Blacksite: Area 51 Arnold Katayev

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