Delta Force: Black Hawk Down - PS2 - Review

On October 3, 1993, President Clinton sent Delta Force soldiers to the inner cities of Somalia to capture a military warlord for questioning. One situation, however, changed from a military operation to a survival mission when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade from militants. Several of the surviving passengers of the helicopter withstood days of enemy fire while their fellow Delta Force soldiers devised a path to rescue them. This true story captured the essence of the phrase “leave no man behind,” a theme Ridley Scott found to be a great movie idea. He was right, and Black Hawk Down became an instant success of the military-movie genre. The release of Black Hawk Down for videogame consoles now, almost a year passed the PC version, and almost four years since the movie arrived to theatres, almost guaranteed its untimely demise. Adding insult to injury, the game barely stands as a playable title with boring gameplay and look.

There is nothing more to Black Hawk Down than a simple first-person shooter with 16 different missions throughout the game. Though it has a respectable amount of missions in it, Black Hawk Down is one of the dullest war games I have ever played. The gameplay is so predictable, driving through hostile Somalia in a Humvee feels more like a joyride through the suburbs than a constant adrenaline-rush, on the look out at all times for unfriendly and armed militants that could pop out anywhere at anytime. The game is obviously scripted and doesn’t even attempt to change up the pace of the action between being on foot and manning the machine gun in vehicles. The main point of the game is to kill as many Somalian rebels as you can, with rare side missions that contain nothing more than strategic troop movements to find many Somalian rebels to kill.

Your character won’t be alone, accompanied by America’s finest warriors who are at your command. Well, that’s not really the case. The command prompts are too confusing and limited to be considered useful. Most of the time, your squad will just follow your movements and “try” unsuccessfully to fire at assailing enemies (I mean, it's not like your squad is a group of fully armed American Delta Force soldiers who have spent years training for combat…).

The PS2 version of Black Hawk Down features online multiplayer with up to 32 users playing simultaneously. I was only able to connect to one game, and although I was impressed with the number of players that could play online, the technology and capabilities are more defined on Xbox Live. There are several multiplayer modes including capture the flag, cooperative, and deathmatch which are available to play with friends (although I’m sure Halo 2 has already filled that slot).

 

Black Hawk Down features graphics that were dated in the release of the PC version. Now, with developers using up all the capabilities the PS2 and XBOX can give them as well as previews into the next generation systems, the game’s presentation is more outdated than Pauly Shore in 2005 (the soldier models and animation are oversimplified and the environments are blandly textured, much like the former Bio Dome star’s acting). The sound falls tragically short, as well. Everything from the sound effects to the voice acting can only be described as adequate and the music is uncomfortably repetitive.

Simply put, Black Hawk Down’s PC version was up to par in 2004. Now in 2005, the game fails to live up to its own mantra “Leave no man behind.” This title is way behind in the pack of a cluttered war-game market and it's time to leave it in the dust.

Review Scoring Details for Delta Force: Black Hawk Down

Gameplay: 6.0
A simple run-and-gun with limited use of vehicles.

Graphics: 5.0
Somalia is ugly to look at, but I don’t think the graphics were this bad on purpose.

Sound: 7.0
Passable audio still doesn’t bring justice to the real skirmishes of war.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 4.0
Black Hawk Down (the situation) was about a rescue mission, Black Hawk Down (the game) is about killing as many African militants as you can find. WHERE'S THE CONNECTION?!

Multiplayer: 6.0
It’s true, the Playstation 2 lacks in solid online FPS titles. But anyone with Xbox Live would do better to purchase this title on the mammoth Microsoft machine (if you must purchase it, that is)

Overall: 6.0
Black Hawk Down has proven that a war game can be based outside of the years 1939 through 1945. Now, they just have to prove why spending $49.99 on it makes sense. Only die-hard war fans will find small satisfaction from playing this title, and you might as well just rent it.

 

Above Average

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