Blue Estate: Prologue (PC) Review
- Looks reasonable and has some strong art styles
- Leap motion technology works well in the format
- Competent on-rails shooting mechanics
Not so much?
- Incredibly offensive to just about everyone
- Humour misses more than it hits and doesn't play well in this medium
- Doesn't always fire when crosshair is over enemy
- Leap Motion sometimes messes-up and that causes frustrations
- Voice work is patchy and narration gets old fast
Blue Estate: Prologue is an unfunny and needlessly offensive game. Its attempts at humour are worse than locker room juvenile and border on wholly offensive. It makes good use of Leap Motion through its core and competent rail-shooter mechanics.
Blue Estate: Prologue is the opening salvo for a new on-rails shooter. This shooter is based on the noir / gangster pulp based comic series of the same name.
This prologue chapter is exclusive to the Leap Motion technology platform on PC and is an indicator for the full release due in a few months time.
Blue Estate follows opens with a typical noir based voice over from private investigator Roy Devine Jr. He is visited in his ramshackle office by the exotic dancer Cheery Popz. She asks him to take a case on for her and so begins the prologue chapters.
Setting the tone right off the bat as you walk in to the Chinese owned strip club as player-character Tony you remark to the Asian hostess by the door “Are your ears crooked, too?”. You continue to spout obscenities and xenophobic quips for the duration of the two chapters on offer here. Tony despatches his enemies with glee with every encounter glorifying the murder of each successive enemy slain. It aims for the schlock-horror misogynistic tone of Duke Nukem or Shadow Warrior but manages to overshoot considerably.
Blue Estate’s attempt to be funny and hip talking ends up coming off as grating and offensive. That’s not to say there aren’t the odd funny moments here and there but in general the game is offensive in all the wrong ways. It’s treatment of female characters is possibly one of the worst I’ve experienced.
OK, so that’s the really bad parts of Blue Estate: Prologue out of the way. Now for the great part. The game looks pretty good and moves well thanks in part to the Unreal 3 engine it’s sat upon. The characters models look good and animate really well. Environments are detailed and well realised with plenty to see and hide behind when needed.
The opening animation sequence that was narrated over looked stunningly impressive and easily outshines the rest of the game. You see Cherry Popz gyrating and dancing on her pole in shadowy outline whilst large weaponry silhouettes are overlaid along with a plate of spaghetti. It looks very artsy and works fantastically well in context.
Voice acting is reasonably for the most part. Cherry Popz is more than a little wooden though. Script wise, as I’ve mentioned above, you’ll require a strong stomach and the ability to not offend easily to endure the “comedy”. The narrative noire troupe is well handled and the short onscreen freeze frame messages are sometimes smirk educing.
Playing the game replies entirely on the new Leap Motion technology. A system that has been remarked as technically impressive but lacking real games or software to show it off. I’m sure both HeSaw, developers of Blue Estate, and Leap Motion are hoping that Blue Estate will be the first title that gamers will want to come to the peripheral for. Sadly it’s not the Leap Motion that lets the side down here.
Leap Motion, for those unaware, is a small USB device that sits just in front of your keyboard or on a desk in front of you. It contains a series of cameras and IR sensors that allow it to track every movement you make from the wrist down to your fingertips – all with practically zero lag. It’s like a super-effective Kinect for just your hands.
In Blue Estate you simply point a finger at the screen and a cross-hair appears. You then move around the screen with your finger to shoot enemies. At key points you can take cover which you accomplish opening out your hand flat. Curling it back in again allows you to pop out from cover again. Reloading is handled by pointing down to the floor. Changing weapon is a swipe left or right and pause is handled by you placing both open hands palm down in the sensor’s effective zone.
It all works pretty well to be honest. There were a few instances of lag that crept in and at times you would suddenly lose the cursor or the transition across the screen would be intermittent. Getting the Leap Motion to recognise some of the rapid gestures that occurred during play was hit and miss at times leading to frustration in mission health pack (picked up by swiping a designated direction) or missing a chance to reload.
As a proof of concept and a showcase for Leap Motion Blue Estate: Prologue provides a moderately entertaining 45 – 60 minutes of game play. As with all on-rails shooters your mileage may vary dependant on your enjoyment of that genre of shooter. As a fan of those games I’m more inclined to their charms.
Blue Estate: Prologue is an unfunny and needlessly offensive game. Its attempts at humour are worse than locker room juvenile and border on wholly offensive. It makes good use of Leap Motion through its core and competent rail-shooter mechanics. It’s treatment of other cultures and females in general are some of the worst I’ve seen in a video game and perhaps should be addressed before the games full release later this year. I realise the comic relies on this dark pulp-mobster comedy but in the game it seems to play badly and miss more than it hits.
That said the core game is reasonable enough to give some solid entertainment and the Leap Motion technology proves to be interesting and responsive once again. The on-rails nature of the game plays to the Leap motions strengths well and would provide more than a reasonable excuse to test out the technology.
Blue Estate: Prologue is currently free on Leap Motion’s Air Space store and as such would be worthy of a download as games of this ilk are not exactly well catered for on Leap Motion.
If you’re looking for an on-rails shooter there are countless better ones on the market for the PC, but none with such a unique control scheme. If you have a Leap Motion then you have a reason to look this one up but it’s still not the “killer app” the technology needs to get noticed. If you’re a fan of the comic series then perhaps you’ll be more forgiving of the dark humour in the game.