In a world with motion sensing technology and the Xbox 360's Kinect module, isn't it about time a game came along that justified the need for such expensive hardware?
- Worth The Time?You're better off breeding snails.
- Things LovedNothing.
- Things HatedEverything.
- RecommendationIf you want a fitness game, buy this. If not, pretend it doesn't exist.
- Name: Blackwater
- Genre: Kinect FPS
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Developer: Zombie Studios
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Price: R415 (BT Games)
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
I knew this day was coming.
I’ve been around long enough so it was just a matter of time, but finally I have something that allows me to rid myself of the reputation I’ve accrued, of being too soft on the games I review.
This then, is Blackwater.
They’re calling it an action FPS, designed for use with Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect technology.
What it actually is, however, is a steaming pile of turd.
Blackwater is an on-rails shooter that’s kind of like the Virtua Cop and Time Crisis games of old, but designed for Kinect so there is no fancy and cool-looking gun controller in your hand. You are the controller.
To that extent, the classification of the game as an action FPS is perhaps extremely suitable since this game will give you more of a workout than anything else. But you don’t want a workout, do you? You didn’t buy this game because you thought it was the new Zumba Fitness, you bought it because you wanted to kill things while pretending you have a gun in your hand.
Actually, that you bought it at all would make you something of an idiot or just a hopeless optimist at the very least.
The fact is, the lack of a controller means that most of the action feels about as contrived as it is, and all the game succeeds in doing is making you tired without really entertaining you, like something Zumba-esque would.
Don’t have a Kinect, or just don’t enjoy jumping around? No problem, the game supports a controller as well, but good luck hitting a thing with the shoddy control system that seems to almost punish you for not getting up and off your lazy ass to play the thing using motion controls.
I needn’t say this because the pictures are enough, but the game also looks atrocious. On-rails shooters have never broken records with graphical fidelity, but at the very least give us something that looks like it wasn’t made before Quake 2. The levels and textures are bland, uninspired and telling of a game that was made for the wrong reasons.
The game’s story tells of an elite group of mercenaries who call themselves Blackwater (a ‘private security’ group that actually does exist in real life — yes, this game is based on real-life mercs but that’s about the only cool thing you’ll find here) that are attempting to protect aid workers from a villainous warlord, or something like that…
To be honest, if you manage to follow the story at all then you deserve some kind of medal, or perhaps an Achievement, because for the life of me I tried but I couldn’t hear any of the dialogue thanks to the spoken audio being far softer than the rest of the game’s sounds, and the fact that each piece of story happens for five seconds at the start of each mission.
Missions themselves are spread out over stages, with multiple paths through each stage and pretty much nothing about the game changing throughout.
There are some collectibles to be found, if you’re into that kind of stuff.
To call this game bad would be an understatement.
It fails as any form of entertainment.
You won’t enjoy the gunplay because it’s contrived, lifeless and highly inaccurate on Kinect, and if you switch to a controller you might as well use your love handles to control your shots because that way you at least might accidentally hit something. You won’t enjoy the visuals because you saw them before in 1998 and most of it is brown and ugly anyway. You won’t enjoy the audio on offer because half the time there isn’t any, and when there is you’re too busy trying to hit something to concentrate on enjoying it. You won’t enjoy the story because there pretty much isn’t one that can be understood. And finally, the AI never does a thing other than standing and aiming at you. So no fulfillment there.
If you really must play this game, let it be because you’re tired of using things like Wii Fit and Zumba Fitness and want another way to work out, perhaps to the sounds of gunshots and explosions.
If I had to rate this game as a fitness title, I might have been a bit more lenient but nobody is going to look at the cover for this game and think: “Ooh, here’s a great way to shed a few kilograms.”
And that’s exactly who I would recommend this game for.
I get that it’s not a triple-A title, but really there are so many other games developed by entirely unknown studios, that are wholly better as an experience than this (I would know, because I’m playing a few of them right now), and actually cost a bit less to boot. This game wants to charge you close to triple-A prices for an abysmal experience, and that’s just not on.
Better on Kinect? Yeah, no.