Where do I start with Blue Estate? This game is crude, vulgar, shameful, shocking but above all else it is rather fun. Blue Estate is a first person, on-rail shooter. The player controllers one of two characters through story driven missions and given and insane amount of enemies to take out along the way. The game is not ground breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but what it offers it also manages to deliver; and to a very good standard of game. The overall narrative is told from a private investigator who has listened to a lady tell her story in his office, the action plays out as you play through which is being narrated; while this happens funny little warnings and explanations appear that add a lot of humour to the game.
This game is a on rails shooter for the Xbox One, and this straight away gives you two options for controlling the game; you can use the controller to navigate the cross hair around the screen, or you can use the Kinect. Now Kinect was always given a bad reputation and its biggest complaint was that nobody was creating support for the device, I feel Blue Estate actually does use the Kinect in a way that the game truly does feel “better with Kinect”.
I have played the game with both control options and I always ended up siding with Kinect because it felt like a better way to play the game overall, where one arm would be used to aim, reload, switch weapon and the other arm for collectables and gestures. While using the controller there are a lot more buttons to remember and aiming can feel rather slow if not more accurate. The Kinect aiming controls can be a little sensitive at first to try and use, but once you get into the swing of things it becomes something more like an arcade experience (as well as the sore arms).
Eventually you try hard to make every single shot a head shot though later one that does become a little difficult when enemies start to wear protective gear. In every level there are certain items to shoot to unlock bonus points and increase the overall score for the level, these can be lucky cats to flowers. During levels you can rack up a kill combo by taking out enemies before the count down runs out and resets your combo meter to zero, every kill adds one to the counter and increases the multiplier in which your score is increased by. The end of every level displays your statistics and your earned points, from this the game grades you on your performance and then asks you if you wish to repeat the level or move ahead to the next. Each level will contain a normal hand gun for your character (Tony has a custom revolver, Clarence has a tactical silenced pistol) and then a secondary gun depending on level.
Blue Estate has three main characters (although only two are playable) Tony Luciano and Clarence, these two characters are both experts in a firearm combat but have totally different personalities. The third character is Cherry, she works for Tony and is the lady who approaches the Private Investigator with the who tale that starts the game.
Tony is a maniac son of a Don, he brings on more trouble than he is worth and his out look on the world can be a little narrow minded and warped. Tony starts an entire gang war just to get Cherry back, he strolls straight into a rival club all guns blazing just to help someone he “cares” about. Clarence on the other hand is an ex-Navy Seal who is tactical, well prepared and broke as hell. He takes on a job to save his mother home; this is how he ends up fighting for Don Luciano and getting brought down to the level of stupidity that this game offers.
The characters give this game a lot more depth than you would ever expect from an on rail shooter game, the story is actually interesting and compels you to play through the game. Not only that, the game does score you on different elements from every level such as; killing, kill combos, gestures, collectables and timing. All these elements together give the game re-playability which is hard to find with a linear story game, but in this game you don’t always have to play for the story if you do not wish to. The game also boasts a two player mode, though I was not fortunate enough to test this mode out prior to reviewing.
The level designs in the game are somewhat pretty; from Chinese clubs to cemeteries and sewers, the designs are well thought out and go very well when tied together with the running story of the game. It adds to the games charm which once again is very hard to bring out in such a linear style of game.The game does contain a very comic-book style of graphics and adds to the games existing charm and lends itself to telling the story, with cutscenes displaying events in windows style common in comic-books.
Overall I say the game is fun, fast paced (sometimes too fast paced when cutscenes tell story) and just the right level of crazy that makes it incredibly enjoyable. I don’t see why fans of on rail shooters would not enjoy a game that takes the concept and rewards you with a fun and enjoyable experience. This is the type of game in which you find yourself going back to and switching your brain off and simply enjoying.
Blue Estate is out now on Xbox One.
- Central character animations are lively
- Interesting scenery
- Well performed voice work
- Accurately portrays old school arcade games
- Fairly decent soundtrack
- Aiming is lagged and often requires in-game calibration
- The use of the touchpad serves very little actual gameplay function
- Stereotypical characters that are poorly developed
- Same generic enemies and characters on each new level
- Extreme overuse of profane un-witty one-liners, and artlessly offensive racist and sexist humor
- Lengthy and repetitive gameplay
- Only 3-4 hours of gameplay for an expensive price