After watching a trailer for the rail shooter Blue Estate on the PlayStation 4, I was mildly interested in the game. I haven’t played a rail shooter in a very long time, and this one seemed to have the kind of funny, raunchy story which I usually enjoy. I later found out it is based on a comic book series, which I will likely check out at some point. So, let’s see if this has any substance to it at all, shall we?
The basic story follows the fall of Tony Luciano, the only son of mob Boss Don Luciano. Being a complete moron, he starts a war with Sik Brothers gang. When their stripper friend Cherry Popz is kidnapped, the problems only escalate as the Eastern European mobsters steal the million-dollar ransom for the Don’s prized race horse, Blue Estate.
The story has plenty of twists and turns, and Tony is the dumbest human being you will ever meet. He is racist, sexist and really just an adrenaline junkie. You meet others along the way just as crazy and dumb as he is. So, yeah, this story and its content will likely offend certain people. It even has a hilarious disclaimer at the front of the game. Fortunately, I’m not “certain people,” and found it pretty hilarious and entertaining, for the most part, at least.
Graphically speaking, while this is not the best-looking game on the PS4, it’s not too shabby, either. The environments and enemy models look fairly nice and detailed. For example, each indoor environment will have many lighting details, smoke or other effects. The game runs at a nice frame rate, and everything looks nice and smooth.
The sound work is pretty good, as well, and there is a lot of voiced dialogue to be found here. I thought the voices fit the characters for the most part and added to the craziness of this tale. The sound effects of gunfire and stuff breaking in the environments all sound good and the music fits the game. It is upbeat and gets you ready for a firefight. That is, if you can hear if over the sound of you cursing the controls.
Now we get to the not-so-great part of the game; the controls. You aim with the motion sensors in the DualShock 4 controller. When the game starts, you are asked to center the controller on the screen and press X, then tilt it to hit targets in the corner of screen. This centers your crosshairs. You can re-center it any time while playing by simply pressing Up on the D-pad. However, this is just not accurate enough to play a game like this. Half the time, you cannot get the crosshair to go as far right or left as you need quickly enough, and the rest of the time you’re pressing Up every two minutes to re-center it. This was simply not a good way to go with this.
If you can manage to get used to the controls (which you can after a long struggle), you will find this has all the basics of a decent rail shooter. Press the L2 button to reload and duck behind cover, if there is any, and the R2 button to shoot. Enemies come in many forms. Some you will have to shoot in certain spots to kill. You can shoot things in the environment at times to take out a group of enemies like fire extinguishers that explode. There are other power-ups you can find along the way, like an item that slows time if you shoot it, or much-needed health most of the time. Boss battles can be crazy as the bosses are just as nuts as Tony. These battles will require a bit of trial and error to see what works best, which mostly consists of finding where to hit them to do the most damage or figuring out the trick to damaging them.
One other thing to mention about the gameplay is that you will sometimes see arrows on the screen. These can be for many reasons, such as if you’re close enough to melee kill an enemy, throw back an item or press a button. All you need to do when you see the arrows is swipe your finger across the DualShock 4’s touchpad in the correct direction. While, most of the time, this is not a big deal and does break up the shooting a bit, having to wipe Tony’s greasy hair out of his face during a firefight is annoying. You’re already fighting with the aiming controls… is that really necessary?
While your default weapon , the pistol, never runs out of ammo, it does have to be reloaded after so many shots. This wouldn’t be an issue if the aiming wasn’t completely terrible. There are other weapons in the game that do not require you to be as accurate and do more damage. They work much better and, when you have those, you can have some fun playing, but those weapons run out of ammo and then you’re stuck using the pistol a lot. They really should have made the pistol do a bit more damage and not have to be as spot-on.
As with all rail shooters, you are guided along the stage shooting everything till the boss at the end. Some stages will take longer to complete than others, and, if you run out of lives, you will have to start the entire stage over again. You get five lives on the normal difficulty to start with, if you run and continue, the game will give you an extra one for your next try.
While I don’t think Blue Estate is a terrible game, I don’t think it is a good one, either. The controls are really a mess and take much of the fun out of it. I did enjoy the story and the over-the-top characters, but the struggle with gameplay was too much for that to overcome. It will take you around five to six hours to complete the game. It does have some higher difficulty settings (if you haven’t punished yourself enough with the controls), leaderboards, and two play co-op. For the price of $14.99, I could really only recommend this the the most hardcore rail shooter fans that like a bit raunchy in their story and don’t mind some horrid controls.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.