Since its launch, Blacklight: Retribution has become one of the most popular F2P MMO FPS games on the market. Now on the cusp of their 1st anniversary they’re ready to turn the page to the next chapter in the games legacy and have a ton of new features they’re rolling out as a big thanks to all their loyal fans and to offer up even more content to entice new players. New weapons, new levels and new gameplay modes are just a few of the features Zombie Studio have planned for their big birthday and we got a chance to check it out before it all goes live.
Standard PvP mode will be getting a new sniper-friendly map called Safehold which resembles a dilapidated mall with a large, rectangular sniper alley in the center that creates a food court of death for those who don’t tread carefully. Safehold does have a few stockrooms and an underground tunnel or two for you to sneak around in, but the emphasis is definitely on long-range combat and large scale team battles. A new underground map called Metro that resembles a decrepit underground subway perfect for close-quarters combat full of tight corners and small corridors will be rounding out the new offerings for PvP.
The new Onslaught mode however, will be the first PvE mode for the game and will take teams of up to 4 players out of the competitive arena and have them team up to survive and complete 10 waves of AI opponents and missions within 30 minutes or die trying very much akin to style of Gears of War’s horde mode. Swarms of zombies, fire zombies, zombie dogs, giant hulking zombies, and agents of “The Order” with an ass ton of arsenal will hunt you down as try to make it to checkpoints and hack nodes before time runs out. Did I mention the zombies? The new map that coincides with Onslaught resembles a quarantined zone in an abandoned city. The open streets provide very few cover spots and staying with your team is key to survival. Onslaught will also take the lore surrounding the world of Blacklight and bring it to the forefront for the first time.
Search and Destroy will bring the most requested game mode to the franchise and will have two 8 player teams each trying to plant a bomb in the opposing team's base while defending their own. Bomb carriers will be invisible to the game’s all seeing HCV to add difficulty and avoid someone spotting and executing them before rounds can get interesting. Search and Destroy will also be getting some maps of its own, but they weren’t ready to show anything off during our demo time.
Blacklight Retribution is also getting a couple new guns, the AK-470 and the M-4X, which you can just think of as an AK-47 and an MK-4 respectively. The new arsenal will combinable with all your other available artillery to create new weaponry just like every other gun in the game can already be implemented. All the guns in the game are getting some tweaking as well and bullet spread and recoil rates have been made more realistic. If you don’t feel like spending the time to customize your loadout and just want to purchase an pre-made in-game hero for real money, you’ll now have the new stealthy sniper heros class, Ghost that you can pick up by buying chance packs.
The E-Sports League (ESL) is going to be teaming up with Perfect World to bring Blacklight to the professional gaming circuit too. Which not only means a much more thorough list of stats and gameplay info, like your accuracy, XP per minute, head shots and favorite weapons, but will also mean ladder and matchmaking tournaments with real world and in-game prizes for competitors.
And since Blacklight Retribution is constantly in development like many other F2P titles, Zombie studios is always listening to fan feedback to find out what people are actually interested in seeing not only gameplay-wise, but what kind of stats, features, tournaments, weapons and game balances folks who play the game actually want to see.
It’s been a good year for Zombie Studios, Perfect World and Blacklight Retribution and with the plethora of new features they’re rolling out and the partnership with the ESL, they’re more than likely to garner more interest in 2013. If you’re looking for a competitive FPS that you can play without too much of a time commitment, now might be a good to check it out. Many of the new features for the anniversary update should be available by the time you read this.