Blues and Bullets: Episode 1 – The End of Peace review for Xbox One, PC

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PC
Publisher: A Crowd of Monsters
Developer: A Crowd of Monsters
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Blues and Bullets has the potential to be a sleeper hit. The game is an episodic interactive adventure game in the vein of the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. I went into the game knowing absolutely nothing about it and was pleasantly surprised with the first episode. In Blues and Bullets you take control of Eliot Ness, who is the man that was responsible for the arrest of Al Capone and main character of the movie The Untouchables. The game takes place in an alternate timeline where an older Ness is retired and runs a diner. Without spoiling any the story, Ness is living his normal retired life when someone from his past returns and thrusts him back into detective mode.

Blues and Bullets Ep 1_1

The gameplay in Blues and Bullets is very similar to the Telltale games of the same genre, but not quite as polished. For those that haven’t played any Telltale games, you basically just walk around and click on the icons in the environment to interact with them which sometimes causes scenes to play out. I found the controls to be a bit stiff but still very playable. The game starts off rather slow but does pick up the pace thanks to the introduction of some varying gameplay such as a gunfight scene and a full on crime scene investigation. The inclusion of a crime scene investigation was something I really enjoyed. It involved searching the environment for clues, then using those clues to piece together exactly what may have happened. It was a really cool gameplay mechanic and I hope to see it in future Blues and Bullets episodes.

The voice cast I found to be very hit and miss in the game. Doug Cockle does a good job for the most part as Eliot Ness, while the rest of the cast didn’t do much to impress me. Some of the nonessential characters’ dialogue is laughably bad as well. It’s hard to be totally bought into the story when the dialogue and delivery doesn?t sound believable. Hopefully this will improve in later episodes as you get more invested in the characters.

Blues and Bullets Ep 1_2

What really separates Blues and Bullets from the competition is the visual style. The game is presented in black and white with splashes of red on appropriate items. I would compare it to the film Sin City with more of a noir feel. As I continued through the episode the visuals and presentation continued to impress me and I?m glad the developer went with something different to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

The first episode of Blues and Bullets is available for $4.99 and took me a little bit more than an hour and a half to complete. Overall the story hooked me, and while the gameplay wasn?t too impressive, the visuals and presentation helped push me through the beginning of this unique story. I do have a soft spot for the film The Untouchables so I might be a bit biased, but I would recommend this game for fans of the episodic adventure genre. It?s not as polished as a Telltale game but the story is unique and I?m intrigued to see where it will go in episode 2.

Grade: B