hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Blackwater

Blackwater: The game vs. the controversy

4:00 PM on 06.19.2011 // Chad Concelmo

Last week at E3, I had a chance to sit down ... er, stand up with Blackwater, a new Kinect-exclusive first-person shooter from publisher 505 Games. Just recently announced, the game has already caused quite the stir over its controversial title, named after the real-life mercenary group known for using some pretty hardcore tactics in the Middle East.

But, here’s the thing: I liked Blackwater (the game). I thought it was interesting and a pretty nice step forward to what can be done with the Kinect. Because of this, I wrote a preview of the game, determined to focus on nothing but the game itself, ignoring any controversy that may surround it.

But after reading my preview, it just didn’t feel fair. It wasn’t necessarily unfair to the readers or to the creators of the game -- I was still writing my honest thoughts on how the game played! -- but it ultimately felt unfair to me. I had conflicting thoughts about Blackwater the game vs. Blackwater the controversy. Why not talk about that?

Now that I have had a week to mull everything over, rewriting the preview felt like the right thing to do.

The biggest draw to Blackwater is the fact that it is an FPS game played with nothing but the Kinect -- no regular controller is used outside of your own moving body.

This intrigued me, as, up until now, there hasn’t really been a Kinect game that has done much more outside of offering a healthy variation on basic (but fun!) minigames.

Blackwater is most definitely not a collection of minigames. It is a full, retail game with a traditional single-player campaign and all the standard trappings associated with your standard FPS: shooting guns, hiding behind cover, and completing missions.

It was this campaign that had me most concerned before playing Blackwater.

In the game, you play as members of the controversial Blackwater mercenary group. What did this mean? Would I be doing everything that Blackwater has been accused of doing? Would I be reenacting incidents that took place in real life?

Mercifully, no.

In fact, Blackwater is a very generic first-person shooter starring a very generic group of soldiers fighting a very generic group of enemies. Outside of the name, I didn’t notice any connection to the Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries. (At least, in the demo I played.)

As a game alone, Blackwater is pretty interesting.

The game is on-rails like something like Time Crisis is on-rails. Movement is not completely independent. The game moves for you, only progressing forward once a group of enemies in a specific area is defeated.

To do this, players must hold out their arms and “point” at the area they want to shoot. When an enemy is targeted, a meter starts to fill up. If you manage to hold your target until the meter fills, the gun is fired and the enemy is shot.

This gameplay works pretty well, offering a healthy mixture of strategy and fast-paced action.

To dodge, players can literally lean in any direction and hide behind cover. At first, I had trouble with this, as it was tricky to point in the right place and move your body all around at the same time. With time, though, everything felt much smoother ... and with little to no lag!

On the downside, while other guns can be used, only one specific weapon can be equipped in each section -- the game chooses for you. The option to select different guns at any time would have been nice, but, given the limitations of not using an actual controller, this is understandable.

All in all, I had fun with Blackwater. It was a really intriguing Kinect-only title that really tries some new things with the hardware.

But is that okay? Is it okay to like a game that casts you in the role of a real-life mercenary group known for its controversial tactics and headline-making hearings? Even if said game only makes this connection in name alone?

I don’t know. I would say yes -- just as with another infamous, controversial scene in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it’s just a game! -- but maybe it is more complicated than that.

Are gamers supporting Blackwater by purchasing this game? Or are they supporting the hard-working people at publisher 505 Games and developer Zombie Studios? My personal feelings on Blackwater aside, I think the people at 505 Games and Zombie Studios have put together a worthy Kinect title that deserves some attention.

But is associating the game with Blackwater garnering the wrong kind of attention?

What do you think? I think this is an interesting and important conversation. What happens when a game connects itself to something controversial in real-life? Is it a bold move? A strange one? A doomed one? What if the game was exactly the same, but had a different name?

Blackwater the game is good. But can it ever be separated from Blackwater the controversy?



Chad Concelmo,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Forgot to mention that I celebrated completing Persona 4: Golden by binging on a bunch of totally in-canon doujins. Including, but not limited to, Yu on genderswap't Yosuke. [img]http://i.imgur.com/Ex0MgjW.jpg[/img]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
If you love Splatoon and Transformers you may want to check theyetee.com today. http://theyetee.com/ Let's just say the shirts are... Splatfest themed. [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/j2AnOnQvRZqustSU45JP[/img]
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
BREAKING: Dtoid is at the IGN Lara Croft Go party. You can hold live snakes because why the fuck not, but one snake is missing...
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
someone help i think i'm writing what is going to be my longest blog yet
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[url="http://nintendoeverything.com/yacht-club-on-the-shovel-knight-amiibos-origins-nintendo-on-third-party-figures/#more-216265"]Interview with Yacht Club Games that miiiight basically confirm Shovel Knight isn't getting a Nintendo boss/level?[/url]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Spent most of my day going back and playing Assassin's Creed: Unity. I really quite enjoyed it. It's a good game.
Bardley avatarBardley
Reserved my copy of The Phantom Pain today and my car died on the way back home. Thanks Konami. On the plus side, I got to ride in a tow truck to the auto shop. Felt like an elementary school field trip or something for a few minutes.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Humble Bundle End of Summer Sale! Get a free Stealth Inc. 2 maybe? I dunno. Just signal boosting for no particular reason. Maybe 'cause I got a free game? Least I could do. https://www.humblebundle.com/store
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I gotta to admit: it feels nice to be able to play a Pokemon game without thinking to myself "oh shit, I got to fill up my Pokedex". It's nice. Oh yeah, and for the record, I'm playing through Soul Silver.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I enter the Gamestop. I set a Toad plushie atop a Yoshi plushie. I set Mario to go down on Kirby. I leave the Gamestop.
gajknight avatargajknight
Niero, just killed a man, Put my dick inside his head, cummed my load and now he's dead. Niero, we had just begun, But now I've gone and thrown it all awayyyyyy. Nierooooooo, ooooooooh.
guitarvillain avatarguitarvillain
That thought sends shivers down my spine.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Lacking recording/social features aside (I actually do love that aspect of the PS4), I've been really enjoying my Xbone. Sunset Overdrive is like Saints Row meets Tony Hawk and lovingly self-aware.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wait, wasn't that Pokemon Detective Pikachu game supposed to come out this year?
sakesushi avatarsakesushi
Humble Bundle End of Summer Sale! They're doing it wrong though, putting up [url="https://www.humblebundle.com/store"]Stealth Inc. 2 for free[/url]
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
Just cleared out a whole village fultoning every single guard. I AM BIG BOSS.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Metal Gear Solid - Marriage - Revengeance [youtube]https://youtu.be/YN470wKT9PM[/youtube]
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Divinity: Original Sin 2 stretch goal lets you be a spooky skeleton. This is what I have dreamed of.
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Going on the record saying a Borderlands movie is a terrible idea.
Tubatic avatarTubatic
Watching Free To Play. I kinda want to try DOTA2, though I'll be very bad at it. Its a very good story of pro-gamer culture, so far. Good Stuff.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Blackwater


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -