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Bulletstorm

Bulletstorm is a First Person Shooter (FPS) developed by People Can FlyEpic Games and published by Electronic Arts.

I’d only seen a little about Bulletstorm before the demo came out, and what I’d seen seemed childish and over the top, so I had very little interest. Then the demo arrived and after a quick play I ordered it instantly. Is it immature, totally, is it over the top, way over the top, but it’s brilliantly fun and often hilarious to boot.

You play Grayson (Gray) a rough and tumble space pirate with a taste for alcohol and revenge. The game begins with a prologue mission to show you through the control scheme and get you up to speed on the story. You and your team, The Dead Echoes, work for General Serrano. He has you going round putting down rebellions, killing bad guys, and generally putting down the people who need putting down. On your latest mission you’re sent to kill a bad guy, that is until after killing him you discover he was actually a reporter uncovering the general’s corruption and deceit. He’s had you killing innocents the whole time. When you confront him about it he laughs and calls you namby pamby cock suckers (or words to that effect) and spreads the word you’ve gone off the deep end making you all criminals.

The story then picks up with you on the run years later. By a happy coincidence you run in to the general’s ship and being drunk decide the best course of action is to ram the ship and take him down with you. After a suicide run you crash in to a planet and your friend and compatriot, a cyborg named Ishi, has almost been killed and you have to escape the ship in order to find a part to save him. And so the game begins proper. The world you’ve crashed on is overrun with a gang of killers called The Skulls and you have to fight your way through to find the part needed. Along the way you pick up a device with a neural interface called a Leash, which shows up your skillshots and scores you according to how well you pull off the kills. Creatively titled skillshots such as Rear Entry for killing an enemy by shooting him in the arse and Double Penetration for you and a team mate shooting and killing someone at the same time.

This all leads me on to the language in the game, if you’re easily offended then this isn’t the game for you, lots of swearing and graphic language, some brilliantly funny and creative insults, mostly it’s just crude, but crude in a way that’s often hilarious and makes me laugh out loud. Some of it is a little to far over the top and makes me roll my eyes at times, too, but it’s rare recently to find a shooter that just revels in being fun, funny and over the top. Far too many now go the serious route, which is fine for some but variety is the spice of life and all that.

Surprisingly there’s a fairly decent story in there too, with an in-universe reason not only for you seeing scores but why they were implemented, too. With the rough and tough space marine types in the game it does kinda have that “been there done that” feel to it but it doesn’t really get old, and really the story and characters are better realised than most action shooters you’ll find.

The graphics are good. The environments are varied, though this being the Unreal engine does seem to have that not quite right feel to it. The character models also have that “Walking hunk of meat” or “Action Barbie” look to them you seem to get with a lot of games using the Unreal engine. That isn’t to say there isn’t some beautiful looking scenery it is a very pretty game, from the gore to the environments it’s very well rendered and realised.

The Skillshot mechanic really gives you some creative kills, some you wouldn’t think of are there and you get by mistake, though there are some obvious ones that seem to be missing, or perhaps I just didn’t pull them off correctly to get the points. I have to say in some ways it reminded me of a better realised MadWorld in places, though it’s a much better game than MadWorld.

If you’re looking for a fun, if somewhat hectic and fast paced shooter that doesn’t take itself overly seriously then this is the game for you. Big set pieces, laughs all over the place and even a decent story, what more could you want out of a shooter?

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Reviewed by Kevin on 01 March 2011

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