Review: Blue Estate – The Game (PS4)

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Title: Blue Estate – The Game
Format: PlayStation Network Download (2.5 GB)
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: HESAW
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16
Blue Estate is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

PS Nation Review Policy.

Many of you have probably never played a light-gun game from the early NES days with Duck Hunt up to the more recent PlayStation 2 Time Crisis games. It was a brilliant game mechanic that died off along with the arcades. Yeah we had a few PlayStation Move games that quenched the desire for a while but nothing that seemed to capture the joy of light-gun gaming,

Well Blue Estate is here to try and change that, and they aren’t even using the PlayStation Move controller. With only DualShock 4 support the developers are either insane or brilliant, there’s only one way to find out which.

Gameplay:
Light-gun games need calibrating, some more than others. It can easily ruin a game if you can’t achieve precision when aiming. Older games had needed a light gun accessory and a CRT monitor which weren’t very accurate. With plasma and LCD screens came the use of an infrared optical sensor system in the Wii remote or the older GunCon 3 by Namco. Then came the PlayStation Move with built-in inertial sensors and movement tracking using a camera and I would have to say the degree of accuracy achievable with Sony’s controller is outstanding. So why would the developers choose not to even implement it? Well the simple answer, after playing for an hour or so with Blue Estate, I happily played every level with the DualShock 4.

You don’t have to pause the game and recalibrate, simply press UP or L1 and the aiming reticule re-centres itself on the screen. The brilliant part is you don’t have to be aiming the controller at the screen. It works very well and I can play for ages without arm ache from lifting a light gun up to eye level as if I’m looking down the barrel of a gun. I can guarantee there will still be people who’ll refuse to even try this game without the Move controller, which is a shame as this is one of the greats.

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So my main worry about the game has gone, and that leaves me with the story. As if it had been plucked straight from the mind of Viktor Kalvachev, the genius behind the Blue Estate graphic novels. There is pure brilliance in how this game gets away with having so many enemies to gun-down and the absurdity of what unfolds. The events that combine to make this story have already happened, this is just an account of how it all went down.

blue-estate-fps-authorityA private detective named Roy Devine is telling the story to the Federal Bureau of Procrastination (FBP) as your game unfolds. He’ll talk about how your character went to save his girlfriend and what happened that night and beyond. I’m not going to ruin anything for you, but suffice to say, it’s brilliant. On occasion the FBP will freeze the game and put an alert on screen, which is always funny and also gives a second or two to recover from the quick fire action.

Crazy and funny action fills this game to the brim. It has a varied enemy roster and a nice selection of guns, the main one being a pistol with an infinite supply of bullets but a small clip size. There’s also a devastating shotgun, or a room clearing assault rifle. Reloads are handled by pressing L2 which also sends you into cover, if there is any around. You’ll change weapons with the press of TRIANGLE and the swipe gestures on the touch pad handle anything from opening doors, knocking an enemy away, picking up items or the occasional quick time event.

Blue Estate has to be one of the few games which uses the touch pad frequently and it took a while for me to adjust, probably because it has only been used as more of a gimmick in other games. Once I got to grips with the control layout it was fine, though not my favorite part of the game in all honesty. Which brings me to the problem with almost every light gun game, the length of the story mode. In this case, it isn’t a massive game but packs in enough action and funny moments that you will definitely get your money’s worth.

Normal, Abnormal and Crazytrain make up the difficulty choices and they cater perfectly to the causal gamer all the way up to the light-gun obsessed. With eight varied and enjoyable levels I had a blast with this game and will be re-visiting them again and again to better my scores or to just hear the excellent dialogue littered throughout the game.

There are a few boss fights which are each very unique and memorable. They all follow a pattern and require some good timing and skill to overcome, which I suppose could be said for the entire game. Remembering where enemies appear and the best weapon to use is what this game is all about, so after a few tries at a level you can become quite proficient at clearing a path without even taking a hit. So it sounds like many other light gun games, but where it excels is in the dialogue and comedic qualities unlike any other.

blue-estate-cherryVisuals:
Blue Estate is filled with pole dancers, crazed psychopaths and a lot of blood. It uses the Unreal engine to great effect to make a fast paced light gun game that works very well. Even if you’re having trouble seeing the occasional bad guy, an indicator will pop-up warning you. The game has some slow motion sections, some of which need to be activated by shooting a slow-mo icon. These are great and can really show off the graphics.

Enemies and scenery react well to the gunfire and you can end up making quite a mess. This might sound strange but I like seeing an enemy being flung backward from the force of a shotgun blast, or the pillars crack and crumble away as they’re pelted with gunfire.

Seeing as most people are now fixated on numbers when it comes to talking about graphics, this game runs at 1080p and 30fps. With very distinct areas and enemies that inhabit them, it looks great. Tons of destructible scenery help give the areas more life and authenticity.

Audio:
From the character’s remarks and one-liners to the brilliant music and audio effects, I love it. Crank it up to eleven as this is part of what makes this game so damn good. It isn’t often I’ll laugh out loud at things, but with this I happily couldn’t help myself.

Gunfire is abundant so it needs to sound good, and it does. There is something strangely satisfying about a shotgun blast to a partition and hearing the wood shatter and splinter, taking out the silly fool who decided to use it for cover. Music kicks in when the action gets going and adds to the quick and frantic feel to the game. A standout section is the first boss fight and the music at accompanies it. It’s very funny and fits so well with the action on-screen.

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Online/Multiplayer:
Two player on the couch co-op is available which is definitely welcome and works well. You both have a crosshair of your own and whomever does the gestures or kills, gets the points. There are also leaderboards with the option to track your friend’s top scores, perfect for some frantic and addictive score chasing. Some online co-op play would have been nice but I can’t fault the game for not including it.

One thing I used to do with some of the older light gun games is to utilize both gun controllers, one in each hand. Sadly this is impossible with the DualShock 4 controllers. Again this doesn’t mean Blue Estate is worse off for not having the Move controller option, it just would have been nice.

Conclusion:
I struggled to find anything I didn’t like about this game. The writing and pacing is outstanding, the controls are unexpectedly brilliant and I had fun the entire time. It isn’t an overly long game and could be completed in one long sitting but the added difficulty modes, score chasing, humor and collectibles will definitely keep me coming back.

Should they include Move support at a later date? Maybe, if only to silence the die-hard light gun gamers that I know will be moaning. If for some reason you still have doubts, try the demo. Oh, and I’ll also be grabbing the graphic novels and pestering the developers to bring out some DLC, or better yet a sequel.

Score: 
9.0

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* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4. 
Video was obtained using the SHAREfactory app on the PlayStation 4 and also edited with specialized PC software.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

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  • LOVED this game when I played it at GDC. Can’t wait to play it on my PS4!

  • ChazzH69

    The Developers have informed us that they are working on Move Support following feedback from some players. But I suggest you try it now anyway as it does work very well.

  • Keith Dunn

    DAMN IT! Now I have to buy it and play it TODAY! YAY!!

  • John Davidson

    Played the demo recently but I found the aiming control awkward, always seemed to be resetting it. If they get move support nailed this can only be a good thing as it seemed like a cool game otherwise.

  • IceSamurai Dono

    I can’t lie I just wrote this game off but for that price and how crazy you make it seems. I’ll pick it up after my second play through of Walking Dead. I’m would like to ues my Move but Chazz and Glenn seem to swaer but the d.s.4.