Review: Deep Black: Reloaded (PC)
by Ashe Collins on April 12, 2012

Deep Black: Reloaded
Publisher: Just A Game
Developer: Biart
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Release Date: 03/01/2012

Some titles, when they come out, just need a little fine tuning to make them perfect, some need a little more than that, and others just seem to need a complete overhaul or to start over from scratch. Then there’s the issue of game-breaking DRM that seems to plague just a few of my titles on the PC, which can be infuriating in and of itself, but I’ve never actually played one where the DRM made it so the game wouldn’t even launch past the menu, until now. Let’s take a look at Deep Black: Reloaded, shall we?

The premise is that you’re an operative for an agency that’s out to stop, presumably, bad guys from doing, well, things. The game itself isn’t very good at delivering on a story in the cutscenes, which seem disjointed and not all that well put together. They’re there to basically be an information dump to get you to care about what you’re doing in the game, more or less, and try to help make sense of what’s going on, and since I don’t really have a clue, I’d say that ship has sailed. You get sent on missions that involve you alternating between ground and water based objectives, shooting on both, but also some puzzle solving. You have a suit that can help propel you through the water with short boosts from rockets on your legs to get you around obstacles or behind sunken objects for cover. You take out people and underwater drones to get through to your objectives, flooding areas or dropping the water to get to others. I couldn’t ever connect to anyone on the multiplayer end of things, so its inclusion in the game is in name only at this point.

Audibly there’s not much going on. The sounds are pretty basic and do what they need to get things done, but nothing here screams out at you to get you to really think about what’s going on. The installation screen had some decent music along with the menu but I can’t remember a single moment from the game. Visually the game does some interesting things when you’re in the water. In fact, I’d say that the game’s strongest point are the water sections. Movement there is smooth, and you feel like you’re in water when you’re in it. On land it feels like a clunky third person shooter. The animations there aren’t that great, the environments are bland, and to be honest, your character and armor looks like a rip-off of Isaac from Dead Space, complete with the glowing bar on the back along the spine.

The controls are a pretty basic set-up for a third person shooter with the keyboard and mouse. The formula is, for the most part, unchanged since the 90s with the first person shooter. The controls here though, while standard, respond slowly and at their own pace. Firing works ok, but moving around and aiming feel like you’re working through a fine layer of slime to get it to do what you want. Once you get used to it, it’s mostly ok, but it just doesn’t seem to work all that great. There’s an interesting mechanic where you harpoon things in the water and reprogram them while you hang on for dear life if it’s a drone and just wait if it’s a door lock or switch to bring in more water.

The game doesn’t lend itself to balance well. The opening sequence took me multiple tried to get through, mainly because the underwater drone firing on you near the beginning needs to be hacked by harpoon while it continues to fire at you, requiring you to manage to not be in line of sight, but you have to be so you can hack it while it’s firing on you. If this had been a demo, I’d have deleted it at this point as it was beyond frustrating. It’s an odd choice letting the drone fire on you and hit for so much damage on the easiest setting. I don’t mind a challenge, but on easy, the game should be, well, easy. Being a budget title at around $20, you’re getting a decent amount of levels for your money – if you can get the game to work and can get past the clunky mechanics.

Honestly, the switching between land and water had me interested, but the way it’s been implemented here really makes me shake my head. Then there’s the DRM which actually killed the review copy I received completely dead. Basically, every time you fire it up, it calls the server to verify your serial number, which is fine, that doesn’t bug me all that much, unless of course I have no internet, then I get pissed. But this game, apparently, tells the server that it’s a new install every time it connects to the server, so it hits that five time activation limit pretty quickly, then quits working. We were sent a patch for it. However, it didn’t work as it still tries to contact the server, only now it never gets a connection to verify the game at all. Ever. So you can’t even start the game after that. I’ve waited a full week on this without any further response from the company, so the game is a complete wash for me.

If I’d spent my hard earned cash on this, I’d be livid. Sure it’s only $20 but $20 gets me to work and back for two weeks. This is a case for how not to do DRM. I’m having the same issue with Mass Effect 3 on a slightly less annoying scale as I can actually play that one. So the balance isn’t great, it was frustrating to the point I had to turn it off and go outside, and while the water mechanic was interesting, it’s not enough to keep me playing the game. On top of that, the game doesn’t feel all that original. It feels like Dead Space with a water mechanic instead of anti-gravity. Even your lead’s suit looks like a variation of Isaac’s. Replace the Necro’s with drones and beef them up but encounter fewer of them along with some human mercs to kill and there you go. Nothing really all that new to see here.

The Scores
Story: Bad
Graphics: Mediocre
Sound: Mediocre
Control and Gameplay: Poor
Replayability: Dreadful
Balance: Very Bad
Originality: Below Average
Addictiveness: Poor
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Miscellaneous: Worthless
FINAL SCORE: PRETTY POOR GAME

Short Attention Span Summary
asheresize Deep Black: Reloaded tries to put in an interesting underwater mechanic into the third person shooter, but fails to deliver on both ends. The DRM with the game is breaking, to the point where I only got to load it five times before it quit working, and the patch we were given to fix it made it so the game wouldn’t load into menu at all as it couldn’t connect to their server. For now, until they get their DRM issues sorted out, I say avoid this at all costs. Up until the point the game quit working I wasn’t enjoying the game all that much anyway and I’d have to say if you like the idea of a guy in a suit conquering all in unusual environments, Dead Space does it better.



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Ashe Collins

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  • Blatherbeard

    This is a good reason why indie titles are making a huge comeback. DRM.

  • http://twitter.com/biart Biart

    “I’ve waited a full week on this without any further response from the company, so the game is a complete wash for me.”

    Ashe, we didn’t received any e-mails from you. Game don’t have issues with DRM.

  • http://twitter.com/biart Biart

    You can always contact us via website.

    Also if you can’t run the game (DRM issues), how you prepared this review and score?

    The Scores
    Story: Bad
    Graphics: Mediocre
    Sound: Mediocre
    Control and Gameplay: Poor
    Replayability: Dreadful
    Balance: Very Bad
    Originality: Below Average
    Addictiveness: Poor
    Appeal Factor: Mediocre
    Miscellaneous: Worthless

    It’s not clear to make review if game is not working. But if you complete the game (how you added your score for story and Replayability? ;)), why you write that game is not working?

    We wish you good luck. This is not a review. Really bad for this site.

  • http://twitter.com/biart Biart

    We will contact with insidepulse team.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexanderlucard Alexander Lucard

    Did you even read the review? Talk about a temper tantrum focused sheerly on scores.

    It’s interesting that you choose to have a public meltdown here considering Ashe was actually civil compared to most of the other reviews this game has has been subject to on other sites.

  • http://twitter.com/biart Biart

    “The DRM with the game is breaking, to the point where I only got to load it five times before it quit working, and the patch we were given to fix it made it so the game wouldn’t load into menu at all as it couldn’t connect to their server.”

    5 times? Ok. Enough for review ;)

    This review is about his “success” with DRM. If Ashe have his issues with DRM, he can always ask support. http://www.biart7.com

    No comments.

    I think it’s normal to ask him public. Why not? This guy wrote that he contacted us and waiting for a week. Maybe now he have chance to talk with us directly. Also he wrote that DRM is not working. And not only on his PC, but look like not working at all:

    “For now, until they get their DRM issues sorted out, I say avoid this at all costs. ”

    It’s not good.

    We don’t have nothing against the score, but prefer when author play the game. Based on his words about DRM, he didn’t…

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexanderlucard Alexander Lucard

    Okay, first of all, I don’t appreciate you lying about our staff or to our readers. Ashe isn’t the only one that had DRM issues with your game. That’s why nearly everyone that has reviewed it has not only crapped on it, but it’s also why the PR company attached to this game had to send out an email to review sites saying “Whoops! Sorry about the DRM.”

    “Hi all.

    We have had feedback from a number of media that they are running into DRM problems and experiencing some bugs with Deep Black: Reloaded.

    If you have recieved an error form the launcher, this problem has now been fixed and the team have released a new patch that will solve all current DRM issues. To download the patch either update the game using launcher or manually download the patch from: http://www.biart7.com/1.3.rar and then unpack in into the game directory (“C:Program FilesBiartDeep Black Reloaded”)

    Also later this week the development team will release a new patch, that introduces new DRM and fixes the camera view.

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask?

    Chris Clarke
    Freeform Communications
    Tel: 0044(0)207 4500209
    Mobile: 0044(0)7590 509278
    Email: chris@freeformcommunications.com
    Twitter: freeform_chris
    http://www.freeformcommunications.com

    ..and surprise! Neither that patch nor the one released a week later did any good.

    The fact you would have the audacity to come on here and claim your game doesn’t have DRM problems when the PR company connected to this POS had to send out multiple apologies to various sites about it has you losing any credibility you had left as a company.

  • http://gamingbus.com/ Crystal Steltenpohl

    I remember I was supposed to be in on the Beta for this months ago and write a piece on it for Gaming Bus. Had the game installed and everything and it wouldn’t run, even after I uninstalled and reinstalled it and looked for solutions online. (All I found was that other people were having the same problem.) I found that odd considering my PC is pretty top-tier. Actually, now that I think about it, I remember sending them an email for support as well, telling them what was up, and didn’t hear back. In any case, after a few weeks, I took it off my PC, wished them luck, and never looked back. Sad to hear that the game is still having issues in that department.

  • Biart

    Post the date of this message. I will pay you 10000$ if DRM is not working. Did your staff played the game?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexanderlucard Alexander Lucard

    from:

    Chris Clarke chris@freeformcommunications.com via smtp.ymlp4.net

    reply-to:

    chris@freeformcommunications.com

    to:

    pr@diehardgamefan.com

    date:

    Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    subject:

    Deep Black Reloaded Review Update

    mailed-by:

    smtp.ymlp4.net

    We’ll take our money in US currency.

    Also, I hope you’re not making that deal to every other site that reviewed the game and said the same exact thing or your company isn’t long for this world.

  • Biart_support

    Crystal, game don’t have any issues if you have internet and approved it in firewall. It can be done by any person, who have some experience with pc. It’s lie that game have issues now. Or our customers must be angry ))) visit desura and ask them about issues with drm ))) lol

    Author of this funny review is still not answered how he play the game, if he have issues with drm. Or he is simply copy-past other reviews. From gamingbus, for example.

  • Biart_support

    Did you know that if game must check internet it should be enabled in firewall? Download the game and try to have any issues with drm. Write about them to our support. We need check are you a dummy or not. If your issue is with your hands, we will post about this there.

    If you can see date of email is march 6. What is the date now? Your author wrote that game is still not working. Based on his text – still not working everywere. I think we can go to court to check is it true or not))))

    Let’s pay me 10000$ if you are lie. Ready for challenge? I think you will pass it. Another blablabla.

    Have a nice day.

  • http://gamingbus.com/ Crystal Steltenpohl

    The game was–and apparently still is–loaded with issues. I have enough experience to run any of the three other game clients that are on my PC and to fix the issues that even the tech support of the company that created my PC can’t handle. But, I, unlike this company, do not need to posture. I know what I know and I know I can run software, including every other game in my entire PC collection. Ashe has integrity and would not copy from Gaming Bus (spell the name out correctly, please); besides, even though the reviews touch on similar subjects, they are different reviews. Anyone with reading comprehension would see this. Anyone with reading comprehension would also see that he did say he was able to load up the game, and then it stopped working, not that he was never able to load up the game from the get-go (which is the problem I personally had).

    It’s sad that you can’t even do a simple Google search to see the issues that people have had. What’s even sadder is that you had to create an account in order to refute some of the reviews that came up on Metacritic. Perhaps the saddest part of all of this, however, is that you’re directly attacking reviewers who have absolutely no reason to say your game sucks unless it really does suck, and acting like they are alone, when again, a simple Google search proves otherwise. You’re accusing someone who has no vendetta against you of plagiarism, and that is disgusting. For a company that supposedly holds itself to high standards, your PR/”support” is pathetic.

    Better luck on your next game, if there is a next game.

  • Myeager

    невежественный ублюдок

  • gamingbus

    I’ve known Ashe Collins for years. Ashe would never plagiarize our work, he’s never plagiarized anyone, and if you read the review we did (where Brandon Mietzner actually *KILLED* your game, rightly so), you would notice that nothing here was plagiarized from our site. As an ex writer at this site before starting my own, I take great offence at you accusing Ashe of plagiarizing anyone’s content, especially my site’s.

  • Biart_support

    Crystal, just give me one issue. Or its also blablabla. If you will REALLY search google, you will see that users play the pirated game. By THETA group. It’s shame that you don’t see difference between cracked copy and legal copy.

    We don’t have any drm issues if user know how to enable game in firewall and install updates using admin rights. Of course if user have pirated copy, he will have issues! Because first crack don’t remove protection ))

    Lol, guys

    Question is still actual – how Ashe write his review if he have drm issues.

  • Biart_support

    Please read again my post.

    I wrote – if he can’t run the game, how he create a review? It’s impossible to play the game if you really have drm issue.

    This thread is not about score. If someone don’t see difference between arcade games and hardcore – i can’t help. Our score is between 20-90%. But it’s not important for me now.

    Two days this guy can’t answer on simple question, but he compained on our drm. I am waiting when he will write here or contact us directly.

  • http://gamingbus.com/ Crystal Steltenpohl

    Okay, now you’re just making shit up. You have no legitimate responses to anything anyone has said, so you keep piling on random statements in an attempt to deflect from the real situation, which is that you guys can’t take constructive criticism to better your product and instead resort to false accusations and denial. Like I mentioned, I know how to use a computer. Given the amount of PC games Ashe plays, it’s pretty evident that he does as well. And given the amount of problems other reviewers–many of which you have also personally attacked–have had with your DRM, the responsibility is on you to actually create a product that works and is user friendly. Lastly, given the number of times your “one question” has been answered–including IN THE REVIEW ITSELF–this proves you have no reading comprehension skills whatsoever. So, yeah, I’m done here. You guys are pathetic if this is how you run your company, especially your PR and “support” arms.

  • http://www.diehardgamefan.com Ashe

    Just because the game stopped working after loading it up 5 times does not mean that I couldn’t play it before it stopped working. I didn’t just spam load the game until it stopped, I actually went in and played the game. I played it over the course of a few days. After the fifth time loading it up, the game stopped working as it told me it had been installed on 5 machines, which was false as I’d only installed it on my laptop. After talking with Alex, we had a fix from the PR team that got us the review copy to work around it. The work around didn’t work. Instead the game wouldn’t load at all as it couldn’t connect to the servers.

    I was in fact able to install and play the game, as I mentioned in the review above that I wrote with my own words. The PR team told us there was a temp solution that didn’t work and we tried another solution later that also didn’t work. At this point I did try running the game outside a firewall, in a DMZ on my router, at a store that has no firewall on their free wifi, and so on. It didn’t work. Of course my first thought would be that it was a firewall issue as I’m not a complete imbecile, but since every other game I have, Netflix, my PSN account, and everything else is working through my firewall settings I have set up to get around it, I didn’t think that would be it after my other testing.

    It was at this point we waited for a response from the PR team and we got nothing back. I went ahead and worked on the review with what I had, hoping that there would be a fix, and there wasn’t. I went ahead with the review as it was when we got nothing back.

    Regarding your comment on plagiarism and ripping off other websites, the words I write are my own. I don’t even read other reviews for games I have to review before I work on my on version, mainly so I’m not parroting other reviewers and also so that I’m sure my own feelings on the game aren’t colored by other people’s impressions. This review is my own work, and I’d love to see you point me to a review that is verbatim to mine. The idea that I’d rip off another site, in the case of the site you mentioned, a site run by someone I consider a friend, is ridiculous and without merit.

    My experience with your game is that there are DRM issues. If you have a fix, great. At the time of the review, I didn’t have that fix and was not made aware of it. I stand by what I wrote as it’s my impression and experience with the game.

  • Biart_support

    Thank you Ashe for your answer! We sent 2 emails, but don’t received any answers.

    So it’s mean that game was not working on your PC at the time of review (~month ago) ? Because based on your “short attention” it’s mean that game is still have issues with DRM.

    We had only one issue and it was fixed month ago (March, 6).
    Bug was – on some PC’s serial can be cleared if connection to the internet was lost during “shadow” serial checking. That’s why THETA hack was not working well, because this guys don’t cracked shadow protection… So it’s a lot of pirated copies on torrents, that are not working well.

    About your email to us. We don’t received any emails. PR agency forwared some to us and we make response on all of them. Our official support address is info@biart7.com
    It’s really shock for me.

    I don’t mean that you ripp off content. I wrote ‘OR’, when Alexander tried to compare reviews with another site. I don’t have nothing against your score :) Have a nice day.

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