Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Gunstringer - Most worthwhile Kinect game yet


Every now and again a game comes along that blows you away when you least expect it. A diamond in the rough that goes beyond anything you've seen or heard of it.

Gunstringer is just such a game, and to be very honest, I'd heard very little about it except how great a Kinect game it was supposed to be.

I wasn't sure exactly what the gameplay entailed, and I was equally in the dark as to why everyone was saying it was so good. My attention was mainly focused on other titles at the time and all news regarding it mostly passed me by. 

So on a whim I decided to purchase it to see why it was supposedly so good, and from the the moment you start the game it fails to disappoint.

Gunstringer puts you in the role of a Manipulator (Manipulator being the official term for what we would think of as a puppeteer) who controls a Marionette by the name of The Gunstringer.

The game starts with an audience watching from the seats of a theater, while the main role of the lead "actor" is manipulated by you. What's interesting about this unique approach to story-telling is that the audience remains a part of the story the entire time and is regularly shown watching while the narrator weaves his tale. The audience claps, cheers or boos depending on how well you're playing, and even the level of skill at which you progress is shown by a critics review at the end of each level.

If this sounds boring to you, you'd be very wrong, as the story is brilliantly thought out with it's take on the Wild West theme where the hero comes back from the dead to take on his old posse who betrayed him.

Each villain is well though out as well, with the first boss making me laugh due to the absolutely ludicrous and obvious name coupled with the ominous tone for a boss that you would think totally harmless. The boss's name is Wavy Tube man, like what you might see outside a shop. (The picture on the right shows what I'm talking about.)



Gameplay is an interesting mixture of on rail shooter and platformer with your left hand used for moving left and right as well as a quick pull back of your hand for jumping. Your right hand is used purely for aiming and shooting with aiming locking on to numerous enemies followed by a quick pull back of your right arm to shoot.

Obstacles such as rocks and cacti make maneuvering around more difficult and when you begin to see a large human hand in the background rolling rocks toward you, you're once again reminded that it's a play that you're in for the amusement of the audience.

Certain sections provide you with cover, where the movement of your left hand determines when you come out of cover to shoot, and on which side, while other sections have you use both hands to shoot at enemies at the same time.

These are some of the unique ways that Gunstringer mixes gameplay up to keep things interesting and unique. The controls take a short while to get used to but are very responsive, and eventually become second nature while playing.

Although the game is not heavily in the spotlight due to all the other sequels and heavy-hitters being released lately, it is certainly the best game for Kinect I've seen so far, and for those of you who haven't jumped on the Kinect bandwagon yet, it just might be the time to do so. (Yes, this game is that good.) I'm hoping this game does well, and doesn't get overlooked by the masses.

A brilliantly unique and innovative masterpiece, this game warrants the first use of a decimal point in my rating system, and would be a wise purchase for Hardcore and casual gamers alike.

9.5 / 10

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