Blue Estate Preview

Bad hair, leg-humping mutant chihuahuas, and hard-boiled noir absurdity.

At Focus Home Interactive's booth at the Game Developer's Conference, Blue Estate was demoed right on the show floor, so creator Viktor Kalvachev seemed like an enthusiastic salesman delivering his pitch with machine-gun speed. Blue Estate is a railgun shooter adaptation of Kalvachev's Eisner-nominated comic of the same name, so he proudly showed the game running on PS4.

Narratively, Blue Estate is the fantasy story that a slobby detective tells about two protagonists, dumb mobster Tony Luciano and ex-soldier-turned hitman Clarence, who both get wrapped up in things outside of their scope. The Detective is an unreliable narrator, and we are consistently reminded of his factual inaccuracies and impossible turns by FBI-video-style warnings from "The Federal Bureau of Procrastination." This is not a game that takes itself seriously.

Still, it's fun to see how these twists affect gameplay in interesting ways. In one section as Clarence you are attacked by mutant chihuahuas that won't stop humping your leg and must be kicked off. Context-sensitive touch controls feature prominently.

On PS4 the game uses the Dualshock 4 controller as a motion-controlled light gun, with a button matched to recalibrate at any point or position to the center of the screen. Health power-ups are accessed when available by swiping across the touchpad (and while I didn't have time to ask, I would assume it uses the Kinect in a similarly dynamic fashion).

Enemies who are about to attack have a circular meter that fills up slowly, alerting you as to whom to shoot first to avoid taking damage. Occasional environmental elements, like bombs or Tony's hair (which you slick back out of your eyes with a swipe up), make the gameplay more immersive. Graphically, Blue Estate looks fantastic, from the hard-boiled dime-novel splash screens to the fun visual style mocking the over-the-top story.

Blue Estate is a rail shooter that is completely true to its absurd vision. It's expected to release in the third quarter of this year on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PS3.