By – Thomas Faust

Black Ice Review He

Here’s a recipe; I call it “Black Ice”. Take some early ideas of how cyberspace might look like and put them into a fancy FPS game. Add equal amounts of “shooting” and “looting” and season with a generous amount of neon. Blend and then add some multiplayer modes to taste. Let it cook for… how long exactly? Wait, it’s still not done yet? But it already tastes so good!

So that’s Black Ice for you. Available on Steam Early Access and, despite development not being complete yet, a worthy purchase. It is the future of cyberspace, as seen from a hopelessly outdated perspective. A cold neon wonderland with servers, rising like pillars into a black, seemingly endless sky. It looks like a cyberspace-themed Battlezone in the late 80s, made by William Gibson. Hacking a server sets the countermeasures free – digital spiders, scorpions, and other rather unpleasant creatures, bound to eliminate the intruder and save the precious data they’re guarding. Thankfully, you’re armed with the spoils of your recent raids, so those nasty critters don’t stand a chance. While explosions shake the virtual landscape and ICE is wiped out by your programs, Finality Inc. looms in the distance. The mightiest server of all; your final destination.

Black Ice Review 1

There really isn’t that much to Black Ice. You shoot and loot ad infinitum, leveling up and acquiring better and more powerful weaponry in an endless cycle. However, the game is rather compelling in its simplicity, distilling what makes other entries in the genre great and stripping all unnecessary fluff away, until only the core gameplay remains. It’s also just as easy or fiendishly hard as you want it to be, since the difficulty is completely adjustable. You always know how tough the battle ahead of you will be. The trick is not to overextend yourself. Sure, taking on three higher-leveled servers at once might get you killed, but it’s a lot more fun than playing it safe. And the payout is bigger, of course. In the end, the game’s pace and difficulty is entirely in your hands, which feels amazing.

Right now, the game is far from balanced, but that’s not a bad thing at all. If you happen to find a game-breaking strategy, nobody stops you from running with it and having some fun. A couple of months ago, I found a combination of jetpack and mines that allowed me to rain down death from above without any fear of retaliation. This approach no longer works, but I’m looking forward to finding new, inventive ways of killing stuff. There is still a long list of features to be implemented, but there is no legit reason to avoid Black Ice right now. It’s already a lot of frantic fun and completely devoid of the usual caveats that go along with early access development. Plus, the developer is called Super Duper Garrett Cooper. If that doesn’t inspire confidence, I don’t know what could.

Black Ice Technical Summary:

Black Ice Review Sum

  • Time Played – 5 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – No
  • Control Scheme – Keyboard & Mouse
  • DRM – DRM free
  • System Specs – CPU: 3.5Ghz AMD FX-6300, AMD Radeon R9 270X, 8GB RAM
  • Game Acquisition Method – Purchased By Thomas Faust
  • Availability – itch.io, Steam
  • Demo – Yes
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  • Steven S

    From the title I half expected a new Shadowrun game.

    This does look interesting though, and I love the art style. I’l definitley be checking this out.