We first took a look at Blues and Bullets last September and with the relatively recent addition of Episode 2 to the mix, we wanted to crack it open again to check the progress.
During the first review, I had a few concerns so I wanted to revisit those and comment on any improvements or any new concerns to add to the pile. Then of course we wanted to walk through the game play without giving away too many spoilers while wrapping up with our 5 star rating.
To start – I reviewed my previous list of likes and found them to remain consistent –

Here’s what I like (from September 2015):

  • The stylistic look and feel – the black and white with the bold red and hints of orange is cool (though it has been done before in movies like Sin City) –
  • The premise of Eliot Ness coming out of retirement to help solve a case
  • Some freedom in the game to make choices in dialog and approach
  • Easy to use controls
  • Stable game
  • The re-use/retelling of Hindenburg
  • Price/Entertainment hours ratio works…

Taking them one by one, I’d add the following commentary after playing through Episode 2.

  • Look: the look remains consistent and still seems relatively cool.  Black and white with red being basically the only color really calls out any blood on the screen.  There’s definitely blood.
  • Feel: there are times in the game when, while generally flexible, walking around feels a bit awkward.  There’s some amount of freedom in the game but this is no generally open world a la Grand Theft Auto.
  • Premise: Still liking the Eliot character and now the team up with Capone and Capone’s henchman
  • Choices: Players can still make decisions in the game that affect future outcomes though the plot line seems so far to remain generally the same regardless of earlier choices.  I assume that as the episodes roll on that the choices will become increasingly important.
  • Easy controls: other than the walking around restrictions mentioned above, the controls are easy
  • Stable: stability continues!
  • Retelling of Hindenburg: not applicable this time
  • Price/Entertainment ratio: the price is 4.99 per episode (depending on sales, discounts, etc) or 19.99 for all 5 episodes.  Based on what I assume would be the total duration of game play, the price is right.  Some steam commenters are saying you can run through an episode of the game in 2 hours but I’m thinking that’s way too fast to enjoy.  I’d peg the duration at maybe 5ish if you’re taking time and trying to enjoy it vs just going as fast as you can.  Even if it’s only 2 hours, $4.99 for some entertainment is decent.

The critiques from the first time around:

  • Not a fan of the gore – I know it’s part of the story but I don’t need it.
  • Not a fan of the depictions of children getting hurt – granted there was no violence shown on the screen but the implication of some pretty bad stuff going on is there.  Not something I want to spend my time watching
  • Clue board seemed a bit too easy to solve
  • Wanted more flexibility
Follow up based on episode 2:
  • Gore – still not a fan BUT this episode seemed a bit less graphic.  There were still some ‘interesting’ scenes but the gore level seemed to be dialed back a bit.  Thumbs up
  • Children – if i can get my head around the story being ultimately about saving and protecting kids, this is ok and this episode focused more on Eliot’s journey
  • Clue board – the one i completed was not as easy as episode 1.  I had to do a lot of searching to find all the clues.  Could have been that I was just a bit tired or impatient but the fact that it took a bit longer was cool.
  • Flexibility – still a partial issue though I’d say that I’m still enjoying the game

 

blues and bullets 2 (Time 0_17_36;01)
Eliot at dinner with “his” girl

Other Episode 2 thoughts –

We learn more background about Ness and his fellow law enforcement officers, how they died and how he was related to that event (won’t spoil it here).  I enjoyed the character development and the journey in to history but I will admit that the initial transition was a little funky.  After completing the first episode, I was assuming that as I come in to this one we’d be dealing with the submarine (from the end of Episode 1) and continuing along with that story line.  Not so, but it’s ok.  I got my bearings and continued rolling along.

Next, the gun fights – We take on more gangsters/bad guys in episode 2 so there are gun fights like what we experienced in episode 1.  In episode 2, I learned you can actually ‘die’ from a series of wounds.  The fights are still terribly easy but at least you actually do have to take cover.  I’d much rather have some sort of challenge vs just being invincible.  Even though the gun fights are relatively easy,they are still pretty fun and help to add a little variety to the game.

Choices… Some of the choices are definitely more difficult in this episode and I benefited by deciding I’d be a “bad guy” before the start of the game – This made some of the moral choices easier in that I’d just choose the one that seemed most wrong.  There are some interesting ones along the way and I’m curious to see how those will play out later in the game (future episodes)

All in all the episode was fun and, most importantly, it left me wanting to play on in to the next one.  If you’re in to episodic noir games, this is the one to take for a drive. We’re on the look out for episode updates and will share any official release dates as we get them.

Game website

Steam link

What are your favorite episodic games?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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