It has been quite some time since the last time I unpacked my copy of Time Crisis 4, and looking back I don’t think I ever got the Guncon 3 to function properly with the gaming setup. As the first rail shooter to arrive on the PlayStation 4, Viktor Kalvachev’s Blue Estate forgoes the need for added accessories, by using the built-in gyroscopics of the PlayStation 4 controller (Dualshock 4).
If you are like me and never heard of the Blue Estate comic series or graphic novel before, the first thing you will notice is the dark tone of the game does not take itself seriously, at all. Developer HESAW has done a wonderful job at recreating the stylized world from the comics. Following the trigger-happy Tony Luciano, the son of an infamous crime lord in LA, Blue Estate isn’t shy about his nefarious activity and his sweet tooth for his favorite stripper, who goes by the name Cherry. When a rival gang kidnaps her, Tony goes on a shooting rampage across dragged out levels that throw wave after wave of enemies at you. In an attempt to put an end to the violence, the second playable character Clarence (an ex-Navy Seal) is hired by Tony’s father to clean up the mess.
One of the issues that many plagued PlayStation Move titles (and Wii motion plus controller) involved the loss of sync between the controller and the system. Simply hitting L1 at any time will re-center the direction in whatever direction the controller is facing. This is quite the improvement from games that required the action to be paused before making any adjustments. Tilting the controller feels natural, most of the time, but I did experience the occasional issue when trying to pull off precise shots. Turns out every time I pressed R2, the reticle moved just enough to miss a perfectly aligned headshot. While Blue Estatedoes use a slight auto aim that will snap to a target, it shouldn’t be considered a sure thing every time.
The majority of the game plays out in the typical shooting gallery style encounters that have been the standard for the genre for years, but Blue Estatedoes try to separate itself from the crowd. As you are frequently outmatched and outgunned, indicators appear showing who will be firing next, and how much time you have before they hit you. It works wonders when you find yourself surrounded, and increases the tension when you forget to reload and find yourself scrambling to not take damage. The boss battles break up the standard action sequences, attempting to provide a greater challenge, but end up being dragged out repetitive encounters. Slow motion power-ups can be triggered, given you ample amount of time to pull off multiple headshots (or nut shots) in a row.
The humor in Blue Estatecan be quite vulgar and sexual in nature; the opening title screen sets the tone for the game quite well. The very first level in the game features a well-endowed (and topless) mermaid trapped in a giant bowl of water, and a random enemy sitting on a toilet caught with his pants down (blurred out thankfully). The game tries to balance its dark tone with lighthearted humor scattered throughout. In one section, Tony falls on his ass after ignoring the “floor is wet” sign after commenting about how the guys shooting him wouldn’t take the time to clean the floor. Putting the finishing touches on the bit, while on your ass you must close doors all around you by swiping the touch pad.
One major annoyance in the game comes in the form of Tony’s hair or in Clarence’s case, a leg humping Chihuahua. The first time I experience both of them I chuckled and chalked it up to the game’s weird sense of humor. The next few times, left me annoyed more than anything else as it occurs at the worst possible moments. These require an upward swipe on the touchpad to push the hair out of the way and to launch the dog away from you.
At times enemies will throw projectiles at you which can be deflected back at them by using the touchpad or shot with your current weapon. In a similar fashion, melee attacks can be used on charging enemies using the touchpad, although a well places shotgun can get you past anything the game throws in your direction. Most of the time you will be using the default weapon, but in each level you will find a heavy weapon, such as a shotgun, machine gun, or even an assault rifle.
As the first rail shooting on the PlayStation 4, Blue Estateworks best when played with a friend, strictly for the cooperative experience. Playing through the game alone, the levels feel padded, with too many waves of the same enemies.
Note: Note: The Blue Estate review was written based on a digital PS4 version of the game.