Published on February 23rd, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Developer: People Can Fly/ Epic Games
Platform: Playstation 3, XBox 360, PC
Release: February 22, 2011
Bulletstorm is a solid over-the-top shooter that features some of the best B-rated action sequences a game could have. When I say B-rated, think of it in the B-rated movie sense. Over-the-top action, violence and salty language to boost the male ego. Bulletstorm does all of this and more. Although the game is flawed in some regards, it is brilliant in others.
Bulletstorm is a space-aged shooter that brings warfare and pirates to the forefront. You play as Grayson Hunt–sounds a lot like the voice of Marcus Phoenix from Gears and looks like Logan from X-Men–who worked for the Confederation, believing for years that he and his squad have been targeting criminals. Grayson comes to find out they have been lied to and have been only puppets to the general of the Confederation. An opportunity presents itself in the vastness of space for Hunt to seek his revenge and sends his ship and crew on a suicide run to take down the ship. Crash landing his vessel on the planet Stygia, Hunt must take the last surviving member of his crew to put an end to the tyranny of his former Confederate general before the planet locals kill them before doing so.
Soon into the game’s action, and hunt for Power Cells, you come across the game’s definitive weapon, “The Leash”. The Leash allows Grayson to grab enemies and fling them into the air in slow motion, allowing for some interesting ways to kill your victims. The Leash also keeps track of your performance and the variety of ways you kill people. You earn SP (skill points) for each unique way you kill someone. Those skill points can be used to upgrade your weapons, moves and your Leash. You can only upgrade at drop zones so if you run out of ammo at any point in the mission, you will have to wait until you hit a drop zone to get more ammo. Thankfully enough the placement of the drops are close enough together that it never really plays a big factor.
The level design is very reminiscent of Gears of War. There were times I was in a cave running from a big beast that felt like the Locust from Gears 2. The Unreal Engine looks fantastic and it seems that only Epic can make full use of it’s technology. Environments look good, but not much on the innovative level. There is very little cover in any of the kill rooms and the enemy AI is quite honestly “dumb.” Aside from the redundant level design and linear mission structure, Bulletstorm is fun to play. Shooting feels really solid and performing different combo variations left me smiling. It will have the viral effect that Left 4 Dead had where everyone will want to talk about that one special kill they were able to pull off.
The games dialogue is very entertaining to listen to. Although the voice acting is over the top, and seems like the cast of Gears of War came in to record for this game, the play on words and character interactions are funny to listen to. I could see where people’s complaints about the vulgarity cam from, but honestly we have all heard much worse in R-rated movies. Bulletstorm is rated M so the correlation between the two is nearly the same. So, why the complaints?
The sound effects of the game are very crisp as well, almost challenging those of hardcore action movies.
(Combos are a sick way to achieve maximum Skill Points for Upgrades!)
Although the variations of combos are high, the set pieces to perform them are not. There is only so many times that you can perform mid air kicks on a leashed enemy before it becomes less and less interesting. The characters and their stories are engaging and will keep you playing to the end of the game, however the campaign is extremely short. Five hours of solid game time will have you looking at the closing cinematic, which builds up for a sequel.
The online modes for Bulletstorm are hit and miss. The Echo mode is a time trial challenge mode that will pit your scores against others for time completion and combo skill points. The main game itself has a co-op mode, but sadly enough no leaderboard. Just you and a co-op partner running through the game’s campaign with no challenge for skill point achievement. Anarchy mode is a mix between co-op and competitive game play. Each player will have to achieve the highest amount of skill points, but a certain amount of combined skill points must be earned to be able to advance to the next kill room.
The Final Truth:
Bulletstorm is a solid “dumb” action game and will leave you with a smile on your face. The game just doesn’t have the longevity that some would expect a game of this magnitude to have. The characters and story are interesting enough and pulling off rather ridiculous combos are fun to achieve, but the five hour campaign doesn’t leave much time to grasp the full enjoyment. The game looks beautiful but has very little environmental set pieces and next to no cover points. The solid gun-play and physics based mechanics will leave you in awe. The only downfall are the lack of climactic moments during gameplay.
+ Solid Gun Play
+ Graphically Sound
+ Interesting characters and story
+ cool combos
– Short Campaign
– Lack of set pieces
– Horrible AI
– Forgettable Multiplayer Modes