Blues and Bullets Episode 2 Review: Gunplay Gunned Down
Greg Johnson / Apr 21st, 2016 No Comments
In the first episode of Blues and Bullets, the game introduced players to an alternate reality in which famed “Untouchable” Eliot Ness was hired to work for crime boss Al Capone. It proved to be an interesting revisiting of history in the form of a Telltale-style moral choice game.
Related: Blues and Bullets Episode 1 Review.
The second episode, Shaking the Hive dives further into the Ness’ past and weaves an incredible narrative about his hunt for a kidnapper. While the quick-time events and plot details are exciting, the game’s weaknesses start to become more apparent.
Eliot Ness’ Sordid Past
Shaking the Hive features flashbacks to Ness’ fascinating past, throwing players into his grand chase of Al Capone. The choices players must make in this episode carry much more emotional weight than the decisions in the first episode. In fact, the consequences of these choices are already felt later in the second episode. Players are left reeling when having to decide whether to kill or not to kill characters.
In the second episode, more characters based on real-life people interact with Eliot, and this alternate history narrative is the biggest draw of the game. Players will feel like an actual part of history and find that their choices have real weight. The richness of the story is mostly due to the superb writing, but the voice acting stands out in episode two, especially when attempting to maintain the willing suspension of disbelief.
Many Bullets, Many Easy Kills
The first episode of Blues and Bullets mostly involved detective work and dialogue, but Shaking the Hive features more action-oriented gunplay. Unfortunately, this exposes the static gunplay.
Every fight is visually impressive and serves a purpose to the story, but they aren’t as tense as shootouts should feel. It is incredibly easy for players with little or no shooting skills to pass these fights with limited effort.
Blues and Bullets greatest gameplay achievement is its detective work. Players actively look for clues throughout the game and attempt to tie the pieces together. Gunplay breaks up potential monotony, but many of the fight scenes in episode two are just too long. One particular shootout involving a mini-gun is needless, especially as it follows a lengthy shootout.
Episode two of Blues and Bullets has a strong narrative and great artistic direction, but developers sadly seemed to think gamers need a lengthy action sequence to care about any of this. But what the action sequences lack, episode two makes up for with heavy moral choices and quality presentation. An incredibly well-written story makes players feel like a Dick Tracy-level badass.
Blues and Bullets: Shaking the Hive was reviewed on Xbox One using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
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