Back when I interviewed Cliff Bleszinski last fall, One of the things he was particularly proud of was his work with BulletStorm. The game boast a witty humor Duke Nukem fans will love and the tagline to “Kill with Skill,” but is the game just a free bonus included with the Gears of War 3 Beta, or should you buy BulletStorm on its own merits?
I went into this game expecting great things from the gameplay and a throw away generic story serving as a loose frame for the story. Turns out while I was right about the gameplay, which provides a level of control and style normally reserved for only the most stylish of action games (Devil May Cry, Vanquish, Bayonetta), but the story was also a hilarious and fun ride. While it’s certainly not for everyone because of the language, the story follows the fowl mouthed revenge tale of Grayson Hunt and his right hand man, Ishi, as they crash land on an abandoned resort planet overran with cannibal mutants, man-eating plants and tribal space gangsters to take revenge on a corrupt military general. The characters deliver some brilliantly written streams of nasty and rude syllables to keeping the laughs coming through all the mayhem. Unfortunately, like many comedy games before it, the humor kinda tapers off near the end and falls into some melodrama involving how many people you killed for about the last hour of the game. With that said, it’s actually a bit refreshing to see a game hit one of the most touchy subjects in gaming, and while it’s never fully developed, mentioning it alone is more than what most games ever think to do.
Gameplay is still where Bulletstorm shines brightest. The game makes executing over the top Killshots easy and fun to pull off, while the movement never feels like a choir. At it’s core, Bulletstorm is about seizing opportunities to string those killshots together to score big and unlock next new weapons and upgrades to be able to do even more cool tricks. In fact, its a good thing that the Killshots are fun because the game demands them to be able to the guns and ammo you need to continue playing the game. Something that also should get props are the set piece moments where the gameplay is mixed up a bit. Not to spoil to much, but this game has the BEST boss fight of any FPS ever…. as in on the same level as the Mario, MGS and Zelda, its my favorite part of the game and I only wished there was more boss fights as creative.
My only real gripe with the game is that your companions are dumb as rocks. There was even a couple of points where they even got in my way and killed an enemy I was about to pull a killshot on. I’m fine with the dumb enemy AI (for this game, I actually preferred it,) but I would have preferred my AI buddies to just sit on the side line to cheer me on, open doors, and just stay out of my way.
On a technical level, BulletStorm is one of the best looking games on the Unreal engine. The game features some great skyboxes and landscapes, HUGE moments that look great and masterful animation, everything about the game just looks great. Gameplay wise outside of the Core campaign is the Echoes mode, which is a score and time attack mode of various sections of the game and Coop Multiplayer. Some people might be bummed about the lack of verses multiplayer, but to be honest… I couldn’t imagine a worse gaming hell than playing a deathmatch where some poorly parented ultra skilled foul mouthed 13 year old kid has me chained up to a wall while he is shooting me in the balls cackling and cursing the whole time. (I in NO WAY suggest this game for children, seriously it’s M rated.)
At the end of the day, Bulletstorm is a great package only made sweeter with the inclusion of the Gears of War 3 beta which is set to release this April. This game is a buy for me no matter the platform, its just alot of fun and a good prelude to prepare yourself for the return of Duke Nukem!