Black Squad (previously known as Viper Circle) is a free-to-play, military-themed first-person shooter video game developed by NS Studio through a team assembled around Park Bo-Hyun, a former producer for Alliance of Valiant Arms, at South-Korea-based NS Studio. The game was released to public in 2013 but went through a complete overhaul afterwards, most notably the setting from near-future to military theme with some elements of modern warfare

Gameplay

Black Squad pits two teams, Viper Circle and Peacemaker, against each other in various game modes and maps that can host up to 20 players and “large scale” 32-player matches and allows players to call for airstrike and artillery support, based on a special skill system. In every mode you are allowed to bring three loadouts that you can swap between rounds. There is no armor, helmet or special ammo in the game yet.

Each loadout consists of one primary gun, one pistol, a melee weapon and two grenades. Primary guns vary from Sniper and Assault Rifles to Light Machine Guns and Shotguns. For melee you can use a knife, an axe and even a katana if you feel like it. Last but not least, you can choose between a flash, a smoke or a normal grenade. Once you’ve selected your loadouts and joined a game, you won’t be able to edit them until the match ends. In some desperate situations, there is also the option of picking the weapon of your dead ally or enemy from the ground.

Like every FPS your character can run, move silently, duck and jump. You can zoom with every weapon and there are walls in some maps that can be penetrated. You start the game with 100 Health points and when they reach zero you die. There is no revive or fight for your life. When you are dead it’s over until you respawn again. Range plays a huge part in the damage calculation though, making Black Squad a pretty realistic game in terms of shooting.

On top of the Headshot mechanic, there is the Between the Eyes feature that allows you to instanty kill every enemy, no matter what weapon you use, if you manage to hit them with a very precise shot in the center of their head. For every weapon there is a full list of it’s stats like Damage, Recoil, Rate of Fire etc that you can read when you are editing your loadouts. You can also equip some fancy skins that you can buy with real money from the shop or farm for hours to acquire them with in-game currency.

Online Features

Black Squad features three main game modes. Team Deathmatch is the most relaxing mode of the three, where the first team (10vs10) that gets to 150 kills wins. If the timer (15 minutes) runs out before 150 kills are completed, the team with the highest kill count will be awarded the victory. You respawn instantly after you die, there are no rounds and maps are small in order to give you non-stop action.

Demolition Derby can either be 5vs5 or 8vs8. This is a more serious mode where the first team to reach 8 round-wins, will emerge victorious. The main concept is the planting or the diffusing of a bomb. For the first 8 rounds, one team will have the role of the Terrorists. Terrorists have to plant the bomb in one of the two bomb sites and protect it until it explodes. Counter Terrorists have the job to defend the sites and diffuse the bomb if the planting is successful. In the end of Round 8, the team of Terrorists will switch to C.T. and vise versa.

In Demolition Derby each round lasts 2.5 minutes and if the timer runs out, Counter Terrorists will be rewarded the win. If you die, you will have to wait until the round is complete in order to respawn. During this time you can spectate your allies and help them via the in-game chat. This specific mode has it’s own collection of maps, that are well-tailored and more strategic that the maps used in Team Deathmatch.

Ranked Mode is similar to 5vs5 Demolition Derby with the exception that if someone leaves the game, he/she will not be replaced, although there is the option to reconnect later. When a new season begins, every player has to play 10 provisional matches in order to acquire his rank. Currently, there are six ranks (Racoon, Buffalo, Wolf, Eagle, Lion, Cobra) with three sub-ranks each.

Graphics / Sound

Maps are simple but carefully designed and every weapon has it’s own unique appearance. The movement and shooting animation is pretty smooth and you won’t encounter any graphic glitches or tears during your games. The bad news are that you will find Black Squad’s soundtrack repetitive and boring. On the contrary, combat sound effects are decent and I can guarantee you that you are going to enjoy the sound of killing some with a headshot from a close distance.

Unique Features

Black Squad does not have any unique elements to offer, but in general it’s a pretty balanced and relaxing free FPS that you can download to have fun and shoot some people.

Pros

  • Simple maps that are easy to navigate
  • Balanced weapons
  • Very small amount of bugs
  • Small ques

Cons

  • No unique elements to make the difference from other shooter games
  • Many cheaters
  • Some secondary modes are totally useless

Rating (6.5/10)

  • Online: 7.8/10
  • Gameplay: 7/10
  • Graphics: 7.8/10
  • Sound: 6/10
  • Uniqueness: 4/10

Primary Version Tested: PC

Foivos Karkanis

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