Review: Bulletstorm (2011) Games | My Reviews 07 MAR 2012

2011 saw release of the hugely fun and attention-grabbing first-person shooter from People Can Fly and Epic Games: Bulletstorm!

Set in the 26th Century, you’re introduced to a rogue special ops unit formerly known as Dead Echo, led by the heavy-drinking, foul-mouthed Grayson Hunt. On a mission of revenge and redemption against the man who had misled them into taking out civilian and innocent targets, the team eventually run into General Sarrano’s cruiser space ship Ulysses, and out-gunned, decide to ram through it in order to end their mission once and for all.

The end result is a lot of death, and a crash landing of both ships of the wild planet Stygia. Learning that Sarrano somehow also managed to survive the crash, you take the role of Grayson as you pick up your gun, alongside your now cyborg partner Ishi, and attempt to reach and kill your mark – and perhaps even escape off this mutated and highly dangerous planet in the process!

Bulletstorm features a great dramatic story for a first-person shooter title, wrapped in a lot of cursing and crude humor as it literally kicks and blasts its way through its relatively short 7 mission campaign. As you’ve come to expect from the genre, there are more than enough enemies to deal with, plenty of scattered debris to provide cover, and more importantly, a wide variety of guns to pick up through the course of the game! From futuristic assault rifles to flail guns to drill guns, this game features a neat selection of all three short-range, medium-range and long-range armaments. Each weapon comes with an alternate firing mode which is basically a super-charged version of the normal shot (in other words, bloody useful), for example the charged version of the bouncing bomb hurling gun is a bomb that detonates multiple times with each strike against a surface!

Apart from the quite deadly but rather fun firearms, the other big trick up Bulletstorm’s offensive sleeve is the ability to leash items towards yourself, as well as the ability to deliver a powerful kick. Start matching these together and add in a few environmental factors like spikes, loose electrical cables, spinning fans and cacti, and pretty soon you have some pretty insane ways of dealing out pretty epic deaths to your many and varied foes.

Upgrading your guns and purchasing ammo is done at special dropkits found scattered along your way, and the currency used to buy with are what are known as skill points – points you earn by dispatching of your enemies in a variety of special (and often quite outlandish!) ways. There is a huge variety of skill shots that can be performed (like shooting a guy in the throat for “Gag Reflex”, or blasting him in the nuts before killing him to gain “Mercy”), and part of the fun of Bulletstorm is seeing just how many of these you can discover and tick off from the special skillshot menu that details each technique for each of the weapons and environments available to you.

Built using the Unreal 3 Engine, Bulletstorm quite simply looks amazing, with great textures, dynamic lighting, fantastic animations and thrilling character designs. However, it is the sheer scale and beauty of the environments that really set it apart, featuring huge futuristic cityscapes set in both lush and desolate surroundings, brimming with detail as you move through a vast variety of different types of terrains, both indoor and out.

Similarly, the epic scale of the soundtrack suits the heaviness of the story and the frenetic gun fights just perfectly, matched only by the fantastic voice-over work put in by each and every voice actor for their corresponding game character.

One important thing to note here is of course the over the top macho crude language and humor that makes up Bulletstorm, and one certainly can’t go into Bulletstorm without being aware of this. If you easily take offense, this game is probably not for you, but you can always choose to switch off the offensive language via the menu – but be warned you’ll probably lose up to 50 of the scripted soundtrack and most certainly strip the game of its lighter (well maybe for the guys) moments!

With its crazy slow-mo flying physics, fun selection of weapons, beautiful graphics, engaging skillshot system, and enjoyable if frenetic story campaign, Bulletstorm is a thoroughly enjoyable first person shooter and well, well worth the effort of picking up if you are in the mood for some good old stress release! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.