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Mar 21, 2011

Bulletstorm Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $59.99
We Recommend: $47.99
  • Developer: People Can Fly, Epic Games
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: First-person shooter
  • Released: Feb 22, 2011
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Reviewed: Xbox 360

I recommend that you listen to the song “Boom” by P.O.D. while reading this review.  That song is Bulletstorm in a nutshell: a crazy-ass, over-the-top, hellzone of gunfire, explosions, and bromance.  I can guarantee that unless you’re a soccer mom, there is something in Bulletstorm that will make you smile, or more.

Bulletstorm is a first person shooter with a twist: You get points for everything you do, and even more points if you do it well.  The skillshots, or special kills, are hilarious and fun. There are skillshots for shooting certain parts a certain way, combining certain things, or using weapons other than guns.

Speaking of guns, Bulletstorm’s guns are awesome.  They start normal, then get more and more ridiculous. You start with a standard assault rifle, but eventually you get a grenade-launching flail, a sniper with a controllable bullet, and a quad-barrel shotgun.  Every weapon also has an alternate fire mode, usually an extra-powerful or explosive shot.  You won’t use them too much, but they are fun.

Bulletstorm is mostly a singleplayer game with an emphasis on getting a higher score than your friends.  The campaign has many beautiful locales, and a nice cast of characters. You play as Grayson Hunt, a space pirate who is always cracking a snarky one liner and has a penchant for destruction.  It is nearly always fun and keeps things fresh by introducing a new weapon once in a while, but it does get a little slow at times.  The calm parts are really calm and the intense parts are really intense.  At six to eight hours, the Bulletstorm campaign feels just right.  Overall, the plot is good enough to keep you hooked, but it’s no Illiad.  The campaign also has a co-op vibe, since you are always with someone.  Unfortunately, there is no campaign co-op.

Bulletstorm has one true online mode: Anarchy.  It is basically Halo’s Horde Mode, where you fight off waves of enemies.  The twist is that you must get a certain score to advance to the next wave.  There are also many new skillshots which involve teamwork, such as someone kicking an enemy into the air while another shoots him.  Anarchy is cool for a while, but it isn’t incredibly addictive.

Bulletstorm also has a mode called Echoes, where you run through segments of the campaign and try for the high score.  It features the same skillshot system.  It reminds you of the Arcade mode from Call of Duty 4, except shorter.  While you may get a little enjoyment out of this, it’s not much.

This game is absolutely gorgeous.  The environments are varied and lush, with plenty of places to explore.  It keeps that destroyed-city feel in many parts, and the aesthetics match it.  The sound design is also awesome.  Everything has a distinct sound that is crisp and clear.  On PC, this game will require a good rig to run.  I have a mid-range laptop which had to run the game on low to get it to work.  On consoles, the game runs well.  I did encounter a very annoying glitch in which you get stuck in/on the environment at times with no explanation.  Since you can’t jump, the only option was to reset the game.

Bulletstorm is an awesome shooter.  It has awesome characters, campaign, guns, and dialogue.  If you can ignore the boring-ish multiplayer mode, you have one hell of a game.