Bulletstorm Multiplayer: Leave No Bullet Unshot
by Matt Bertz on Dec 08, 2010 at 05:50 AM
Platform PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Electronic Arts
Developer Electronic Arts
Rating Mature

When we first glimpsed Bulletstorm, we were immediately drawn in by its crass sense of humor, playful combat, and sci-fi pulp vibe that would be right at home in a Robert Rodriguez flick. That was just the single-player campaign. Given that the bombastic shooter bears the Epic Games stamp, we knew it would come strapped with some creative complementary modes as well. Enter the Echoes and Anarchy modes.

Bulletstorm’s skillshot system offers a natural benchmark for competition: who can rack up the most impressive streak of creative kills? Echoes mode strips the single-player campaign of its story-based elements and boss battles, leaving you with a destructive playground filled with baddies just begging for your bullets. Players choose their arsenal before heading into battle, and must run through the levels racking up as many creative kills as they can in a set amount of time. If you finish early, you’ll earn a time bonus. Once you make it through the gauntlet, the game tallies your points, gives you a star rating, and uploads your score to a leaderboard.

The level I played, called The Hideout, takes place in a tropical, vertical industrial complex filled with cranes and rusted sheet metal structures. With campaign companion Ishi along for the ride, I maneuver through the level trying to cook up the most creative ways to fill enemies full of lead. My best results come when I use the leash to slam enemies into the air and then fire a flail gun round that detonates in midair, taking out all the enemies around the poor sap wrapped in the grenade belt. Using the environmental objects to generate higher scoring skillshots also comes in handy. In one scenario, I kick a door off its hinges and it pins the hapless foes behind it to the far wall. I end up with two out of three stars – not bad for a first run, but if you want to earn all three stars you’ll have to be especially crafty with your skillshots.

In addition to Echoes mode, Bulletstorm also features a new online only four-player Horde-like co-op mode called Anarchy that encourages you to work together to pull off insane team skillshots. Playing as a group of recruits who are trying out for General Serrano’s feared Dead Echo killing squad, your team must earn a skillshot benchmark to progress to the next level. Like Echoes mode, the bullets are your paint, and the enemies are your canvas. Your best bet is coordinating team skillshots to generate points, but they take timing and coordination. For instance, the Drawn and Quartered skillshot requires all four players to grab a limb with a leash and pull at the same time to dismember the unfortunate enemy at the center of attention. To beef up the experience, Anarchy mode features a separate progression system from the single-player mode that allows you to spend points to tweak uniforms and upgrade weapons.

Gamers will get the chance to show off their skills in these new modes on February 22.

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