Black Xbox
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 65 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 65
  2. Negative: 2 out of 65
  1. 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.
  2. Easily the best console FPS experience I've played this generation.
  3. The gameplay is fast and furious and the presentation will blow you away with stunning visuals and rich 3D Dolby Digital surround. And even when the non-stop shooting threatens to grow repetitive, the ever-changing level design will keep you on your toes.
  4. It's simply a technical marvel with top-notch gameplay.
  5. Its shortcomings are overwhelmed entirely by pure, unrelenting fun from beginning to end, with enough multiple routes on the levels to warrant at least a couple of plays through.
  6. 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.
  7. A great game, an accessible shooter with mainstream appeal, just what the Xbox needs in its twilight hour.
  8. 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]
  9. 86
    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.
  10. The A.I. predictability coupled with linear game levels somewhat dampen the invigorating, bullets-flying-everywhere gameplay that will have your ears ringing from gunfire hours after playing.
  11. For what it is, BLACK delivers one of the most exciting, explosive and intense FPS experiences we've had on the Xbox in a long time, but it's straightforward and repetitive gameplay also leave the overall impression a bit thin.
  12. For a first-time entry into the firts-person market, Black is impressive. [Apr 2006, p.112]
  13. 85
    Black is a visceral FPS that is in your face and full of action, but it's unfortunately short and pretty much devoid of any replay value.
  14. 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.
  15. Black is a great stress reliever and a great game to destroy and blow things up. It takes thinking and skill to get through certain points.
  16. The challenge BLACK presents is not to outwit enemies, but rather to stay interested in dispatching them with extra style. While it may not appeal to fans of more narrative or tactically oriented shooters, it hits the spot for those for whom there is no such thing as style over substance.
  17. 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.
  18. What Black does do right is the fact that you are almost guaranteed to not find another game this action intense in a long time. I've never played a FPS with this much going on and stuff flying around on the screen.
  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. 81
    Those looking for a deep and involving story to go hand in hand with the intense action will be disappointed, but for people who enjoy shooting the crap out of everything and will enjoy doing so often, Black is the game you'll need.
  21. It's worth playing for its grueling gunfights and beautiful, combustible environments; just don't expect anything earth-shattering.
  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. 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]
  24. Criterion applies the lessons from the crash-laden Burnout series to make an over-the-top, explosion-heavy and beautifully flowing FPS.
  25. Beyond a handful of novel ideas BLACK is very much a typical FPS, however given the intensity it's still quite unlike anything the genre has offered in recent years.
  26. My only big complaint is that some of the missions are just too long.
  27. Here's hoping the developer now takes this painfully short, yet spectacularly sweet game, and turns it into the giant-killing franchise it was born to be. Until then, sample it, savour it, but brace yourself for when the rug is pulled from under your feet and you're sent crashing back into reality after what only seems like five minutes in the most crazy, fantastical shooter you'll ever experience. [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  28. There is no doubt that whilst it lasts, Black is a very cinematic, fun and immersive playing experience; however its length and lack of multiplayer might ultimately be its demise because most gamers could probably get the most from the game within a rental period.
  29. To say the least, the explosive environments in Black are pretty busy and are the reason why the game is worth playing.
  30. 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.
  31. A multiplayer component is absent and the AI is a little ridiculous at times; but like a good action film, Black hits you hard and fast, leaving an impact you won't soon forget.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. If you like "Burnout" and like first person shooters, buy this because Criterion has done to FPS what they did to racing games, all over again.
  35. 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.
  36. You will love pumping round after round into your generic foes, and the visuals enhance the experience. While Black gets this aspect right, it just doesn't offer enough.
  37. With a lack of multiplayer modes or any decent replay value, Black falls flat.
  38. Black holds a very well done audio and visual presentation but quickly fails in gameplay and story which drags it down to "just another" FPS.
  39. 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.
  40. It's very satisfying to hose a building with bullets and leave nothing standing when you're finished. It just might not have the lasting value you're looking for.
  41. 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]
  42. Little-to-no depth and a short campaign prevent the game from standing out in the FPS genre but Black never deviates from what it promises-an explosive ride from start to finish with plenty of guns and littered those delightful red-barrels.
  43. Sometimes you just want to blow stuff up with extreme prejudice. It's for these occasions that Black was made.
  44. Taken as a whole, BLACK is just your average first-person shooter.
  45. Black is hurt by its simple game play, short story and crummy ending, but that doesn't mean it's not worth experiencing at least once.
  46. 75
    For all the enjoyment the chaos and destruction brings, it's hard to ignore its short length, lack of multiplayer and inconsistent AI.
  47. Black sets out to achieve one goal of being the biggest, loudest and most impressively single mindedly violent FPS. Regardless of the zero it receives for narrative, it most definitely scores huge on thrills.
  48. The action is intense and the effects are splendid, though the un-reality applies also to the worlds in which you battle.
  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 solid title for the greater part, but is not only flawed, but not massively difficult to beat. However, I'd rather play a game that made me smile for four hours and one that made me frown for twenty.
  51. Black can be summed up in one phrase. One dimensional. It plays like a great action movie, with a few problems, and literally doesn't give you anything but that.
  52. It may be initially enjoyable and easy to pick up, but the thrill doesn't last and it never quite distinguishes itself enough from the rest of the FPS pack on Xbox. [Apr 2006, p.75]
  53. 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.
  54. 70
    Long on hype but short on depth, Black travels an already well worn bullet riddled path taken by so many other games, albeit much louder than the rest.
  55. 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.
  56. During your time with the game, you'll enjoy the adrenaline rush and the constant action that it brings. However, I just wish Criterion thought about the long-term, as the game can only survive so long on such a short push of action.
  57. 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.
  58. 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]
  59. Hopefully, if EA and Criterion are allowed more time to develop Black's sequel, the proper attention can be made to fleshing out the total experience-and not just shining up the guns.
  60. 60
    Black is great fun, to be sure – it's just not some divine revelation. Instead, it has nothing to show you that you won't see within two days, at the outside.
  61. 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.
  62. Six hours. Pretty good hours, but still, The A.V. Club can't stress that number enough.
  63. 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.
  64. The graphics and sound might be a great leap forward, but the rest of the game fails to meet any of the current criteria for a good first-person shooter.
  65. Black may not be terrible, but it's repetitive and mundane. [May 2006, p.89]
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. 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, and nice sound effects. Full Review »
  2. Jan 8, 2011
    9
    This FPS released in the twilight days of the original Xbox can be played on the Xbox360 as well. Although the game is quite short, each of the missions can take about an hour or so to complete. so it's not a game you can pick up for only a short session because although there are respawn points, you cannot save the game during a mission. The game places you in some epic firefights, and the enemies are incredible hard to kill in terms of how many bullets it takes to kill them (headshots notwithstanding) and also in terms of some very good AI at times. These gun-fights are rarely bested by rushing the enemy, so a more tactical approach is required. Gameplay wise it holds up remarkably well even by 2010 standards. A worthwhile game to play Full Review »