So you're shot in the stomach. Do you: A) fall down in agony, B) scream bloody murder or C) leap across the room as if shot from a cannon? If you favour the third option then, congratulations! You've just been cast as an extra in Blacksite.
The crazy physics engine is one of the more humorous problems in a game full of issues - some of them funny, most of them face-palmingly bad. Purely on a technical level, Blacksite falls flat on its face. The floating objects are annoying, but forgivable; the horrendous frame rate simply isn't. Halfway through the final mission it felt like the artistic team were camping in our TV, frantically trying to render the screen as we played it - that's how bad it gets.
We're taking a wild guess on this one, but we imagine that the team brief for Blacksite went something like this: "Right lads, we want to make a first-person shooter version of Gears of War." And to a certain extent, Midway have succeeded. The feel of each episode is as close to Gears as you can get without slapping a Locust in the middle, and the colour palette has probably been nabbed straight from Epic themselves. The cast feel strangely familiar too: flanked (primarily) by Mitchell 'Cole Train' Ambrose and Cody 'Dominic Santiago' Grayson, your team will be whoopin' and a-hollerin' through the six short episodes.
Gears of poor
The biggest difference is the absence of quality that flowed throughout Epic's masterpiece. Though Gears wasn't exactly an open game you were never made to feel like a lab rat. Blacksite constantly pushes you forward with one-way ramps and doors, and then funnels you down a narrow path bordered by impassable blockades. Gears' gas station onslaught set pulses racing, but Blacksite's version feels no different to any of its other battles. The locations are interesting enough, but as you never get to explore Rachel you'll soon grow weary of the corridors, regardless of how pretty they are.
The objects that dress these corridors were supposed to play a crucial role in the combat, but as it turns out the 'fully destructible' cover is just too inconsistent. Wooden bus shelters and desks are impenetrable, and yet the concrete blocks that populate every level offer as much protection as a wet flannel.
Fear not though, for all you need do is locate said wooden desks, shelters and whatnot and set up camp. The enemies will never think to flank you, and you'll have plenty of time to lean out from cover, shoot and hide again. It's a tactic that even works for the final boss (which, incidentally, ranks as one of the worst finales on 360 since Perfect Dark Zero), on hard mode, despite the nasty bugger standing no more than three feet away from your hiding place.
Just when you stumble upon an exciting section and you're starting to enjoy some mindless shooting, it's all taken away from you. The concluding minutes of the opening chapter are easily the best of the game, but the pace that's generated is wasted by the following episode. No, we don't want to stop shooting the crap out of giant earthworms and instead go moping about the camp and listen to orders. IT'S. NOT. ENJOYABLE.
The driving sections are far too long, and are the weakest elements in the game; partly because the cars handle like trucks - turning the camera changes direction Halo-style, but a Titanic-like turning circle means you're better off getting out when searching for the hidden dossiers. Besides, your gunner is woefully inaccurate. Depending on the difficulty you'll need to either put your foot down or leap out of the vehicle and gun down the enemies, and while you're doing your best to fend them off your 'helpful' team-mates will stand around and rattle off 'witty' remarks.