2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Video Game Haiku Review – “Blue Estate”

Published: June 29, 2014, 11:20 am, by Terry Terrones

BlueEstate

Title: Blue Estate
Format: Xbox One, PS4
Price: $19.99
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: 
He-Saw
ESRB Rating: M (Mature, 17+)
The Grade: C –

Blue Estate Haiku Review

On-rails shoot’em up

 Story based on graphic novel

Too inconsistent

What’s it all about: “Blue Estate” is an on-rails shooter about a clueless private detective who’s being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Procrastination. The action in “Blue Estate” acts as a prequel to the graphic novel of the same name created by Viktor Klavachev and Kosta Yanev. The comic is full of dark comedy, vicious villains and lots of gunplay. Klavachev sites the works of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino as his inspiration for the “Blue Estate” universe.

The story in “Blue Estate” describes the fall of Tony Luciano, the only son of L.A. mob boss Don Luciano, and the rise of Clarence, a dishonorably discharged Navy SEAL, looking for a fresh start. You’re given a series of primary and secondary weapons to help make your way through perilous missions. “Blue Estate” offers the opportunity for a second player to join through a cooperative mode.

Summary: “Blue Estate” is a throw back to the glory days on-rail shooters. I played the game on my PS4 and enjoyed the clever use of the controller’s motion sensor as a targeting reticule. Moving room to room, blasting villains was smooth and easy and targeting (for the most part) was simple and rewarding. Gamers will get a kick out of popping in and out of cover, upgrading their weapons and blowing away destructible environments. The in-game story is humorous and filled with intentionally cheesy dialogue.

While “Blue Estate” does have potential, it fails to live up to it due to a lack of consistency. The targeting reticule will occasionally off calibrate, especially after pausing the game, making aiming (the key element to the game) either impossible or incredibly difficult. There were times I’d have to contort my body just to get my targeting sight onscreen. Reloading a weapon in a fast paced game needs to be done quickly, unfortunately that’s not the case in “Blue Estate.” A slow reload time wouldn’t be so bad if you could always count on doing so while taking cover, but cover is sporadically available. Using the PS4 controller’s swipe pad to open doors and pick up items is fine, but using it to wipe my hair out of my face seems like a waste. “Blue Estate” is fun when it works but its lack of reliability combined with the game’s high price point and short play through time (about 4 hours) lead to a title that can be more frustrating than fun.

Positives:
+ On-rails movement works well
+ Interesting comic noir story with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor
+ Gunplay galore
+ Clever use of the PS4 controller’s motion sensor

Negatives:
- Cover is inconsistent
- Frequent reloading is time consuming
- Motion sensor will randomly off calibrate
- High price point
- Use the swipe pad to move hair away from your face?

Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.