HomeReviews‘Blues and Bullets’ is a Brutal and Stylish Adventure

‘Blues and Bullets’ is a Brutal and Stylish Adventure

Narrative-driven games have seen a huge boom in the last few
years. From the many titles being worked on by Telltale Games to the
recent horror title Until Dawn, if you’re looking for a good
yarn, then gaming is a great place to look right now. Since Telltale
seems to be snatching up all of the licensed stories, other developers
have had to get more creative. Enter developer A Crowd of Monsters with
their new adventure game Blues and Bullets. Taking real life
historical figures and building an interesting and brutal noir story,
this is one episodic tale worth checking out.

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‘Blues and Bullets’ is a Brutal and Stylish Adventure

Following real life government agent Eliot Ness, one of the men responsible for jailing gangster Al Capone, Blues and Bullets
is an episodic adventure game that rewrites history. After falling on
some hard times, Eliot Ness opens a diner called Blues and Bullets. One
day, a man comes in to inform him that Al Capone needs his help to find
his missing granddaughter. Without revealing much more about the story,
the case ends up being much more nefarious than it seems at the outset.
The game also appears to be in some sort of alternate historical
timeline, but I’ll let you discover my reasons for thinking that on your
own.

Choices often play a big part of games like this one. Blues and Bullets
is no different as there are many different action and dialogue options
throughout this first episode. In a similar fashion to the Telltale
adventure games, they even keep track of what they view as your most
important choices on a main menu option. You can even see how popular
your choices were amongst other players. At least in this first episode
though, most of the choices I made didn’t feel particularly important.
After making my choice it became clear that a similar outcome would have
happened regardless, with just some slightly altered dialogue. That
being said, I still enjoyed being able to shape my Eliot Ness how I
chose and I would be willing to bet that several of those choices will
come back later.

‘Blues and Bullets’ is a Brutal and Stylish Adventure

Most adventure games do one of two things: they either stick solely
to guiding conversations and making choices or try to be a little of
every kind of game. Blues and Bullets takes the latter approach
and while it doesn’t nail and one of these systems, the different tasks
break up the action in a way that keeps the game flowing forward. You
might find yourself in a shooting section at one point, hiding behind
cover and firing at gangsters, and then investigating a murder the next.

The shooting section in this game, while incredibly beautiful and
stylish, controls poorly. To hit enemies, you need to be aiming, but
they can only shoot you during that time and your reticle disappears
when you go behind cover. The damage you take auto-heals and it’s
actually pretty hard to die, but it could have been improved. The
investigation gameplay is much better, but not without it’s flaws. As
you investigate every little thing, you gain clues, which you then use
to answer several questions on your investigation board. This reminded
me very much of the Frogwares Sherlock Holmes games if you’re having
trouble picturing it. Everything is very easy to find and you there is
no penalty for getting something wrong on your board, which is again insrcc
direct service of keeping up the game’s good pacing.

‘Blues and Bullets’ is a Brutal and Stylish Adventure

One thing that can not be denied from Blues and Bullets is
that the game has style. The entire game is in black and white save for
the color red, which you’ll be seeing a decent amount of throughout. The
music perfectly fits the tone and theme of the game and even the
opening and closing credit sequences got my blood pumping. The
atmosphere is spot on and in a game that is largely about telling a
story, that is immensely important. Most of the stylistic things done
here have certainly been done before, but they are well execute here and
still very enjoyable.

Pros:

  • Brutal and intriguing story that leaves me wanting more
  • Stylish visuals and music
  • Diverse gameplay facilitates good pacing

Cons:

  • Shooting section controls poorly
  • Some choices feel pointless

With the promise of four more episodes, I’m definitely looking
forward to seeing what Eliot Ness and the rest of the cast get up to
next time around. I love a good episodic adventure game and A Crowd of
Monsters is making a great effort to create both an original and stylish
adventure in Blues and Bullets for all of us to enjoy.

Final Score:

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