Blue Estate: The Game
‘Blue Estate: The Game’ is a game where I couldn’t tell if the developers were actually happy with the finished product, or if they were chuckling at the game’s odd and silly sense of humour so much that they failed to realise that 80% of the game is padding, 10% is genuinely engrossing gameplay and the remainder is a mix of annoying banter from the characters.
That might sound harsh, but know that this is a game I tried to enjoy fervently, but there is nothing about Blue Estate’s story or gameplay that redeems it. The only way I can recommend this game is if you are hankering for a modern on-rails shooter in the same vein as Virtua Cop, only riddled with comedic writing – with 80% of the jokes missing and about 20% landing. I guess you can blame that on the graphic novel the game is based on.
Blue Estate stars two protagonists, each getting their own share of the game’s missions. The first half of the game sees players assuming the role of Tony Luciano, an annoying stereotype of Italian-American mobsters that comes across as though Viktor Kalvachev (creator of the Blue Estate graphic novel) desperately wanted to see the what the offspring of Joe Pesci, in Good Fellas mode, and a racist prostitute was like. The result is a foul-mouthed, chauvinistic and racist twat that still manages to bore players when he’s not making a dick of himself.
The other half of the game sees players cast as Clarence, a hired gun working for Don Luciano with the objective of rescuing the Don’s prized racehorse, Blue Estate. Clarence is professional and focused – the exact opposite of Tony Luciano – and that makes him entirely boring. I wish that Blue Estate starred at least one likable character, but it doesn’t.
Throughout the game’s various missions you’ll accompany Tony Luciano as he attempts to rescue his favourite stripper, fights countless organised criminals and steals marijuana from a Jamaican plantation. Clarence will engage in shootouts in such exotic locales as a fast food chicken factory and a sewer, all while pursuing Blue Estate (the Don’s horse).
In terms of gameplay, Blue Estate is an on-rails shooter reminiscent of the arcade shooters of the 90’s like Virtua Cop and Time Crisis. What this means is that the game will do all the walking and looking around for the player, meaning they can focus solely on shooting baddies as well as finding power-ups and collectibles. This type of shooter might rub some people the wrong way but I find nothing wrong with it as it allows you to take a lot of the game’s story in – it’s just a shame that the story reeks.
One area where the on-rails style of gameplay disappoints is how the game’s characters explore the levels in a way that makes absolutely no sense. Time and time again they will revisit areas, despite shooting approximately 300 people in there 5 minutes ago. Why oh why would Tony kill everyone in the lobby of the stripclub, only to go upstairs (killing people along the way), back down to the lobby (killing more people), through the back corridors (yep, more killing), up to the penthouse (more killing still) and then back down to the f#$king lobby!?
It isn’t just the first level that commits this unforgivable sin, either – they all do it! One level takes place in a graveyard where Tony is meant to meet with a gangster for an exchange. Sounds like the two would know their way in and out of the place, right? Wrong, as what follows can only be described as a re-enactment of a Scooby Doo chase scene, only with racist slurs and gunfire.
Despite the majority of Blue Estate’s gameplay being a repetitive slog, there are rare moments where it manages to actually entertain. There are mini-games and challenges that take the player by surprise during some of the levels. Some involve shooting baddies in a certain order, other are frantic whack-a-mole scenarios, and others are a showdown where you don’t know exactly where an enemy is about to emerge from cover. Unfortunately, these moments cannot redeem the rest of the game, which at one point, just ends. Which is probably for the best, really…
Blue Estate is a game that I wanted to love, but cannot recommend to anyone – unless they want a shooter where the main focus was on foul-mouthed characters and weak jokes, instead of getting the actual shooting and action sequences done right. I can’t tell if the development team of Blue Estate shrugged their shoulders and said “meh, this’ll do” or if they simply didn’t care. It’s almost as though they’re not on speaking terms and simply sent their work to each other in large Dropbox attachments.