A Breath of Fresh Air
Bulletstorm takes place in the 26th century on a futuristic planet that is filled with all sorts of enemies ranging from mercenaries, robots, all the way to huge, ferocious dinosaurs. This is a fun, intense campaign that fortunately doesn't take itself too serious and will have you laughing and will surely keep you entertain from beginning to end. You are in the shoes of a bad mouth, highly skilled space pirate named Grayson Hunt formerly part of a secret black-ops organization called Dead Echo. Early on after finding out you have been deceived into doing "inhumane" things for Commander General Serano, you are betrayed and are dishonorably discharged from Dead Echo. This leads you to go out on a quest for revenge alongside your partner Ishi Sato. After an unsuccessful attempt to seek your revenge on the General you crash on a planet known as Stygia fighting for your lives and looking for a way off. General Serano is also on the planet after the crash. This leads Grayson Hunt to want to continue his quest of revenge which is contrary to what Ishi Sato wants and leads to tension between the two as Ishi Sato already questions Grayson Hunt leadership and decisions. Along the way you encounter Trishka Novak, a female who is also fighting her way through the planet. The three all team up to make a dysfunctional but effective team fighting your way through hundreds and hundreds of General Serano troops, crazy mercenaries and robots in a fun, action-pack, bloody battle for your own survival and a way off of Stygia.
This is where Bulletstorm separates itself from all the other first-person shooters out there right now. From beginning to end there is action around every corner, heads exploding, guts and insides flying around everywhere. There is absolutely no stop in the action-packed gameplay in here .There a five difficulty settings ranging from very easy all the way up to very hard. Bulletstorm does not focus on the popular run 'n gun style that more popular first person shooters such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor focus on. It heavily focuses on HOW you kill enemies. The theme is of Bulletstorm is to "kill with skill" People Can Fly and Epic Games has implemented a very fun, highly addictive, skillshot system. The skillshot system awards you points for killing enemies in very unique, gruesome ways. You can find different ways to kill your enemies ranging from impaling them into cactuses, electrocuting them, kicking them into spinning blades or just your simple headshot. Anytime you knock and enemy in the air it will slow them down so you can line up a better killshot. There is a list of skillshots to complete and more and more are unlocked the longer you play and the more weapons you unlock. With the skillpoints you earn from your creative kills you can use those to unlock weapons, unlock secondary fire modes, and buy ammunition. You have your simple assault rifle, shotgun, and pistol guns, but there are a couple of unique weapons also such as the Penetrator, a very cool drill that has been modified into a deadly projectile weapon that you can use to impale multiple enemies in cool different ways. Also the Flailgun which is a unique weapon that has grenades along with a steel chain that wraps around your enemies, leaving them helpless until their inevitable explosive death. The secondary weapon fire is also a cool feature too. Every weapon has gruesome secondary fire modes. For example your assault rifle has its normal burst mode but also has a "shotgun" type secondary mode which incinerates all the skin off your enemies leaving them with only a skeleton. There seems like endless ways to put an end to your enemy's lives. Going through the same level you are bound to kill enemies in different ways every time. One of the most deadly weapons in this game is also Grayson Hunt's size twelve foot. You will do a lot of Spartan kicking in this game. You can kick enemies in the air and into all types of different things such as electrical cords, blades, and other dangerous environments. There is also a pretty cool slide feature too. You can slide into enemies and flip them into the air, and also slide into cover when things get a little out of hand. Arguably the most unique device in the game is the Leash. The Leash will become your bread and butter throughout the whole game. This Leash can be used to grapple enemies and bring them to you Scorpion style then after that it's all up to you how you want to end their life. The Leash can also be used in other ways once you unlock the Thumper which opens up dozens of more ways to kill your enemies. The Thumper is an upgrade on the leash which also you to throw multiple enemies in the air at once and pick and choose more ways to kill. There are a few more cool weapons you will get the chance to play around with and kill enemies with.
Bulletstorm does not feature a competive multiplayer component but does introduce a competive cooperative "horde" style game mode called Anarchy Mode. In this mode you are paired up with three more players and must fight wave after wave of different types of enemies competing with your teammates for skillpoints, but you do not advance waves by simple killing all the enemies. In order to advance waves, as a team you all must earn enough total skill points in the wave you are in to advance. As you go higher in each wave the minimum skill points are also raised, so as a team you must all find ways to kill enemies to earn maximum skill points. There is also a ranking up system in which you earn experience points to level up and get a chance to customize your player. You can customize your appearance by changing things such as your helmet character skin, and boots. This push the player to try their best to kill with skill during the waves because you rank up much faster by doing so then just running and gunning. At the end of waves you will have the chance to buy new weapons and also upgrade weapons that you currently have. You can also upgrade yourself. For example, between waves you have the option to increase your speed, which obviously increases has fast you move, you defenses which also you to take more damage, and you power which increase the strength of your Spartan kick. Anarchy mode also introduces Team Kills in which you and your teammates can team up and kill enemies together to earn even more skillpoints. While at first Anarchy mode seems pretty fun and cool. After a few hours it became a little repetitive and I found myself getting a little bored with the multiplayer entirely. It's hard to advance in higher waves because it really requires teammates that are willing to cooperate to achieve team kills so you can make the minimum required skillpoints needed to advance. Another mode introduced in Bulletstorm is Echoes. In Echoes you play through single-player segments but are scored and ranked to create leaderboards to compare with your friends and other Xbox live members. You start off with basic weapons with minimum upgrades on them. You are scored based on skillshots and time taken to finish. These scores are posted on Xbox Live and you can increase and decrease the difficulty settings also. After playing Echoes a few times it also became a little too repetitive and eventually pretty boring. For some reason the decided to get rid of cooperative campaign mode for some reason. Based on the kind of game this is, it seemed like a cooperative campaign would have been a perfect addition to the story mode. This is kind of disappointing because it would be twice the fun to find ways to kill enemies in even more creative ways with a partner. Overall the multiplayer in this game is pretty solid but could have been made more enjoyable by tweaking some of the fundamentals keeping a cooperative campaign and maybe even adding a few more game modes.
Graphics & Sound 9/10
Bulletstorm takes advantage of the Unreal Engine 3 and it looks absolutely fantastic. There is a gorgeous artistic look in here and the game is very colorful. From lighting to the blood the visual looks simply amazing. Character models are done very well and the planet of Stygia looks great also. There were very minor, framerate issues and texture issues, but slowdowns were not an issue at all which is very impressive for a game with this much action going on at one time. This is one of the best looking games to be released in the last couple of months. The sound is also impressive in Bulletstorm. Gunshots sound great, the voice work is one of the best, and Steven Balm did an exceptional job on Grayson Hunt. The soundtrack really puts you into the game. The composers, Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz and Michał Cielecki do a superb job in using the soundtrack to really get you into the action.
The single-player story mode takes around 8-10 hours to beat if you play Bulletstorm the way it is meant to be played and don't just rush through it but take the time out to have fun and kill people in cool, sadistic ways, and try to achieve different skillshots. There is really no reason to go back and play the single-player mode unless you're going to unlock more skill shots. With the addition of Echoes, more hours are tacked on to this game. The amount of time you spend on Echoes will be entirely up to you. If you want to just play through the levels it will take you probably around 2-3 hours but if you are trying to score high on the leaderboards it will take you much longer as you will play through the levels a few extra times. For people who like the horde type Anarchy mode then you will be playing for a long time as it is another whole ball park online.
Final Verdict 8/10
-Action Packed Story
-Lack of Cooperative Campaign
-Minor Framerate & Texture Issues
Bulletstorm is a very fun innovative title, and is one of the better titles to be releases recently. It looks amazing, it plays amazing, and it is amazing. This is a much needed breath of fresh air for first person shooters. If you're a fan of the genre then this is definitely the game for you because not only is it a great first person shooter it is unlike any others ever made. You will spend hours just finding out different ways to kill enemies. You can expect over-the-top, action packed, guns blazing, head exploding action from the first minute you start the game to the very end. With the campaign, Anarchy Mode, and Echoes available at least two of these are sure to entertain anybody. This is a fresh new change for the genre and is highly recommended to buy for any first person shooter fans, and oh yea I can't forget to mention that buying a brand new copy will get you that Gears of War 3 beta code that comes with every new copy of Bulletstorm. Needless to say that just might come in handy in the near future.