Remember light gun games? They were always the biggest draw for me on visits to arcades, with games like Time Crisis making serious inroads on my pocket money. The Wii tried to bring these into the home but, since then, there’s been a distinct drop off in the amount of light gun games on the market. Blue Estate, based on the graphic novels by Viktor Kalvachev of the same name, attempts to bring them back.
Blue Estate sees you take control of Tony Luciano, the loose cannon son of an LA crime boss, and Clarence, a hired gun. The story is delivered to you via voiceover from the narrator, a private detective hired by a stripper called Cherry Popz, and by rather attractively drawn graphic novel-esque sequences.
Aiming is taken care of via motion controls, so expect to be moving your hands and arms for the duration of your gameplay. One frustration throughout my playthrough was the repeated need to recalibrate, seemingly every 5 minutes or so. Thankfully this is a one button press process so it’s quick and simple to fix the problem when it occurs, however it can be a particular annoyance when mid-battle you realise that your aim has slipped way off course.
The title makes repeated use of Dualshock 4’s touchpad, to varying degrees of success. Swiping to pick up ammo refills, health packs, or to melee a closeby enemy seems fine, but by the 5th time I needed to flick Tony’s hair that completely blocked by view, I was quietly cursing Sony for adding a touch plate to the controller.
Make no mistake, the humour in Blue Estate is, if I’m being polite, an acquired taste.. To give you an idea, this is a title that rewards you for shooting someone in the bollocks, with a gleeful “Nutshot!” popping up whenever you’ve popped one off. While this might be slightly distasteful to some, there’s some rampant misogyny through the title which may cause issues to others, and from the very opening scene we’re treated to pole dancers and strippers. It’s also rammed full with pop culture references, such as the message saying ‘Low budget John Woo moment’ when a flock of doves appear immediately prior to a shootout. While amusing at first, these type of moments soon begin to grate.
In terms of graphics, Blue Estate is far from the worst looking game, but certainly not up there with the finest the Playstation 4 has to offer. There’s a certainly level of destructible environments, which I always like to see, plus for the most part it is bright and vivid. Character models are just a few steps backwards of realistic though, plus the enemies lack variety throughout.
Clocking in with 8 levels, each of which taking between 20 to 30 minutes to complete, Blue Estate is a very short title. Paradoxically, each level feels like it’s hung around a little bit too long, and by the latter periods of each you’ll be desperate to move onto the next.
One nice addition is two player local multiplayer. In an age where everything seems to be geared to online play, being able to sit back on a couch with a friend and play through the title is a pleasant change.
Blue Estate is unashamedly big, brash, and crass, and will appeal to those with a similarly aligned sense of humour. There’s a paucity of on rails shooters right now too so, if you’re a fan bemoaning the lack of these in your life and you like your humour a little rough around the edges, you mind find a home in Blue Estate.
MLG Rating: 5/10 Format: PlayStation 4 Release Date: 24/06/2014
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Blue Estate by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PlayStation 4. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.