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Apr 06, 2017

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Review

Lights Off
3 Okay
Retails for: $59.99
We Recommend: $35.99
  • Developer: People Can Fly
  • Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Shooter
  • Released: Apr 07, 2017
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
  • Reviewed: Windows

Bulletstorm‘s original release in 2011 saw People Can Fly’s outrageous first-person shooter published by EA. The remastered version, known as the “Full Clip Edition” is now being published by Gearbox, seemingly giving this a more appropriate home for this vulgar and brutal shooter. While Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition‘s core gameplay is strong and worth the replay with a focus on “skill kills” over “boring headshots”. Though, the dialogue doesn’t seem as funny as it once was, and hurts what is an otherwise unique shooter made for modern consoles.

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From the moment you start playing the campaign, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition starts to feel dated. The dialogue was nothing to write home about before, but is written like something out of “Full Metal Jacket”, but without any nuance the Kubrick film has. It all just seems so abrasive and off-putting than before. This was probably the case when it first came out, but more noticeable now. An often talked about thing last time, was that the character design makes Bulletstorm seem like a side-story in the Gears of War universe.

Despite the boring introduction, it is once you obtain the leash that the game ramps up, and does so very quickly in exciting ways. The core hook to playing Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is to “kill with skill”. You’ll be encouraged to experiment rather than relying simply on headshots or repeating kills in a mundane way. You earn currency for your skill kills, and there’s a compendium that shows you what you have and haven’t done. Some things are locked due to not having a weapon or power to do it. But once you learn these skill kills, they become like fighting moves, and allow you to assess the situation and deploy them as you need to deliver maximum damage and earn points for variety. Drop pods are scattered throughout the game, and earned currency can be spent on ammo and upgrades. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a kinetic shooter that’s more fun if you maintain the momentum and kill variety.

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The story to Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is rather entertaining until someone opens their digital mouth. You play as Grayson Hunt, part of a team of mercenaries who were duped by their superior into performing acts that did the opposite of what they thought, and were morally opposed to. From there, it setups up a tale of revenge and trying to even the score, at the cost of most of your comrades. How this all unfolds delivers some spectacular gameplay sequences. Outside of the standard campaign, there’s the new Overkill Campaign that’s new to the Full Clip Edition that gives you all weapons and upgrades, and is available as soon as you complete Act 1 of the game. I think this is the preferred way to play, as you can really play with enemies early on. If you’re looking for something to compete with friends, you can play Echo mode which includes all maps from the base game and DLC released years ago. There’s 30 challenges to play through to fight for a place on the new leaderboards. If you want to play co-op, you can’t do so in the campaign, but in a wave-based mode over 12 maps and 20 waves each. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is nothing short on content, but the campaign is the most enjoyable mode I’ve found.

Duke Nukem’s BULLETSTORM Tour (DLC)

Included with my copy of the game, and by pre-ordering the game will let you play the entire campaign as Duke Nukem. This character is thanks to Gearbox who own the rights now. Duke Nukem certainly looks and sounds out of place here, due to unavoidable issues with replacing a character wholesale, as other characters still refer to you as Gray/Grayson. Jon St. John returns as Duke Nukem and voices his side of the action for the entire game, complete with quips and responses that fit in with the rest of the dialogue, save for the mentions to the original main character. I think this DLC goes a lot further in enjoying this remaster than I thought it would. I really didn’t think Duke being in the game would add much, but it really does. In places where the dialogue is grating and cringeworthy in the base game, hearing it come from Duke makes sense.

BulletstormFCE review3Duke

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition doesn’t always look especially great unless you’re in an outdoor environment, which thankfully most of the game does. The PC version supports ultra-high resolutions into 4K, and so does the PS4 Pro (not reviewed). I did see the fact that there’s no texture pop-in, and the textures do look crisper and the game always maintains 60fps with Vsync turned on. The cutscenes are videos capped at 30fps, so that can be a bit disjointed when transitioning between them. An odd thing though, is that the subtitles look bad – they’re grainy and aliased every time they come up. Now if you don’t use them or care, it’s not a big deal, I’m just not sure how a simple thing could look so bad. That said, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition isn’t a visual powerhouse but does run exceptionally well on new hardware.

My PC Specs:
– Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
– Intel Core i7 6700k @ 4.2Ghz (Turbo)
– NZXT Kraken X61 106.1 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
– G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
– EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW 8GB GDDR5X

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Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a really fun first-person shooter, but I do not find there to be full value in what’s on offer here for a several years old game. And really, the game’s main issue for me is that the dialogue and writing have not aged well and it just comes off really insensitive and dumb in ways that may have worked in 2011, but just doesn’t in 2017. The improvements, while mainly graphically still make for an exciting shooter that has yet to be repeated in the years since its original release, and Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is worth a replay if you can wait for a sale.

A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes