Cross Graznei Bridge? I am sick and tired of crossing Graznei Sodding Bridge

Yeah, I’m moaning again about Black, the first person shooter that’s clearly been designed by sadists.

I’m on the level where my primary objective is to cross Graznei Bridge, which to date I think I’ve successfully done about three and a half billion sodding times. But when I finally get across the bridge, something happens. The phone rings, or the dog barks, or I remember I need to put the spuds on. And in the millisecond during which I’m distracted, I get shot and have to do three-quarters of the bloody level all over again.

It isn’t always because of distractions, though. A few times I’ve spent a cheery half-hour blowing things up and then I have to go out. When I next play the game it’s right back to the beginning of the level again (and the unskippable bloody cutscene).

I don’t mind redoing a level a few times, but when the number reaches the hundreds – which it definitely has in this case – it sucks all the fun out of a game. And the last time I checked, games were supposed to be fun, not endurance tests for masochists.

I’ve seen reviews of Black that suggest the lack of save points is one of the game’s key strengths, to which I can’t reply without swearing. Sure, if you’re the sort of person who buys a game, sits down to play it in an isolation chamber and doesn’t move again until the game is finished, then the lack of save points might make the game an interesting challenge. But for those of us who live in the real world and whose gaming adventures are crammed into the odd half-hour here and there, it turns your shiny new game purchase into an infuriating and irritating waste of money. Despite Black’s real strengths – it’s big dumb fun with superb graphics – it’s annoyed me enough that no matter how good the reviews, I won’t buy Black 2.

There was a nice column in this month’s EDGE magazine, which suggested that games should offer a “maximum fun, minimum faff” mode for casual gamers – people who, like me, have very limited amounts of time available for gaming. I think that’s a superb idea. I wish Black’s developers had thought of it.

[Slightly edited to fix spelling errors]