E3 2011: Blackwater Impressions

by: Sean -
More On: Blackwater
Blackwater is a rail shooter for Kinect that features the security professionals from the semi-infamous company assisting the United Nations in stabilizing a fictional African nation.

Blackwater is built around a "shoot/move" concept. Think about rail shooters like Time Crisis that feature a pedal or some other cover mechanic; now take away the pedal, and take cover with your whole body. Shooting is as simple as putting the reticle on your targeting and holding it for less than half a second (in my estimation). The player rotates through each member of the four-man Blackwater team, utilizing such weapons as a sniper rifle, assault rifle, shotgun, and RPG launcher.

How did it play? I think it depends on your tolerance for genre conventions. Personally, I got tired of rail shooters back around the Virtua Cop days (think 1993). 505 seems to have utilized the Kinect technology well, and the response time to the player seeking cover was very crisp. It encourages cautious, considerate play. The pace is deliberate, but not boring, and features some opportunities for players to affect the path they take. Blow up a pile of barrels, for example, and while you may have killed a group of enemies, you've also effectively blocked what might have been an easier path. Deliberate choices make for serious consequences. 

If you're a Kinect owner and a fan of the genre, It's worth checking out. While it's not a game that's reinventing the wheel, it certainly is arranging those wheels in new and interesting ways. Look for Blackwater to hit XBLA before 2012.