Skipping lines is always fun here in Leipzig, and that’s exactly what we did to get some hands-on footage for Midway’s Blacksite Area 51. Only the Xbox 360 version was playable, but it won’t differ that much from the Playstation 3. There were two missions included in this demo and they were of considerable length.
Just like many other playable titles on the show floor, this demo doesn’t start with a story introduction and throws you into the action right away. The first mission takes place in a bunch of backyards and then moves on to a more open area where you and your team mates can maneuver around a bit. Three weapons are at your disposal: A handgun, machine gun and hand grenades. With those hand grenades you can blow up certain stuff, and bits and pieces of the environment are destructible, but don’t expect too much of it. In Stranglehold, which is another Midway game, it’s better implemented and there’s way more stuff to blow up. The second level was in a large outdoor environment with lots of rocks. Not only could you walk around, but there’s also a part where you board an airship to plough down enemies from the sky.
Only one regular enemy made its appearance in the first level, and another one joined in the second level but they didn’t really leave a big impression since they were pretty dull. They’ll probably add more enemies in those levels later on, but right now if felt a bit cheap. In both levels there were a few bigger boss-like creatures however which take a lot longer to shoot down. Especially in the second level there’s a big monster that’s holding on to a raised highway (or Autobahn, since we’re here in Germany) and you have to shoot it down. This is a pretty spectacular ride and resembles the missions from Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter where you pretty much do the same.
The images and videos don’t really illustrate it properly, but the screen suffered from heavy tearing. The crappy TVs were probably to blame, but we don’t really know for sure so we won’t be too harsh. The rest of the graphics however weren’t really that special though, both environments and enemies looked way too sterile and especially the latter could’ve used a little more work from the animation department.
So far we’re not really impressed by Blacksite: Area 51, but due to the crappy TVs and lack of a variety in enemies we won’t hate on it too much. The Midway studio located in Austin still has some work to do before the game ships September 18 for the US and September 21 for Europe. It must be said however that it played better than the demo that was released on Xbox Live a while ago.