Unlike Thunderstorms with lightening, you’ll want to be playing in this storm!
In the realm of entertainment, especially books, videogames, TV Shows, and movies, the only core limit that you have is your imagination (give or take a few elements like ratings, budgets, and actors that go from normal to substance-induced tirades that shock the world but unite to a million strong on Twitter) Imagination is a trait each of these mediums share. But what makes video games special is the ability to make your ideas become digitally real on a limitless canvas. I addition, the very fabric of scientific laws, like physics and gravity, can easily be broken in a keystroke. This can lead to a wide, diverse array of thrilling game play ideas and exciting actions that others envy. Our hero in Bulletstorm, Grayson Hunt, most certainly agrees. The ones that don’t agree very likely got shot in the junk and got a boot to their face. Or got whipped and then kicked into a man-eating flower. Or thumped into the air and shot with an acid shotgun. Or whipped, set on fire, and kicked into an electrical storm.
And I, like Grayson Hunt, agree as well. For we both find ourselves in a storm of vicious enemies, hostile environments, and bullets (not rounds, this isn’t the military)
From EA, People can fly Studios, Epic Games, and, most especially, the very team that brought you the Gears of War trilogy, this is Bulletstorm, the game where you “kill with skill.” As simple and innocent as that sounds, it is an adrenaline rush meant to be played with a controller and experienced by the gamer. This mechanic is the core of this game but it is also wrapped in a solid single player campaign, fun multiplayer, and very fluid game play making Bulletstorm an 80’s inspired action fiesta of incredible proportions paving a bright, adrenaline-fueled future for the shooter in 2011.
Meet the pirates of the future: Grayson Hunt, Ishi, and his own personal crew. Once you were part of a top-secret Special Forces unit. But loyalty and truth in the future are as cold as the icy cold of space itself and your team suffers a cold-hand of betrayal by your leader, As pirates, these future bad-asses pillar, plunge and sporadically strike at the army of their former leader. Seeking a shot at revenge, they make a direct strike at (leader’s) personal vessel, the Ulysses, which of course, boils down into a face with death. Convinced this is it, Grayson maxes the engines of his damaged ship, which winds up going through the Ulysses and crashing onto the planet below. You have crashed on Stygia, the most dangerous resort in the universe. And that is the only good news. Hunted by Confederate forces and the mutant inhabitants of Stygia, you’ve got to haul ass, kick ass, and get the hell out of there… in style!
The highlight of this action hero/ revenge story is that the insane levels of the game play compliment the execution of the story and the hilarious array of potty- soaked, racial, and human-anatomy induced dialogue delivered by interesting characters with great voice acting! The story will give you quite a few laughs and leave a smile on your face during your entire play through. In addition, the execution of the story, gunplay, and dialogue keep things fun and intense while the story keeps the experience meaningful enough where one will not feel disinterested or senseless. The single player will last 8 to 10 hours on your first play through on Hard.
On the back of the game case, the tag line is to “Kill with Skill.” Now, many may dismiss this as the ability to strafe, move around, conserve ammo, take cover, and pull off headshots. However, if you’re an avid gamer like me, we can agree we’ve done this many times over. The makers of Bulletstorm really take the term, “Kill With Skill” to a whole new level. From kicking hot dog carts to shishkababing enemies with a drill launcher (actual skillshot challenges) Skillshots, as these are called, are the highlight of the gunplay. You may have only 6 guns at your disposal but it’s not what guns you shoot, its how you use them and how you use all of their alternate fires. If you’re in a crumbling building, use the walls, the glass, the ceiling, and exposed metal coils to dispatch your foes. This will all matter during game play for Skillshots are not just a killing method: it’s the way to earn currency. The more creative your kill, the higher your score. What weapon you’re using and the environment can create combined kills and increases your currency. When you find a drop box, you can use that currency to upgrade your weapons and get ammo. Most importantly is the accessibility to the gamer to pull them of. This is a game where the your input/character action relationship is reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge, where sliding, kicking, running, and shooting are easy to do, fantastic to watch, and allow you easy ability to dispatch your foes. Also, when you use the leash or kick an enemy, your enemy is in slow motion for a few seconds, indicated by a blue outline. When you kick or slide an enemy into an object, there is a small auto targeting to where you’re guiding the enemy so kicking your enemy into a cactus can be done with no problem. With well over 100 skillshots to pursue and the multiplayer components, you will not believe how many different kinds of punishment you can do upon your opposition. You’ll be determined to find each possible skillshot and the only limit is your creative skill.
The multiplayer consists of Echoes and Anarchy mode. Anarchy Mode is a challenge room type mode similar in comparison to Uncharted 2’s Siege Mode, Call of Duty’s Zombie Mode, and Transformers: War for Cybertron’s Escalation Mode. The kicker here is the fact that the maps are very unique and team skillshots are highly encouraged. It provides a fun twist to game play when you’re able to work with a friend to pull off unique skill shots. It is well worth pouring time into anarchy mode, as, with all challenge room modes, you are motivated to get to a higher, more challenging level. It is recommended to have microphone to communicate with your squad mate to max out your chance for survival to. Echoes mode is a leader boards enabled mode where the objective is to get the highest possible score in the fastest amount of time possible. If you’ve played Medal of Honor’s Tier 1 mode, it’s on the same concept. The only difference is that it isn’t as brutally challenging. Both multiplayer modes give the game stronger legs and allow an extra amount of time to be poured into the game following you single adventure on Stygia. If you loved the single player, you’ll certainly like the multiplayer.
On a visual, audio, and technical standpoint, Bulletstorm delivers a victorious assault onto your eyes and ears but not on your hard drive (That’s a good thing!) Visually, the game offers a wide arrange of environments. From desert graveyard and old ships to caves and crumbling buildings, there is no shortage of where you will be on Stygia. Enemy variety is a tad bit lacking but varied enough with different looks, weapons, and difficulties. And of course, you’re not going to really scrutinize enemy looks when you’re taking them out with style. As mentioned earlier, the audio is very good. Explosions, gun blasts, and creatures all have their distinct, appropriate audio flair, but the dialogue and music are the highlight of the experience. With the gritty hilarity of the dialogue and the fun delivery by the characters, you’re bound to remember the lines and the moment to which you hear them. The game runs very smoothly and is very responsive. I encountered only the slightest few texture pop ops and only 2 interrupting load screens. However, that was towards the end when, naturally, you have every enemy bearing down on you. Another nice touch, at least for the PS3, is that very minimal hard drive space is needed.
If there’s anything that Bulletstorm shortchanges, it’s just a nitpick of what more could’ve been done. I would’ve wanted to see a space fighter or vehicular segment and a few new enemies and weapons. The single player has good length but could’ve been longer. However, this is a kind of shooter built in an essence we haven’t seen for years while producing an original game play style we have not seen in current-gen shooters. In addition, its retail value is entirely dependent on you. I believe the game is worthy of full retail price but if you are involved in another game, you don’t have to grab this right away. The sweet spot for Bulletstorm is $30-$40. Also, 360 owners who happen to be Gears of War fans will most certainly wish to pick up the Limited Edition of Bulletstorm now for it comes with a Gears of War 3 beta that comes earlier then those that simply preorder that game.
Ultimately, Bulletstorm accomplishes its goal: to bring the fun back in the First Person shooter. It may not have the strong legs as some of its competition but it makes up for it by simply being fun and being different. With its crazy game play style, gritty but comedic story, and well-done technical values, Bulletstorm is a storm you’ll be glad you jumped into. 4 out of 5 stars