A Crowd of Monsters (studio)
05 October 2015 (released)
06 October 2015
It’s not often we’re brought a hard boiled noire epic of murder and redemption with an artistic flare that’s inspired by likes of Frank Miller’s stylised nightmares. Blues and Bullets could be that epic we've been longing for since the days of L.A Noire. This is the first episode from the five part series inspired by classic Noire fiction and films.
Blues and Bullets pays homage to the classic Noire tale with a dark and haunting artistic style wrapped around a disturbing set of events. Inspired by real life events, but alters many factors to bring a new story that involves the great Eliot Ness, the same man who did everything to bring down Al Capone and lost everything in the process. Now we see his struggles with the aftermath and his attempts to living a quiet life. But now, Ness is dealing with a difficult decision and has been asked by his nemesis Al Capone to take on a harrowing case of child murders. Touching on themes of abuse, murder, redemption and revenge that overall gives a provocative and engaging narrative that endlessly gripping from start to finish.
Blues and Bullets indeed amount to the same calibre as L.A Noire with its flawless pacing and incredibly intense atmosphere helped by a creative series of events and set pieces. It’s a difficult job to create a satisfyingly engaging Noire tale but A Crowd of Monsters does a great job at creating a game with substance and personality. However we’re treated to some naff moments where the dialogue is cheesy and some strange, dream sequences are placed within the game to give us more of understanding on Ness. I did enjoy the visually striking and over the top moments where the game takes a U-turn and goes into something literally from Frank Miller’s deranged head.
In terms of advancing the narrative, the design involves multiple choices for the player to make. These range from minor dialogue choices, simple actions that could engulf a customer’s cheeseburger with chilli sauce or even to punch your fearful nemesis Al Capone in the face. You may find yourself questioning some of the choices presented in the game as many lack any substance or meaning to the player or the world of Blues and Bullets. Overall, adding little to the development of the narrative or to have an impact on the end of the first episode. However, this may all add up in the later episodes of the series and this is only the first part.
Blues and Bullets is indeed a game of that offers a diverse range of gameplay types and interactions, enough to keep a majority of players invested and entertained. Giving players the chance to engage with story driven set pieces, exploration in open areas, crime scene investigation and even some cover based shooting. So there is a vast amount to keep players away from repetitive gameplay. But Blues and Bullets keeps things elegantly simple without really going too in depth with what we get. Subtracting any intelligent and thought provoking puzzle elements when players go investigating crime scenes, rather to collect items and put all the pieces together fairly easily. Yet there is still charm and wonder to discovering vital clues, learning the outcome of the situation and observing the creative and gruesome deaths you unluckily find on your travels.
The cover based shooting is nothing compared to the epic levels of Gears of War, but breaks up the structure of the game with some visually striking action packed segments. It has to be said; even though the artistic style is aesthetically pleasing, the game does look a little dated for a next gen title. It’s something more from the Xbox 360 library rather than an Xbox one title.
Blues and Bullets is not without its flaw and suffers from a slight case of over saturation when it comes to player choice. But it’s without a shadow of a doubt, an incredibly well-crafted game loaded with charisma, a mature edge to story telling with some pretty entertaining gameplay and set pieces. Blues and Bullets is definitely worth checking out whether you a noire fan or love games with a great story and some engaging game design.
An Xbox One copy of blues and Bullets was provided by A Crowd of Monsters.