-This review is based on a Mature rated game.
Bulletstorm is the latest release from developers EPIC Games and People Can Fly, so it has its roots in some pretty intense places, EPIC being the creators of the Gears Of War franchise.
What sets Bulletstorm apart from its spiritual predecessoris its unique style of humour. Playing as a perpetually drunken space pirate, there is plenty of colourful language thrown around, some of the most memorable of which is tossed around in the last few hours of gameplay by one of the most entertaining characters I have seen in a while.
The skillshot system that was featured in the demo is greatly fleshed out, with it being very difficult to get all the skillshots in one play through, some requiring prior knowledge in order to obtain them. They also somehow manage to come up with a reason for your main character seeing them, although I don’t think they needed to do this.
The characters are all particularly great, with each of them having their own distinct personality. Marcus Fen–I mean Grayson Hunt is the disgruntled space pirate out for revenge against the general who used him. His is the main star of the game so, naturally, you find yourself getting to like him. Ishi is Grayson’s second in charge. He used to be a human but when Grayson crashed the ship into Stygia, he suffered dramatic injuries and had to be turned into a human cyborg. His main motivation is to get off the planet and get to freedom. Trishka is the token woman in this army game, being the badass out for revenge girl. She also plays the damsel in distress, but often shows herself to be the one holding the others in distress. General Sarano is the final character to get screen time, and his lines are by far the most memorable. He used Grayson and his men to carry out assassinations on high level targets who threatened to remove him from his position.
The presentation of the game is fairly good. The developers have created a stunning planet on which to set the game, embracing both the untamed wilderness and the industrialised vacation resort which takes up most of the game. The set pieces are incredible (again, akin to Gears of War) with huge events happening to due one small thing (ie, shooting an egg causes the entire city to come crumbling down later in the game.) The graphics are pretty top-notch, giving the game a great overall look.
The only real problems I had with this game are that I sometimes found myself ‘out-running’ the A.I, thereby causing the game to glitch out, and not letting me continue, which would often mean I would have to restart a chapter, as i reached a checkpoint before realising that Ishi and Trishka were nowhere to be found.
Bulletstorm is a…different kind of game. It’s pretty much a first person Gears of War, so if you didn’t like that, then chances are you won’t like Bulletstorm. While being a very good game, I felt at times that the storyline was just tacked on, and that they just needed to justify the amazing setting they used.
I recently downloaded the Bulletstorm demo for the Xbox 360, having pre-ordered it the other day from EB Games (and getting an awesome water gun in the process)
When the demo starts up you get verbally assaulted by the main character, Grayson Hunt (voiced marvelously by Steve Blum) about how you don’t stand a chance on Stygia but, hey, make the most of it. This then continues into a small story introduction and montage of available weapons, abilities, etc, etc. The real draw of the little clip show is defiantly there for people trying to get high scores, as it shows a numerous amount of Skillshots (The games main drawing point) including some that you would never think of trying.
The main draw of Bulletstorm is the introduction of a new ‘interesting’ way of killing, the Skillshot. The Skillshot involves combining a weapons special powers (or your foot) with the enemy (generally his face). For example, by launching an enemy up into the air and then shooting the pistol’s special shot (a flare) at them, you can cause them to catch fire, and if you’re a good shot, explode like a firework, raining fiery death down onto his comrades, and netting yourself a few hundred points in the process.
I can’t (at this point) see the story being as engrossing as, say, Mass Effect’s, but there could be some interesting and enthralling twists coming.
The graphics are not amazingly, eye-poppingly brilliant , but they’re not atrocious either. They actually remind me slightly of Borderlands cel-shading (albeit I haven’t played that in a while)
Stay tuned for the full reiew when the game relases later in February.