Join me for our first look at Blues and Bullets – a game by A Crowd Of Monsters. We recently played through Episode 1 of Blues and Bullets which you can see by viewing the embedded video. We've included several minutes of game play and there are some spoilers included so please keep that in mind when viewing.
Blues and Bullets is a storytelling game similar to those we've seen by Telltale Games (e.g. Game of Thrones) wherein your character is taken through a series of scenarios and the player has to make choices as to how to react to certain situations. The assumption is that those choices will affect game play further on.
This game centers around a retired Eliot Ness attempting to solve a series of crimes related to the disappearance of children in the fictional town of Santa Esperanza. His ol' pal Al Capone is back but in Episode 1, we can't tell if revenge is on his mind. Al has just gotten out of jail for tax evasion (Thanks Eliot!) and reaches out to Ness for assistance on a case. His grand daughter is missing and he needs a detective to help find her – who better than the Eliot Ness? Capone claims to only care about her, which makes sense, but we'll see how things play out once the crime is solved. Will he come after Ness or will he Mr. Forgiving? I'm interested to find out.
In Episode 1, we're introduced to a few other characters including the straight arrow rookie cop that's Eliot's contact on the police force. She seems a good kid thus far. There's also Capone's henchman who chauffeurs Ness on his detecting adventures and a bad cop who visits Ness' diner in the second scene (after the dungeon based intro). As players, we're able to interact with these characters to a certain extent during dialog scenes where we can select how we interact with them. We choose if the character is mean, nice, sarcastic, gentle, friendly, whatever – the choices are limited but we do have some flex in making some choices. It's unclear as to whether these choices have any major effect on game play at this point as the game seems rather linear. I'm torn on this game since I do enjoy most of the overall story line (more on that in a second) but really wish there was more depth in the ability to interact more with the environment.
Based on Episode 1, there appear to be 4 main modes of game play:
- dialog – players pick their attitude which drives what the character says
- shooting stuff – fairly simple shooting mode where players can duck, cover, target enemies and fire what may be unlimited times
- hand to hand – in this mode (with controller) player moves are based on having to press a sequence of buttons that pop up on the screen. They pop up slow enough to make this a very easy mode, I don't think I missed one.
- clue boards – during ‘investigations' players must review a crime scene for clues. Players have to figure out, basically, what happened and then can move on with the story
It's nice to have this variety of play but I'd still say I'm wanting more depth and perhaps a bit more difficulty in completing the tasks.
Here's what I like:
- 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 (again, excepting the below)
Where I struggled:
- 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