Blackwater – Game Review (Kinect)

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Take control of the members of an elite military contractor squad thrown into the fray… and then die horrifically for not being able to aim properly.

First I should commend Zombie Studios and 505 Games. I’ve been begging the world to make a shooting game for the Kinect for a while now and they were one of the first to step up to bat with a serious title. The problem is I’ve played other shooter games like Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Halo: Reach recently which really makes this game pale in comparison. So credit for trying in a new medium, but I think the Kinect shooter genre has a few things it needs to learn.

Being able to aim on the screen with your hand is a cool feature that has been played with for decades starting back with the old light gun games for the NES and in the arcade. The NES Zapper, the Super Scope 6, the Menacer, the guncon, and many more came around with a handful of games for each to allow us to try our hand at aiming for real. Some of them even allowed for amazing accuracy. Now, however, we seem to have regressed. Instead of a gun that you wave around, you wave your hand around. You don’t even get to decide when to fire. You just put the cursor over a bad guy, and a second later, it fires a few rounds on its own. This doesn’t make you feel like you are part of the game. This makes you feel like the spotter for the sniper instead of the sniper himself. This disconnect immediately bothered me. The biggest reason I play games is to take the role of the character.

The gameplay does get a little better when you realize that you are capable of ducking and dodging with your actual body movement, but immediately goes back to feeling disconnected when you pop out to shoot. They do have a few other times that you feel connected when, for example, you kick in a door or jump out a window. The other annoying factor is lack of checkpoints within a level. Since you are having issues being able to trace and kill the enemies in an efficient manner, it starts getting very boring when you have to replay the level from the beginning after getting raped by terrorist bullets.

The animation was a bit shoddy and not very grabbing. The dialogue is entirely cringe-worthy. I’m sorry but, “I’m riding shotgun WITH a shotgun!” is just plain sad.

Here’s my suggestion to all Kinect developers out there. Start with a game like <a

GRAPHICS: 55%
SOUND: 60%
GAMEPLAY: 40%
OVERALL: 52%

Police 911. It’s a rail shooter so you don’t have to do weird stuff like running in place to move forward or swapping guns. All you need is a simple light gun with a trigger. Keep your movement style that you’ve got now (lean to get behind a corner, duck to hide below a table, etc.) because that’s golden. I spent upwards of $3 to $5 on that arcade game and I’d be willing to pay for a full game of the same.

I love you Kinect, but there are some things in life that require buttons.

Editors Note: You Experience may, or MAY NOT be like in the below trailer.

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