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Review

Blue Estate Review (PS4)

Comical.

The first thing you need to know about Blue Estate is that the game doesn’t take itself seriously. At all. This much becomes clear mere seconds into the comic-inspired shooter with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer carrying the following message:

“The people you are about to encounter should not be confused with heroes. They are mostly terrible people who say and do horrendous things. No one in this game is based on anyone in the real world and they should probably all be arrested.”

This is just the first of the many comical jabs developer HeSaw throws, mixing them with the occasional dumb gag and pop culture reference for good measure. It’s a bizarre combination and though some of the jokes may fall flat, these are easily over-shadowed by genuine laugh out loud moments.

Blue Estate puts players in the shoes of aspiring thug, Tony Luciano, son to one of LA’s most notorious crime lords. Disaster-prone and with a penchant for the ladies, it isn’t long before the young grifter finds himself in the middle of gang war, fighting over his prize hooker, Cherry. With the situation spiralling out of control his father drafts in Clarence, a broke Navy Seal turned gun for hire.

The story itself is far from ground-breaking: it’s your average gangland tale with a splash of dark comedy. However, the twisted cast of characters and myriad set pieces provide ample entertainment, ranging from mermaid strippers and a chihuahua cult to villains who look suspiciously like North Korean despots.

Staged across seven chapters, Blue Estate can be played alone or with a partner via local co-op. Each campaign mission clocks in at around twenty minutes, so there’s not a huge amount of content on offer. Still, as with most on-rail shooters, score-chasing plays a key part and will no doubt have players competing for a spot on the leaderboards.

blueestate1

All you need to play Blue Estate is your trusty DualShock 4 with no PlayStation Move controllers required. Sony’s updated gamepad acts as an improved substitute, the console tracking motion via the DualShock’s light bar.

Tilting the controller will move the on-screen crosshair with buttons assigned to reloading, taking cover and other contextual actions. For the most part aiming is precise and fluid, making headshots easy on both stationary and slow-moving targets. The fact that players can recalibrate their controller instantly is also a godsend compared to laborious process we had to go through with Kinect and PlayStation Move.

Blue Estate will gradually work in new systems and mechanics that help to modernise an otherwise staling genre. One of these is alert feature that signposts which enemy is about to shoot you and how long until they pull the trigger. It may sound like hand-holding though it opens the door for tactical gameplay, meaning players aren’t always dodging a hail of bullets.

blueestate2

The DualShock 4’s touchpad also comes into play and is used for melee attacks and deflecting projectiles such as bricks and molotovs. Again, it adds another bit of flavour to the gameplay though, at times, there can be too much going on. During each mission there were a handful of occasions in which I was playing twister with my fingers although these moments were short-lived. Most of Blue Estate is made up of shooting galleries but there are break-away moments including mini-games and, of course, boss battles.

It may not be the best-looking game to the PlayStation, yet Blue Estate sports some of the best art direction seen on Sony’s new console. Though not cel-shaded, the game works in graphic novel effects including vivid brushstrokes and half-tone imprints on textures. The artwork used in cutscenes is also fantastic and, if anything, will have playing scrambling for a copy of the comic book. Sadly, the audio side of Blue Estate is a mixed bag. Though the effects and soundtrack are in good order, some of the voice acting is flat and poorly delivered.

What’s Good:

  • Genuinely funny at times.
  • Terrific art style.
  • Solid, precise shooting.
  • Crazy characters, enjoyable set-pieces.

What’s Bad:

  • Quite short.
  • Can get hectic at times.
  • Priced a bit too high.

Compared to recent attempts to try and revive the on-rails genre, Blue Estate probably comes out on top. The DualShock 4 serves as a perfect replacement for PlayStation Move and, when paired with intuitive mechanics and stylised visuals, makes for a solid downloadable title.

With that said, Blue Estate’s asking price is a little steep for a game that barely stretches past the four-hour mark. Sure, there are collectibles to find and high scores to beat, though this won’t be enough to coax some into replaying the game.

Score: 6/10

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14 Comments
  1. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Don’t know what went wrong for me. I tried the demo, went through the simple calibration process and enjoyed the humour of the intro but the aiming just would not work for me. I had to face the DS4 light towards the floor just to get the pointer up on the screen. Weird because it was perfectly fine during calibration. Also no way to access calibration screen without quitting the game.

    Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 14:53.
    • rSp8
      Member
      Since: Aug 2008

      Point the DS4 at the centre of the screen and press UP on the joypad to recalibrate during the game. I also tried the demo and, despite being a fan of the Time Crisis and House of The Dead games, really couldn’t get into it.

      Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 14:58.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Cheers, i will give it another go this eve and see.

        Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 15:02.
      • R1MJAW
        Member
        Since: May 2010

        Yeah, the reticule needs re-centering quite regularly but a quick stab of L1 or up on the d-pad fixes it. It is a tad annoying at first but it becomes second nature to fix it every time you have a lull in the action (although I have found myself occasionally hitting L1 instead of L2 when trying to reload).

        Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 16:31.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Well, i’ve completed the demo now and all i can say is i pressed recalibrate almost as many times as i pressed reload. They could have at least incorporated it as a score multiplier or something..

        Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 20:52.
    • motionblur
      Member
      Since: Jun 2014

      It does NOT work by using the DS4 (DS4 light only works with camera) it works with the built in gyro sensors in the DS4, just tilt the controller in the general direction, don’t have to point, and recalibrate sometimes by pressing up on dpad.

      Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 20:42.
  2. Amphlett
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Judging by the shadow on the underside of that falling walkway (see the last insert picture), I would say that the scenery and shadows are all pre-rendered. Talking of which that machete wielding narna looks bereft of shadow as well.

    Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 16:07.
  3. MrYd
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    I tried the demo, and the game is basically just broken. It’s all very well saying you can quickly recalibrate it just by hitting up on the d-pad, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s totally broken. You shouldn’t need to do that every 10 seconds.

    Lots of people were asking for Move support on the various PS Blog posts about it. Their responses seem to be “not planning it right now” and “you can recalibrate at any time”. So they even know that the whole thing is kind of messed up and still released it.

    Now, as it seems unlikely it’s just the demo that has that problem, a 6/10 score seems far too generous. Sounds about right if you ignore that massive control problem (not too bad, entertaining enough if it’s on sale). But right now, the demo has put me off completely, at any price.

    Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 16:41.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      I played it on the show floor at Gamescom and never had a problem. Recentred the reitcule a few times, but quickly stopped trying to play like an old light gun game, where you have to point at the part of the screen you want to shoot at, and treated it more like a mouse cursor or something, where it’s all just done in relation to the previous position.

      Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 17:11.
      • MrYd
        Member
        Since: Mar 2011

        That’s what I was trying to do. Which is a nice idea, and should work fine. It’s just that it tends to drift quite quickly, and you need to rotate the controller about 90 degrees to move it halfway to the edge of the screen.

        So like an old fashioned mouse cursor. One controlled by a mouse with a ball that gets clogged up with dirt and hair and all sorts of crap to the point where you have to move the mouse somewhere into the next room to move the pointer half way across the screen.

        Yes, I’m old. I can remember when we didn’t have these new-fangled mice with lights shiny out the bottom, and you frequently had to pop your balls out to clean them.

        Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 17:42.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        Pop the ball out and take tweezers to the disgusting crud that stuck itself to the wheels. :\

        Anyway, that’s strange. I don’t remember having to move that far to aim and it felt nice and precise in the tracking to me. There might have been a bit of drift, though augmented when I shifted my standing pose, but the reset was simple enough.

        Comment posted on 27/06/2014 at 00:26.
  4. Jones81
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    ‘you frequently had to pop your balls out to clean them’, I very much enjoyed this sentence

    excuse me, it’s been a long day

    Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 18:47.
  5. motionblur
    Member
    Since: Jun 2014

    It does not use the light bar Lol, it uses the gyro sensor in DS4, just tilt in general direction no need to point at screen.

    Comment posted on 26/06/2014 at 20:45.
  6. psychobudgie
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    4 hours is the new 9 hours.

    Comment posted on 27/06/2014 at 15:02.

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