Bulletstorming the gates
From the creators of the hit game Duty Calls, Epic Games, comes a game that will cause children to become serial rapists, Bulletstorm. No, seriously, Fox News said this game will turn your kids into bona fide southern Bubbas. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, read it I’ll wait…AREN’T THEY CRAZY? Anyway, future rise in the rate of rape aside, Bulletstorm is a hilarious sci-fi romp through the blood and guts of some
unknown alien race mutants. They probably deserved it anyway.
First off, if you are unsure of whether or not you want to shell out the cash for Bulletstorm, a decision not to be taken lightly, try the free demo on your respective Xbox, Steam, or PlayStation networks. Then, after you’ve spent a while thinking “Maybe this is pretty cool,” get the full game and spend a few hours playing before you get back to where you left off. For a game titled Bulletstorm, I for one am a little disappointed that it takes 20 minutes before you can wield your gun toward some unfriendly
aliens mutants. I can let this slide even, it’s not a horrible offense, but I expect better.
So what should make BulletStorm so different? The game awards points (which you can use to buy new guns and upgrades) for performing “skill shots,” which consist of things like the standard headshot to the “Fan-tastic” for making an enemy spin on the ceiling using the drill gun. Other such skillful shots, with oft hilarious names/connotations, become available as you collect guns throughout the game. This isn’t incredibly new, Mad World for the Wii did something similar years ago. While Mad World had a lot more variety to what you could do, with the Wii motion controls and all, it was easily mastered during the first level and not really varied beyond that. BS, on the other dismembered hand, had the foresight to add color and different guns, adding some spice to the horrific killing, which you pick up during the game each with their own strengths and skills. Though after an act or two you can manage to perform most of the skills associated with your newest weapon and get back down to shootin’ stuff.
Graphics wise, Bulletstorm feels like somebody had great plans for the game to look fantastic but then someone else decided to cheap out and use the Unreal engine. Now there’s nothing wrong with using the Unreal engine, it’s pretty cool, but it isn’t that great. Games using it often look pretty gritty, especially when the oft used dirt filter is used. Because of this, BS doesn’t look a whole lot different from other similar shooters. On occasion, it looks like someone decided that Bulletstorm absolutely needed to have super awesome graphical sequences, but they just never come out right. Half the time you are distracted by things shooting at your face and don’t get to take in the stunning vistas. That’s not to say that Bulletstorm looks bad. It is still a fine looking game, just not very differentiable from other next-genners.
As far as the campaign goes, don’t expect at deep and captivating story from Bulletstorm. It, like the level design, is incredibly linear with the budget of twists and turns spent in the opening prologue (which is the most boring part of the game). After that, however, the game just becomes ridiculously hilarious. Between your rampant path of destruction and the fantastic one liners delivered by Steve Blum (Read: Spike Spiegel) the game remains up tempo and entertaining. Around the end it kinda peters off and the ending seems very labored, but is worth it for completion’s sake.
Once you’ve finished off the single player portions of Bulletstorm the multiplayer modes are worth a try. Anarchy mode features a Firefight style mode where you and up to four other players fight off wave after wave of enemies. The other, Echo mode, allows you to replay certain parts of the single player with teammates. Both reward (and sometimes require) precision teamwork to pull off team skill shots for bonus points and extra carnage. Otherwise, these modes aren’t a whole lot different from the basic game. Still hilarious, though.
Being billed as “Not your average shooter,” I am saddened that I can barely distinguish it from other average shooters of today. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun, but nothing at all new. It still has the realistic brown dirt look that is so common in games today and, while there is some variety, there isn’t enough to actually be called variety. Yes, shooting someone in the genitals is humorous, but only to a certain extent. There’s not a whole lot beyond the standard kicking, shooting, and electric leashing thing. While it is fun, it gets old eventually. Bulletstorm has that quirky, highly immature sense of humor that video game’s target demographic is known for and, if you’re into that, will result in a very fun time. If not, then just hope you don’t leave feeling “one hell of a murder boner” for Epic Games.