Light gun games can be a hit-or-miss process when it comes to bringing them to home consoles. For every game that's done right, like the Time Crisis series on PlayStation 2, we get one that goes horrendously wrong, like the pitiful ports of Revolution X. The situation with Viktor Kalvachev's Blue Estate is a bit more critical, mainly because it's introducing the genre to the PlayStation 4, at a time when first-person shooters like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Wolfenstein: The New Order are dominant. Does this comic book-based shooter stand a chance?
Actually, yes… if you're in the mood for it.
Light gun clicks on PS4
One thing that works in favor for Blue Estate is that it absolutely refuses to take itself seriously. The game follows the actions of the trigger happy Tony Luciano, a lunatic who isn't afraid to blow apart a room full of enemies if it means saving his favorite stripper dame. The plot is sheer nonsense, sure, but at least the game acknowledges it and goes with the flow.
Instead of having you grip a PlayStation Move controller, you use the PlayStation 4 gamepad, twisting it around using its built-in gyroscopics to guide the on-screen cursor. From there, you line up your targets and fire away with the right trigger. One cool technique that the game has managed to grasp is resetting the cursor. If something falls off course, you don't need to pause the game to readjust. Instead, just press the L1 button and the cursor will center itself, letting you get right back into the action. This is a smart move, even though you're still likely to be overwhelmed by bad guys in certain spots.
The game also packs a punch when it comes to weaponry. While the gameplay tactics remain the same (point and shoot), being able to plow through charging guards with an assault rifle or a shotgun is pure bliss. Plus, they're quick to reload, unlike other games that require a few extra seconds to get the most ammo on hand.
That damn hair
However, not all the tactics work in the game's favor. There's an annoyance when it comes to Tony's hair, as it manages to drop down and get in the way of the action. The only way to get rid of it is to swipe upward on the touchpad, and, by that point, someone's ready to shoot you. While this is kind of funny the first time around, it becomes annoying each time it occurs after. Just shave your head, dude.
Blue Estate is a game that isn't afraid to go "out there" when it comes to being bizarre and raunchy. An overweight topless mermaid wiggles about through a good portion of the first stage; guys on toilets appear more often than necessary; and the first boss you'll face is an angry Asian woman with hyper-speed capabilities. And just when you think she's dead, nope. She takes her sweet time slipping into the afterlife, insulting you every step of the way. It's a bit ridiculous, but it fits the tone of the comic book.
Not a next-gen showpiece
Presentation-wise, though, Blue Estate is only so-so. There's hardly anything here that displays the power of the new generation, even though it does imitate the comic style well. Character design is off-kilter and the locales look pretty good, but you'll be running through them a few times.
The game does offer some hilarity in the voicework, between the somewhat annoying detective who narrates throughout (and is consistently interrupted by in-game messages, thankfully) and Luciano, who simply refuses to shut up when he shoots everyone. Thankfully, he doesn't grate too much on the nerves. The boss characters' voices, on the other hand, certainly do.
It won't leave you too Blue, but…
Blue Estate shows that an on-rails shooter can work efficiently on PlayStation 4. The comical violence and responsive gameplay are more than enough to give this a look, though it's probably a good idea to download the demo first and see just how much of its raunchy content you can take.
Still, that hair. Ugh.
Final Score: 6 out of 10.
This review is based on a digital code provided by the publisher. Blue Estate is available now on PlayStation 4 for $19.99. The game is rated T.