Review: Blues and Bullets

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Platform: Steam/Xbox One
Price: 3.59 (Episode 1), £13.49 (Complete Season)
Release date: Now

Blues and Bullets is brought to us by Spanish developers, A Crowd of Monsters and has you take control of Eliot Ness, the former leader of the legendary Untouchables. With his past well and truly behind him, or so he thinks, he is looking forward to retiring, but When children suddenly start to vanish and the police just don’t seem to care enough, he finds himself caught up in a dark mystery in a corrupt city.

The game is dark and haunting. The opening scene is nothing short of terrifying, not just because of the macabre setting and the demon like man beast that stalks the bloodied cells, but because it’s children, traumatised, kidnapped children that are his prisoners. The game doesn’t hold back on gripping you with some form of emotion from get go.

Eliot is likable and has a lot of wits about him that he’s garnished throughout his career but one thing I do not buy is that he makes his own almond extract. Nope!

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It’s clear that there’s an issue with the law enforcement, you have lazy and drunk cops in the diner giving grief over burgers. In a very interesting turn of events, Eliot’s old enemy Al Capone ends up coming to him for help, as his granddaughter has been kidnapped as well and Eliot finds himself working alongside a mafia king, to put a stop to sacrificial murder and brutal corruption.

Game-play consists of a variety such as dialogue options, similar to games like Mass Effect and Dreamfall Chapters and action based shoot outs.

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Movement is standard for a third person game though can feel slow at times, a run button would be extremely useful. Character animation is steady, though sometimes characters can be a bit too emotive with their arms, sometimes flailing them with excitement when the conversation they’re having is simple enough, but the cinematography within and around environments is executed impressively. The entire game is set in a world of black and white, where sploshes of red stand out and the entire palette is reminiscent of Sin City, meets a more realities noir vibe. The attention to detail, such as Eliot smirking at a customer and the overall quality of the final game, is a testament to what independent gaming studios can do and A Crowd of Monsters should be commended on what they’ve created here.

Gun fighting is actually quite fun, though the phrase gun fighting makes me think of men in trench coats using guns as swords. Moving on…the targeting is easy and there’s environmental objects to take out a slew of foes quickly. You’ll occasionally encounter a quick time event that isn’t too taxing.

Video Review

The music is beautifully crafted and very fitting to the dark noir theme that runs through.  A Crowd of Monsters have put care into a well journeyed opening. Voice acting is good and line dialogue is read with genuine flow.

I played most of the first episode of Blues and Bullets during a wet and grey day, with the curtains closed and a pacman light on, which felt like the perfect setting, the only thing missing was a nice glass of brandy. In short Blues and Bullets is a game with purpose in its storytelling and great effort has gone into letting the player have a chilling noir world to immerse themselves in. If mystery and storytelling, with twists and turns is your cup of tea, I’d recommend picking up this game and taking your time to enjoy it on a wet, Sunday when you have time to yourself and I’m looking forward to the next episode.

4.5/5

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