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E3 '11: Hands Off: Black Water


Among the titles 505 Games had on display at E3 was a shooter called Black Water for the Kinect for Xbox 360. I thought I'd give it a try, just to see how they made it work. While there are some moments where you can choose a direction to go, it is an on-rails shooter. And you don't have to worry about pumping your fist to fire or anything, the game automatically fires your weapon once you've held the reticule on an enemy for a second or two. Reloading is as simple as pulling your arm off-screen for a moment. But what I found most intriguing was the game's use of cover. As you move from scene to scene, you'll find yourself leaning to the side in order to hide behind walls, crates, and whatnot to avoid enemy fire. It works surprisingly well, once you get used to physically ducking instead of wanting to push a button!

I was surprised at how much fun I was having blowing bad guys away, especially when during one of the times when you can make a choice of direction and I opted for the sniper. I've always loved pulling off headshots on guys who don't even know you're there. So satisfying. The motion controls are also used to jump to rooftops, pull yourself up onto ledges or walls, and kick in doors or enemies. I found that it worked quite well, and I had more fun than I'd expected moving through the level. Oh, and though it's on-rails, it's not like Time Crisis or anything where the enemies just pop out. They act appropriately, taking cover themselves, and will even be placed randomly every time you play, so that will help with replayability.

While the graphics aren't anything overly spectacular, they're good enough, and Black Water is shaping up to be an intriguing FPS for Microsoft's motion controller. We'll see when the full game is released, probably later this year.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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