Adrift in space the squad known as Dead Echo sails through the vast universe avoiding and welcoming danger simultaneously as they deal with their past. Grayson Hunt is the leader of this squad and, like the rest, an ex-Confederate operative gone renegade after realizing his superior’s true purpose. Now catching back up with the band of space pirates some time after and they’ve come across an opportunity they can’t pass up. Well at least Hunt can’t. The Ulysses is a giant space craft and just so happens to hold Dead Echo’s old employer. Thoughts of revenge lead to a bold, but stupid, suicide mission to settle the score. The result leaves Hunt and a now transformed partner, Ishi, fighting for survival on the deadliest planet Stygia. This is Bulletstorm.
Kill With Skill
With Grayson Hunt and a mentally struggling Ishi stranded on Stygia they have to keep their wits and weapons sharp in order to survive. What is the best defense for the duo? A) The bulky weapons. B) The multi-purpose leash. C) Hunt’s boot. The correct answer is D) All of the above. The key to survival is creativity which utilizes all three parts. The developers wanted to give gamers a planet which harbors so many dangerous objects, but instead of looking at them as obstacles they are to be viewed as opportunities. For example, a supersized Venus Flytrap isn’t something Hunt will want to get to close to, but a well placed kick could send a crazy enemy flying into the hungry mouth of the plant momentarily removing its attention and permanently removing an enemy. As entertaining as the act sounds this is by far one of the most basic maneuvers that can be executed in the game. Kicking it up a notch, the player could leash in one enemy from a charging group, stick them with a shot from the flail gun (shoots two grenades chained together that wrap around the target), kick him back towards his advancing buddies, and detonate the sucker as he flies right between them. This is all part of the skillshot system. It is composed of very lengthy lists each falling under certain weapons or items. At the time of completion I had not even obtained the 75% skillshots performed trophy. It really shows how many hidden opportunities each level packs within itself that go unnoticed the first time through.
While the campaign may entice some to run through it again for fun, Echoes mode will be the reason to replay the game for most. In this mode the game gives you snippets from the single player campaign and has you dash through them as fast as you can pulling off as many unique skillshots as you can. Each frantically-paced, gory second is as exhilarating as the last as you try to improve the scores of your friends and top the leaderboards. Savoring each saved second will create a quickly expanding need to compete and an unstoppable addiction until you see yourself in the #1 spot.
Bulletstorm has a good story and a lively cast of characters. As the game’s ads will tell you, the game isn’t “too serious” like its fellow FPS competitors. It definitely takes things in the opposite direction. This is a game full of profanity, potty humor, and overall general silliness. ” I named him Waggleton P. Tallylicker, but I never got the chance to tell him. He will be remembered.” This line may not hold much meaning to those that haven’t played the game yet, but for those that have it is extremely memorable. It perfectly represents the attitude of Grayson Hunt.
Bulletstorm’s environments are beyond deadly and they reflect that with stunning visuals. One second Dead Echo find themselves traversing through a villa accented with tropical shrubbery under a bright blue sky. The next they’re running through a broken building while it rains lightening outside, and sometimes inside, in the night. It does a good job of varying the experience up by taking the player through spaceship interiors and crumbling buildings, but the majority of the visual pleasure is sure to be had once the player gets a chance to view the surrounding areas and backdrops the make up the planet Stygia.
Online Anarchy Mode
Even if you’re done with the single player campaign mode of Bulletstorm , the fun just doesn’t end there. Gamers who played the Horde mode in Gears of War will be pleased to know that it’s back in this game under the new title, Anarchy. In the Anarchy mode, up to four players can team up and must meet the game mode’s objective – reach the desired score at each wave. If you’ve been practicing your skillshots in the campaign mode its time to put those skills to the test as you aid your team. After every wave the required score increases and other small objectives up in difficulty. The more skillshot points the team gets, the higher chance of getting into the next wave. It’s a simple concept, but it will take a lot of practice to find your way near the top of the leaderboards.
Aftert the first couple of acts, the game gives off the impression of unique gameplay. However, as you realize that you’ve been doing the same thing and you have mastered all of the skillshots you will realize that the game is starting to get dull. Even the objectives in some of the missions are the same (ex: kick enemy off the ledge). The only thing that will keep some playing after a while is finding out how this game wraps everything up and what fate is in store for your heroes. As for the online multiplayer, after playing it for an hour or so, the boredom will soon kick in and you’ll feel that you’ve been doing the same thing you did on the campaign mode – performing the same skillshots over and over again.
Short – Very Short
An average length of a first person shooter game runs at least 8 hours. In Bulletstorm, it is very possible to finish the game in less than five hours. That’s right. It took this writer around 5 hours to finish the game under the normal difficulty. If the campaign feels too short for your liking, then other modes out there are waiting to be played – the echo and the online cooperative/competitive mode, Anarchy, but they won’t breathe new life into it for long if you’ve already become bored with the skillshots.
Bulletstorm is a unique FPS title. You won’t be receiving orders from some battle-hardened sergeant or receive briefings about the devastation an impending nuclear threat could have on your population. This game’s tone is much more light hearted and funny. Grayson Hunt rarely holds his tongue leading to numerous comical and tacky lines. The rest of the game follows in line with this basis allowing the player to be as silly and crazy as the wish using 4 main sources: weapons, leash, Hunt’s foot, and the environment. This combo serves every game made the game has to offer: campaign, echoes, and anarchy. While it is entertaining to pull off these over-the-top moves it can start to run dry as you reach the 100% skillshots performed achievement. The repetition will likely find its way into most game mode’s as players will stick to proven methods to dispatch enemies quickly, especially on higher difficulties, regardless of their score. Overall this a game with a lot of potential as a new IP and it’s good to see someone breaking the run-of-the-mill FPS formula in order to bring a fresh concept for gamers to have fun with.[Editor's Note: Bulletstorm was played on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]