Blues and Bullets – Episode 2 Review (PC)
I’d like to start this review by pointing out a flaw in my review of Blues and Bullets Episode 1. I said that there was “no option to make him [Ness] hurry it up a little.” I’ve realised, while replaying Episode 1 to refresh my memory before Episode 2, that this was false. You can actually just hold shift to make him run. So, sorry about that!
Stepping back in to the well-shined wing tips of Elliot Ness, former leader of the legendary Untouchables, Blues and Bullets Episode 2: Shaking the Hive opens with a flashback. That’s a theme that runs through the episode, as we’re frequently treated to trips down memory lane. The flashbacks give us, as these things so often do, a look at how our hero became the man that he is; most notably, they expand upon the relationship he had with his partner who was gunned down by Al Capone, Jim Dockers, and with Jim’s wife, Delphine.
After the first flashback, we meet up with Elliot and his compadre, Milton, right where we left them at the end of Episode 1. Under the guise of Osmond Burke, Ness has arranged a meeting with Nikolai Ivankov as he continues his search for Al Capone’s kidnapped granddaughter, Sofia. Episode 2 is much faster to jump into the action, continuing the story and quickly leading to action scenes as well as another investigation. I highly praised the detective aspect of Episode 1, and Shaking the Hive’s is just as good. It’s easy to ignore that there’s no consequence for failure, and try to think like a legendary detective as you work through the grizzly clues your given.
Like any episodic title, Blues and Bullets’ second episode takes a couple of hours to walk through at best, though it’s two hours that I thoroughly enjoyed. One scene in particular, a sort of dream-sequence shown in the first person, has a particularly gripping atmosphere as you’re treated to a trip through Ness’ fracturing mind and sense of paranoia and disappointed.
I haven’t yet encountered a scene where I’ve felt like previous decisions have come back in a strong way, but at the end of the episode you’re again shown which way you acted at key moments, and you’re also told what percentage of players acted similarly and different.
The story is once again carried on the back of the cast, as they truly bring Ness and Capone’s journey to life. Most notable amongst the games actors is Doug Cockle, who you may know better as Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher series, starring as Elliot Ness.
As a continuation of the Blues and Bullets story, Episode 2 does a great job of keeping the existing narrative flowing, while also letting us in on the history of the characters we’re following. It has the same issues as Episode 1, but these are issues with the game as a whole; gameplay outside of combat is fairly slow, and the movement in combat is scripted. But the voice acting is still great, the story is still compelling and I’m still looking forward to the next episode.