Blue Estate: Shoot first and… shoot some more - Games Weekly

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Blue Estate: Shoot first and… shoot some more

There’s a pretty thin line between edgy satire and insensitive idiocy, and more often than not Blue Estate falls heavily in the latter category. Despite being fitted with Kinect controls, the game is an old-school rail shooter through and through, and while it offers a couple of neat twists on the standard genre formula, it still feels firmly stuck in the past.

Players can choose to take on the game’s Story mode solo or with a friend in co-op, but either way the experience is much the same. The protagonists work their way through a series of bland environments gunning down waves and waves of identical enemies, with the occasional whack-a-mole or sequential headshot mini-game thrown in to mix things up slightly. A couple of Kinect gestures aim to add a little more personality to the tedious shooting gallery slicking back Tony Luciano’s hair when it falls across the screen for example but after a while they simply become part of the drudgery.
“Where you’ll stand on the game’s attitude will likely depend on your sense of humour”
Admittedly, Blue Estate’s gangster-revenge storyline is enjoyably wacky in parts, and though it’s hardly pushing the Xbox One hardware, the comic book aesthetic makes for a few creative graphical touches. But though there is the basis of an entertaining pulp fiction-style yarn here, it’s nigh on impossible to get past the game’s crass humour, poorly-judged dialogue and willingness to offend pretty much everybody. Where you’ll stand on the game’s attitude will likely depend on your sense of humour, but Blue Estate is definitely more of a crass Duke Nukem Forever than it is a clever Grand Theft Auto V.

It might be easier to forgive Blue Estate’s more obnoxious elements if it excelled in its gameplay, but it doesn’t. The rail shooter genre is about as antiquated as they come these days, and aside from its Kinect integration and distinctive source material, the game doesn’t really add anything new to the mix. Levels are short, but repetitive, the motion controls are floaty at best (and frustratingly unresponsive at worst), and the game is punctuated by a series of pretty awful boss battles. Completing levels in Story allows you to replay them in Arcade mode, but aside from chasing high scores and hunting down achievements there’s little reason to go back. Rail shooters are ripe for innovation this generation, but Blue Estate isn’t the game that’s going to reignite the genre.

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