Blue Estate is a rail shooter developed by HE SAW and adapted from the graphic novel with the same name by Viktor Kalvachev. The game first launched on June 24 2014 on PS4 and made it to PC on April 8 2015.
The story follows two characters: Tony Luciano, the lunatic son of the LA Italian mafia leader Don Luciano, who has constant hair gel problems and Clarence, an ex-Navy Seal now a gun for hire due to the fact that he is broke. A horse and a lot of chihuahuas also play a huge role.
The story is narrated from Roy Devine Jr.’s perspective, a private detective who oddly enough, despite not being present there, talks about the action like he was in the middle of it. He also makes constant remarks about what goes through the protagonists’ minds. The narrator often gets off-track with the storytelling and goes on and on about pointless things, luckily the game stops a lot of his annoying blabbing using amusing producer’s commentary.
The game starts with Tony Luciano assaulting the Sik Brothers gang in an attempt to rescue Cherry Popz, his best dancer, and because of Tony’s actions things blow out of proportions into a full out gang war. As Tony goes to Jamaica, after he messed up things even more and couldn’t recover Blue Estate, his father’s horse, Clarence is hired by Don Luciano to clean up the situation, but not everything goes according to the plan.
The story feels like a satire of a 70s or 80s mafia movie. Looking from a serious perspective the things that happen in this game could be terrifying and no character is even remotely close to the hero type, but the tension is constantly broken through black humor (it is everywhere!) with many references to pop culture. The narrative makes use of 2D animations with an interesting artistic design to describe the story in a way that feels closer to a graphic novel and this is part of the game’s charm. Sadly, Blue Estate’s length barely beats the one of long movie and leads to an abrupt conclusion leaving things in the air while hinting to more action as Tony returns from Jamaica. I’m not sure if the game will get some DLCs or a sequel to continue, but for those interested to see the full story the graphic novel seems like a good alternative and the first three episodes come free with the game purchase.
|That looks about right!|
|I liked Deus Ex: Invisible War!!!|
|Don't get fooled this is a dangerous guy!|
The gameplay in Blue Estate is simplistic enough and alternates between intense shooting and small QTEs to dodge attacks and avoid obstacles.
The game mechanics are what to be expected from a rail shooter, which for those who don’t know, means that the player is limited to move around the screen while the game follows its own route. It is a shame that the game comes with an aim assist feature that cannot be turned off.
The monologues and especially the narrative moments have great comedic value and make the gameplay feel more story driven, which is good as it might get monotonous at times to just shoot everything in sight.
Arcade elements like score and combos are something to be expected from a rail shooter and contribute to the replayability of the game. Keeping a combo multiplier going can be difficult and probably only the best and dedicated players will get a clean run. Each beaten level is followed by a score screen which takes into accounts many variables and a new harder difficulty is unlocked. Replaying missions on higher difficulties for a better score is what extends this game lifetime as it is an appealing feature for those that like to compete with themselves.
To make the gameplay more fun, during each missions there are challenges included which can be completed for extra points. The game also emphasizes good aiming and timed shots so waiting until the last milliseconds of a combo and delivering a headshot award more points. There are slow motion events to help when the action goes out of control, but these moments also underline how great the shooting can be in this game.
I found it strangely fun to shoot for score and I didn’t think these arcade features will be so enjoyable, but they caught me. I tried my best to keep my combos running and get the highest scores.
|Don't look at the chihuahuas! Look at my combo multiplier!|
|I'm getting better!|
|Slow motion fun!!!|
A feature that impressed me in this game is the destructible cover, which I didn’t expect to see in this type of game. There are first person shooters released in the last couple of years that lack badly on physics, yet this game has body and environment physics. Dead enemies slide breathless on the stairs and those still alive can hardly find a place to hide as many of the walls and decoration can be blown to pieces. It is a great feeling to unload a weapon and destroy everything in sight (I sound like a psychopath, don’t I?).
While there are only two to three weapons per level, overall, Blue Estate offers a good variety of firearms. From a golden desert eagle, to a hand canon magnum and even a SCAR (my favorite weapon), the game makes sure that the player will have enough toys to play and have fun with.
|My all time weapon of choice|
|You can't hide from me!|
Despite scoring big on physics, Blue Estate shows weakness when it comes to graphical fidelity. Unreal Engine 3 does show its age and is a little disappointing as this game deserved better graphics. But even so, the artistic direction is spot on and there are some detailed models in the game, including weapons, some of the environment and naked women (oh yeah!). Judging by the price tag of 13$, the game looks good enough, but I can’t stop imagining how it would have looked using Unreal Engine 4 (maybe in the sequel?!).
|On a second thought, the graphics look pretty good!|
Blue Estate does make up for the graphical fidelity with great sound design. The firearms sound great and the overall sound effects are impressively good. A big plus is the voice acting, which is on par with the humorous action and theme of the game.
|Pulp Fiction deja vu!|
My experience with on-rail shooters is limited and arcade games are not my favorite, but getting used with the style of the genre wasn’t hard especially because the controls work smoothly and it can be played just with the mouse, which is quite relaxing (the game also supports a wide variety of controllers).
Overall, Blue Estate is an irresistible mix of shooting, violence, sexual content and old school style humor. I enjoyed this game and after Rambo The Video Game fiasco last year, Blue Estate does justice to this genre and I’m rooting for a sequel.
(This article is based on a press copy of the game provided by the developer.)
+ Amusing characters, dialogues and plot
+ Satisfying shooting
+ Good voice acting, music and sound effects
+ Loads of action
+ Replay value
- Average graphics
- Average graphics
- Some bugs
- No way to turn off the aim assist