The lights are on
I had no idea what to expect when I popped this game into my 360. Was this going to be a first person Gears of War clone? Maybe something like Killzone? I had read no reviews or watched any gameplay prior to me playing it. I went in entirely blind expecting to play "Buff Men Kill Bad Guys 3". Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Bulletstorm meets all the basic expectations one would look for in an action game: gruff and muscular protagonists, legions upon legions of enemies to burn ammo through, an easily detestable antagonist, and huge and over the top set piece moments. Bulletstorm manages to hit these notes perfectly and then some.
This game never slows down. A decent story told from the perspective of high-value fugitive Grayson Hunt and his rage-filled quest to kill his former employer and general Victor Sarrano serves as the backdrop for the never ending action. While this game definitely isn't BioShock, the narrative did manage to keep me engaged amid all of the action. But this isn't uncommon with intense action games. What sets this game apart from nearly every other big FPS release is developer People Can Fly's meticulously crafted and hugely entertaining combat system.
Every kill earns you points. You use the points you earn to purchase ammunition and upgrades and new powers for your weapons. Not particularly interesting in its own respect, but what sets it apart from other points based systems are the plethora of ways you can murder your enemies. Early on you are given an electric leash that lets you pull enemies towards you from afar. Pulling an enemy from behind cover, kicking him over a ledge and scoring +50 "Vertigo" points is satisfying every single time you do it.
You are given a variety of weapons and skills to use, each offering their own different skill points. Getting +25 "Topless" points by severing your enemy in half with a shotgun blast or getting +50 "Nutcracker" points by sniping your enemy in the balls is both grotesque and hilarious at the same time. This game will bring out your inner 12 year old. And it's awesome from start to finish.
The addictive skillshots range from kicking your enemy into a cactus to finding new and interesting ways to kill them with your guns. Even without the skillshots, the combat remains consistently fresh by coherently introducing new enemies and methods of destruction. The way that the combat is done in this game is definitely among the most fun this generation has to offer. There's no shortage of laughs and jaw-dropping surprises on this train.
If you have read my other works, you would know that I am an avid lover of huge over the top set piece moments. Collapse a huge building on my head while I run from a helicopter. Have a enormous and terrifying world destroying Reaper take on a Thresher Maw in a head to head battle in front of my eyes. All of this I love. In Bulletstorm, you are give the opportunity to take control of a 30-foot-tall Mechagodzilla that shoots lasers. Later in the game, you fight an actual skyscraper size version of this same creature as it destroys a metropolis. Needless to say, if you love huge set piece moments like I do, Bullestorm will quench your thirst.
Gameplay wise, Bulletstorm is one of the funnest games I have played this generation. From a technical standpoint, however, things aren't as pretty. Out of sync audio, popup textures, repetitive movements from enemies, occasional clipping, and poor facial animations mar otherwise well-designed visuals. The writing, while typical for a dirty joke fueled testosterone injection, can get a bit stale. But like I said, the gameplay is both addicting and hilarious and easily make up for these small issues.
If you enjoy first person shooters, jaw-dropping set pieces, and hilarious gameplay mechanics, Bulletstorm is definitely worth checking out despite it being released over two years ago. Unfortunately, the latest news points to no sequel so this may be the most we're going to get out of this fantastic series despite a huge cliffhanger ending. A shame, really. $10 at GameStop. Play this game.
**Note: User rating at the top of the page is not my rating but an aggregate rating of all users on the website.
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