Last weekend I downloaded Blue Estate, the PS4 rail shooter based on the eponymous comic by Viktor Kalvachev. Having never read the comics, all I knew about the game was gleaned from this image…
A golden gun? A panther? A hot chick with FRIED CHICKEN? What could possibly go wrong!?
If you answered “everything,” you’re only half right. Here, for your reading pleasure, are the Pros, Cons, and my Meh or Yeah! on Blue Estate.
- Old-school, rail-shooter mechanics to remind you of those good-old-days hanging out in arcades playing House of the Dead. It just occurred to me that hand sanitizer wasn’t much of a thing back in those days. How many children grew ill from some arcade influenza? And how many of us are all the stronger for having been exposed to it? That’s what’s really wrong with this nation’s youth these days: lack of arcades and ready access to communicable diseases.
- Couch co-op! Why isn’t there more couch co-op, you guys? Spare me your “low ROI,” “too challenging,” “limited processing power/screen real estate” nonsense. Yesterday, Apple made a Batman version of Dick Tracy’s watch that you can put Mickey Mouse on if you want to and they’re selling it for $359. I think we can make some fucking couch co-op and find some folks to buy it.
- Intuitive use of the PS4 controller’s gyroscope for aiming. My gun’s reticle points where I’m pointing my controller! I TOTALLY GET IT.
- Somewhat novel use of the PS4’s touchpad. So that’s what that’s for!
- Horribly boring and unfunny writing. All I want to do is shoot some dudes, but instead I’m listening to this nonsense yammering. Bright side: If I could have brought myself to pay attention to this poorly-voiced stream of drivel, I’d probably have found its lazy gender and racial stereotypes pretty offensive.
- Constantly having to recenter your gun. I mean constantly. Sometimes my reticle would disappear entirely from the screen without my having moved. I’d say I recentered about as much as I reloaded and I reloaded like a motherfucker.
- Repetitive everything. Repetitive use of maps. Repetitive use of mini-game sequences. Repetitive foes. Repetitive reloading. Repetitive recentering. I swear I killed the same dude 40 or 50 times. I really began to question the nature of time and my place in it.
- Least interesting weapons ever. Your default handgun is slow, underpowered, and, as a result, requires constant reloading. “Special” weapons don’t show up until later in each level and are of the rather mundane shotgun and SMG variety. With as “zany” as this game tries to be, you’d think the developers could muster at least one salmon cannon. Hey, that would even set them up for an offensive reference to female genitalia. I just wrote this game for you!
- Using the touchpad in-game is actually bullshit. Who has thumbs this long?
- And, again, the writing. You know what was so awesome about House of the Dead? That game knew enough not to bother with extended exposition. It just got out of your way and let you shoot some dudes. And, even with the limited narrative provided by its idle screen, HotD was able to create genuine tension, urgency, and thrills. Blue Estate, by comparison, was the Simpsons’ Screamatorium of rail shooters.
Meh or Yeah!
SO MUCH MEH. Don’t be a sucker like me. Save your $19.99.
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