TIME TO RELOAD
Blues and Bullets is the latest game by A Crowd of Monsters, and is a choice based interactive episodic adventure in a similar fashion to that of Telltale games and Life Is Strange. The story follows Eliot Ness, former cop and now the owner of a diner, as he is brought into a mystery that brings more questions than it does answers. When more and more children start disappearing, Ness’ experience is needed to find out why. Toss in a couple of wise guy mafioso's, including historical figure Al Capone, and Eliot is bound to run into some trouble. Without the constraints of the law, he tackles the case in a variety of ways which are entirely up to the player.
Like other popular episodic adventures, Blues and Bullets is heavily influenced by and primarily dialogue based. Players choose their outcomes and actions mainly through speech, with some choices having more potential to influence the future of the series than others. Actions throughout the game will have effects on future episodes. Within the first episode, however, none of your choices seem to directly have an impact within the one and a half to two hours of gameplay within it. At the end of it, you can see statistics regarding your choices compared to other players, but none of the actual outcomes are influenced by your actions so far. It makes the start of the story less challenging in a sense, but regardless interesting.
There are some cult and supernatural elements to the story that really drew me in. The status of some of the missing kids is revealed right from the get go, which was a smart move because the scene was packed with mysteries. Not many answers are given yet, but the player is introduced to several different gameplay mechanics. For one, there are a few shootout scene where the player gets to switch between cover, shoot, aim and reload. They are fun, but I do wish it was free to run around during these segments. There are also the quick time events that are to be expected of the genre, which for the most part run smoothly. One of the more unique parts of the episode was where you are tasked with piecing together a crime scene. While not as challenging as I wish, it was fun all the same. It would be interesting if, as opposed to needing all the clues, you could attempt to piece it together with a percentage of the clues and have that affect later outcomes.
The graphics are what initially drew me in, that combined with 50’s setting. It gives off a Bioshock-esque feel, which is always a win for me. The score also sets the mood well for much of the scenes. Some of the lip syncs and character models are sub-par, but the lighting and shading are enough to win me over. The game does its best to stay entertaining, which it is, but there are a lot of transitional moments and some dialogue that come off dull. The story though is enough to make me want to come back, and I am hoping that it keeps drawing me in towards a satisfying conclusion.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10