Blacklight:Retribution places the you in a futuristic FPS setting, there is no backstory and no single player modes with the exception of a Holodeck training stage. Graphics wise it's easy enough on the eyes and the same can be said of the sound, it isn't going to win any awards but what it does is at least satisfactory.
Anyone familiar with FPS games will find nothing new here in terms of game modes. At present Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Domination and Kill Confirmed are the only modes available. Each game mode runs for 10 minutes in an 8vs8 setup over 6 maps, the maps themselves are nothing special and it's worth noting that maps with a large open area such as Containment suffer from noticeable frame rate drops. As a player completes objectives or kills other players, Combat Points (CP) are awarded. CPs serve two purposes, the first being XP which is attributed to your character level at the end of a round. The second allows the player to purchase in game upgrades via a supply depot and the options here are dependent on your character setup and range from ammo refills, rocket launchers right through to Titanfall-esque hardsuits.
Character customisation is nicely varied and a welcome inclusion. Players have the option to select armour that suits their play style with a shift in armour strength, movement speed and stamina. There's also a nice selection of weapons and a stack of attachments to play with, items you wish to make available to purchase via the supply depot in game are also customisable. All of this is paid for by GP (Game Points) which are awarded at the end of a round, more on that aspect later in the review.
The gameplay itself is solid enough with a few good points worth mentioning. The HRV (Hyper Reality Visor) is an interesting concept, when enabled a player can see through walls and other environmental objects to identify enemy players, traps such as mines and supply depots. Camping is easily punished as a result and results in a high paced and frantic game. Being a PC port, the in game scoreboard shows player latency in ms (milliseconds) rather than the vague green bars seen in other games. This makes it easy to identify a lagged host, anything above 200ms is basically like using a 56k modem and should probably be avoided.
Sadly, along with its good points there is a major factor which really lets this game down. Levelling up takes an absolute age, even if you're getting 30+ kills in a game you will be getting approx. 5000 CP/XP per round. Reaching level 24 requires 1,000,000 CP/XP and the really interesting weapons are not unlocked until you reach level 38 (about 3.8m CP/XP) with a current cap set at lvl 60. This is where the 'optional' real cash payments come into play. Unlocking an item such as the Katana will cost 400 zCoins, and this will set you back a sweet £4.30 (about $7, may be cheaper in US PSN). Even when you reach the required level, the use of GP only allows you to 'rent' an item for up to 7 days. At which point it’s trashed and you will need to rent it again or pay real money to unlock it permanently.
The reality of this model is 99% of players will never reach the extortionate level of XP required to become that guy leaping out of the shadows cloaked with invisibility while wielding the Katana. With all that's been said, it isn't a bad game. It's levelling system leaves a lot to be desired, it's map selection and game modes are limited but it's still a beta. With more maps, modes and fine tuning this has the potential to be a winner when you consider the fact that it is free to play.