The video game adaptation of the comic book Blue Estate just suddenly arrived on the PS4 on June 25, 2014 with zero fanfare or marketing. Based on the Image comics, it’s a rail shooter with actually pretty good mechanics. Too bad everything else about the game is pretty much completely reprehensible!
It’s not a huge surprise that Blue Estate, the game, takes after Blue Estate, the comic. The comic was notable for being at the center of more than a little controversy, largely thanks to the fact that it gloried in being as obnoxious as humanly possible. It’s something that’s carried over to the game, largely to the game’s detriment.
It’s one thing to read about a bunch of hyperviolent reprehensible individuals doing what we expect them to do in a video game, and quite another to actually play through the game doing said awful acts while your protagonist spouts off racist invective. True, our “hero”, Luciano, is anything but in fact; he’s a piggish gangster through and through. But you literally get as far as the first screen of the game, and there’s a string of racist jokes about Asians on the screen in text. Great.
Game developers like HeSaw mistake being obnoxious and violent for dark comedy all the time; it’s a trend that has roots as far back as the Postal games. That doesn’t mean, though, that it isn’t uncomfortable to play, especially when the game makes no bones about its attitudes. You can’t really disguise being awful to people for no good reason as “comedy” no matter how hard you try.
The real shame? Take out the racism, sexism, fat jokes, and general stupidity, and Blue Estate is actually a pretty good rail shooter. If buying it weren’t the equivalent of getting a ticket to a Klan rally, it’d be a game worth playing.