In case you wasn’t aware the episodic point and click style of gaming has become a huge phenomenon of recent years. Whether it be the many different series Telltale puts out or the fantastic title that was Life is Strange, it is fair to say this series of games has really started to hit its stride. Well A Crowd of Monsters have released the second episode in their title Blues and Bullets, and it picks up directly after the events of the first episode with our hero Eliot Ness trying to get to the bottom of the disappearance of Al Capone’s Daughter. Whilst the first episode wasn’t an episode that set the world on fire, does the second episode do anything in the way of improving the game play or story, or is it just more of the same? Let us dissect and find out!
If you are familiar with the first episode, then you will be glad to know that the game play isn’t entirely too much different to the first, the game includes on rails shooting sections, plenty of dialogue choices and also plenty of chances to play detective before trying to piece together evidence to work out a scene of a crime(s).
The only slight chance to the gameplay dynamic is that this time around you have the ability of choosing different paths if you wish to which add very little to the game play, also you can choose to play as Al Capone during some of the fighting sequences instead of Elliot. The story is a lot faster paced this time around too, it seems like when they developers tried to cram too much into too little time during the first episode, they have used the second episode to tie up loose ends whilst keeping action at a centre point to keep the dynamics moving. When the episode does take a second to sit back and take a breather and set up the next set piece, the true nitty crime noir style of storytelling really hits a high.
During the episode you get to travel back in time to relive past events in Elliot’s life, events that ended up in his entire team either ending up dead or seriously injured, getting to make decisions later on in the episode that reflected previous scenes really feels fulfilling, and like telltales titles you get the sense that choices you make do matter and may possibly come back to bite you either later in this episode or in subsequent episodes.
The voice work in the game can be a little hit and miss however, Elliot is voiced pretty well however all other characters can seem a little choppy, the music however is outstanding an really sets the mood for the universe the game is set in. The visuals however also have their highs and lows, whilst the character models look pretty poor, the sections in the title that really stand out, are the areas where it seems your morality is getting the better of you and large words in luminous white and red text shoot out at you.
All in all the episode was real fun to play through, clocking in at just under two hours and with plenty to explore even with the linear paths within the story, this really did feel like a great follow up episode to a title that was highly anticipated last summer. Whilst the development times may put some people off purchasing the episode until all episodes are out, the case of finding Capone’s daughter is really starting to hit it’s stride now, who are the mysterious captives, what are they trying to achieve and will they take anybody else? All questions I can’t wait to find out the answers to when the subsequent episodes release later this year.