Interesting title Bulletstorm is, no question. In a FPS market dominated by the Call of Duty franchise, one would have to assume that the detailed realism that saturates the FPS genre has become a necessary staple in producing a new FPS for sale in today’s market, but that’s not the direction EA/Epic Games went with Bulletstorm, quite to the contrary. Bulletstorm is intentional FPS overkill.
Although the demo still leaves questions in regard to how the single player story mode plays, what you do get is a great feel for the action and how the game’s mechanics function, in the available “echo” mode. After the introductory macho rant from the game’s protagonist Grayson Hunt, weapon selection takes place, and then it’s on with the bullet-blasting violence, and Bulletstorm makes no apologizes for dishing it out with reckless zeal.
So in a densely saturated market where FPS shooters are as common as single guys at a Star Trek convention, does Bulletstorm bring anything that sets it apart ? In short, the answer is yes, and now for the long of it…
Generally today’s FPS shooters have the gamer concentrating on two main objectives, pursuing, confronting, and eventually killing the game’s “Darth Vader” or main antagonist, and even more paramount, simply staying alive to do it; the “how” the gamer does this, not really being of much relevance or consequence, but in Bulletstorm, the “how” is priority one.
Point totals for stylish and creative killing is what Bulletstorm has been tailored to, and the creators give the gamer several tools with with to hand out the carnage. Grayson Hunt’s starting arsenal includes the Peacemaker Carbine (your standard fare automatic rifle), the Screamer, ( a high powered revolver ), and the Flailgun, a weapon that doesn’t have a “real life” equivalent, as this weapon fires two grenades linked by steel chain that Grayson can detonate at his own discretion. Each of these starting three have their own charged up secondary attack, that allows the gamer to get inventive with their destruction and really increase their point totals and the same time.
These three are complimented by the fourth starting weapon in Grayson’s arsenal, the “Leash”, an electrified bullwhip of sorts. This weapon is reminiscent of, and likely inspired by the signature attack of Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion. The Leash provides that same “COME ‘ERE !” capability that allows Grayson to reel foes in, and then blast them right back out with the attack of his choosing.
The aforementioned weapons still aren’t the only methods of mayhem available to Grayson, as the Bulletstorm landscape is littered with opportunity of entertaining environmental kills as well, and if this still isn’t enough variety in the gamers repertoire, Grayson Hunt can also dispatch enemies with the tried and true combat boot in the butt, which sends foes flying a la “slo mo”, giving the gamer better opportunity to select that perfect kill.
The presentation of Bulletstorm is macho enthusiastic, the Grayson Hunt character literally “calling out” the player, in his personal challenge to you to put a respectable score on the online world stage. The music is the pretty much the expected standard for a FPS like Bulletstorm, along the lines of the orchestral “Apocalypse Now”, hitting the beaches, “love the smell of napalm in the morning” variety. The NPC character chatter is the usual combination of cheesy Stallone-style one liners and defeated growls of the vanquished.
Graphically Bulletstorm is respectable but hardly groundbreaking, nothing cutting edge here. Of the run-of-the-mill variety, green-hued foe encountered early in the demo, the detail does leave a something to be desired, the colors blending together in a manner that was a little blurry and lifeless. I wanted to experience the pained reactions of the faces of my defeated foes, and it wasn’t there, only muddled spray. On the upside, there were no detectable frame rate issues when the games’ NPC count ran into double digits, which is always welcome in a busy FPS.
Now all factors considered, does Bulletstorm set itself apart enough to be considered a must have buy ? At new release prices, probably not. In the intro, the Grayson Hunt character refers to Bulletstorm as the “best damn game ever made”, and I give the voice actor full points for delivering that line without snickering, although I imagine there’s out takes on the cutting room floor, where the, “I just can’t honestly make this claim”, inflection crept into the voice actor’s delivery. To get a good mental yardstick if this game is for you, think of the 2008 shooter release “Fracture”, with considerably more allowance for weapon customization and creative killing. There’s certainly the quality of the yet to be assessed campaign mode and multiplayer to consider, but one really doesn’t need to, to know that Bulletstorm isn’t going to be the next great franchise in the FPS genre. With the release of both Resistance and Killzone #3 on our gaming horizons, the wallet stays closed.
– Prof. Benny Oblivion