In Gameloft’s BackStab, the gamer becomes Henry Blake, an officer in the Royal Navy currently battling the Spaniards. Immediately thrust into battle, the beginning of the game gives a good tutorial in moving and battling with your new found hero. Armed with only a sword at first you thrust and slash your way through enemies, even sparring sword to sword with them in defense. You are tutored through your companion Kane, who you follow throughout the beginning levels. The missions involve multiple weapons including cannons and pistols, all which allow for a slow reloading time, giving it more of the period feel. You can aim at targets at a distance and are even challenged with adjusting for moving enemies.
The controls are very well done, giving you the feel of a console version, complete with analog stick control and attack buttons. I especially liked that that the analog button was able to be moved depending on your thumb’s placement. This made for less mistakes when moving the character around the world. The graphics are definitely Gameloft’s best, with the opening sequence a beautiful scene to watch. The world is 3D and as you move Blake you are able to adjust the camera. Though this is a nice touch, sometimes the camera angle would would cause you to fall if it wasn’t placed right. The option of an automatic follow for the camera, or at least a way to center it behind the character would have been helpful. There are a few other glitches with the geometry of the levels and some characters floating in air, but nothing that messed with the actual gameplay.
As the storyline progresses Blake finds out his buddy Kane has flipped sides, thus the name BackStab, and Blake is captured and imprisoned. On his day of his execution he is rescued by a busty heiress and escapes. Once back in his hometown, Blake changes his appearance and becomes a rogue killer seeking revenge. The story is basic but a good one to layer gameplay on. Once in the town the world is open and Blake is free to roam around, buying goods, weapons, houses – or even getting frisky with the ladies of the night. Though be careful, not all characters are as they seem and will rob you at the drop of a hat! The open world is very familiar bringing back all the enjoyment of a Grand Theft Auto type game with the freshness of a new time period and storyline. It makes for excellent replay value as there is always more to discover. At the price of just $6.99, BackStab is a great value and is sure to keep you coming back for more.