Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 62
  2. Negative: 1 out of 62
  1. Black is what all shooters should be. An all-out assault on the senses. [Feb 2006, p.78]
  2. 100
    The bone-rattling density of Black's combat makes the nine levels feel like tours of duty with the grizzliest mercenary squads the world has ever seen.
  3. Easily the best console FPS experience I’ve played this generation.
  4. It’s simply a technical marvel with top-notch gameplay.
  5. Immediate, accessible, explosive and hugely satisfying, Criterion's competitors are going to have to raise their game immeasurably to get anywhere near the majesty of Black.
  6. An action movie given digital, interactive form. It's a relentless, constant barrage of sensory input, and it's done in a way that no developer thus far can match. Immersive, beautiful and a blast to play, BLACK is a must-have.
  7. If you can look past these flaws, you'll discover what I would call one of the best PlayStation 2 games so far this year. As an impressive technical demo it rivals even the next-gen stuff we're seeing on the market now, and the gameplay fills a gap in the genre that has long been craved. If you enjoy FPS games, then I can easily recommend Black for rent or purchase, and anxiously await a potential next-gen sequel.
  8. 90
    At no point in Black's development did the game ever indicate it would become anything more than what it is: a high-powered homage to the FPS genre in its simplest and most undiluted form.
  9. Unparalleled explosive thrills - but it only burns in your mind during the time you're squeezing the trigger, and lacks context or emotional depth. [PSM2]
  10. 89
    Black merely gives us what we want deep, deep down. Those little voices crying out for destruction need silencing every now and again. [Apr 2006, p.88]
  11. There is definitely potential for much more, but what’s on offer is more than worthy. It’s fun and intense all the way through. And on PS2, no shooter can graphically compare.
  12. 87
    It's an extremely focused game that offers one of the most visceral gaming experiences you'll find anywhere. But, it offers little variation outside of blowing things up and its short length and lack of multiplayer will irk some people.
  13. An awesome shooter that looks gorgeous and feels great. Although shooting is fun, the gameplay tends to be a bit frustrating because of the long levels, too few checkpoints and no saving option during the missions. [Mar 2006]
  14. Black may not be the definitive FPS the PS2 world has been dying for, but it is a competent shooter with a few moments of spectacular content.
  15. For a first-time entry into the firts-person market, Black is impressive. [Apr 2006, p.112]
  16. It's thrilling in a way that gets your juices flowing.
  17. Black would be an absolutely fantastic game if it only lasted half-an-hour. There's an old show-biz axiom that states: Leave them wanting more. The problem with Black is that it starts off in high gear and has nowhere else to go from there.
  18. While BLACK doesn’t add to the genre in terms of innovation, it is an experience that will suck you in and won’t let go until you’ve finished the game.
  19. BLACK is the kind of gun opera you’d expect from director John Woo, starring Chow Yun Fat. It’s explosive both in its technical presentation and gameplay, but it’s a very short experience.
  20. Complete with amazing graphics and sound, violently focused gameplay and a love of all things explosive, it offers a thrilling experience for first person shooter fans and even just those with a bent for action.
  21. Black is much like Criterion’s first "Burnout" game. The groundwork is there but the content is really lacking.
  22. Criterion’s ability to make the technology and design of games seem harmonious is a significant strength in an industry where few can pull it off... Black is a fiery example of what can result. [Mar 2006, p.82]
  23. Thanks to Criterion's otherworldly technical ability to pull off graphical effects that wouldn't look out of place on next gen machines and some truly inspired set-pieces, BLACK is the most progressive and exciting shooter to emerge on the console platforms for years.
  24. It may all sound a little base, but Black is a game that reminds you that, at your core, you love things that go bang loudly – it’s a good feeling to suddenly realise that you’re just like everyone else. [Mar 2006, p.104]
  25. The eight or nine hours it will take you to complete the game are hugely enjoyable.
  26. An absolute blast to play from start to finish. Despite what I said about the rather basic gameplay underneath the destruction, I think the game should get a once over by any self-respecting gamer, fan of the genre or otherwise, as it's nice and simple, easy to play and yet difficult to put down.
  27. But this is straightforward run-and-gun, and it's bloodless, one-player run-and-gun at that. It's worth playing for its grueling gunfights and beautiful, combustible environments; just don't expect anything earth-shattering.
  28. BLACK's biggest misgiving is the fact it's over so quickly. 8 missions simply isn't enough and leaves you desperate for more, and probably unlikely to go back unless you're the biggest fan or to show off to your mates.
  29. For an intense, concentrated dose of blast-em-up chaos with pyrotechnics to spare, look no further: Black is the new black for the winter season. [Apr 2006, p.71]
  30. My only big complaint is that some of the missions are just too long.
  31. Black is on the short side (around 8-9 hours worth of play) and the replay value is minimal, unless you want to go back and redo missions to get all the secondary objectives, all of which are not required to progress anyway.
  32. 80
    If you are looking for a fairly mindless shooter then Black will keep you busy until the end, even if does have a basic storyline that is best ignored, and the game doesn't take long to complete.
  33. What's here is a unique, creative and obviously lovingly crafted tribute to guns and the shooter genre, but somewhat limited by some strange AI tendencies, a short playtime and some really weird design flaws that make Black occasionally more frustrating and cumbersome than it really could have been.
  34. 80
    If Black was created to produce an adrenaline-induced euphoria of maddening guns going wild, then it is a total success. In the sequel, as the end of the story sets up, let's hope the AI is improved and includes at least some type of multiplayer.
  35. It's got some great physics that come into play during the game, but relies most on rapid-fire gameplay that only lets up to make you sweat even more.
  36. Criterion has succeeded in completely immersing the player in intense, cinematic gunplay--no other shooter has captured the pure awesome-ness and adrenaline of a suspenseful shoot-out in a game quite like this. [Mar 2006, p.85]
  37. 80
    As is the case with even the best action films, BLACK probably won't stay with you long after the closing credits have rolled. That's not to say, however, that you won't be on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
  38. As the entire game is played at fever-pitch, you soon find yourself looking forward to the next mission briefing, if only for a chance to catch your breath. The only mystery to Black is why there is no multiplayer mode, since such intense battle settings would make for great competitive bouts.
  39. Little strategy is required for each stage, with abundant health packs and aggressive opponents of little intelligence. But there are many strategies and the use of cover is vital.
  40. We’ve seen destructible environments before, but never to this degree. Unfortunately, with gameplay this shallow, it doesn’t bring the genre to a new level.
  41. When you're playing Black you won't be thinking about anything but the incredible gameplay, unfortunately it will also be over before you know it.
  42. If you can excuse the inconsistent AI and the over abundance of explosives, Black delivers exactly what you want from it: a fun, fast FPS that will hold a spot in your gaming collection. Just don't expect it to do much more than that.
  43. The lack of online play for Black is notable, but not necessarily crippling. Black works well as a single-player adventure, despite its uneven patches, and certainly does its part to advance the genre of the console shooter. [Apr 2006, p.61]
  44. The newbies will graduate to deeper, better games and the hardcore will shelve it when they can’t play it with their friends, and both will be disappointed by how short it is even as they are nonplussed by its gameplay.
  45. Sometimes you just want to blow stuff up with extreme prejudice. It's for these occasions that Black was made.
  46. Taken as a whole, BLACK is just your average first-person shooter.
  47. Black starts out as one of the most promising and fun games of recent memory, only to let us down with a thin story line and so-so game play.
  48. It keeps the tension high as you gun your way through the game, but the adrenaline begins to taste sour long before the game is finished.
  49. Black's first few levels are exciting, but the action movie formula wears thin fast, and the game's over not long after.
  50. A good game. It has absolutely superb audiovisual presentation, extravagant and hugely entertaining action and some of the best FPS set-pieces you'll find on the PS2. It's a shame the experience doesn't deliver a little more variety and there are a few minor flaws which bring things down a little, but all in all this is one of the most explosive, entertaining shooters on the PS2.
  51. 70
    Like its namesake color, Black is bold in its simplicity, an elemental force that makes a strong, singular statement: It intends to be the most adrenaline-pumping, testosterone-infused shooter ever. And in that regard, it succeeds.
  52. Even slightly improved AI would have made the game much more engaging, as would more effective bullets, varied mission objectives, and more freedom to carry whatever guns you wanted.
  53. 70
    Exactly what the developers said it was going to be, a straight-forward shooter with a decent story and unique environment interaction. Sadly the length of the single-player and a lack of any type of multi-player mode really dampen the experience.
  54. I think Criterion could've done so much more with this game to turn it into an instant classic. As is, it's a great sugar rush that's worth a few hours of your time, but doesn't really justify the full $40 price tag like it should.
  55. Black lasts only eight hours, has no extra modes and no multiplayer. Not even split-screen; not even co-op. Granted, multiplayer FPS games are a two-a-penny these days, but it leaves wide open the question of what exactly you’re paying for here.
  56. A videogame can only live on "visceral" for so long before you're yawning, longing for better A.I., a more involved story, or...well, just about anything with more substance. [Apr 2006, p.94]
  57. In Black there's beautiful graphics and incredible details, tight controls, but as a whole it's an experience you may not feel like completing even the first time through.
  58. 65
    "Gun-porn" turns out to be the most accurate descriptor anyone slapped onto the game. I mean, how many times can you rewatch the same bit of pr0n before you're completely unstimulated by it? It's intense for the first experience, but completely diminishing returns every time after that.
  59. 60
    An hour a day will probably give any shooter fan a thrill, but prolonged and involved play makes all the small flaws more apparent and all the pyrotechnics more numbing.
  60. Judging by this little taste, Black 2 will probably be amazing.
  61. Though a graphical marvel, Black is too brief, too straight and too lacking to be considered much more than a cool tech-demo, and the absence of multiplayer hurts it immeasurably.
  62. Black may not be terrible, but it's repetitive and mundane. [May 2006, p.89]
User Score
8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 144 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 70
  2. Negative: 7 out of 70
  1. RyanFeightner
    Feb 2, 2006
    8
    I thought this game was very, very innovative. It was extremely fun-as Criterion said-to shoot a wall. I personally think it's really hard to aim, but that just might be the PS2 controller. I'm sure it's better on Xbox. BLACK seems tough enough to keep hardcore gamers playing, but like all Criterion games, they are insanely hard. I watched and laughed as my friend died less than 20 seconds into a level. Good game, great innovations, and big explosions=Criterion game. Full Review »
  2. Dec 22, 2012
    10
    Perfect on PS2 ,Best Shooting Game Ever I Played,Controls are Good ,Graphics are Good ,
    sound is awesome i played it in easy mode with health
    pack it's not that hard not to easy so i feel it's good ,Aim is Too Good For me ,i personally think if you are looking for shooting game You Must Play It ,Good Luck ... Full Review »
  3. Aug 19, 2012
    10
    Such an underrated game, people are complaining about things that never troubled them in other games such as: Lack of a built in multiplayer mode/split screen: HL2 has no built in multiplayer/split screen, did we complain? Diffuculty in aiming: Every Valve game had no aiming at all, neither did Doom, or Quake. Nobody complained. Anyway, amazing graphics, decent AI, interesting story, awesome amounts of destruction, ad nice sound effects. Full Review »