Thursday, July 7, 2011


Bulletstorm is the latest release from the esteemed studio of People Can Fly, and like the rest of their games it is a over the top shooter, and in this case one of the first person variety. It has gotten moderately good reviews overall and I agree with them in general. It is a fun game, but I have played FPSs with better core mechanics.

The first issue I want to tackle is a problem that this game shares with many recent FPSs and other combat focused genres. Bulletstorm, even on very hard difficulty (the hardest difficulty setting), is only moderately challenging. And I am not even a FPS person, so I feel bad for all the veteran FPS players out there, you just cannot seem to find a FPS that should not be played on the hardest setting the first time through any more. All in all it was not a bad difficulty to play on, but if I wanted to replay the game it would certainty be far too easy now to be worth it.

Additionally, I found the difficulty to be very inconsistent. For one the most hyped up, supposedly uber powerful, enemy in the game, the Burnouts. These enemies have giant soft spots all over their bodies in the form of puss filled cysts which act as instant kill (or head-shot) locations if given a small amount of damage; These enemies are also not quick, have no long range attack, and have absolutely no special abilities in other words they are a joke, and yet the game warns you about these end game super enemies more then any other. And the bosses and to an extent the mini-bosses make these Burnouts look like Rambo in comparison. The first boss is by far the best one, and the only one I would consider an actual boss, with multiple phases and tones of HP; The others are all clones of themselves, fight identically, only have one phase, and can be killed almost instantly. But there is one thing that all of these bosses have in common, it is near impossible for them to even hit you, let alone kill you (and even though I was playing the game for the first time on the hardest difficulty I still was never even close to hurt by any of them).

Not that the game is bad by any means, it simply is not as dedicated to this sort of finesse stuff. Instead Bulletstorm focuses on over the top, macho, and run and gun gameplay. For this you have the ability to kick objects and people and send them flying across the map; Leash them and send them flying towards you; Or doing a sliding kick which sends you sliding across the ground and kicks anything or anyone you come into contact with. Add to this the strategically placed explosive barrels, spikes, and pits and you get some pretty creative ways of killing people. And even the guns are styled in such a way to promote this run and gun style. For example, the sniper rifle goes into a slow-mo time when shot and actually allows you to aim and move the bullet as it travels to such an extent as to go around corners and over barriers to reach the target.

But probably the most unique aspect of the game is the skill point system. As you play you are awarded points as you kill people and the more creative you are the more points you get. It is basically a FPS version of Madworld. Except that I found it annoying to keep having to look up and memorise special combos and change guns simply to get the other gun specific ones. Additionally, more points then just playing like normal were not needed. Points are used to purchase gun upgrades and ammo. The ammo is at least moderately useful, but the upgrades also include additional storage space for ammo and both the ammo for and additional storage spots for charged shots, which are super powerful single shot attacks; Which are useful in some situations, but are too slow for the average firefight.

So it is a fun game but it hardly seems polished. Worth checking out if a less sophisticated FPS sounds appealing to you but it is hard to compare to the many well balanced titles out there.

My mini-review of Bulletstorm.

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