A downloadable game on the PlayStation network, Deep Black is about as standard as it comes when talking third person shooters. Everything about the game just reeks of mediocrity while a lot of aspects even fall lower than that. This game is third person shooter with some heavy water mechanics. The most significant aspect about this game is that most of it takes place underwater. The story is extremely uninteresting with just a lot of talk about stealing new technology and biological weapons. The main character is sent on a mission with a specific task but it always seems like his commanding officer has his own agenda. The game tries to play with having story twists but everything is predictable enough that it just seems boring.
While it is littered with terrible voice acting and writing Deep Blacks most interesting aspect is the underwater scenes. Not many games really utilize water to this extent and while it’s the best part of the game it just reminds me about Hydrophobia which I thought had really amazing water mechanics even despite the rest of the game. While Deep Black is an original idea there are just too many aspects that seem to be pulled from other games. The copied ideas are pretty bad but the worst is the writing. There is literally a line in the game where someone tells your character to watch his ass and he replies with “I’ll watch your ass, it’s better.” I mean really!?
The gameplay is actually fairly standard but also incredibly broken. The game functions best when you are on land but the main problem with that is most of the game is spent underwater. While you are underwater it feels a little similar to the zero gravity sequences in Dead Space 2 which is ironic because your characters armor also looks incredibly similar including a glowing strip on your back though this one has no functionality. They developers at least had the decency to give you unlimited air so you are never worrying about drowning. You have full control in the water and you can use a button to boost around and move quicker. There are some enemies that will come after you underwater but they mostly involving charging you which lead to a melee quick time even that is almost impossible to lose. Other than that you are mostly evading traps and using this special wire tool that you use to shoot out and hack devices.
When you are on land the game is your standard third person cover based shooter with one of the worst cover mechanics I have ever seen. You can hold three weapons but I never switched away from the standard machine gun which ended up being the best weapon in almost every situation. The shotgun was almost completely useless especially since you can unload a lot of rounds into some of the enemies and it takes a while for them to die while you just soak up bullets quickly and can drop almost instantly. The game is actually frustratingly hard because of how easy it is to die. This isn’t helped by the fact that the cover system is so bad that the enemies’ bullets will sometimes go through the cover for no reason so you can be perfectly behind a barrier and still taking damage. I really don’t mind games being hard and in fact I welcome a little difficulty but only when it’s fairly implemented and not because the game is broken.
Deep Black is so stiff in its animation that you can practically see the ones and zeroes in everything you do. Your character is as straight as a board almost at all times and ducking into cover has no fluidity to it which can cause for some problems. When the game tries to do anything flashy such as throwing a grenade the animation is slow and sluggish which usually just means you end up dying. Aside from the animations problems the rest of the game doesn’t look bad for a downloadable game but is just kind of bland. The underwater scenes are usually just swimming through caves or sometimes parts of the facility parts that you have to flood.While the environments do change up in the late game most of the beginning of the game you are traveling through areas that look almost the same so it just ends up being kind of boring and repetitive to look at.
I was actually having fun with Deep Black at first but the game just became increasingly more irritating as I progressed. The game is hard in the most unbalanced way because of the AI’s ability to somehow shoot through your cover and taking way too many bullets to kill. The water aspect of the game is interesting and progressive but isn’t used in any kind of well planned way. A lot of the puzzles just seem like they were pulled out of Playstation 2 era games and are too simple. The game clearly wants to rely on its water mechanics but when those mechanics aren’t great then the rest of the game is already suffering even aside from all of its other problems.
It’s a shame that developers put a lot of time into their games and they turn out this way. I never believe that anyone is out to make a bad game but unfortunately Deep Black is just a bad game. Downloadable games have really managed to make a name for themselves over the last few years as we have had some games for download that are better than some disc games. Deep Black is just a mess that is frustrating to play and is hard to have fun with. This game just makes me realize I liked Hydrophobia way more and I can only hope that if Biart gets to make a sequel to Deep Black that improves on these mechanics tenfold.