Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Scoring points. A means to quantify competition. The human race has partaken in competition from the moment our brains evolved enough to process the concept. As time ticked away, some form of scoring system became a necessity as competition increasingly became more complicated. Almost everything is scored these days; from sports to education to video games. In fact, the concept of ‘scoring points’ is what formed the basis for video games from the very beginning. So, it comes as little surprise to find Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly, along with their partner Epic Games, taking this age-old ideal and building yet another full-featured experience around it. Only this time, instead of eating pellets and ghosts or shooting vector versions of asteroids, players are eviscerating meat bags in the most brutal and humiliating ways they can find...
Revolving a game around such a basic idea can be both a boon and detrimental to its success, and Bulletstorm is prone to both. Dumping any kind of evolved brain activity for pure, unadulterated action makes for a good time...in short bursts. Anything more than that...well...to be blunt, leads to tedium.
Things begin with the black-ops group called Dead Echo torturing a would-be assassin aboard their ship. Apparently, Dead Echo has a fat bounty on their heads, laid upon them by General Sarrano of the Confederacy. After some bouncy time flashes, it doesn’t take long for us to discover that the Dead Echo team was once employed by the General and after discovering his corrupt antics, they have gone underground in an attempt to take the big guy down. Duped into doing his dirty work while under his employ, these guys are not very well liked and it was easy for the not-so-good General to make them enemy number one. Getting to him hasn’t been easy, and once he was finally in their sights, most of the team is killed in a suicide run against his massive flagship. However, both Sarrano and Dead Echo team leader Grayson Hunt survive, along with one other DE member - Ichi - although not without some major physical damage that has left him half human and half robot. All three are now stranded on an inhospitable planet, with both Hunt and a decidedly unfriendly Ichi in pursuit of Sarrano.
The story is as classic as the spirit of the game. Unfortunately, it is also just as played out. After the first Act, I found it to me more of a vehicle for the gameplay rather than something I actually cared to pay any attention to. The dialog is just as harsh and foul as you may have heard, even getting the Fox News team’s panties all tied in a knot. But again, even that is overdone to a certain extent, losing its shock value and gradually dropping into the sophomoric ‘National Lampoon’ comedy path that so many “boundary pushing” titles tend to fall into. The voice acting didn’t help either. While Hunt’s resemblance to a non-mutated Wolverine is almost uncanny (yes, I really went there), his rather enjoyable banter gets dropped like a hot potato by the flat responses of his sparing partners. Ichi’s back-and-forth mood swings as he battles the blood-thirsty logic of the AI half of his brain falls into bi-polar emo territory while Trishka, who is supposed to be a fiery, independent warrior, ends up more of an annoying, snotty brat than anything else.
Sounds like Bulletstorm is pretty much a waste of time, right? Nope, quite the contrary actually. Where the plot-line and scripting/dialogue delivery falls short, the creativity on the gameplay side rides in like a knight in shining armor to the rescue. Points aren’t just calculated by a kill count. It isn’t about dropping a hundred foes. It’s about HOW you drop said foes that elevates your score. Utilizing a combination of your wrist-mounted whip, a nifty boot to the face, a multitude of weapons (each with their own distinct alt fire) and the environment, creativity becomes the key to scoring big. Shooting someone nets you a measly ten points. However, leashing a baddie into a slow-mo glide, then slide-kicking him in front of a giant hungry carnivorous plant bumps that total up quite a bit more. And that is where Bulletstorm begins to compensate for its shortcomings. Discovering all the “Skill Shots” - which are subdivided across each weapon - is essentially the yummy nougat center of this piece of candy. Finding the various means of dismantling your opponent holds all the fun, especially for the pseudo-puzzle fans out there. A curious comparison, I’m sure, but when you think about it, that’s essentially what you are doing: piecing together various combinations that yield the highest point totals.
Yes, checking your brain at the door and jumping into Bulletstorm for some brutal, gory action is quite fun. A blast even, especially when abandoning the solo campaign altogether and running in the co-op Anarchy mode with several buddies. However, the whole thing does grow stagnant over time. About mid-way through the game, I found myself caring less and less about the skill shots. The fun just wears thin when taken in too high a dose. And with the rest of the package not holding its own to begin with, it wasn’t long before I was putting the controller down to fire up some Netflix or shifting to another title in my backlog. Even the varied and - at times - downright gorgeous visuals weren’t enough to keep me “in the game”. Speaking of which, some of the vistas you’ll see in Bulletstorm are indeed quite jaw dropping. Familiar, yet still alien territory, landscapes and architecture make the experience an eye catcher through and through.
To help alleviate some of the stale bread the single player campaign devolves into, there is a time trial-esque and a cooperative component that has a competitive edge to it, even though you aren’t actually killing other human players. The Echo mode is drawn straight from the single player experience, pitting you against the clock as you replay certain segments of the game. High scores are again the name of the game as you vie to topple your friends off the leaderboards. The co-op Anarchy mode is your standard Horde mode that has become a developer favorite over the last few years. You and three of your buddies will work together to fend off wave after wave of baddies, utilizing both single and team-based skill shots to score a certain amount of points before proceeding to the next wave. In both modes, the player begins with the whip and the Peacekeeper rifle. As higher totals are attained, the rest of the weaponry can be unlocked. While the Echo mode was not quite the life saver I had hoped it would be, the Anarchy mode made for some really good times, especially when plotting out the increasingly crucial team skill shots.
In all, Bulletstorm is a decent experience. It has its shortcomings, but at the same time, there’s a lot of fun to be found too. Some of you will pick it up simply for the Gears of War 3 beta access; which is just fine as you’ll discover that Bulletstorm really is a game worth playing...at least until the beta begins in May. As long as you don’t overindulge, running through the alien world and skillfully killing psychos as you seek your revenge is quite satisfying. Toss in a little more depth as you pull off the team skill kills in the Hord...um...Anarchy mode and try to bump your buddies down the leaderbords in the Echo mode and you have a game that will get its fair share of time in your disk drive.
Bulletstorm is an adult game that takes the principles behind Geometry Wars and sets it in a First Person Shooter shell. Better yet, it earns its hard M-rating with skill shot to the groin, which is sure to please anyone who’s tired of the family-friendly leaderboard-centric titles we so commonly get. And really, with a market saturated with thought-inducing fodder like the Mass Effect franchise and Red Dead Redemption, sometimes a thumping whip into a Flyswatter is exactly what the doctor ordered.
+ Interesting ’Skill Shot’ system
+ An adult title that’s truly for adults
+ Gorgeous visuals
+ Lengthy campaign for an FPS...
- Standard issue plot
- Scripting/dialogue delivery misses the mark at times
4 weeks ago :: (PSN) Fuel Overdose
4 weeks ago :: (PSN) Darkstalkers Resurrection
1 month ago :: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
1 month ago :: (PSN) Alien Breed
6 months ago :: Assassin's Creed III
6 months ago :: FIFA Soccer 13
7 months ago :: Resident Evil 6
7 months ago :: NHL 13
8 months ago :: (PSN) The Expendables 2
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2011/02/22
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : People Can Fly
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10