When you're not dying in repetitive firefights, you're underwater swimming through dark caverns and tunnels. Here's where the game should shine, given Biart's penchant for water. But alas, this change of scenery comes with its own set of problems. Swimming is, for the most part, easy to navigate. However, hiding behind walls can be a bit tricky. There's no way for players to shimmy down a wall, so I found myself hiding in spots where my head was visible to the enemies. The only way to fix this is to detach from the wall, swim down a few inches and then try to attach yourself again. Of course, in the time it takes you to do that the enemies have already killed you.
On the other hand, the underwater bits do present a few fun gameplay mechanics. It's a lot of fun to control the enemy drones, assuming you have enough time to hack them. Also, there's something satisfying about harpooning a bad guy on dry land from the bottom of the drink. Unfortunately, a lot of this potential is wasted and most of the swimming stages are completely forgettable.
Some of these problems could have been fixed with interesting weapons and a better story. Sadly, neither of these things happen. You're stuck with a series of generic guns (assault rifle, shotgun, etc.) and a story that goes nowhere in a hurry. Even the grenades are near useless. I found throwing grenades to be hazardous to my health, as simply aiming opens Syrus up to attack. Using the same weapons throughout the game's lengthy story only drilled home how tiring the experience is. I felt like I had seen the whole game after only spending an hour with it.
Thankfully the game looks fantastic. The various worlds are nicely detailed and the water effects are second to none. Then again, for a company so devoted to sea-based games, I would hope the water was spot-on. You'll detect a lack of variety in character models and background textures, but that doesn't bring down the quality of the graphics. On the other hand, Deep Black's voice acting is often painful to listen to. The voice acting is a little off the whole way through, and not in an endearing way. Much like the action, Deep Black's presentation is a mixed bag.
The game allows for both keyboard and gamepad controls. I opted for my wired Xbox 360 controller, though the game felt good with the standard keyboard layout as well. This feels a lot like Gears of War, which is ultimately a compliment. I love the idea of an underwater third-person shooter; I just wish Biart was able to fully deliver on this potential.
Deep Black: Reloaded left me feeling wet and clammy. The non-stop action wore me down quickly and I never felt truly invested in the storyline. I also had a whole host of problems getting the game to run on my computer, though that was resolved after several updates and a Google search. With some tightening and a better checkpoint system this game might be worth checking out, but even then this middling shooter wouldn't be easy to recommend.
Deep Black: Reloaded is an underwater Gears of War clone. While a good idea in theory, the execution here is all wrong. Frustrating action, poor checkpointing, boring level designs and enemies that take far too many bullets to kill. There are some good ideas here, but you have to dive deep to find them!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!