Game Review: Bulletstorm

Where do I begin explaining the sheer over-the-top, off-the-wall, bat-shit-crazy, out-of-its-mind awesomeness that is Bulletstorm.  On the surface it may seem like an ultra-violent romp through a tough military guy story filled with immature cussing and dick and fart jokes.  And it is, but it so, so much more.  The violence finds its place weaved wonderfully into the cheesy and cliché’ narrative as well as the copious amounts of toilet humor.  The game play is traditional as well as insanely innovative at the same time and it leads to some of the most fun I’ve ever had while playing a game.  The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on my Xbox so far and feature the full use of the color palette, something many game developers have forgotten was there.  The set pieces are gargantuan and the action is non-stop.  Simply put, every single thing about this game is absolutely amazing and you should not hesitate to play it.

Let’s elaborate on everything that I love about Bulletstorm starting with the most important thing, the gameplay.  Everything controls as it should in an FPS but there are two things that developers, People Can Fly, added that makes this game one of the most innovative FPSs I’ve ever played.  The first is an electronic leash and big ol’ kick.  The leash you use to whip out towards enemies or pieces of the environment and pull them back towards you.  From there you can fill them with lead as they hurdle towards you or repel them with your boot (which then sends the targeted enemy into slow-mo mode for easier targeting while everything else around him moves are normal speed) and fill them with lead as they fly away.  Or if you want to get creative (which the game heavily encourages), you can do things like pull an explosive barrel towards you and then kick it into a group of bad guys, or pull an enemy towards you, stick a mine on him and boot him into a group of his buddies.  You can pull an exotic watermelon thing off of a tree, kick it onto someones head to stun them, shoot them in the balls to add insult to injury, then pop a shot into the watermelon thingy which is stuck on his head and watch the blood spurt out, and so on.  The different possibilities for different combos of massacring the enemies is quite large, and all of the kills are greatly satisfying to pull off, and as you progress and start unlocking different weapons, boy does it get messy.  You can also use the environment to dispatch your foes with ease like kicking one of the bad guys into a huge and overly sharp cacti or onto a patch of exposed rebar or into the mouth of a man-eating Venus fly trap, and on and on.  Is all this overkill and quite sadistic, yup.  But, goddamn!  Is it fun.

To complement the amount of different ways to murder in the game, a scoring system keeps track of how well and how creative you are being with you kills awarding you points for different ‘skill shots’.  A simple kick to the gut paired with a shot to the face will land you 50 points, but if you get creative and do something like using an explosive barrel to launch a group of enemies into the air and use you mine gun to blow some of them up while an attacking helicopter finishes some more off with friendly fire, big points and combo chains ensue.  It’s kind of like Tony Hawk Pro Skater in FPS format.  The points you earn from your killing are used to purchase ammo and weapon upgrades, so the better you do the faster you get to that wicked add-on to your weapon which you can use in turn to score even bigger points.  This scoring system also adds an insane amount of replay value to the game as you will want to play through the campaign multiple times to see if you can beat your high score.  Just like back in the old days!

In the campaign you fill the shoes of the drunken, foul-mouthed, ex-elite military assassin hell-bent on revenge Greyson Hunt.  In his thirst for (drunken) revenge he kamakazis his spaceship into the space cruiser of his arch nemesis and everyone lands all beaten up on a vacation resort planet.  From there you need to clean up you mess and kill a whole bunch of people and make you way to finalizing you revenge, all with a few nice twists along the way.  While the story itself isn’t the most original thing in the world, what really sells it is the characters and the synergy between them.  All the trash talk between friends and enemies adds a lot of humanity to the game which in turn makes all the surprisingly clever dick and fart, male bravado jokes that much more funnier.  I was slightly disappointed with the sequel bait ending, but the main narrative does make a full circle and is very enjoyable and fits the game perfectly.  It even adds in some stark moments that make you feel guilty for brutally slaughtering all those people, but just momentarily ;)

The graphics are just a joy to look at and this will be the new graphical standard in which I will look at games from now on.  It’s not just the smoothest textures or most detail in the faces, it the color.  There is so much color my T.V. was smoking up from overload in joy.  The cerulean skies, crimson sunsets, rainbows of flora and fauna, quaint European looking sea towns drenched in yellows and blues, and the smear of gushing red blood drenching all of this gorgeous imagery.  I never thought a man filled with bullets impaled on a cactus could look so good.  And all of this runs smooth as hell with an occasional pause in the action to load in the next section (which are quite brief).

The set pieces are all meticulously put together and at times turn this action game into a strategy game as you try to figure out which route to take to score maximum carnage points.  One of my favorite ones is where you fight in an indoor re-creation of a city where you walk around feeling like Godzilla throwing bad guys into buildings and flattening miniature cars underfoot.  And then you go to actually control Godzilla afterwards!  There are a couple obligatory on-rails sections in the sets pieces, but they are far from the stale sections you may have been accustomed to.  One adrenaline pumping section has you riding on the back of a train while a gigantic wheel of some sort rushes towards you while helicopters shoot at you and enemies on dune buggies try to take you down.  And you’re armed with a big ass mini gun.  It’s nerve-wracking total carnage and soooo much fun.

Aside from the campaign there is a score attack mode called Echoes where you can replay different sections of the game for a high score and star rating.  This has a global leader board (of which I have no dreams of reaching the top, there’s some damn high scores!) and also leaderboards among friends.  I like this because it’s like how video games used to be back when I was younger.  Beat your buddies high score, you got bragging rights and the right to rub it in.  But if he top yours, you better watch out because what you dealt is coming back tenfold, lol.  I also like going back and trying to top my own high score and figuring out more gruesome ways to murder things.  There is also an online co-op multiplayer component called Anarchy where you and friends team up to kill waves of enemies for high scores.  Since I don’t have Xbox Gold, I didn’t get to play with it, but is seems fresh and fun to me.  Beats the typical free-for-all death matches found in games like Halo and COD.

I cannot recommend this game highly enough.  Everything I want in an action game is here and this game single-handedly refreshed my faith that the FPS genre hasn’t gone completely to shit and there’s hope for the future.  It was just flat-out fun.  The campaign is perfect length.  The ~8 hours are long enough to be satisfying and it’s short enough to make you want to play through it many times.  The stupid jokes were plentiful and had me chuckling the whole game.  The action was non-stop and not a single second was wasted on filler (all killer, no filler, lol). Every second I was playing this game I was filled with giddy childlike glee.  Such a rarity in ‘mature’ games nowadays.  10 out of 5!

I heard that EA canned the sequel because Bulletstorm didn’t make them enough money (or in their words, ‘wasn’t profitable enough’) while it was in development, such a major disappointment.  Maybe if people keep on buying the game another publisher will pick up this amazing new IP and we can all go on another foul-mouthed romp through the realm of ultra-violence again.  The game has been out for over a year now, so it should be easy to find nice and cheap in the bargain bin.  So if you see it, grab it.  Peace Love and Metal!!!

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on July 13, 2012, in Videogames and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It is the shizz, is it not? Like starring in your own, nutsoid sci-fi action flick with all the one-liners and mayhem that you could reasonably hope for (and then some).

    If EA can greenlight multiple sequels to “Dead Space” – a game whose initial release wasn’t a blockbuster hit in sales terms, but which did get great reviews – there’s no reason that this game couldn’t get another shot at glory.

    Now that the team are onto the “Gears of War” prequel, I suppose chances of a new game are looking slimmer still…

    • Ya it is!! I kept thinking of Starship Troopers the whole time I was playing for some reason, lol.

      I love the Dead Space series so far, but this trumps them tenfold. Maybe the devs weren’t willing to compromise their game to what EA wanted like Dead Space. Don’t get me wrong, DS2 was great but it was streamlined for a ‘wider audience’. It didn’t have that pure horror that the first one had. Still a phenomenal game though. DS3 is looking to be even more streamlined and now with co-op. I’m getting worried.

      I’d rather not have anything about Bulletstorm compromised for a sequel. More carnage, crazier weapons, and stupider dick and fart jokes, leave everything else as is and I’ll be a happy man. Epic, the co-devs, have a good relationship with 2K games, so I’m hoping that they pick them up when Gears of War is finished up.

      Speaking of which, I am now totally hyped for the new GOW game. Everything that People Can Fly touches is gold. Have you ever played Painkiller. Another bat shit crazy FPS for the PC. Well worth checking out and can be found on the cheap.

  2. Bulletstorm…this brings back memories. I got this game as a b-day gift the day after it came out and it was amazing! Pretty good storyline, great characters even though they don’t have much depth to them, and the combat was something else. I always felt like i was playing GoW, trying to get a power weapon so i could pull off cool one shot kills. the two things im never gonna forget about this game are the combat scoring system and the part of the story where the commander guy calls greyson an ass-maggot. Great…im all nostalgic but i lent the game to a friend :/

    Only thing it lacked was a competitive online multiplayer. I’d much rather kill other players than work with them to kill NPC’s. its like zombies on cod or horde on GoW. Its fun for awhile but you KNOW whats gonna come at you next after awhile.

    • I think competitive multiplayer wouldn’t have worked very well with all the slow down when you kick or leash someone. The amount of cheese players would be out of control because of that.

      • thats true. even still though maybe they couldve made the leash and kick unavailable or a very hard to earn reward like a nuke in cod. Still a great game, but not a whole lot of replay-ability. Same thing happened with Kingdoms of amalur. i loved the game and the 40 hours or so of content but after you finish all the quests, the only other appeal was restarting the game as a different character type or switching from mage to warrior or rogue or vice versa.

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