Epic Games’ seven-part guide to shooters:
Part One: Make your characters big. No… bigger than that. Nope, a wee bit bigger. You know, until their biceps are bigger than their heads. Yup. That should do.
Part Two: Make your guns big. No… bigger than that. Little bit bigger, maybe? Make them look like repurposed space ships, designed by men with small penises.
Part Three: Have everything in the game make loads of noise. Doesn’t matter exactly what that noise is, just crank up the volume and duration. Remember, no noise is bad noise.
Part Four: Narrative is the enemy of gameplay. Make sure your lead protagonist always has something to hit, shoot or swear at. Always.
Part Five: Swear. A lot. It doesn’t matter how random your collocations get, ensure that your lead, and everyone around your lead uses a profanity at least once every four words.
Part Six: There is no place in videogames for anything that doesn’t kill. Ensure that everything kills stuff, and in turn that it can be killed itself.
Part Seven: Chest-high walls. Lots. No, we mean go bat shit crazy with them. Nope, you’re gonna need a few more than that. No, keep going… more… couple of hundred more, and you’re there.
In honesty, that could go on forever, so I’m going to stop now and start gibbering in a regular fashion. What Epic, with a special guest appearance from People Can Fly, has done is create a truly distinct form of the medium here. I can’t see Epic, in the near future at least, getting rid of this kind of noisy brash gameplay in favour of anything more subtle. In essence, what they have is a winning formula that, currently, there’s no need to change. The kind of balls-out action nonsense that both Bulletstorm and the Gears of War franchise has is truly unique in the industry. Regardless of whether you love or hate it, you can’t deny that Epic are making changes to the industry. For good or for bad is hard to tell, but certainly for now, I’m enjoying it.
Let’s get one thing straight. Bulletstorm is complete nonsense. From a narrative point of view, and indeed from a progression point of view, there’s little or nothing of note. In fact, for a majority of the game you might as well be doing random levels. This has the same level of coherence as Gears, and is only marginally less rubbish. The lead character, Grayson Hunt is on a mission to murder his former general, and gets the opportunity to after blowing up the general’s flagship, complete with thousands of other people. Both Gayson and the General, along with some other side players, find themselves stranded on a former resort planet. Predictably, this planet has secrets. From this point on, the story evolves like a slowly evaporating pool of cat sick while the main meat of the game happens, namely killifying stuffs.
Yeah, you’re going to do an awful lot of killifying stuffs, so be prepared. What’s unique about this particular bunch of space marines in clunky outfits, is that rather than just making deadness, you score points based on how much fun you had deadalising them. This basically equates to combinations of your boot, different weapons and your leash, which you stole from one of the survivors of your murderous rampage. Sadly, while there are a metric shit-tonne of them, the combinations of kills are all pretty bland, and you’ll wind up resorting to a handful of faithful combinations to dispatch a vast majority of your foes. A more imaginative method of delivery for these combos would have been nice, but as it is, if you want to Pokemon it, you’re going to be wading through an awful lot of dull blue screens.
It seems, in many ways, like the bastard child of Pinball, Unreal Tournament and a lesser-known Sega title by the name of The Club given steroids, mindwiped and told that “dose howwible men kiwled your pet bunny wabbit.” The gratuitous nature of much of the game is base, relentless, and almost painfully intense at times. That said, you get the distinct feeling that was what Epic were aiming for.
What does surprise me somewhat, is that it lacks any real meat in multiplayer. After the single player campaign, you have the Echoes missions to do, which are basically a rehash of the single player game, and a pretty weak multiplayer that dumps you into arenas and forces you to score a bunch of points to progress. Without at least two of you working in tandem though, you’re going to have a hard time getting anywhere, making it pretty pointless for anyone with friends that aren’t afraid of sunshine.
Bulletstorm, as the name suggests, is just noise. You’ll kill stuff for six to eight hours, turn off your machine, and you probably won’t put it on again. With that in mind, it’s difficult to see it as a complete game. I have nothing against shorter games, but when they’re this base, it’s hard to justify it. It’s a fun game for what its worth, but Bulletstorm should have been more than just a joke of an FPS that gets it’s knob out when it gets drunk.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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