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Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Publisher: EA
Developer: Criterion
Release Date: Feb. 28, 2006 (US), Feb. 24, 2006 (EU)

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6. 'Black' (PS2/Xbox)

by Rainier on Jan. 1, 2006 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

You are Sergeant First-Class Jack Kellar, seasoned veteran of the US military and a leader of a BLACK ops team. Your squad have been sent into the heart of Eastern Europe on a dangerous mission, drawn in to the midst of a relentless combat zone to bring in a traitor. BLACK doesn't contain stealth sections and it doesn't contain complex squad based commands. It is crammed with beautifully crafted iconic firearms, advanced destructive environments and the most intense firefights every seen in a video game.

Genre: FPS
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Criterion Studios
Release Date: February 28, 2006

Joe Keiser: Burnout 3 was a revelation in racing games when it came out in 2004, so when a shooting game from the creators of Burnout claims to be "Burnout for shooters," it'd be pretty foolish not to pay attention. Criterion, the game's creators, really knows their stuff – they're the daddy of Renderware, the most popular set of game creation tools in the industry, and they are virtuosos in its use. As a result, Black should be fast, fluid, and exhilarating. But perhaps most excitingly, it's coming out for the current generation of consoles but looks so detailed and beautiful it puts most 360 games to shame. Next-generation hardware? We don't need no next-generation hardware!

Bill Lange: Despite the disgusting images the term "gun porn" kindles in my mind, an interactive action flick is just what the pistol-packing doctor ordered. Feel the therapeutic thrill of flinging several tons of lead at bad guys while simultaneously giving your surroundings a real Extreme Makeover. We've all heard about the "Matrix" demo; let's see what Black can really do.

Hugh McHarg: Black looks to be the year's best hope for a combination of hyper-stylized visuals and refined, if not revolutionary, shooter mechanics. Much has been made of Criterion's approach to the genre – what will the Burnout masters do with an FPS? – and justifiably so, given what the screens and vids have revealed so far. If the action and story live up to the promise of the muzzle flashes, Black has a shot at challenging the likes of Riddick for the most exciting non-Halo console shooter.

Justin Raymond: This is the game that looks like it might well end the current consoles' lifespans with a real bang. The fact that many people see Black and honestly can't believe it's running on an Xbox or PS2 and not an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 speaks volumes about the power still untapped in these consoles that few developers are trying to take advantage of. Black may well be one of the best games of this year on the consoles of yesteryear.

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