Blue Estate – Review

Title   Blue Estate
Developer  HeSaw
Publisher  Focus Home Interactive
Platform  Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One
Genre  Light-gun shooter
Release Date  June 24th 2014
Official Site

So here’s something right out of left field.  Blue Estate by HE-SAW (nope, me neither) is what might be described as a rampaging tale of violence and revenge that is based on an obscure comic, and comes to the PS4 with an unexpected control system. If you were to pick a genre, this is essentially a light-gun game.  Yes, that forgotten genre that peaked with the mighty Time Crisis series, before dying off sharply around the time of the PS2, is back… except this time you’re not using the light gun.  You’re not even using that blue light on the back of the Dual Shock 4.  Instead, the game uses the controller’s internal gyroscope/accelerometer (fuck, I don’t know) to control your aiming and, thanks to a smart design decision, this works rather well as long as you remember to occasionally recalibrate your controls (a function that you can carry out on the fly by simply pressing L1 or up on the d-pad).

You play as Tony Luciano who is (unsurprisingly, given his name) a bit of a mobster.  Indeed, his dad is the head of the local crime family, and when the shit hits the fan in the middle of a gang war, Tony finds himself being targeted by a small army of gangsters, along with the occasional boss character.  The story itself is the standard gangster comedy, with some memorable characters and some interesting quirks.  You’ll chuckle occasionally even if, stylistically, it seems to be a straight rip-off of House of the Dead: Overkill but with breathing baddies rather than undead ones.

The action itself is entirely on rails.  You control aiming, shooting, reloading and weapon switching.  A few QTE-style actions are mapped to the Dual Shock 4′s touch pad (such as picking up objects or reacting to environmental dangers) but movement and even the camera are pre-determined.  This is the best way to handle light-gun style games, though; when you add additional controls for movement you end up with one of those undead dog-awful Resident Evil light-gun games and no one wants that.

Set over seven stages, each clocking it at over fifteen minutes, this isn’t the longest game in the world but, equally, the on-rails nature of it means that there’s not a huge amount of variation, so you don’t want to be playing forever either.  Keeping your kill combo going is the order of the day if you want to start dropping big scores on the leaderboard and this is done by making sure you keep plugging baddies before your timer runs out. Beyond that there’s not a huge amount of resistance to you completing the game’s story. Additional weapons, set-pieces and slo-mo sections add a little spice, as do the boss battles that stay on the right side of the line between challenging and frustrating.  Having to remember to reload and recalibrate the controls every now and again is a little fussy but you’ll soon be handing that with no issues.

The bright, well-defined visuals and high quality voice work mean that Blue Estate is a well-presented title and is a good recommendation for anyone looking for something a little different to play on their PS4 (or Xbox One if that’s your thing), and two player co-op is also on offer to add a chaotic but fun additional dimension to the game.  Blue Estate may not offer the deepest gaming experience ever but, equally, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

  • Excellent controls
  • A decent, funny tale of gangster life
  • Smart, distinctive visuals
  • A little repetitive
  • Quite shortlived if you're not about trophies or online play
  • A tad pricey for a downloadable title (£16.99)

Blue Estate is a very likeable little light-gun style shooter that encourages score-based replayability, but will inevitably lose its appeal once you've conquered the story mode. The story, humour and tight gameplay make it more memorable than most things on the PS4 right now, though and the game's 'pick up and play' nature means that you'll probably find your way back to it for a quick blast, occasionally.

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