Release Date: February 22. 2011
Systems: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: People Can Fly, Epic Games
Metacrtic Score: 83 (PS3)
“Bulletstorm” is a game filled with moments that are going to make you say “wow, that was awesome” and “wow, that was really stupid”. At some points in the game, you’ll end up saying both at the same time. “Bulletstorm” might not be a deep, challenging or even intelligent game, but it is a hell of a lot of fun, and at times even comes closer to being the satire of douchebag male power fantasy type characters that “Duke Nukem” is always trying and failing to be, but the game definitely is more fun if you never lost your inner 15 year old.
You play as Grayson Hunt, Leader of a futuristic assassin squad known as “Dead Ecco”. One day, on a routine mission, Dead Ecco finds out that their leader, General Sarrano, has been sending them out to kill Innocent people instead of criminals as they were told. When Hunt learns that he has been killing people Sarrano’s political adversaries or reporters with too much dirt on him, He vows to kill his former boss.
Ten years latter, by a chance meeting, Hunt and hiscrew find Sarrano’s ship, The Ulysses, hovering above a resort planet called Stygia, and they then decide the bring it down
Hunt’s crew are successful in their attack, but both ships end up crashed on the planet. With most of his men dead, it’s up to hunt and the cyborg Ishi to find Sarrano and get off world. What they didn’t know is that Stygia’s resadents had all fled, and now on;y two groups of murderous gangs and strange creatures inhabit the planet, making their journey that much more complicated and dangerous.
The story is an interesting beast. It is a fairly stereotypical sci-fi revenge story, but it movies at a good clip and also manages to have some really touching moments. But thin something stupid(ly awesome) will happen and you have to ask yourself just how seriously you are meant to be taking the games narrative. Through out the whole game I could never really peg down what the tone was supposed to be. Was this supposed to be a straight faced shooter that just happened to be funny at times, or was this a comedy that just happened to go a little deeper that it had too? I still can’t tell you for sure but for my money, i’d say it’s closer to the second option. Mostly because a lot of the humor comes from a very juvenile place.
This is a game that literally has someone say “I am going to kill your dick”, and be completely sincere about it. The come back to it is less so, however. And yes, that is a pretty good idea of what the humor in this game is like. In fact, “dickstorm” might have been a better title for the game, as it is used at every opportunity. Penises were very much on the minds of the writers, and are very much on the minds of all the games characters. But that is part of the joke. Take the most “dudebro” style of gaming, with two of the most “dudebro” characters imaginable, then show just how homoerotic the entire idea behind the entire idea is.
The fact is, I may not be able to tell you what the developers were thinking when they created the games story, but I can tell you this: when the game ends with an obvious “sequel bate ending”, I couldn’t wait for part two. And if anyone at Epic is reading this: shelving the sequel is a bad idea. Making “Unreal Tournament 2014” instead of of “Bulletstorm 2” is an even worse idea.
Were Tone was an issue with the story, in the game play department I can tell you exactly what the developers were thinking and that was “fun and cool”. Everything in the game is set up so you are either having fun killing stuff, or you are in awe of how cool your last kill was. The Main gameplay device isn’t your gun, but instead an “instinct leash” and your boot. The leash brings people closer to you, and suspends them in the air of a few seconds, while you’re boot pushes them away but also suspends them in the air. You can use the time they are froze in the air to shoot them…if your a boring loser. Instead, why don’t you do something fun like, kicking them off a ledge, impaling them on cacti, shoot them with a exploding suicide vest then kick them into other enemies. Yeah, that’s the kind of game this is.
The Leash works double time as a combat grader. The more interesting your kills, the more points you rack up. You then use these points on ammo and weapon up grades. There are a set number of “trick shots” that you can do. These are normally tied to what weapons you have on you, but there are also a number of environmental ones as well. These can range from anything to head shots to ejecting enemies out an airlock to killing an enemy while they are on fire. And quite a few of them has a pseudo-sexual pun as it’s name (the most common one I preformed was called “Topless”).
only real issue I had is a lack of variety, both in game play and enemy types. Sure, there are a few switch ups, like a bit on a train and one helicopter mission were you are trying to kill a giant “godzilla” like monster, but there are too little of them. And in the normal shoot outs, the only real change was when the heavy guys came out, who are immune to your whip and boot and take far more damage, but even killing them became routine after a while. I can’t say i’m too mad over this, as the game is pretty short, and that short length never allows the game to wear-out it’s welcome, but a little more time wouldn;t have hurt, so the added content would have been much appreciated.
Game Play: 4.5/5
Music and Sound:
While the dialoge might make you want to grown at times, the voice cast really did do a phenomenal job. The high lights were definitely goes Steven Blum (of “Cowboy Bebop”) as Hunt, who sells the hell out of the whole, immature but heavyhearted badass role, and Anthony De Longis as Sarrano. Every word that dripped from the characters mouth made me hate him more, from the way be boast about how Hunt needs him alive to the joke he take in informing Hunt on just what exactly happened on Stygia and what he is there to do. The man is a creep, and loves being a creep, and De Longis performance perfectly encapsulates that.
The guns all sound great too, especially the shotgun, witch sounds more like a car door being slammed instead of a gun shot, but the effect works well. Witch is a good thing, as, like I said, shooting will be just about the only thing you’ll be doing.
Music and Sound 4/5
Overall Score: 4/5
Who is this game for:
This is for people who miss when shooters were just about having as much fun as possible. This is for the eternal 15 that lives in the hearts and minds of all people who aren’t boring and jaded..