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Blues and Bullets: Shaking the Hive is out for PC and Playstation 4. Our Crystal Kendrick is here with the ComiConverse review of this second chapter in the Blues and Bullets series.
Blues and Bullets: Shaking the Hive picks up right where episode one, The End of Peace left off. With lots of backstory, gore, and decisions to be made, episode two is just as action packed as the first!
One thing I forgot to mention during the first episode’s review is that this game deals with a lot of very mature and extremely violent subject matter. Shaking the Hive features racism, human trafficking, child abuse, cruelty to animals, and lots of very violent deaths, so player discretion is advised.
Blues and Bullets: Pros
The amount of exploration present in Shaking the Hive is great. The episode allows for lots of exploration into a dark and ominous underworld full of crooks, criminals, and betrayal. There is so many things to look at and take in even if they are not expressly a part of the storyline. The submarine is a lot like the Hindenburg from episode one, being that it has so much to look at and take it. Everything is carefully crafted to give the player a full look into the shady, crime underworld.
Another thing that this episode has going for it is the level of detective work the player can do. Naturally, both episodes had this. However, this episode takes it to the next level with all of the things that have to be uncovered and pieced together to figure out the story. As stated earlier, the places Shaking the Hive takes the player is pretty dark and even heart wrenching. Some of the things will really get under your skin if you are an immersive player who really can put themselves in the protagonist’s shoes. Perhaps, the sheer horror and cruelty of what is uncovered in this episode is what makes the detective work seem so great.
Finally, the story is still utterly intriguing and great. Again, I don’t want to give too much away but the extra backstory on Ness’s life adds even more to this episode. Ness also learns a lot more about the people around him and helping him crack this case. Some things in this episode are not quite as they seem. The addition of one alleged bodyguard makes things a little bit interesting. This bodyguard is never really explained and thus it could leave players wondering a little. As the story goes on more and more is learned but the ending still leaves you wanting more.
Blues and Bullets: Cons
Upon playing the second episode of he game and getting more used to it. I found that I was looking out for more details. Because of that I started to notice the technical limitations of the game. The characters’ movements at times, look kind of awkward. Walking up stairs, drinking, and talking all look kind of stiff and unrealistic. The limitations in facial movements while people are talking is probably the most apparent. There is a lot of close up of people’s faces while they are talking in this episode, so it becomes pretty painfully obvious mere minutes into the game and doesn’t really let up much from there. This is nothing that is going to ruin the game or make it unenjoyable but it is one limitation of it.
During the shootout sequences, Ness has people with him. However, it never seems as though he has much help. Again, this isn’t a huge problem since the shootout are pretty easy. But since the shootouts already seem a little long and drawn out, having an accomplice that doesn’t help makes it feel just that much longer and a little bit frustrating. One of the characters has an excuse for why they don’t help. This is all explained in the backstory but it still feels a little bit cheap. It is especially cheap because the character’s life as well as Eliot’s is in danger so there’s really no reason why the character could excuse not suspending the rule.
Fianally, the biggest con of all. Something that will continue to be the biggest con of all throughout the rest of the series is that the game is episodic. This game leaves the player wanting more. They want to learn more about the story. However, A Crowd of Monsters does not release episodes regularly. Some episodic games have an episode release every month or two months even. Blues and Bullets is not on a schedule and that leaves players waiting months for the next episode. The wait time from The End of Peace to Shaking the Hive was an astounding eight months! A Crowd of Monsters does want to make sure their game is great and it always is but almost a year between episodes a quite a long time to wait.
Make sure you check out the offical Blues and Bullets website to stay up-to-date on the status of the game and purchase some of the things A Crowd of Monsters has released with Blues and Bullets.
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Despite having a few flaws that lower the overall experience, Blues and Bullets continues to be a great game.