It was just after 1 o’clock on a Friday afternoon, much like any other, right until she walked into my office. She had the black and white graphics of a classic noir movie with red accents that hinted at her more violent nature. She said her name was Blues and Bullets and I could already feel myself being drawn in. Oh sure, she had her issues, but who didn’t? She may rely on quick time events too much for her action sequences, and despite her mo-capped animations her lip syncing was a bit off, but I knew I could look past that. What lay beneath her cracked visage was a game with a fantastic story based on true events, events that surrounded the retired vanquisher of Al Capone, Elliot Ness.
Blues and Bullets: Episode 1 begins with a thrilling escape attempt by a young kidnapped girl who turns out to be the granddaughter of crime boss Al Capone, who has just been released from prison after only 11 years of serving time. He hires Elliot Ness, the very same man who eventually arrested him after he failed to raid Capone’s home some 20 years earlier, to find her and bring justice to her captors. Elliot Ness has to scour the seedy underbelly of Santa Esperanza, and while he may not be a cop anymore his gun and his wits are more than enough to take on a simple kidnapper. Unfortunately, as revealed by the end of Episode One, the situation is anything but simple.
If you have played Murdered: Soul Suspect you will be familiar with the investigation portion of the game. You explore the crime scene for highlighted clues and then combine them in a way that answers questions like motive, what was the murder weapon, etc. This portion of the game is perhaps the most graphic and I would not recommend this game to squeamish people, unless you can deal with dismemberment, eye gouging, and the like. It’s not all Holmesian detective work, however. A rather clumsily implemented, cover-based, locked on rails combat system serves to fill in the gap between story sections with a rather visually impressive bit near the end that more than made up for its limitations.
Blues and Bullets at times feels more like a television serial than a video game, and depending on who you talk to that can be good or bad. Players who are looking for something more like LA Noire, with much more extensive fighting and driving segments, will be disappointed, while those who are seeking a slower paced thriller won’t be. Developers A Crowd of Monsters haven’t followed the noir genre to a T, of course. They’ve also thrown in some occult elements with some distinctly Lovecrafting overtones which I am excited to learn more about in the coming episodes.
I was intrigued. She had only told me part of her story and I knew I needed to hear the rest. She laughed and told me she’d see me in Episode Two. I asked her when and she said soon, but for now I could purchase a Season Pass on Steam for only $19.99. After that she was gone, just as quickly as she had arrived. I knew she wasn’t perfect, and her visit had been entirely too short, but I just knew I had to see her again.