Bulletstorm TGS 2010 Hands-On

We pick up a cannon and shoot some dudes in the butt in the latest hands-on session with People Can Fly and Epic's thinking-man's shooter.

Are you freaks ready for a pain party? With its less-than-subtle title and in-depth exploration of drunken space pirates, Bulletstorm is the kind of game that rewards you for kicking people in the balls. Protagonist Grayson Hunt--who takes the credit for the witty opener above--is skilled in the art of killing; pulling off his creative beatdowns throughout the campaign will earn you experience points while presenting you with a good chance to think laterally. We had a chance to test out some of Hunt's moves during the latest hands-on demo of Bulletstorm during this year's Tokyo Game Show.

Trischka: not taking any of Hunt's sexist crap.

Creatively titled "Collapsed Building," the new demo presented a better insight into Bulletstorm's skill shot system. We also had the chance to try out the bouncer--a big, orange hand cannon revealed for the first time at TGS 2010. Our mission took place halfway through the game, inside the aforementioned collapsed building. Hunt and his sassy lady partner Trischka began the level by pointing out that hordes of mutants and flesh-eating rival gangs could attack at any time; our task was to aid them in beating said mutants to the site of a crashed escape pod. After a few minutes we learned that in order to unlock The Bouncer, we had get enough skill points by perfecting what the game calls "skill shots." Before we entered any real combat, Hunt took the chance to practice his slick one-liners on Trischka. "You freaks ready for a pain party?" was only the start of it; before long, Hunt was stringing together a series of taunts so hilariously and unashamedly sexist that they made Kanye West look civilised.

It's important to pause for a minute now and reflect on Bulletstorm's ethos. This is a game that encourages and rewards players for stopping to think. While this is not exactly a normal attitude for a shooter to take, the effect here is well worth the wait. Finding a new way to do something, especially in this genre, is a welcome experience; in Bulletstorm's case, the experience says a lot about personal playing style and the willingness to experiment. This idea is explored through the game's central mechanic--a skill system that allows players to use the weapons and environment at their disposal to kill with as much flair and destructive spirit as possible. When we played, there were close to 100 skill shots in the entire game, each and every one named in the same tongue-in-cheek fashion on display throughout the entire game (personal favourite: "Rear Entry"--shooting someone in the butt).

The energy leash comes in handy.

We had the chance to try out our first skill shots when we encountered the first wave of rival gang members. Aside from the PMC gun, Hunt also uses an energy leash (think Kratos' Blades of Chaos). The point of the leash is to draw enemies and then dispose of them how you will; you must use RB for a basic leash attack, which will send the game into a mini bullet-time mode allowing you a few extra seconds to think about your final attack. Basic headshot? That will work. Kick the head in with your giant man-boot and then shoot it off? That will work too. Leash a dude into a nearby brick wall and watch his head splatter as you shoot his stomach and cause his gastrointestinal tract to splutter on the cold, hard floor in a fountain of blood? Yes, yes, yes. After completing a kill, the game will display the name of the skill shot you used above your enemy and let you know how many skill points it earned you. You can also use your leash on certain parts of the environment in order to aid in your enemy-hooking; the game will prompt you every time this can be done.

At about the halfway point we finally found a drop shop--a place where players can use their skill points to buy ammo and upgrade or unlock new weapons. Not unsurprisingly, we had enough points to unlock the bouncer. Unfortunately, we got only three bullets, which meant we had to really think about the best time to use them in order to inflict the maximum amount of damage. Our first opportunity came in the next room, during what appeared to be an ambush by the rival gang. The thing about the bouncer is that it doesn't work like a normal cannon--the game allows you to bounce the cannon balls around and decide where you want them to go off with a charge-and-release mechanic. We shot our first cannon ball at a dude's face, but missed. We then tried leashing another dude, and once the game entered mini bullet-time mode, we made sure we found his face with our giant ball. Once we perfected this bouncer headshot, we were rewarded with a skill shot called "The Facial." We finished this part of the level by using our leash on a piece of ceiling in order to bring it down on the remaining enemies.

This is just what drunk space pirates do for fun.

One thing we noticed was that the second time you perform a certain skill shot, the number of skill points you receive decreases significantly from the first; this is to encourage players to constantly try new things and not rely on old favourites. Somebody close by told us about a particularly hard skill shot called "Mercy," which entails shooting a dude in the groin and then shooting him in the head when he doubles over with pain. We tried to do this a few times but sadly failed--it's really hard to shoot someone in the groin when he refuses to stand still and take it.

At the end of the demo we reached a miniboss: a big mutant wrapped up in shiny armour wielding a bouncer of his own. We began by leashing off his armour bit by bit and then tried kicking back the cannon balls he shot at us so that they exploded on him. This worked for a while, but we really needed to get his helmet off and kick in his unsightly head. We succeeded in finally doing this, but we decided to change course and aim for a skill shot called "Fire in the Hole" (a cannon ball up the butt). We got behind him and shot; once he started looking as if a cannon ball had just been fired up his butt, we used out leash to tear off his head.

Hunt may be a misogynistic pig, but he knows his stuff. Our demo was short, but it left us wanting more of this over-the-top sci-fi shooter. Check back for more coverage of Bulletstorm ahead of its release later this year.

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Discussion

108 comments
irwin888
irwin888

I don't know if I'd be able to finish this game. All my ammo would be spent in a minute because of my trigger finger spasming from fits of uncontrollable laughter!

JimmyJumpy
JimmyJumpy

Ouch... This seems a cool game. And I never will understand the hypocrisy of allowing to shoot folks to smithereens, but getting all high-and-mighty when there's but the slightest hint of sex... (last statement is NOT aimed at eriktkire)... No sex equals no new little soldiers to go fight someone else's war. Besides, it's just a game, people... One to follow, me thinks :) JJ

eriktkire
eriktkire

the game looks like it could be a huge amount of fun, but all these porn references... ... I hope it doesn't feel as skeevy as it sounds. If it feels like a game that is designed by guys that spend more time jerking off infront of a keyboard than they do talking to chicks for real (face to face, not a chat window) I think that would kill the replayability of the game for me. On the bright side, the story has got to be miles ahead of the latest MoH and CoD (2 games setting a new low in dumb, cliched child oriented war-propaganda).

KuRf
KuRf

Holy crap....looks like gears of war :l ...other the other hand I hope the girl is playable. Love to see more woman that can kick ass! Cause I can't see it in real life lol...

Bencedence
Bencedence

i agree wiv whitewolf, i need a shooter to finalllllyyyy come out that isnt all about online, one that actually has a story to tell

VVhiteVVolf
VVhiteVVolf

looks fun, hopefully its single player is at least 10 hrs long.

tokicsek
tokicsek

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ryukenishidaa
ryukenishidaa

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

frog154
frog154

Being awarded for shooting people in the arse, you can't really go wrong with that

bfmav19
bfmav19

"Basic headshot? That will work. Kick the head in with your giant man-boot and then shoot it off? That will work too. Leash a dude into a nearby brick wall and watch his head splatter as you shoot his stomach and cause his gastrointestinal tract to splutter on the cold, hard floor in a fountain of blood? Yes, yes, yes" Laura...you have a way with words :O Game looks good, can't wait to give it a try, been really getting back into FPS's again

Bradley7777
Bradley7777

The shooter ive been waiting for...a no-nonsense, pointless, gory mad game n which all u do is f**k $hit up. Im so gna get the limited edition of this (if they do that)

DKant
DKant

"..thinking-man's shooter." When I first read that I thought she was joking. :D

aramoe
aramoe

" Bulletstorm is the kind of game that rewards you for kicking people in the balls." Totally laughed when I read that XD

New-Vegas-Fan
New-Vegas-Fan

@yodathewise Oh yeah so it is lol :D I forgot and just 'cos i saw the pictures above :P

yodathewise
yodathewise

@New-Vegas-Fan Don't think it's a 3rd person shooter, actually. First Person.

New-Vegas-Fan
New-Vegas-Fan

This game has ALOT of potential as far as 3rd person shooters go. I will check back on this around next month for new trailers etc. I am going to be busy next month with Fallout:NewVegas :D Cannot wait for 22nd of October !

yo1245
yo1245

i cant wait till this and brink comes out

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

still missing those good ol rpgs from yester year but as shooters go I'll keep this game on the top of my list for next year...

connor234567
connor234567

dosent look bad but theres to many other good games coming out for this one to hold my intrest right now

tobelight
tobelight

As for FPS genre this is looking like it will hold its own and have much promise. Looks pretty amazing actually esp. since Epic is on board with it. Personally tho Im still gonna be busy with FONewVegas when this is released but ill check back on it later

valdips3
valdips3

its using unreal engine?? the guy look marcus...pass for me.

wars45
wars45

dont khow looks like a game u go on for a 2omin blast

hiroyukiwu
hiroyukiwu

sucks, why always aliens monsters??? let shoot HUMANS! thats what made goldeneye such a prize of a shooter, because you really COULD shoot a man in his butt and he'd grasp it faster than a shark does human legs in the sea

meicell
meicell

Looks like another linear mindless shooter that I'm not going to be buying. All style and no substance.

SpArKs424
SpArKs424

cant wait Shooters are getting stale need a fun change of pace like this . God i remember when Video games were fun .

MKID232
MKID232

This looks so pretty, and good. I want to get it.

ultima012
ultima012

I'm really excited for this game!! It has some serious potential. I'm really curious about how the multiplayer will turn out. I can't wait until they show us that!!

ChangelingJane
ChangelingJane

If this is what counts as a "thinking man's shooter", it doesn't say much for the genre.

Dudewrsmygame
Dudewrsmygame

It definetly has the style that epic can come up with, amazing.

doogie1022
doogie1022

@ieatusedcars I wonder if their ad campaign will be: "Buy me Bulletstorm or go to hell!" Maybe some people didn't get the joke :D

piyush18
piyush18

Something new in FPS is really a need for all. And this game is showing some promise.

brok
brok

Sounds a lot like Total Overdose, only without the style.

ieatusedcars
ieatusedcars

@Doogie1022 I love how you got voted down for making a good joke. hahaha

Darth-Neo
Darth-Neo

Force Unleashed 1.5 !? force is strong in this one ~

doogie1022
doogie1022

Wasn't this a video game in the Simpsons? Oh wait...that was Bonestorm :)

laros2010
laros2010

Its Beautiful bro.Awwwwwwesome

whfreddy
whfreddy

C'mon now, FPS carries the industry. Just deal with it, mein. The trend is toward game that incorporate a little bit of everything. This game is just another (baby) step in that direction.

StArDr1fTeR
StArDr1fTeR

If you've seen one shooter, you've seen them all, but I won't lie... I'm a little excited about this one. :)

organbank
organbank

oh wow another generic shooter, how innovative....

HarshadS
HarshadS

It sounds cool.........i want this game.