Blacklight Retribution Review

Updated Wed, Apr 11, 2012 by Shayalyn

I’m never been much of a hardcore shooters gamer, so I’ll state this for the record: my opinion is that of someone who hasn’t logged hours and hours of FPS gameplay. But Blacklight Retribution, the near future military shooter by Zombie Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, looked promising, so I downloaded the game and dove in. As it turns out, Blacklight Retribution surprised me. Read on!


It’s a shooter--you’re running around gunning people down. Expect blood, violence, and areas inhabited by the kind of gamers who play first-person shooters.


87Very Good

Blacklight Retribution isn’t what you expect from a free-to-play first-person shooter…and that’s a good thing. Sure, you’ll experience quintessential FPS modes such as capture the flag, death match, team death match and king of the hill. Yes, you’ll be able to buy items, either with real or in-game currency, for certain amounts of time ranging from one day to permanent. But what other free-to-play FPSs don’t routinely offer is complete and total customization of your guns and armor. And there are mechs--hulking, menacing, full-of-win badass mechs with mini guns and rail guns for blowing up those pesky peons who keep shooting at you. (Really, what is their problem?)

Blacklight Retribution Screenshot

Yep, that's a badass mech.

When I first came into some in-game cash, I wasted vast amounts of time tricking out my character. Not only could I edit her armor (with changing stats for each piece) but I could alter every characteristic of my weapon. And that’s fun.

All guns are broken down into 7 components: Receiver (which changes the overall type of gun your character is using), muzzle, barrel, magazine (which includes ammo upgrades that can give you exploding rounds), scopes, weapon tags (which are like key chain bobbles for your gun), and camo. Bobbles and camo are, of course, purely cosmetic, but combined with the other 5 customization options they virtually ensure that, if you take the time to customize the gun you start with, you’ll have a unique and serviceable weapon.

If customizing guns isn’t really your thing, fear not--you can purchase pre-made guns in the item shop using some of your hard-earned real world cash.

You can also customize your character’s armor by changing your helmet, upper body armor, lower body armor, and then add cosmetic items like trophies (badges you earn by completing certain achievements) and camo (changes the overall color scheme of your character’s items). You can further specialize your character by giving them equipment that include things like health kits, turrets, repair kits (for fixing turrets and mechs), stealth cloaks and riot shields. You can also change the voice of the game’s announcer as well as the voice of your own character. You can also unlock and purchase various taunts for your character to use when pwning noobs. (And you get to hear theirs when they’re pwning you.)

Another great feature of Blacklight Retribution is the ability to craft buffs for your character. These character buffs come in the form of nodes which you attach to various node slots. You earn nodes of various ranks by completing matches. You can combine nodes using fusion to make stronger nodes of higher rank or with a longer use time. These nodes add effects that range from extra resistance to certain types of damage to increasing the amount of in-game currency awarded for a match.

Blacklight Retribution Screenshot

The weapons depot brings new meaning to caveat emptor--while shopping players are prone to being shot down, allowing another player to steal the purchase.

One of the best features of Blacklight Retribution is the weapons depot. Throughout battles your character is constantly awarded CP, or Combat Points (not to be mistaken for GP, or Gold Points, which are used in purchasing customization options out of combat), for doing various things throughout a match such as killing an opponent or even watching someone else kill an opponent. You also gain CP for taking down players that have been kicking major ass. The top rated player at any given time is given the title of Warlord. Killing this player will award a larger bonus to your overall score for the match as well as additional CP, but don’t worry if you can’t take him out--as long as you’re involved in the action you’re earning CP. You can spend your CP at combat depots spread throughout the map, which are stocked by the player character with their unlocked combat depot items in the customization menu. These items can be simple things like health restoration and ammo, which are relatively cheap, to more expensive and hard-earned heavy weaponry like mini-guns and flame throwers. Items also include the mech I mentioned earlier, the Hardsuit.

The Hardsuit comes equipped with a mini-gun and a rail gun for blowing away tiny foot-soldiers as they run in fear as well as rocket boosters for closing the gap between your foes. The Hardsuit is also heavily armored and takes a lot of fire power to bring down. (For this reason, it’s not a frivolous purchase at the weapon depot.) Is the Hardsuit overpowered? It’s a fair question. It would be, except that the Hardsuit comes with a randomly generated weak-spot that other players can detect using their HRV (Hyper Reality Vision). This weak spot will take ten times more damage then any other part of the Hardsuit giving tactical players a fair chance to take down the player using the Hardsuit. If you feel incredibly gutsy you can also pick up a flamethrower from one of the weapons depots spread throughout the map and use it to burn out the pilot of the Hardsuit and take it for your own.

Blacklight Retribution Screenshot

When the HRV is active, you can gather lots of intel on your enemies.

Another innovative and cool feature Blacklight Retribution introduces is the aforementioned HRV, which not only allows you to see all other players on the map, but allows you to see their health and their kill-streak, giving you an idea of how much CP a certain player is worth upon death so you can assassinate the better character to earn more CP. The HRV’s usefulness doesn't stop there; it also allows players to view turrets and mines wherever they may be hidden, as well as pointing out the weak points of a Hardsuit as I mentioned earlier. Sound overpowered? It sidesteps that by having a short duration, followed by a recharge time. You also can't sprint or fire your weapon while it's active. The HRV is a tool you'll need in your arsenal if you play to win.

Blacklight Retribution boasts some great features that FPS gamers should embrace.


77Pretty Good

The graphics in Blacklight Retribution are notch above average for what you might expect from a game of its ilk. Armor and weapons look better in menus than they do in the actual game, and special effects like explosions are sometimes a little underwhelming. Overall, everything looks respectable and should satisfy all but the most hardened graphics whore.


77Pretty Good

There’s nothing related to Blacklight Retribution’s sound that will blow you away--it does the job. I found the music a little uninspiring, but music isn’t really the focus in a game like this. You’re more likely to be kicking ass to the tune of your favorite MP3s with the sound of weapons fire providing a nice soothing, ambient backdrop. (That is, if weapons fire calms your nerves.)

"I’m never been much of a hardcore shooters gamer,"

Isn't that supposed to be "I've never been much of a hardcore shooting gamer"?

The reviewer really sold this game short in the graphics department. Given a standard comparison to all other games out there, on "ultra settings", Blacklight looks beautiful, and easily matches the most popular FPS games out there in quality. Best part is, the developers were intelligent enough to allow for a variety of fine tuning in the graphics, meaning even older PCs can run it easily, and the game ends up looking no worse than Counterstrike Source.

My impression is that Blacklight is pay to win. I jumped on board when it went live on Steam. I was pulling consistent scores, doing well, and being competitive thanks to most everyone having nothing but starter gear. However, I didn’t take a strong liking to the game because I’m addicted to Tribes Ascend, and haven’t played much since that first week.

That said, I tried playing recently, now that people have had time to level up and/or drop some cash on the game and the balance is completely gone. Players with the higher end gear consistently outperform the players with the starting gear by an extreme margin. It is a frustrating situation, and while some of the early players might have been able to level without paying any cash, due to the inherent balance in everyone having nothing, the players joining now are pretty much forced to pay money. I say this in part because where before I was able to score kills, cap points, etc, now I’m unable to even pull a positive kdr, let alone cap objectives. Thus, I’m unable to earn xp with which to level and unlock gear. Ultimately, unless I drop some coin, it will take me forever to get to the better gear.

That is why I think it is pay to win. Just because I can play the game and eventually unlock all of the gear without paying, doesn’t mean it is balanced or fair. A game HAS to be balanced, despite if it is free to play or not. Blacklight isn’t balanced, because those who play more or pay more will have a distinct advantage over those who don't do either. While some people may believe that is fine, I still believe it means it is pay to win.

Im giving this game another download as the open beta was crap. You log in; everything is fuwwy drunk like graphics and dark. The menus are the most retarded interface I ever used in a video game. The in game experience was bad. THe movement was like I was wearing giant heavy marshmellow boots. HArd to explain except it was semismooth but kind of sticky. The shot placement hit box is broken. You will find yourself DANCING face to face with an enemy in a circle juùping and shooting. No one hit; you both comically switch to pistols. No one hit; you close in on knifes.... Then several other times later; these over powered speed builds in orange suits run up; knife you.
The dance of jumping around each other was common. As built in wall hack and bad hit placement make long range combat null. So the enemy runs right for you. You unload and even though you aimed and the enemy isnt zig zaging; youll miss; and then the jumpy circle thingy begins; may the best up close dancer win.
I uninstalled and went happily back to AVA
I like AVA; but want to see how AVA is doing now after some patches/

I noticed also the gear is heavy armor skins but a tiny 1 hit knife brings you down LOL knife = greater than any future weapon designed

Lol @ whatever retard wrote this review.
He must have been playing on a shitty laptop lacking FXAA and all the bells and whistles.

This review is a low blow from a guy that doesn't even appreciate the game.

There is no better looking fully free to play on the market, I have played it for a few weeks on and off.
It is no BF or Cod but reminds me of wolfenstein. And that is no bad thing,

Really thinking of trying this out. looks good and like it could be fun.

Saw the graphics score of 75, which doesn't seem to match with the screenshots. For comparison's sake, what f2p shooters are you thinking of that would get a 90-95 rating in the graphics department? Would be interested in checking them out too. Thanks.

yeah...i've been playing this and its the best looking free to play out there as far as I am concerned. This game could easily be a retail game with these visual. I am having a blast playing it, its my goto fps right now, and guess what, I didn't have to pay for it!


Perfect World Entertainment has already made the move to mobile and now they’re making plans to head into the console space.

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Thu, Dec 19, 2013

Zombie Studios free-to-play shooter, Blacklight: Retribution, makes its debut in Europe on the PlayStation 4 today.

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Wed, Dec 04, 2013

Sony celebrates the launch of the fourth generation of its PlayStation console with new reveals and announcements.

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013

The PlayStation 4 launches next week and Blacklight: Retribution will be there waiting when you power it on.

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Fri, Nov 08, 2013

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