By Luke Summerhayes
Blue Estate is both offensively bad and just plain offensive. An on-rails lightgun game so desperate to be a fully-fledged first person shooter that it is willing to obscure the target enemies with an enormous on-screen gun, and so formulaic and uninteresting that it plays better with a right stick and a trigger button, ignoring the Kinect gimmickry. Played in this way, like the world's longest Call of Duty quicktime event, what is even the point?
Unfortunately, the point seems to be wish fulfilment for idiotic adolescent boys. After pressing start, the first thing the player sees is a close up of a shapely female rear, walking away from the camera towards a stripper pole. Unfortunately, this is not wildly incongruous but actually very indicative of the game to follow.
On the title menu, the ludicrously named Cherry Pop gyrates around said pole in as close to the nude as the game can approach. From this opening, the derivative crime caper bends over backwards to allow locales such as strip clubs, fights with scantily clad ringside girls and pool parties where beautiful women in bikinis cavort with fully clothed men. In the opening level, in which the player rescues their stripper girlfriend, the protagonist literally shouts things like "I'm here to take back what's mine" and "Don't steal things that belong to me." She is considered a piece of property, and nothing the game says or does dissuades this outlook. While female characters are exclusively eye candy, males are all tough guys or the occasional comically overweight man in a thong.
This is genuinely the extent of the game's so-called humour. The tale of gangland violence centered around the eponymous racehorse is told by a Private Investigator, recounting the in-game events after the fact. This allows for simple gags about unreliable narrators and one character contradicting another which would seem sub-par in an animated children's film. Here, they're the icing on a cake filled with racist comedy accents, a seemingly unironic belief that China, Japan, Mongolia and Vietnam are the same place and one-liners revolving around fat-shaming or insulting cross-dressers. The one recurring joke which might have appealed to a puerile, childish sense of humour, involving leg-humping chihuahuas, is ruined by repetition and a complete lack of surprise.
Visually, the game is competent, with destructive scenery and some impressive lighting effects, but it does nothing original or interesting, with identical enemies filling the screen and very superfluous nods to the graphic novel origins. The sound design consists of terrible voice actors performing poorly written lines and musical queues deliberately evocative of the likes of Terminator 2 or the Matrix's lobby scene. Here's a tip; when you're delivering crap, generic shooting don't deliberately remind your audience of the best action films ever made.
Blue Estate is an adaptation of a graphic novel. Presumably its intent was to promote further reading of the source material. Instead, it does more to encourage the player to renounce the written word and gather as many copies of the comic as possible to burn in a cleansing ritual, hoping against hope to remove any memory of the game from one's brain. To quote the painfully generic Italian American Gangster protagonist: Fuggedaboutit.