Developer: People Can Fly, Epic
Release Date: 2/22/2011
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The controversy surrounding Bulletstorm’s violence isn’t actually all that bad. What everyone should pay attention to is the kick-ass new breed of gameplay it brings to the table by making it more exciting and fun again. Surprisingly this game isn’t just brawned thanks to a pretty snazzy storyline. You play as Grayson who is a pirate and with his buddies take on jobs as a mercenary. You take the wrong job and find out the truth about what you’ve been doing all these years and you go on a manhunt to kill the guy responsible. You get taken to a planet that’s ravaged into ruin and you come across some pretty strange enemies.
The characters themselves are great and the dialog is hilarious, witty, and full of sharp one-liners and banter. Bulletstorm’s main campaign may have a solid storyline, but it’s the action that really counts here. The whole idea of the game is to rack up skill points which are then spent to upgrade weapons and buy ammo. These skill points are earned by how you kill your enemies. Instead of just shooting them until they are dead you must get creative with your weapon, the environment, and everything around you. You can shoot an enemy in the neck, groin, or head and get some skill points that way (the names of these skills are what lead to all the controversy), but why stop there? How about you set your enemy on fire with a weapon’s secondary fire (called Charge Shots) then kick them into a cactus plant. How about you impale an enemy into another enemy or launch an enemy into the air via your Leash and kick them into danger in the environment. Still not good enough? Get intoxicated, slide down an area with your Penetrator drill charged and shred everything in your path. See a boss? Weaken him until his armor glows blue then kick him in the butt and shoot his hole! The Fire in the Hole skill shot is hilarious and satisfying.
These are just some ways you can mix up your gameplay and there are a ton of skill shots. Some are assigned to each weapon, some are secret, and some are story-driven. These skill shots are super fun to figure out and they make you approach a hoard of guys in a different way instead of just tossing a grenade. Speaking of story-driven there are some kick-ass moments in this game. My favorite part is when you get to use a remote controller dinosaur that shoots lasers out of its eyes. Yup you heard right. Riding a train with a 500-foot tall wheel rolling towards you is jaw-dropping. Bulletstorm is just full of huge gigantic in-your-face stuff and it feels great to be in the middle of it.
Now there are some flaws here. While skill shots are fun to figure out and find after you unlock most of them the repetition sets in. There will be some parts of the game where it’s just horde after horde of enemies and then when some new environmental kill comes along it makes it exciting again, but just for a few seconds. You constantly rely on new things to get into your hands to keep things exciting. Sure the first few acts are super fun, but after you master the mechanics you will start to wish for this.
That’s not to say the game’s bad or anything, but it just needs a lot more than these skill shots assigned to each weapon. The excitement also wears off quickly after a while and that shock value only happens when new exciting things are going on. The weapons are very interesting though I found them all fun to shoot and I constantly swapped them out throughout the game. Each weapon has a unique charge shot so you can constantly switch up your strategy.
This is pretty much the whole game of Bulletstorm and it’s wrapped around this core design. Yeah there are QTE and if you press the button quick enough you get skill points for it, but it’s nothing too exciting. The campaign does start to wear itself out towards the last third of it and the only thing keeping you hooked is the story at this point.
The game, despite using the already aging Unreal Engine 3, looks amazing with gorgeous landscapes and vistas, and some epic lighting effects. You will need a pretty hardcore PC setup to get this game to run so otherwise stick to the consoles. The multiplayer is pretty fun and gets addictive, but it’s nothing from what you might expect modes-wise. Earning skill points in the multiplayer part of the game makes things feel fresh and actually turns out more exciting than in a single player because it’s less predictive.
Bulletstorm is probably there for every FPS fan but some may not like it. There is a lot of foul languages and the game is very gory but I honestly doubt most gamers who play shooters will care. I just wish the game wasn’t so repetitive and adding a little something else because it feels like there’s something missing. Other than that it’s worth your dollars in skill points.