Genre: First Person Shooter Developer: Publisher: Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 24th Feb 2011 Platforms:
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Remember Beavis and Butthead? The American cartoon was a staple of MTV back when MTV showed music, and it was a hilarious satire built around
the sorts of people who watch MTV religiously.
It portrayed two unemployed losers as they sat around watching their favourite video clips, laughing at the word *****. The key to the humour was that it was self-aware - it knew you knew it was making fun of people like you. That the word ***** is funny, but the fact that it's funny makes it funnier still.
Bulletstorm is the game Beavis and Butthead would make. I'm not saying that the team at People Can Fly are losers - don't make that mistake. I'm saying that they think seven-ish hours of **** jokes is champagne comedy, and they think jokes are funnier when they're yelled out loud. If video games were comedians, Bulletstorm would be Dane Cook.
As far as satirical, self-referential humour goes, Bulletstorm has none. It's about as self-aware as your desktop PC (touch wood). Upon reading the word wood, Bulletstorm hi-fived its bro, downed a 'brewski' and yelled 'Wood! LOL!' at the top of its lungs.
Its approach to humour is about as subtle as Channel 7s Natural Disaster coverage as well. That is to say it latches on an idea and then milks it until its bleeding. There are more ***** in Bulletstorm than in a Bukkake movie.
Welp, I've really run this point into the ground, haven't I. Bulletstorm has broken my capacity for subtlety.
Surprisingly, the game's at its funniest when it's not resorting to portmanteaus combining the word **** with random nouns - when it's highlighting ludicrous tropes of sci-fi fictions and shooters, there are actually a few laugh out loud moments.
The game follows anti-hero Grayson Hunt, the smart-mouthed leader of the Dead Echo squad. He's on a mission for revenge after he was tricked into killing innocent people by the evil General Serrano.
Apparently the team at People Can Fly are major proponents of the Nuremberg Defence, as Grayson Hunt and his Dead Echo team feel they should be absolved of their crimes because they were simply following orders.
It's actually tackled in an interesting manner in game... eventually. For about three quarters of the game you and your teammate Ishi just go with the flow - they crash landed on a planet full of beautiful vistas and violent gang members, and they're in a race against time to get to a dropship before it leaves them stranded forever.
Eventually they meet the obligatory sass-talking no-nonsense female - placed in the game because seven or so hours of **** jokes and no women would probably look a little gay. And these guys are too manly for that. She's also in there for another plot related reason, but I don't want to spoil it (though you'd no doubt guess it ten minutes into the game).
She accompanies you on your mission to the dropship reluctantly at first, but to no-ones surprise she becomes the love interest by the end of the game. You're also forced to team with your enemy General Serrano, which allows the game to throw even more genital related humour at you while Grayson and Serrano call each other ***** and pussies.
It's during your time with Serrano that the game starts to try to take itself seriously (to an extent) - by broaching the subject of Hunt's mass murdering. Serrano tweaks to the idea that Grayson feels remorse for the actions he made while under the General's orders, and uses the hundreds of people he killed crashing Serrano's ship to hurt our otherwise light-hearted mercenary.
It's an interesting concept in probably the worst place - 90% of the dialogue is humourous (or intended to be), so tackling concepts like 'what about all the soldiers you killed trying to get to me?' isn't treated with the respect the idea deserves. Instead, it just feels odd - and it gets silly when people like Ishi start absolving Grayson of any wrong doing. It's there to give any player with qualms about their actions permission to continue killing, essentially.
It's not all bad though. Except for a few glaring mistakes Bulletstorm is a genuinely awesome game to play. At face value it looks like a generic shooter - and it certainly starts that way as you run down corridors shooting cannon fodder - but a short time into the game you get your hands on a 'Leash', and everything changes.
The Leash allows you to grab enemies from a distance and drag them over to you - while being dragged they slow in time, giving you the
opportunity to do all sorts of nasty things to them with your weapons.
This is where the core of the game comes in - the Leash also comes with a skillshot system which rates your ability to kill people and scores you on it. Killing in inventive and different ways rewards you with more skillpoints, which you can use to buy ammo and special upgrades for your weapons.
The upgrades are enough of an incentive on their own, but chaining together a good combo of kills delivers the sense of satisfaction usually only found in the likes of God of War or Devil May Cry games. People Can Fly know this too - it's demonstrated in the additional Echo mode.
Echo mode strips the game of its plot and renders it down to the bare essentials - you make a timed run to the end of the level, and you get graded at the end. You can earn multiple stars based on your performance, and it's addictive as hell chasing after the points needed to get that third star.
The God of War/Devil May Cry inspiration is also apparent in (most of) the boss fights, where you will take on massive enemies who will necessitate some thinking outside the box. Unfortunately the last boss fight is curiously weak by comparison - a lame duck compared to fighting a Godzilla-esque beast a mere half an hour beforehand.
The biggest let down gameplay-wise is AI - specifically team mate AI, though your enemies apparently learned military tactics from Zapp Brannigan. Team mates can be a detriment to the player though - in two separate instances I had to restart from a previous checkpoint because an AI partner had glitched out and forgotten how to hop over ledges.
The worst of these was when we were two minutes away from leaping onto the drop ship which would take us home - when the AI glitched out it meant I couldn't actually make it to the end of the level. I had to restart that checkpoint many, many times.
Nevertheless the gameplay was genuinely fun - the weapons feel good to handle and your character controls nicely. When sprinting, the left thumbstick gives you control over left and right turning instead of strafing, and it's a fantastic way to allow the player to maintain control while at speed.
There's a fair amount of humour in the names given to your skillshot moves too, so discovering new combinations has more worth there too.
Bulletstorm's best gag is that it'd be light years better if it didn't attempt to have any story at all. The story it does have is so clichéd they could almost credit Home Brand, and a large portion of the humour is written for 14 year olds. The skillshot system, the leash and the core game though - it's a fresh and interesting take on the FPS genre. There's genuinely more fun to be had playing through the Echo mode than there is putting up with the half-baked story in singleplayer.
If you liked Painkiller\Gears of War\Serious Sam then you will probably find something to like in this game.
It's only two major flaws are in how it approached the story and the layout of the levels.
If you see screenshots you get the feel of large epic levels similar to Serious Sam, unfortunately in-game you are limited to a small linear set path. This is made worse because you share this limited space with a retarded robot man who will find any excuse to come and sniff your balls.
The story is a revenge story... and they stuffed it! I mean it's the easiest thing to do (and the best for any action game\movie\book). I wont explain why because i still don't want to add spoilers but they really buggered it.
The problem is they went for a ultra-serious and ultra-funny approach that just contradicts too much, it just comes off retarded. There are some good parts though, it's not terrible and would not be such an issue if they hadn't buggered the ending (also getting rid of Ishi would have made the story AND game so much better).
However story should take a back seat in this type of shooter anyway, ignore the story and you can have quite a bit of fun.
The weapons are the star of the show, chain linked mine launchers, sniper rifles with remote controlled bullets, explosive cannon balls, projectile drill bits that impale dudes, quadruple barreled shotgun were the highlight of the game for me.
If the developer had laid this game out more like it's previous title Painkiller i would have given this an 8.5 or 9, Bulletstorm really deserved to be made into an old-school shooter.
If you are an FPS fan then you should check it out eventually, just don't pay full price.
After playing the multiplayer anarchy mode 7 hours straight on the first day I got this game, I realised this game is the game I was looking for. It has an enjoyable learning curve and I am still yet to master all of my options. As Cliffy B says "normally in first person shooters you have to shoot, run and take cover from enemies, this is not that game". The game has a commentator that is like a tf2 soldier, but is just as fun as the tf2 commentator. From going to the web site and watching the videos I have found a lot of inspiration to play. I have recommended this game to everyone I know. Enjoy.
keep kicking zombies around and shooting them with a hole clip.
Very boring game play.
The hackers are all over google giveing away cracked bulletstorm game free and cheat software.
No aussie players most of the time i end up playing yanks or europeans.
Keep getting bad connection in midle of screen.
Noobs attacking team mates because there grafix are so poor.
Only 4 player games.
Wait is way to long between rounds.
If your team fails to get a certain score you have to run the same round over and over untill pass minimum score befor you get rank points.
Poor maps and hardley any to choose.
The peer network will probly be its major flop.
I have ati crossfire with 2x 6850 ati cards and video is weak like the weak game play.
I read on some forum that you have to compleate 100 cooperative levels befor you can play free for all.
Bottom line is everything about the game is weak.
In a genre that take's itself way to seriously at time's meet a game that is a seven hour tribute to the F word that word being FUN , make no mistake this game has more in common with Duke Nukem than Halo and really is that such a bad thing ?
Forget about your characters motivation just blow s*** up ! the skill shot's are cool just when you think you've seen all the move's the game has to offer POW ! there's another one you've not seen before ,it's not just enough to kill the bad guy's now you'll find yourself searching for more and more inventive way's of disposing of your foe's .
The multiplayer is also cool even if it's just for the fact that for a change you and your friend's are actually working together instead of against each other .
My final word is that if you want a game where you can just switch off and have fun you could do a lot worse than Bulletstorm .