When the name Eliot Ness get’s brought up, I immediately cast my mind back to the Kevin Costner incarnation of him in the 1987 film based on and named after the real life group of special agents, The Untouchables. Now Eliot Ness is re-imagined in Blues and Bullets, a crime noir episodic action adventure, developed by A Crowd of Monsters, which explores an alternative history.
Consisting of five episodes in total, the season’s developers will be hoping to lay down a decent enough foundation in episode one to coerce gamers into ploughing their cash into further episodes over time. And here’s a minor spoiler, it isn’t half bad to be fair.
Blues and Bullets focuses on the man who put the notorious Al Capone behind bars, Eliot Ness, in a ‘what if’ kind of story. What if Eliot Ness packed it all in and settled down to work in a diner to enjoy a quiet life, only to then be required to come out of retirement to help an old enemy search for a missing child, in a time when children are going missing quite often. You must put his detective skills to the test within the fictional city of Santa Esperanza to find this child; who knows, this may lead to him solving the bigger picture!
This isn’t a tale for the feint hearted, as you’ll find out. Despite being almost entirely in black and white, anything in the colour red stands out too and there’s plenty of red to be seen. Eliot Ness is a detective by nature so, if this episode is anything to go by, be prepared to come across gruesome crime scenes, the kind that Hannibal Lector would be proud of. And this brings me to an interactive side of proceedings; investigating the scene of a crime.
You won’t be finding much difficulty when deducing the goings on based on clues you’ve found but it does at least offer a different dimension to switch things up. Like the famous Sherlock Holmes, Eliot Ness can figure out an awful lot within his head and here the player is tasked with placing clues in the correct places in order to come up with new lines of conclusion.
That wasn’t all for the interactivity though because as well as the now standard quick time events, there was a spot of third person shooting involved too. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking; in fact it was terribly simple, like a shooter from early last gen, and felt a bit odd having to pop in and out of cover with a rather simplistic aiming reticle. It was a novelty at first but soon became a drag in a second stint of bullets flying, mainly due to the second part being a pointless section.
I’m not used to the amount of input and alertness needed in the episodic story after playing many others which over indulge on the script side of things. I understand why they’ve done it though; the dialogue just isn’t interesting enough to fill the small sections as it is and so if I had to listen to much more dull speech, I’d be inclined to give up on Blues and Bullets. It doesn’t help when the tone is erratic; for example, one minute someone is being friendly and the next it’s anger, then back to friendliness. Don’t even get me started on facial expressions… they don’t seem to be the developer’s forte.
The era in which Blues and Bullets is based generally isn’t the setting I’d look for in any game if I’m completely honest. Credit where it’s due, the soundtrack immediately gives you the old America feel. Sadly the graphics leave a lot to be desired with a few odd looking faces along the way and the rest being well masked by the black and white colouring. Fortunately it is the bare spine of Blues and Bullets that intrigues me, I can’t really explain why without spoiling it but there’s a real sadistic tale that’ll unfold nicely over time, I hope.
Episode one doesn’t kick things off as well as it could have, however, if the script gets some work and then they can spread out the interactive nature better, then Blues and Bullets could be a decent series.