Bulletstorm, by Epic games is another game that caught some negative coverage in the media due to its violence and sexual innuendo. While I can’t disagree with that assessment, the game manages both the violence and crude humor and turns it into an entertaining play through.
As former Dead Echo leader Grayson Hunt, you are seeking revenge against General Sarrano for crimes to be revealed as the game opens. You crash land on the worst idea for a resort since Jurassic Park and fight your way across the hostile terrain.
Graphically the game looks great, with a nice variety of outdoor and indoor environments without getting too repetitive. Fighting towards the dam and then looking out at the water when you reach the top is a spectacular view. Fire fights, spraying blood, the Gag reflex animation are also on and the frame rate very rarely stutters with multiple enemies on screen. The only hiccup I noticed was when I reached a checkpoint, the game would pause for a second and it was only noticeable if I was running forward. The weakest point in graphics is the cut scenes, sometimes the mouths moving while talking didn’t seem to match up.
The story develops rather well, and if it seems unbelievable at times, it still makes sense in a sci-fi, stuck on a planet with mutant freaks trying to kill you sort of way. The dialogue between Grayson and the NPCs could use its own review; hilarious, dirty, and creative insults all still manage to develop each character and give them some depth. Even Sarrano benefits from this, for a villain, he is one you love to hate as the game ends.
The weapons include your standard FPS fare; machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle and pistol along with a couple variations of rocket launcher and a drill gun that fans of F.E.A.R may remember. Did I say standard? Each gun has its special charge shot that adds to the carnage. The sniper rifle shines in this game, sniping is no longer boring. After you acquire your target, you take control and steer the bullet into the enemy. I found it frustrating at first, but after a few missed shots, enemies were quaking in fear. Are multiple enemies pinning you down? Charging your sniper rifle makes your bullet explosive. After hitting your target, you can now steer your hapless victim into his friend, then detonate the bullet for some gruesome carnage.
Grayson is also armed with a leash that is necessary to survival on this hostile world. The leash will pull ammo, enemies, or explosives closer to your location, giving you needed ammo or impaling an enemy on the various hazards located on the planet. During time I found myself overwhelmed by enemy forces, simply holding down the leash button would unleash a “thumper,” and launch the closest enemies into the air. In a low ceilinged room, this will end a fire fight and earn some quick easy kills. Try it and see…
The game is not without flaws however, though they are small. The leash could be re-worked for any future Bulletstorm games. Once an enemy is leashed, he will fly straight towards you causing some unnecessary maneuvering to kick him into the cactus, open electrical panel, or whatever target you are aiming for. Some sort of steering would have made the leash an ultimate weapon. Some of the later guns, the Bouncer in particular, just seemed underpowered. Most deaths I had were trying to unlock the special kills for that gun. I found no problem playing through the game the first time with the machine gun, shotgun, and pistol or sniper rifle. As a player of FPS games, I also found myself wishing for some grenades.
The real question is whether or not the game retains the fun factor using a kill everyone with style gimmick. Surprisingly yes, and to me it was a pleasant surprise when I first played due to the number of negative reviews and not so great sales record. Had Bulletstorm relied solely on the kill with style selling point, the game would have grown stale quickly. Combine it with the witty dialogue, the crude humor, over the top action, and we have a solid title that deserves a play.
GameStop has Bulletstorm pre-owned at $24.99, while maybe more money than the average Empty Wallet gamer wants to spend, you won’t be disappointed.