At one point in videogame history, rail shooters and plastic guns were all the rage. From House of the Dead to Time Crisis, the gaming world just could get enough of them. Now a days thanks to the Kinect, Playstation Move and the Wii U’s tablet controller, it has become a genre that has gone the way of the dinosaur…or has it? Thanks to the PS4’s controller technology not only do you not need any additional accessories or cameras, but now you can use just the DualShock 4 as a weapon. The end result is actually pretty good even though it has a few hiccups here and there. The game that is the first to utilize the tech is Blue Estate (based on the graphic novel of the same name) as you are lead through the story by Roy Devine, a Private Eye who is telling the tale of LA’s most dangerous crime boss’ son Tony Luciano and assassin for hire Clarence. I’ll save you the time and say that the story, humor, and numerous low brow lines of dialog are really quite bad and very forgettable. So how does the ride around the tale play out? Thankfully far better than its story and is quite enjoyable while it lasts.
Blue Estate is a light gun game without the light gun and it works quite well – even when you lose your cross hair aim, you have the ability to re center on the fly with just the flick of your D pad. You literally use your DualShock 4’s built-in motion tech to move your cross hair on screen, duck with the left trigger and shoot with the right. What’s more, melee attacks and on screen actions are done by using the controller’s touch pad, so at least the developers had the use of the controller’s tech in mind when developing…and again…it works quite well. Much like a John Woo film, there are plenty of slow mo effects, explosions and a serious amount of overacting to be found, which is part of the game’s charm.
Visually the game looks quite good for a downloadable game and reminds me of the look and style of House of the Dead: Overkill. The game’s pace is fast, hidden objects are a plenty, and each level looks completely unique and original from the previous one. That also goes for the enemies and weapon types you are introduced to, which keeps the game fresh from opening scene to closing act.
The music score and voice acting on the other hand are very bad, even though I’m sure they were meant to be; but still when the jokes hit the fan, they hit hard and leave behind a nasty smell. The game’s dialog is neither funny nor well written and just falls flat and annoying as time goes on.
It’s all about high scores, head shots and nut shots here folks, and although it is a short game that will last about 3 to 4 hours, you can expect a thrill ride nevertheless. You have a great amount of weapon varieties to play around with, a diverse mob of enemy types, and even on-screen distractions that range from hair getting in your face to a leg humping chihuahua that you must contend with that helps to ramp up the game’s difficulty. Be warned, you only have a few lives through each level with no mid level saves, and each level becomes much more convoluted with enemies and incoming obstacles that will have you repeating them a few times before you have it memorized enough to complete them. Even with its short play through time, your patience may wear thin time and again, but that only heightens the satisfaction of completing the levels and eventually the game.
Sure, in the end, it all depends how much you enjoy this ever moving shooting gallery with personality, and ultimately it will be the determining factor of your purchase. For myself, I love rail shooters and while extremely corny, I couldn’t help by being impressed that I was playing this style of game with my controller and not using analog or d pad to slow down my aiming. Too bad it was centered on such a trashy story which will kill multiple play through attempts. Now if only developers will use this tech and bring back some classics, this light gun fan will be all set. If you are too a fan of this faded genre, I’m sure you will agree. I have a bad feeling this is a genre meant to be in the past and will not be welcomed by gamers who never experienced the palm sweaty goodness of these titles — and for that I say… for shame.