Review: Blues and Bullets, Episodes 1 & 2

There have been a fair few point-clicky style games recently, with the current generation of consoles enjoying several Telltale games as well as the fantastic Life is Strange, so the gameplay style of Blues and Bullets is one which is starting to become quite familiar to a lot of gamers who might not have enjoyed games like this before. As such games like this need something a little different in order to stand out from the crowd, and by utilising a very nicely designed Noir effect, Blues and Bullets managed to at least stand out from the crowd visually. But with some very high quality story telling already on offer, where does this sit as an overall game experience?

Eliot Ness, a well known past Prohibition Agent and a member of the The Untouchables, runs a diner called Blues and Bullets, popular with policemen and others of that ilk. In the 30s he was bringing down some of the biggest names in gangster history, but an increasing reliance on drinking brought his career to a close, right up until the point when a final case rears its head and drags him out of his early retirement and back into the thick of it. By this point it’s already clear that there’s a very solid fantasy side to this series, and the two themes of fantasy and reality blend together with a surprising coherence as the story progresses.

Episode 1 seems to be all about setting up the story by having you make various choices which, while not having a dramatic impact just yet, do feel like they might carry some weight later down the line. There’s a bit of action thrown into the mix, but you’ll mainly be looking for items and talking to people, driving on the story which is showing signs of being very impressive. There’s already lots of questions being asked, lots of intrigue, and all under this lovely black, white and red art style which does a great job of hiding the fact that some parts end up looking a little ropey upon close inspection. The soundtrack is great too, and while the spoken parts are a bit of a mixed bag the music which accompanies the action is perfect, giving that typically jazz-like feeling to quieter moments and ramping up the excitement when things start to kick off.

Moving to Episode 2 though brings a change of pace. Exploration is taken down a notch, instead replaced by more jumping between Ness’s past and present. This is a pretty cool sequence of events, and brings with it a few more gun fights and some far more disturbing investigations to carry out. The action even switches to a first person view for a very nicely put together dream sequence, allowing for more understanding of how Eliot is genuinely feeling about things and bringing out some of those buried thoughts which usually wouldn’t have seen the light of day. We get some new character to meet too, and while they’re far from pleasant they certainly add another edge to the story and opens up things nicely for the next episode.

So far then, things are shaping up nicely. I’m not going to go into detail of the storyline beyond what I’ve already said; as is usually the case with these games it’s the story which gives you the most enjoyment after all. But for those who like a bit of gritty investigation and are fans of this type of game, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

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