Backlog Quest II: Day 2 – Blackwater – Why does this even exist?

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Dear Journal,

Today I played a game, based on a real life private for-hire military group that has had so much bad publicity that it has change it’s name twice since this game was released in 2011 and has paid almost 50 millions in fines for illegal arms trafficking.

So, to restate the question posed in the title of this review, why in the hell did someone make a Blackwater game?

It turns out that apparently a Blackwater co-founder sought to turn all of Blackwater’s good will into a successful video game franchise that gets players as close as they can get to being on an actual Blackwater security team.  Apparently said action is mostly spent repeating the same phrases of dialogue over and over again to your partners and calling your team leader “old man” every chance possible.

"Hey guys, we rock. Over.""Roger that. Over."

“Hey guys, we rock. Over.”
“Roger that. Over.”

Now, it should be stated that Blackwater does try to do some interesting stuff, or well it tries to do at least one interesting thing; Blackwater attempts to combine a Kinect and FPS in a game.  Featuring both Kinect controls and standard controls, it was the first game of its type to really do so. Unfortunately it fails miserably on so many levels.

Really though, a rail shooter for Kinect actually makes sense, and in the case of Gunstringer, it actually kind of worked. Ducking to take cover, motioning to reload, pointing your hand and going “bang bang” to shoot (saying, “bang bang” is of course optional). These all sound like good ideas. Unfortunately the whole damn this is hard as hell to control, and a complete lack of proper tutorial on all the controls makes it even harder. The manual gives you a breakdown, but like so many Kinect games, there is a motion involved and seeing a single, static image of what you are supposed to do is lacking.

All the excitement of standing and pointing!

All the excitement of standing and pointing!

The main reason you’ll give up on the Kinect controls though is that despite having “checkpoints” in the game, no matter how far along in a level you are, if you die you restart the whole thing. Seeing as how the game is on rails, this means repeating the exact same thing you did once before, not counting the occasional option to go a slightly different path. It is like watching the same scene in a movie two or three times. The main reason this will make you switch to the controller is that the less than perfect Kinect controls are bound to cause deaths and level restarts. It gets very old, very quick.

“You have a beard because you’re the old man in the group. Over.”

If bad gameplay and a story line that I will simply described as “Blackwater attempting to blow themselves via a video game” weren’t enough, it also looks and sounds horrible, The four main characters constantly repeat the same dialogue as you switch from one player to another, much of the dialogue is so cheesy a Packers fan might try to capture it and place it on their head come Sunday and visually the characters and locations look like cartoons. Poorly drawn cartoons.

This game shouldn’t exist, and the world would be better if it didn’t.

Tomorrow I get really angry through bad lip syncing in Asura’s Wrath

Final Rating: 2.5/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: ~ 2 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 220/1000
Price Bought at: $10
Current Price: $7.00 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $5 or less. Can you find someone to pay you to play it?
Why you should buy it: It is surprisingly “active” for a Kinect game, somewhat unique.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: It is trash, pure and simple.

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

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About Tristan Rendo

I’ve made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.