Blue Estate Review

Posted July 24, 2014 by John Newby in Video Games

Periodically, a game is released that is pure magic. The story is deep and engaging, the gameplay is entertaining, and the graphics are beautiful beyond comparison. This type of game is normally considered a shoo-in for Game of the Year awards, and critics everywhere recommend it for immediate purchase. Unfortunately, Viktor Kalvachev’s Blue Estate is the exact opposite game.

Blue Estate, based on the comic of the same name, is a light gun shooter similar in vein to House of the Dead and Area 51. However, Blue Estate uses the Dualshock 4 as the light gun instead of adding in an external weapon like the Sega Dreamcast did. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the light gun mechanics, but they functioned admirably with very few issues. Occasionally, the reticule would drift away from the enemies, but this could be fixed by tapping L1—a move that was essential to survival. In addition to the shooting, Blue Estate incorporated melee attacks and hair brushing (yes, you really brush the hair out of your eyes) using the Dualshock’s touchpad. The concept of swiping to punch is strange, but the execution is fantastic. Unfortunately, the story and tone were not as enjoyable.

Those black objects are hair. Brush it away!

Those black objects are hair. Brush it away!

Blue Estate’s campaign was focused—in theory—on a private investigator named Roy Devine, JR and his client named Cherry Popz. Devine actually served as Blue Estate’s narrator instead of being a playable character, a role fulfilled by Tony Luciano and Clarence. Tony is the son of an LA-based mob boss, and the manager of a strip club called the Smoking Barrel. When a rival strip club kidnaps Tony’s property, Cherry Popz, he decides that the only course of action is to invade the club and murder every single person inside, starting the official campaign.

The majority of the short campaign is spent in control of Tony, which is quite a shame. Tony is a stereotypical mobster, so of course he constantly yells out lines about his mother’s cooking and pasta in general. Actually, Tony never shuts up during his screen time. He repeats the same few lines ad nauseam while shooting dozens of bland enemies in regular battles and forced shooting gallery challenge modes.

One of the forced challenge modes.

One of the forced challenge modes.

Thankfully, three of Blue Estate’s levels get rid of Tony and introduce Clarence, a former Navy Seal and current contract killer. Clarence is focused more on stealth, so he refrains from constantly yelling during his levels and focuses more silent murder. However, Blue Estate’s developer He-Saw Games must have a fear of silence because they paired Clarence with two bumbling idiots who also happen to never shut up. Of course, listening to these idiots argue about reading a map is preferable to Tony’s racist/sexist comments and horribly offensive accent.

Clarence’s levels would almost make up for the rest of Blue Estate, but He-Saw decided to destroy that goodwill by including a gameplay mechanic where you have to attempt to shoot multiple enemies while a Chihuahua humps your leg. This joke wasn’t funny the first time, so obviously He-Saw decided it would be a FANTASTIC idea to keep repeating the Humping Chihuahua joke through three different levels. Don’t worry though, He-Saw kept the joke fresh by occasionally including a Chihuahua wearing a dog tuxedo.

This reliance on stupid attempts at humor is the main problem with Blue Estate. Obviously, the comic does go for a certain offensive tone, but the game takes it to a whole new level of awfulness. Every racist stereotype in Blue Estate—of which there are many—is represented with multiple ethnic jokes and extremely terrible attempts at accents. The worst example of these stereotypes is the tutorial level, which follows Tony on a rampage through a Chinese strip club as he attempts to rescue his stripper. Listening to Tony scream racist comments at “those Slants” in a faux Italian accent was enough to cause distress, but the attempts at humor did not stop there.

Blue Estate is absolutely littered with pop culture references, most of which are inappropriate, poorly timed, or simply not funny. For example, one joke came in the form of a beehive shaped like the Death Star, which was quickly pointed out by Tony. Other pop culture references included a timely Game of Thrones joke and a joke about fast Jamaicans. However, most of these jokes are only partially told because they get interrupted by a giant blue banner that pauses the game for a few moments to tell another joke about the attempted joke. These banners come courtesy of the First Person Shooter Authority, an in-game version of the FBI or CIA. Apparently, the FPS Authority is listening to Devine’s narration and cutting out whatever parts they deem boring or inappropriate. Unfortunately, the FPS Authority’s jokes about Devine and the other characters are just as terrible as Devine’s inane commentary.

A pop culture reference mixed with the FPS Authority joke.

A pop culture reference mixed with the FPS Authority joke.

To be honest, the FPS Authority may or may not be actually involved with Devine’s narration. The story of Blue Estate is incomprehensible, an unfortunate fact seeing how the game is based on a comic. Storytelling should have been a priority, but it seemed like a random afterthought. The only clear facts are that Tony owns a stripper, he hates other ethnicities, and he despises his father, Don Luciano. At some point he travels to Jamaica because of a horse.

Clarence’s story is more focused, but that is mostly based on his status as a contract killer. His objectives are “kill this ethnic stereotype, kick some Chihuahuas, and kill this other ethnic stereotype.” Incredibly deep stuff. However, Clarence and Tony don’t actually matter to the story in the end. He-Saw finishes Blue Estate’s story in a way that disregards anything that happened during the 3 ½-hour campaign.

If you truly hate yourself and everyone around, you can replay Blue Estate in a harder difficulty setting for trophies, or you can grab a friend (enemy?) and play split-screen. Searching for trophies is the only reason to replay Blue Estate, because there is no other replay value.

Blue Estate is a game that had loads of potential but failed to deliver on any of it. The terrible attempts at humor, offensive stereotypes, and fairly ugly graphics kept it from being anything more than an upsetting experience that should be avoided.

About the Author

John Newby

A random dude obsessed with coffee, blue heelers, and most nerdy things. Big fan of Star Wars, Borderlands, Arrow/Flash, and a whole lotta video games. The Saboteur is underrated, and Silverado is the best movie ever made.