- Funny Throughout
- Sloppy Motion Controls
- Lack of Variation in Gameplay
- No Option for PS Move
Blue Estate, a game which was stealth released a couple of weeks ago on the PSN, is a wacky and gory rail-shooter from developers HeSaw. Based on the graphic novel by Viktor Kalvachev, Blue Estate has players filling the role of Tony Luciano, a crazy, unstable, funny, and sometimes racist gunman.
When I heard that the game was a rail-shooter, I was instantly excited, as the genre hasn’t had much life since House of the Dead days. Then, when I learned that the game uses the DualShock 4’s sixaxis controls, I was skeptical. Easily my biggest gripe with the game is regarding its sloppy controls. Tilting the controller from side-to-side to aim a crosshair at a bevy of pistol-wielding enemies is too hectic and far from comfortable. Why HeSaw didn’t at least offer the option for Playstation Move controls is mind-boggling and is a huge missed opportunity. I mean, Playstation put out a light-gun, the PS Move Sharp Shooter, a few years back that would have been perfect for this game. Granted this peripheral was for the PS3, most PS4 owners already own the camera–I don’t see why this couldn’t carry over, much like the way Wiimotes work on the Wii U. After an hour or so, my wrists started to hurt from the awkward turning. Pressing L1 centers your crosshair, a button I had to make very liberal use of because far too often, my crosshair would be completely out of sync with where I was aiming. This made for a very nauseating and frustrating experience.
Aside from the wonky motion controls, the game itself isn’t too bad. Blue Estate is ripe with slapstick, toilet humor. The jokes are plentiful and almost always hit their mark. However, there are over-used bits that grow tiresome real quick; like swiping up on the touchpad to flip Tony’s luscious bangs out of his face. Blue Estate features a timing mechanic where a circle icon appears on the enemy that is next in line to inflict damage upon you. Though lots of enemies may appear on-screen, only one or two will actually hurt you at any given time. So the trick is to shoot the enemies in the order of how the circle icons appear. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t do much to switch things up, aside from giving you new weapons to use. From beginning to end, you’ll be turning your controller to blast baddies and swiping away at the touchpad to avoid obstacles, pick up health and ammo, and punch enemies. I realize that this is basically how most rail-shooters are, but what makes games like Time Crisis and House of the Dead fun are their tight, responsive controls–something that Blue Estate severely lacks.
The game totes eight fairly short levels, each taking about twenty-five minutes to beat. Scoring points can be done in a number of ways aside from just killing everyone. Players can rack up high scores by stringing together combos for a sizable multiplier bonus, with extra points for head shots and even “nut shots.” Players are also rewarded for shooting hidden objects within the levels and for performing swipe gestures perfectly. Leaderboards are always a good way to keep people playing your games, as they try and claw their way up into the top scores. Again, with the poor controls, I don’t know how many people will be eager enough to try and bide for a top spot.
Overall, Blue Estate feels mostly like a missed opportunity. Turning and tilting the DualShock 4 left me frustrated, wanting nothing more than to use a Playstation Move controller. While I chuckled at the jokes which flew at me one after the other, I unfortunately could not get passed the wonky controls. I do hope this isn’t the last gasp for the dying genre, but rather just a misstep on the path to a more perfect next-gen rail-shooter.