Although others will get enjoyment out of it, Bulletstorm was clearly made with two demographics in mind.
James Dwyer | Monday, April 11 2011 | 1 Comment
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Test Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Epic Games, People Can Fly; Publisher: Electronic Arts
Fun and frantic shooter, but missing something. Add a star to the score if you laugh every time someone swears.
Although others will get enjoyment out of it, Bulletstorm was clearly made with two demographics in mind – stereotypical fratboys who call each other ‘broseph’ and high-five when they fart, and the evil, foulmouthed creatures of Xbox Live, who have the voices of twelve year olds but speak words that would make a sailor cringe. After playing the demo and watching a couple of pre-release videos which included parodies of Halo and Call of Duty, I got the impression that the game was some kind of a satire of the big blockbuster shooters that are all over the show these days. Not so. Don’t get me wrong – Bulletstorm does some new and interesting things, and it does them well – it just feels like it could have been so much more.
The storyline isn’t all that fresh: a bunch of generic space marines, consisting of a generic maverick wise-guy, a generic tough-guy with a heart of gold (and an arm of robot), and a generic ‘I’m pretty but I will cut you up’ action lady, are on a generic space mission for generic space revenge on a surprisingly non-generic space resort planet. Really, the only things different storyline-wise from all the other big dumb action games out there are the amount of name-calling and number of genitalia references. It seems like the designers started off wanting to make an over-the-top, ridiculous take on the first person shooter genre, then part way through changed their minds and tried to make the audience care about the characters. Whether the cast was trying to make me laugh or cry, the only consistent responses they managed to get from me were winces and forehead slaps. Okay, okay, I chuckled at the odd line of dialogue, but I feel like I would have gotten more out of the campaign if I were drunk.
While the storyline itself may not be worth writing home about, the campaign does have some excellent set-pieces and boss battles, and the gameplay is fast, frantic and fun. There are three main game modes – the campaign, ‘Echoes’ mode, which takes small sections from the campaign and allows you to replay them for high-scores and bragging rights, and the multiplayer co-op ‘Anarchy’ mode, a take on the ‘fight waves of bad guys until you die’ gameplay which is so hot right now.
The scoring system in Bulletstorm is quite cool. There are plenty of ‘skillshots’ which net you extra points for killing enemies in certain ways – like kicking them and then killing them while they’re falling backwards, pulling off a head shot, or impaling them on a cactus – the key being to combine them for maximum points. It encourages you to dole out all different kinds of hilariously over-the-top forms of brutal murder, and gives you good reason to play around with all the game’s weapons, which are some of the most fun and inventive weapons in an FPS game since Halo’s designers said, “here’s a spiky gun that shoots heat-seeking pink stuff, enjoy”.
My major gripes with Bulletstorm aren’t about what the game does do, but what it doesn’t. Most importantly, it’s exactly the kind of game that you’d fire up with your flatmates with a couple of drinks handy, but has a complete lack of split-screen. Bulletstorm would be perfect for that situation. So why won’t you let us play with our brosephs, Epic? Why?
And no I don't want to be forced to create a Windows Live account and login to it and have forced updates when I only play single player offline. Grrr.
Posted by pctek at 11:48:41 on April 13, 2011
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