Bulletstorm was released on the console and PC platforms last week. Today we are looking at the PC version which is actually a hell of a lot of fun. The game is set to appeal to a wide audience, because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, rather poking fun at the modernday seriousness of first person shooters. Think Duke Nukem with a group of swearing, tough as nails marines and an inventive, adaptive kill system.
You take control of bad ass Gray, a marine who likes to kick ass and drink booze, excessively. You crash land on an alien planet and end up fighting a rag tag group of alien mutants who are out to splatter your guts across the landscape. Gray is rebelling against his previous boss, the sinister, evil General Sarrano, who had Gray and his team kill innocent people under various pretenses.
The script is not meant to be taken seriously, but as a back ground story we have seen worse. Your job is to track down Sarrano and make him pay for the innocent blood he has made you spill. Obviously this just serves as the platform to kill anything that moves, in a variety of fun and entertaining ways.
Bulletstorm immediately stands out thanks to the fantastic combat system, which I have thoroughly enjoyed for the last week. You can not only kill the the bad guys by shooting them in various body parts, but you can kick them into walls lined with spikes and off buildings to their death. It is the combat system that really makes the game shine because it is so varied and fast. Once you get a hold of ‘the leash’ then you can grab enemies from behind cover and hurl them around the landscape in slow motion while filling them full of lead.
Throwing enemy soldiers into various spikes or dangerous parts of the environment means that the combat system really does keep you coming back for more. Man eating plants, and other terrain hazards make for some creative and wicked ways of killing your foes. The fact you get a special kill list for the various ways to kill enemies, just highlights the diversity.
As you kill the mutants in specific ways, it fine tunes the points earned, so you have to ‘mix n match’ the deaths to get the biggest points bonus. Kicking an enemy into a spiked wall for instance earns you the ‘Voodoo Doll’ kill and 100 points, but the next time you do it, the points will drop.
Weaponry is equally as creative and abundant. There is the assault rifle, used frequently, and other tasty guns such as the flail grenade launcher which chucks grenade covered bolos to wrap around foes. Once they are attached to the victim of choice, you can press again to detonate the charge. Giblets and entrails fill the screen.
There are many other weapons for your enjoyment, such as double barrelled shotguns, and a chaingun which can only be used for a limited period of time, but which turns all enemies in your vicinity into a creamy pink paste. Many weapons have secondary fire modes with explosive, or special rounds to heighten the combat experience.
The engine I have noticed is getting some negative remarks from the public, probably due to the fact that the PC version hasn’t really received any special treatment, since it was ported from the high definition console platform. To be fair, while the texture mapping and detail isn’t close to the best I have seen, it can still look impressive, especially when some of the vista’s are on full show in various locations in the game. It runs exceptionally smoothly on a GTX460, even at 1920×1200 with all the settings cranked. I even enabled 8AA at 1080p with everything set to full and it was pushing high frame rates. It would be safe to say that people with a modest gaming system will be able to enjoy the experience.
The game sadly has very few game modes on offer, and multiplayer is something that seems to have been forgotten. There are only a few modes, called Anarchy and Echoes. The Echoes mode takes all the best bits from the games campaign levels and puts them together in a single short level. You can play to get the highest score possible and then this is graded against the Bulletstorm playing world. Anarchy is a cooperative mode which works very like Gears Of War Horde mode, with players fighting against wave after wave of enemy attack. Its good fun, but only short term. Sadly the developers haven’t included any deathmatch, team deathmatch or other online modes which would surely have been a blast to play in the Bulletstorm world.
Bulletstorm is a hell of a fun game, but the single player mode can be beaten fairly quickly and once this is over, there isn’t much else to spend time with. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and would recommend it to anyone who is currently bored with the state of first person shooters, which are all very serious and rather drab. Bulletstorm is addictive and it plays great, even with more modest hardware.