As much as I enjoyed the core gameplay of Bulletstorm, I for one was put off by the overly goofy sense of humour that somehow still plagues any attempt to inject comedy into the first person shooter genre. Was it just me or has this inability to move on from the crude humour of the mid 90’s had something to do with the relatively weak sales figures for Epic’s latest shooter?
While technically brilliant, fun to play and visually outstanding, I found myself cringing every time someone opened their mouth in Bulletstorm – haven’t we moved on from the days of Duke Nukem and Serious Sam? Obvioulsy not. Other than lazy attempts at self referential humour, this is still the kind of stuff that reminds me that the industry still has a hell of a long way to go before it is taken seriously as an art form.
I know, I should lighten up right? It’s not like Epic were trying to make Braid 2? Well, no actually. That kind of lazy response just doesn’t wash with me. I’m all for humour in games, but like any other form of entertainment, I don’t want it to be lazy and aimed almost exclusively at the lowest common denominator. Let’s face it, this kind of ‘comedy’ wasn’t funny in the mid 90’s and it sure as shit doesn’t cut the mustard today.
I would love to think Bulletstorm’s ill advised attempt at tickling the funny bone is something of a one off but with the return off Duke Nukem just around the corner, I fear the worst is still to come. Maybe Duke Nukem Forever will be a pleasant surprise and the Duke will have finally found a sense of humour worthy of a grown man, but you know what, I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m not expecting a work of comedic genius here but there is a way to do crude comedy and Bulletstorm’s weak attempt is certainly not it.
Bulletstorm is a fantastic game, one that is sadly marred by a terrible, juvenile and ultimately moronic sense of humour. I hope its poor sales are in light of this rather than a lack of interest in its stellar score chasing gameplay. I guess we’ll find out when the Duke makes his return later this year.