Review

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Review

  • First Released Feb 21, 2011
    released
  • PS4

Lowbrow, high concept.

If ever a game deserved a second chance, it's Bulletstorm. Though the original debuted just six years ago, the game went largely unnoticed at the time. So now, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is bringing it back to life by revamping the visuals and adding new content.

On its face, Bulletstorm is an outrageously macho first-person shooter that careens through a gauntlet of linear corridors and over-the-top set pieces in a testosterone-induced frenzy. But beneath this bro-y veneer, it quietly shapeshifts into a clever, challenging puzzle game thanks to the addition of skillshots.

No Caption Provided

Rather than simply shooting everyone to death, Bulletstorm challenges you to off your enemies in increasingly imaginative and elaborate ways: kick them into fountains full of flesh-eating fish, lasso them into overgrown cacti, flatten them by bringing elevator cars down on their heads, and so on. There are well over 100 unique options in total, many of which indeed require serious skill to pull off.

For your efforts, you're rewarded with points--the more creative the kill, the higher the point value. These points can be redeemed for weapon and ability upgrades at pods that punctuate the game's various sections, but the skillshots are plenty rewarding in and of themselves. Seeing the "new" tag pop up next to a skillshot name after something cool happens on screen evokes the same giddy excitement of nailing a "gap" in the old Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. There's a sense of discovery and accomplishment that's refreshed with every new skillshot you uncover.

Skilled players can even check the skillshot menu and deliberately attempt to tick every box on the list, a challenge that transforms the entire game. Enemies are no longer threats as much as they are opportunities--each one could be the canvas for another skillshot masterwork. It's an incredibly novel and gratifying hook, one that fundamentally elevates the standard shooter formula to something transcendently arcadey.

And this is all in addition to the fact that Bulletstorm stands as a strong shooter even without its point system. The core aiming and movement feel tight, and added mechanics like the "instinct leash"--which allows crass hero Grayson Hunt to grab enemies across great distances and yank them in closer--along with the Titanfall-esque slide-and-shoot maneuver keep the action feeling fast and dynamic.

Bulletstorm's campaign also enjoys excellent pacing and variety. Recalling the gloriously ridiculous guns of '90s shooters like Quake and Turok, weapons range from relatively standard to utterly outlandish: you can fire spinning drill bits into your foes, chase them with manually-guided sniper bullets, or just vaporize them with a quad-barrel shotgun. Your arsenal gradually grows as you progress, ensuring there are always new skillshots to try.

You also encounter new enemy types as you barrel through the campaign--some charge at you wielding explosives, others evade your leash with unexpected agility, but all offer some slight variation that helps keep the action from feeling too predictable. And of course, with every new environment come new hazards; it's always fun figuring out that yes, you can kick enemies into that nearby turbine/chasm/hotdog cart.

Some elements of Bulletstorm's campaign do feel stale, however. You'll periodically encounter quick-time events, scripted set pieces, and on-rails shooter sections, and while none of these moments are bad, per se, they are design hallmarks of a game some years out of date. The campaign's final chapters also become a bit of a predictable slog, diminishing your ability to be creative by hurling more and more obstacles at you.

Even with these highs and lows, the campaign holds up well--after all, its inventive skillshot system is a timeless idea. The story, on the other hand, remains an acquired taste. The script--which was almost certainly written entirely in all-caps--contains torrents of gratuitous swearing and some of the most painfully sophomoric humor ever to appear in a game. You may think you have an unlimited tolerance for dick jokes, but the only way to truly be sure is to play Bulletstorm.

A quick look at Full Clip Edition's video options on PC.
A quick look at Full Clip Edition's video options on PC.

What's especially weird about all the cartoonish machismo is the fact that it comes wrapped in a relatively serious storyline about war crimes, personal responsibility, and moving beyond self-loathing in order to help those you care about. That juxtaposition is jarring, but in a weird way, it works. It's a bit like The Fast and the Furious: if you're willing to turn off your brain and accept the fact that you've signed up for a spectacularly stupid thrillride, you might just enjoy yourself (even if you cringe a few times along the way).

While the contents of the story and campaign have not changed since the original release, the multiplayer and visuals have both been updated. Even in 2011, Bulletstorm was a good-looking game awash in color, each area soaked in brilliant hues, perhaps as a reaction to Epic's notoriously brown shooter, Gears of War. It's no surprise, then, that Full Clip Edition also looks excellent.

Though it can't compete with the splendor of current-gen titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, it by no means looks out of place on modern hardware. The colors are as vibrant as ever, textures appear crisp and detailed (until you zoom the camera all the way in on an object, at least), draw distances prove impressive, and the frame rate holds solid on both PC and PS4. I encountered a small handful of glitches--mainly dead bodies ragdolling through walls--but overall, this is a technically sound update. PS4 Pro and PC players can even enjoy the game in 4K.

The updates to multiplayer are less impressive. Full Clip Edition adds six brand new maps to the solo, score-driven Echoes mode and also includes the four additional Echoes maps, three cooperative Anarchy mode maps, and an objective-driven version of Echoes called Ultimate Echoes that were added as DLC following Bulletstorm's original release.

Echoes mode in general isn't all that exciting since each map is just an isolated snippet of the campaign--your score can earn you a spot on a leaderboard, but the gameplay, down the very last enemy, remains identical to how the section played out in the campaign. Consequently, the mode provides a convenient option for those who want a streamlined experience, but it doesn't add much to the overall package. Full Clip Edition's six new maps don't change that.

The cooperative horde mode Anarchy is a far more engaging option, especially since each round forces you to exceed a preset score threshold. Often the only way to achieve the requisite score in later rounds is to successfully perform team-based skillshots, a mechanic that sets Bulletstorm's horde mode apart from the rest of the...er, horde. Maps prove especially important in Anarchy since unique environmental hazards frequently provide the highest score boosts, so Full Clip's inclusion of the old DLC maps was a smart move.

Finally, Full Clip adds two major pieces of fan service: first a "new game plus" option called Overkill Mode, which enables all weapons and skillshots from the beginning of the campaign. Annoyingly, you must beat the campaign before unlocking Overkill--a move that will surely irk returning fans looking to dive right in--but it's a welcome addition nonetheless.

Hail to the king, baby!
Hail to the king, baby!

More interestingly, fans who preordered Full Clip Edition (or who shell out an additional five dollars) can play through the entire campaign as the king himself, Duke Nukem. In practice, Duke's character model replaces Hunt's in every cutscene and longtime Duke voice actor Jon St. John reworks many of the original lines to better suit his character.

But the rest of the content, including the other character's reactions and responses, remains unchanged. Your AI companion Ishi even uses Hunt's name on several occasions. It is, of course, kind of hilarious to see and hear Duke in this new context, but his presence doesn't meaningfully impact the story, let alone the gameplay.

For longtime fans, Full Clip Edition doesn't offer much to be excited about. Additions like Overkill Mode and the upgraded visuals are certainly welcome, but fundamentally, this is the same game they already played in 2011. That said, the experience absolutely holds up: the skillshot system remains wildly fun and inventive, the weapons are still a gruesome joy, and the writing...well, it's as distinctive as ever. If you missed Bulletstorm when it originally released--and based on sales numbers, you probably did--now's the time to treat yourself to a clever if cringe-worthy blockbuster.

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The Good

  • Skillshot system elevates gameplay above average shooters
  • Ridiculous guns and interesting abilities keep the action feeling fresh
  • Score-driven cooperative horde mode is truly unique
  • Visual upgrade looks good and runs smoothly

The Bad

  • Very little new content to entice returning fans
  • Certain elements of the campaign feel dated

More Platform Reviews

About the Author

Scott reviewed Bulletstorm for another outlet back in 2011. He loved it then, so unsurprisingly, he loves it now as well, in spite of its self-consciously douchey characters. GameSpot was provided with complimentary download codes for the purposes of this review.
114 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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TigusVidiks

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I'd rather see a Bulletstorm 2

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grant-12

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I've said it before and i'll say it again buying games at full price is an absolute destruction of funds!

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DETfaninATL

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To all those bitching about how others spend their own hard-earned money, isn't that their own damn business and not yours? Who's to say other purchases YOU make, that aren't being discussed, here aren't just as seemingly foolish? To each their own I say - it's YOUR $$ YOU spend it how you want. And while I most certainly did not pay full price for this game (got it for $40), I did buy it day-1 all the same and I'm loving every minute of it all over again...............

...........EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THE MP PORTION IS BROKEN RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX DAY 1 AND STILL NOT FIXED!!!!! WTF GEARBOX!?!?! I gotta say, After what I just said about BS: FCE + Duke Nuke 'Em 3D: 20th Anniversay + ALIENS: Colonial Marines + The letdown that Battleborn is + The blatant cash-grab that BORDERLANDS: The Pre-Sequel was (and it's easily the weakest of the 3), Gearbox is QUICKLY becoming a rather loathsome developer and is now on my shitlist. Borderlands is about their only saving grace anymore..........

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qbik911

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Logically, if one person don't mind to buy this game for $60, that would be equal to as if 2 persons didn't mind to buy it for $30 only. Now, what if the ratio of people who would like to buy this game for $30 (and nothing more), compare to the other group, is not 2 to 1, but more like 10000 to 1000. Meaning, there is 10 times more people who would like to buy this game for $30 compare to people who don't mind to spend $60. That's equal to $500,000 from $30 group, compare to $60,000 from $60 group. Therefor Dev's could of make much more money from community as a whole instead of aiming for people who never played it and die-hard fans.

Since this game is not that old, with barely any visible changes or new content, with this price tag, almost no reason to buy it if you played it before.

Pancakes good when they are hot, and this one is stale, and I don't like to pay full price for stale pancakes, especially if it comes with a syrup as a DLC.

2 • 
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Gelugon_baat

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@jasonb520: Regarding your remark about people who dump money on special-edition Call of Duty titles, people who would buy a license for this game are just as terrible with their spending choices.

That said, not everyone has double standards. I, for one, wouldn't touch any special-edition Call of Duty titles (or any Call of Duty titles, for that matter).

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter , having a 5 day break so stay safe and happy gaming :) . Just getting in early as i was handing out lindt gold bunnies this morning to everyone i saw lol :) .

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uninspiredcup

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Pre-order dlc, for a remaster of a 5-6 year old game? That is already almost full price?

Yea.... no.

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jasonb520

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Edited By jasonb520

@uninspiredcup: Thats all i see in the comments. Too much for this too much for that. Yet you still get people falling over each other for CoD Gold edition which allows to dress up your guns and gear so you look like some candy pop icon terrorist. Bottom line, it was a good game when it released and they did a great job on the remaster. Its worth $50 i already have 20 or so hours into and managed to work my way into the top 10.

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uninspiredcup

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@jasonb520: I don't think so.

Picked up Homeworld Remaster for £25 (this being £34) with two games with far more extensive work as well as the original games.

When you put this up against Homeworld Remastered both in value and quality is it utterly lackluster.

The game didn't need a Remaster in the first place. It screams of cash-in.

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jasonb520

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@uninspiredcup: Its not a cash grab its more like them trying to establish their studio again after it went under. They didnt have the rights to the Bulletstorm IP but did manage to get it back, so this being their only game in their roster id imagine that they would remaster it to get their brand back and re build this IP and many more to come

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Pyrosa

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@jasonb520: THIS -- People Can Fly bought their IP back from Epic (post-MS-acquisition, at that) so they could start making Bulletstorm games again. Their choices included A) Kickstarter/crowd-fund, or B) update the original game, and get it back out there for new & old fans alike. *MANY* of us have fond memories of this (just search for Bulletstorm-anything in the last 6 years), and are happy to contribute.

The game is still an absolute joy to play -- pure FPS splattery goodness, with a sizeable amount of variety in the shooting & environments.

Absolutely worth buying it again, and supporting this once-again indie developer on their way to Bulletstorm 2.

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jasonb520

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Am i the only one that cant matchmake or join a friends game

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Gaminsincepong

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I see a trend setter here. Taking a "just okay" game, adding development, and releasing them again as better games. I hope this catches on.

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Pyrosa

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I've been playing the crap out of this in the last ~24H, and it's every bit as fun this time around.

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Externalpower43

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If you haven't played it get it.

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aPieceOfToast

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I just want to know if they got rid of that god awful GoW type "press A" to sprint bullshit and put it on the left stick click where it should be.

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jasonb520

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@apieceoftoast: Nope. Still the X button and i just dont understand why they wont. I mean click to crouch is dumb especially for a game that doesnt seem to have any functional use of crouching to begin with. Otherwise still a great, fun as shit game. cant really find anyone to join but im sure that will expand soon

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Alex_Pilgrim

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The bad: "Very little new content to entice returning fans". Why bother with a $50 price tag then? The "Resident Evil" and "Modern Warfare" remasters were $20. This is a rip off.

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samcolegrove45

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Edited By samcolegrove45

it seems to me that this will not be a huge success....

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D-Man

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underrated shooter

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commander

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Edited By commander

didn't like it last gen, don't like it now either

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D-Man

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@commander: and yet you took the time to comment. that makes sense

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jasonb520

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@d-man: People just want to tell you what they dont like as if we care about their opinion

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Zerohournow

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@d-man: how is voicing a negative opinion any different from voicing a positive one? He read the article and thats what he thinks of it. Or are you just another turd who thinks opinions only matter if they line up with your own?

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D-Man

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@zerohournow: a negative opinion is not the same as constructive criticism, therefore it is less valuable than a positive one. mother apparently forgot to teach him that if you haven't got something nice to say, don't say anything at all. so i am here to teach him for her

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Pac1Man

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Another fantastic PS4 exclusive.

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LordBeefJerky

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@Pac1Man: FAKE NEWS!

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D-Man

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@Pac1Man: another sony fanboy who thinks too highly of his system

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RadPro

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@Pac1Man: It's not an exclusive.

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Astrokidwell

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They did the same thing Marvel Ultimate Alliance did, refused backwards compatibility and instead launched a "remastered" version for way to much money. This is a last gen game.

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KillerCondoms

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Edited By KillerCondoms

I would of enjoyed the original more had it not been for the F bomb dropping every 10 seconds. A few curse words here and their sure but one on almost every line f*** that.

I know the re-master has a filter but I did not enjoy it enough to play it again.

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Kintaro5000

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@killercondoms: "This game is too foul for me" says the man with the username KillerCondoms

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KillerCondoms

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@Kintaro5000: Foul I can handle, needless spouting of curse words is just annoying. I dislike being annoyed.

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deactivated-5aafce418120b

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@killercondoms: oh f*** off!

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KillerCondoms

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@kevone0123: I do every night ;)

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jasonb520

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I too was one of those people that appreciated this game too late. I discovered on a price drop with nothing to play so i dove in and loved every minute of it. The horde mode was where its at. They closed the servers like 2 months after discovered it. Sad. Now i have my new copy waiting at home

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Warlord_Irochi

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Good game, have good memories of it. But the price is a bit too high as of now.

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lukey52

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I got this when it was originally released because the premise was pretty sweet. I think the game very much went under the radar on the whole though so I'm glad to see it's reviewed well and will hopefully get more appreciation this time

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guitarist1980

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played it back when it originally released... another remastered game. yay. Its a pretty fun game though.

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DeadrisingX1

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*inhales deeply*
Ahh, no GFWL. I'm already sold.

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Roy023

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Anyone know if this has/will have a split screen mode? (Playstation)

Thanks in advance!

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DudeBroPartyYo

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I had a copy of this on PS3, before getting a chance to play it i sold it after few month with one other game to buy some Chronic, like no bullshit ;)

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deactivated-5a26032528a9b

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Hey dudes. Serious Sam is still a thing and is jumping on VR as well.

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RestatBonfire

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@pmcollectorboy: would love to play serious sam vr lol

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DudeBroPartyYo

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@pmcollectorboy: Thats cool, his is Bulletstorm topic :)

2 • 

Bulletstorm

First Released Feb 21, 2011
released
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One

EA is publishing the new "over the top" shooter from Epic Games' Polish studio, which made Painkiller.

8
Great

Average Rating

4637 Rating(s)

8.1
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol