Blackwater – one major SNAFU

505 Games’ Blackwater is a little too old for us to review (plus we’ve already mentioned that it was one of Metacritic’s worst games of 2011) but after playing through this shoddy on-rails shooter there’s no way we couldn’t write a little something about it.

It’s one of those rare games that’s so bad it’s good. That’s providing you play it with a joypad at least – the Kinect controls are so sluggish that we gave up with them after dying several times on the first level.

The cut-scenes raised the most grins. During one a solider is trying to break down a door but to no avail. “We need to look for another way to get to the rooftop,” he says while retreating, even though the window next to the door is wide open. When the band of soldiers finally reach the roof they find that all four adjacent buildings have patrols on. The guys from Blackwater then stand around deliberating their next move while the enemy is no less than a hundred feet away, seemingly frozen on the spot and unable to attack.

In another cut-scene the main character’s voice couldn’t be heard. The next thing we did hear was a team-mate saying “Thanks, receiving you loud and clear.”

The dialogue itself is really is quite ‘special’:

“Where to next, chief?”

“Well, the hotel downtown is giving off thermal readings that are off the chart.”

It’s a hotel. It’s a place where people gather. Of course there’s a high thermal reading.

The Blackwater brigade have exceptionally good manners for a gang of paid mercenaries as well. There are no swear words at all despite it being a 16+ rated game and just about every sentence ends with ‘please’ or ‘thanks’. An attempt to boost the company’s image, perhaps? We like good manners as much as the next person, but in a game of this ilk they make every conversation seem oddly formal:

“I’ve done my part, now it’s your turn.”

“Thank you! I appreciate it!”

It gets worse. The controls are inverted by default, so when the QTE event prompts appear on the screen you actually have to do the opposite of what’s shown. How did something like that mange to escape the play tester’s attention? Grenades more often than not fail to kill an enemy even if they’re right next to the blast and sometimes enemies charge at you running at least a hundred miles per hour. It’s like watching a DVD on fast forward.

The achievements have had the same amount of thought put into them as the rest of the game. Namely, none. A little trivial perhaps, but our Gamerscrore after spending four hours with the game stood at a mere 280G. To get the rest of the achievements we’d wager you’d have to play it for at least 15 hours, which is a figure that beggars belief given the tedious nature. There are also couple of achievements for playing the eight player mode. How many people regularly have eight friends in their presence? I don’t think I could even fit that amount of people into my gaming room.

When this one drops to a fiver, which probably won’t be too long seeing as it is £9.98 at GAME at the moment, buy it, get your mates round and prepare to titter. We haven’t found a person yet who doesn’t like having a laugh at how poor a game is, and this is one of the poorest this generation.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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1 Comment

  • I miss the days when 505 Games published obscure Japanese stuff :(

    It’s interesting that one of their biggest hits, Cooking Mama, was seen pre-release as just another quirky little Japanese game that would never sell in the west, and yet it seems to be that game’s unexpected popularity that drove them towards dropping the niche stuff and seeking more mainstream success with – mostly – utter shite (like this). Funny how the games industry works sometimes.

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