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The Best Parts of Black Shark
The population of Gudauta must look up and curse my existence as I pulverize everything in the place, while trying to get used to the complicated and challenging controls of a Ka-50 attack helicopter. It's so perfectly modeled that I'm sure the KGB's remnants are preparing to drop by the Eagle Dynamics offices with a bag of friendly Polonium 210 muffins.
The realism in all aspects of the presentation, physical detail, flight mechanics and physics of the Ka-50 makes this the best part about Black Shark. They actually have to provide a 380 page manual that they produced with help from Kamov (the designers and manufacturers of the Ka-50 attack helicopter) to help you, unfortunately it's heavy on facts at times but short on procedural advice.
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Parts That Could Be Improved in Black Shark
The extreme learning curve you need to successfully overcome to be able to play Black Shark is going to intimidate all but the most hardy gamers, but if you love flight simulators or games with unreal levels of realism then Black Shark may be the best you've ever experienced.
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The Graphics of Black Shark
The exacting detail of the realism in Black Shark requires an unusual level of visual detail in aspects of the presentation and Eagle Dynamics delivers here also, as every aspect of the helicopter is reproduced perfectly. The terrain depth of view is in the hundreds of kilometers, but the terrain and environmental object details are meticulous.
The blowing dust storms as you land, wonderful and satisfying visual textures of rockets and anti-tank missile explosions, and the feel of your contra-rotating dual rotors keeps you immersed in a reality that can be sensually overwhelming.
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The Sound of Black Shark
The soundtrack is dynamic in Black Shark as you're flying above the amazingly rendered landscape; energetic and definitely an addition to the immersive quality of the overall game.
The sound effects really help to immerse you once you have played the game a few times, the sound of the switches, the increasing intensity of the engine as it warms, all aspects of the audible experience appear to have been taken into consideration to increase realism of the experience and put you in the cockpit.
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Playability of Black Shark
The need to go to school before you can actually enjoy the real experience of Black Shark does take away from the playability of the game, but you do need to take this game seriously if you want to succeed. You need to take things for real because Eagle Dynamics has taken the genre to a new level of depth and realism with this game.
You begin the game on easy mode, after finishing flight school tutorials which are long-winded in-cockpit affairs that are denser than depleted Uranium. They're hard but necessary and you'll learn a lot of important stuff so take notes and pause when you need time. Once you've let go of the strings attached to the "easy flight" and "easy avionics" settings, you'll be flying on your own.
For some, it will be an interesting and engaging mixture of fully clickable analog and digital cockpit controls to learn: just the take off sequence requires 51 switches and buttons; while the ABRIS computer in the Ka-50 goes through a full boot-up procedure when you turn it on.
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Final Thoughts of Black Shark
Black Shark is an amazing experience once you get beyond the early parts of its steep learning curve, but fortunately they do provide a few aids along the way to try to lessen the shock of the realism in all aspects of flight. It is certainly the best virtual flight experience I have ever had in a cockpit and the most challenging at all levels of the game play, and if you like depth and realism then Black Shark is a game you can't miss.
However for casual gamers or for those looking for a pick up and play flight simulator then Black Shark is definitely not the game for you.