I bought the Xbox game Blacksite (no, not at full price – are you mad? Fifteen quid from Amazon Marketplace) to find out whether it really was as bad as the reviews suggested.
It isn’t. It’s worse.
It’s not the bad voice acting, the soulless regurgitation of every first-person shooter cliche, the lazy respawning enemies to keep levels vaguely challenging or the fantastic decision that means your super-tough army type is incapable of opening a door by himself (seriously – you need to wait for a bit for no good reason and then summon a squad member to do it for you); it’s that the makers seriously expect you to pay fifty quid for a game that simply doesn’t work.
I’ve never played a game with so many bugs in it. Dead bodies float in the sky. Driving sections get confused and make you retrace your steps before an exit that wasn’t there before magically appears. Objectives don’t get updated, so you’ve cleared a level but keep being told you need to clear the level. And best of all, the frame rate doesn’t just drop – it dies. In one section you go round a corner and the frame rate drops below zero, with the screen freezing for a full ten seconds before lumbering back into arthritic life at a staggering 1 frame per second. And that’s not even a busy section with stacks of on-screen enemies pushing the console’s processor to the limits: it’s a bit when you’ve killed absolutely everybody and there’s sod-all happening.
There can only be three explanations for this. One, the game was never tested. Two, the game was tested but the testers were idiots. Or three, the publishers really wanted to rub their doughy buttocks in the face of every purchaser, but they didn’t have enough AirMiles – so they decided to make a rubbish game instead.
This is a game that still retails at forty to fifty quid. And publishers wonder why so many gamers rent or pirate games instead of buying them.