1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (28 votes, average: 3.18 / 5)

Blacklight: Retribution

Blacklight: Retribution is a futuristic sci-fi themed FPS game with in-depth weapon customization and a unique Hyper Reality Vision (HRV) system that lets players see through walls.

Publisher: Arc Games
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMO Shooter
Release Date: April 3, 2012 (NA/EU)
Pros: +In-depth weapon customization. +Unique gameplay (HRV system). +Fluid gameplay.
Cons:  -Few maps. -Permanent weapons are very pricey. -Limited publisher support.



Blacklight: Retribution Overview

Blacklight: Retribution is a sci-fi themed online FPS game and a sequel to the Blacklight: Tango title. The game features in-depth weapon customization and a unique cyberpunk theme which helps the game stand out among the dozens of free-to-play shooters. While players could buy weapons permanently with Zen (premium currency), free-to-play players can buy these with in-game currency if they invest enough time. Players can also call down airstrikes or enter powerful mechs called Hardsuits after earning enough Combat Points (CP) in a single round. The game also features a unique Hyper Reality Vision (HRV) system that allows players to temporarily see through walls.

Blacklight: Retribution Key Features:

  • In-depth Weapon Customization – in-depth weapon customization system that allows for over a 1000 different variations.
  • Unique Hyper Reality Vision System – unique HRV system that lets players temporarily see through walls.
  • Tactical FPS Gameplay – tactical FPS gameplay where a single headshot can take down an enemy. Gameplay reminds of Call of Duty.
  • Health Regeneration – health is regenerated outside combat up to half of maximum health.
  • Variety of Game Modes and Maps – 8 Game Modes and 10+ maps. Classic modes like Team Death Match, Death Match, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag and more.
  • In-depth Stat Tracking System – keeps track of Kills, Deaths, Accuracy, and more.

Blacklight: Retribution Screenshots

Blacklight: Retribution Featured Video

Full Review

Blacklight: Retribution Review

By Omer Altay

Blacklight: Retribution is a 3D sci-fi themed lobby-based MMO FPS game developed by Zombie Studios and Hardsuit Labs and published by Arc Games. The game originally launched on April 3, 2012 for the PC and later launched on the Playstation 4 on November 15, 2013. The two platforms maintain different servers and players. When Blacklight: Retribution arrived on Valve's Steam service, it was extremely popular and regularly maintained thousands of active players at any given time. However, the game's PC playerbase has slowly declined. Despite its declining playerbase, Blacklight: Retribution offers a unique FPS experience worth checking out for fans of the genre.

Starting Out in Blacklight

Upon first launching Blacklight: Retribution, the game may seem a little bit overwhelming, as the interface features dozens of menus and options, much more so than other lobby-based shooters. New players who are comfortable with FPS games should just click the lobby browser button and jump into a live game, while others should give the game's tutorial a quick go. Like other traditional FPS games, the control scheme in Blacklight is straight forward – WASD movement, mouse aiming, hold shift to run, and F to melee. The game also features the same game modes you'd find in most other FPS games from things like “Team Deathmatch” to “Capture the Flag.” Blacklight differentiates itself from other FPS games in its unique HRV system and in-depth weapon customization.

HRV System – Sick Wallhacks!

One key aspect of Blacklight: Retribution is its Hyper Reality Vision (HRV) system which can be toggled by hitting the “V” key during a game. The best way to describe the HRV system is a built-in “wall hack” that can only be maintained for a few seconds at a time. Since everyone has access to the HRV system, it pretty much ensures everyone knows where everyone else is most of the time, which introduces an entirely new layer of complexity to the game. HRV only lasts a few seconds before going on cooldown and players are defenseless while in HRV view. Therefore, knowing when to activate it is extremely important to be successful in Blacklight. This may seem like a gimmick but it's a surprisingly fun gimmick.

Weapon Customization

Another aspect of Blacklight: Retribution that sets itself apart from other free-to-play FPS games is its weapon customization. I know, I know, Blacklight wasn't the first game to introduce weapon customization. Free-to-play games like Combat Arms and Alliance of Valiant Arms have had weapon customization for years. Nevertheless, those games don't even come close to the amount of customization this game has. Players can literally craft their own weapons in Blacklight after selecting from one of fourteen different “receivers”, which serve as weapon types. The game has traditional Assault Rifles, SMGs, Light Machine Guns, and more. These “base” weapons, upon purchased, are permanent but do have level restrictions on them for F2P users. The M4X rifle for example requires level 15 to equip while the Anti-Material Rifle (sniper) requires level 35.

After selecting one of these base receivers, players can choose customize their weapon's Muzzle, Barrel, Magazine, Scope, Stock, Weapon Tag, and Camo. Weapon Tag and Camo are largely cosmetic, but the other components directly impact a weapon's stats. The sheer amount of variety in weapon components is impressive. The game has fourteen different “stock” and twenty different “scope” options. The weapon parts also have many different options, which allows players to have a lot of control of their weapon and boost the stats that are important to them. Weapon parts purchased can be purchased for either 1, 3, 7, or 30 days at a time. These parts can also be purchased permanently but these permanent components aren't cheap. Players need to play for A LONG time to purchase them.

Core Gameplay

The core gameplay in Blacklight: Retribution is similar to other FPS games with a few key differences. The game has a sci-fi setting, which is a welcomed change from the more generic “modern tactical” setting that most free-to-play shooters have. Like other games, players can switch between various loadouts too while free-to-play users only get two loadouts, with an additional three available for purchase with Zen. There isn't a lot of recoil in Blacklight either, so aiming at enemies from a distance is fairly easy. The graphics are great too which makes playing Blacklight quite easy on the eyes. Knowing when to use the HRV system to gain a tactical advantage is key and a surprisingly fun aspect of the game.

Where Blacklight really differentiates itself from other shoots is its Combat Points (CP) system. Players earn CP within individual games simply by getting kills, assists, and seizing objectives. These CP points can be purchased to purchase special items at weapon depots scattered across the map. Players can change what items are available in these depots outside of games, but the default includes a health refill, ammo refill, a flamethrower, a rocket launcher, and a Hardsuit. Since CP doesn't persist outside of individual games, there's no reason not to spend accumulated CP, as it increases your chances of winning.

The most notable item in the weapon depot is the Hardsuit which is also the priciest. Upon purchasing a Hardsuit, players can summon a large mech that players can control. With dual mini guns and a rocket launcher, Hardsuits are extremely powerful and can be used to mow down enemies. Playing against Hardsuits can be extremely frustrating, and I personally find avoiding them the easiest way to avoid getting killed. The best way to take down a hardsuit is to purchase a rocket launcher in the weapon depot. Since players in hardsuits can't use their HRVs, their visibility is much more limited than others making them easy to sneak hits on.

Other Unique Features

Aside from weapons, players can also purchase and equip nodes and equipment in Blacklight: Retribution. Players have 5 node slots and can be equipped with various stat boosting nodes. These nodes can be acquired simply by playing the game or purchasing them through Nodepacks in the game's store. Some nodes are just straight up better than others and those willing to open up their wallets will have access to the strongest nodes in the game giving them an edge in battle. Some nodes increase HRV duration while others increase armor and other stats. Players can also further customize their character by purchasing different helmets, body armor, boots, and camo. These do effect stats, and like weapons, are level restricted if purchased with GP (and very pricey if purchased permanently).

Cash Shop

The cash shop in Blacklight Retribution is actually quite fair compared to other free-to-play FPS games. Since normal weapons and components can be purchased permanent for GP (the game's regular currency), the only advantage to buying weapons and parts with Zen (the premium currency) is that there are no level restrictions for items purchased with Zen. Players normally need level 35 to buy the Anti-Material rifle but can equip it right away if they buy it with Zen. Since saving up enough GP to purchase numerous components and receivers can take A LONG time, many serious Blacklight: Retribution players end up purchasing some Zen. I like the fact that the permanent option is there, even though gear is very expensive. Players can purchase different “heroes” with Zen too, which are essentially pre-equipped characters. These are only available with Zen.

Final Verdict – Great

Blacklight: Retribution is a polished free-to-play shooter with a superb amount of weapon customization. The game's biggest drawbacks are its lack of map variety and extremely expensive permanent weapons and gear. Still, fans of FPS games should definitely give Blacklight a try.


Blacklight: Retribution Screenshots


Blacklight: Retribution Videos

System Requirements

Blacklight: Retribution System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: XP / 2000 / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Dual Core CPU
Video Card: GeForce 8000 series / Radeon HD2000 series
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB*

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: XP / 2000 / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Quad Core CPU
Video Card: Any Direct X11 compatible GPU with 1GB video ram or better
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB*

*The official System Requirements for Blacklight Retribution list an 8GB requirement, but based on our installation, the game takes closer to 10GB of space.


Blacklight: Retribution Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Blacklight: Retribution Additional Information

Developer: Zombie Studios and Hardsuit Labs
Publisher: Arc Games
Game Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Other Platforms: Playstation 4

Closed Beta: December 1, 2011
Open Beta:
 February 27, 2012
Steam Release Date: July 2, 2012
Official Release Date: April 3, 2012

Foreign Release:

Southeast Asia: April 9, 2014 (IAH Games)

Development History / Background:

Blacklight: Retribution was developed by American (Seattle, Washington) independant game developers Zombie Studios and Hardsuit Labs and is powered by the Unreal 3 engine. Blacklight: Retribution was first announced to the world at the 2011 E3 convention where the company also announced that Perfect World (Arc Games) would publish the game. The game launched on April 3, 2012 and, due to the game's success, a Playstation 4 version was announced on March 25, 2013. The PS4 version later launched on November 15, 2013. Zombie Studios closed in January 2015 and some of the developers there moved on to form Hardsuit Labs, which picked up development for Blacklight: Retribution.