In a world where we are seeing the third Killzone title, seventh Call of Duty and fifth Gran Turismo, it is really refreshing to see new IPs being launched. However it is hard to play Bulletstorm without feeling that we've seen it all before. There are elements taken from Far Cry, Borderlands, Gears of War and many other big names that we are all familiar with (in its defence, it shares a developer with the latter). It is also hard to play Bulletstorm without a bloody great big grin spreading across your face. This game is an absolute blast and fans of unrealistic shooters should definitely give this a whirl.
Our story begins once upon a time when some space marines/pirates crash on a hostile planet in an attempt to kill a despotic authority figure. As you can imagine from that brief summary, the plot is absolute toilet. However it is used purely as string to link together the breathtaking set pieces, juvenile jokes and over the top violence. This game will make you feel like a 14 year old boy watching Evil Dead when his parents have gone to bed.
Bulletstorm is also a welcome antithesis to the warzone based realistic First Person Shooters like Call of Duty or Killzone which have sold so well of late. It has its tongue placed firmly in its cheek and the banter between the main characters reflects this. However the biggest indicators of its sense of humour are the over the top set pieces that end pretty much every chapter. One particularly noteworthy moment involves the protagonists escaping a collapsing skyscraper by climbing into a lift then riding an explosion out of the building in a rocket-like fashion.
The graphics are perfectly adequate. Nothing special but they needn't be, given the tone of the game. The characters features are over-accentuated to just the right point where they don't look realistic but they don't look cartoonish either. Personally I think the game might have succeeded more if the characters did look cartoony as the game maintains a sense of humour that is somewhere between Clerks and a Tom and Jerry cartoon. I say this because the filth that these characters spurt out is nothing short of shameless and the level of gore on show is almost comical.
One of the unique gameplay elements is the "skillshot" system which rewards you with points for being creative in despatching enemies, causing destruction and blowing things up with more points being awarded as the complexity of the stunt increases. The points can then be exchanged for weapon upgrades and additional ammo. Something else of note is one of the weapons: an electric whip (or a leash to use its proper name). This is something that I have not seen utilised so well in a first person shooter before. It can be used to bring objects within reach or even to pull enemies flying towards you (which can then aid in the performing of extravagant skillshots)
Glitches are rare but infuriatingly dangerous. In one extreme case the floor texture completely vanished beneath me giving the appearance that I was running on an unnoticeable transparent sheen. This would have been amusing had the glitch also not taken all the bits of cover with it leaving me to be torn to shreds by the barrage of enemy fire I was subsequently subjected to. This persisted until I reset the console.
At first glance you could be forgiven for finding Bulletstorm unoriginal. That's because it is. Despite this, it is fun. And fun is something that can often be lost in the never ending quest for ultra-realism that can drag modern games down. Bulletstorm unashamedly goes back to the old days of gaming by giving you giving you an objective, some overpowered weapons and a ton of squishy baddies between you and your goal. Obviously if high levels of crass language, glorified gore and questionable moral value aren't your thing then Bulletstorm won't convert you but those looking for a change from the usual steady shooter will find some high octane fun here. And some sillyness
7.5 out of 10