If a game designer took a quick look at me and then designed a game that would appeal to me on paper, Blue Estate would be the result. I am an overweight 18-year-old male video game fan who spends way more time alone playing games than talking to real people. So it’s fair to say that I am the stereotypical geek who lives in his mother’s basement (apart from the fact I do not, as it happens, live in a basement). Blue Estate is clearly designed to appeal to me and to the general concept of the male teenage gamer.
For starters, Blue Estate is an on-rails shooter (teenagers love shooting things!), based upon the comic series of the same name (teenagers love comics!). The general story revolves around Tony Luciano, the son of a mob boss (teenagers love gang violence!), and Clarence, an ex-Navy Seal (teenagers love tough-as-nails army guys!), who has to clean up Tony’s mess. The game starts off with Tony’s favorite hooker (teenagers love hookers!) being abducted by a rival, stereotypical Asian gang (teenagers love stereotypical Asians gangs because they are hilarious!).
To be honest, the story is really only there to give you a reason to shoot people. The plot is uninteresting and incredibly simple. There is no emotional attachment to any of the characters (because teenagers hate emotional attachment) and whilst there is the odd surprising moment the story can easily be ignored (because teenagers hate interesting and well-written stories).
Blue Estate is also riddled with ‘”jokes”, many of which are sexually related or have racists connotations (even better: teenagers really love sexist and racist humour). The odd joke here and there is quite funny but the majority either come across as purely offensive or cringe-worthy. Perhaps the only truly acceptable comic relief comes from the occasional comment from the narrator who breaks the 4th wall (because teenagers love self-aware douches like Deadpool).
The gameplay is very much what you would expect from an on-rails shooter, but Blue Estate does have a few good ideas. The most noticeable feature is the motion control scheme. After a brief calibration the Six-Axis sensors in the Dualshock 4 allow you to move the on screen cross hair by tilting the controller a small amount (which is lucky, because teenagers hate having to move a lot). Amazingly the motion controls work incredibly well: moving the crosshair feels natural and isn’t awkward at all. Being able to snap the cross hair back to the center of the screen with a quick press of L1 is also a great feature that stops you from ever losing the crosshair off screen (because teenagers hate losing their crosshair off-screen).
With movement taken care of automatically, players are only in control of shooting, reloading and taking cover with the same button, while aiming and completing quick time events with the PS4 touchpad. Even though it sounds like there isn’t much to do, the action is fast-paced and entertaining so there are only a few moments where you have nothing to do.
Another of Blue Estate’s better ideas is introducing a simple on-screen prompt to show which enemy will hit you next. This small addition makes it easier to eliminate those about to shoot you and thus avoid damage.
The 7 levels take place in numerous but somewhat random locations, however areas within each level often feel exactly the same. In the first couple of stages I initially though I was constantly going back to the same room, but upon replaying the level I discovered they were not the same, but incredibly similar.
Graphically the game is less than stellar. There is something of a stylized art direction, which is supposed to resemble the comic book, but unfortunately the visuals simply aren’t up to scratch. The voice acting is also sub-par, and the sound design is lacklustre.
VERDICT: Blue Estate’s gameplay is actually really good: the motion controls work well and the simple control scheme makes it easy to play, if a little basic. The action is always fast paced and shooting guys in the face is great fun (yes, teenagers probably love shooting guys in the face – well done, HeSaw). Unfortunately, the rest of the game lets itself down. The crass and at times disgusting humor will no doubt offend many and the poor story may result in some switching off due to a lack of interest.
If you are a teenager who likes sexist and racists jokes, enjoys not moving much and shooting people in the face, and who doesn’t care about good writing, emotional investment or self-aware douchebag narrators, then you will probably absolutely love Blue Estate. Otherwise, it’s not highly recommended – especially considering the high price tag. You were warned, young man (or woman – I’m just trying to make a point).
DECENT. A 6/10 indicates that, while this game could be much better, it still has a fair amount to offer the player. It might be an interesting title sabotaged by its own ambition, or a game denied greater praise by some questionable design choices. Don’t avoid it outright, but approach it with caution.
Review code provided by the publisher.