Okay, I have to admit, after playing the Gunstringer demo last night, I'm officially impressed. I'm not sure if I'm still in awe of the spectacle of it; controlling a "marionette" on screen with your hand is kind of wild. And the presentation is something unconventional and weird and... yeah, just weird. Honestly, I wasn't prepared for how crass and slightly immature the cut scenes were going to be, but the game play made me quickly forgive all that.
So you play as this undead puppet that looks like a Day of the Dead skeleton. That's fun. And the mechanics of the Kinect sensor work pretty well. Aiming and shooting wasn't nearly as awkward as I imagined. After aligning the sights on one to six targets, you can flick your wrist and rip off rounds. I thought that might feel lame, but it fits with the asethetic of the game. This is something that would NOT work with a "real" shooter, mind you. Microsoft will have to adopt a pistol or rifle for any serious gamer.
The variety of game play made for a more dynamic experience. The Gunstringer is a third-person shooter, no doubt, but at points you are running towards the screen as you dodge rolling logs and prickly cactus. Other levels are designed more like traditional side-scrollers. I was laughing out loud while flinging him in the air for well-timed leaps. All of this action is accompanied by a classic Western sounding narrator that gives the game an faux-epic feel.
Little details make the game shine. The reload indecator is one of those round, red plastic cap gun six shooter things. Your option "arrow" is a floating cowboy glove. Even though this isn't a small detail in any sense, a giant, life-like hand interupts the game like the hand of God, smashing canyons and splintering trees. Craziness.
I'm not sure if I'll buy this one, but I'm definitely excited to see Kinect developers making massive leaps with the technology. Keep it weird, guys.