In the golden days of yore, they used to use that whole sex thing in order to sell things. Now-a-days, however, it’s all about the shock value, baby. And Bulletstorm is tangible proof of such. The latest shoot ‘em up endeavor from the creative team of People Can Fly and Epic Games (and released by Electronic Arts, who live up to their old “Challenge Everything” motto with this one) is one hell of an outrageous and politically incorrect title; guaranteed to make even the most hardened and desensitized gameheads drop their jaw or (at the very least) administer a self-inflicted facepalm or two over the constant potty-mouth dialogue and sexual innuendo.
Set in a slightly-dystopian intergalactic future with a serious Civil War tone goin’ on for it, we meet our main hero, Grayson Hunt. The leader of an elite squad of mercenaries-on-the-run, Gray drinks, swears and fights like a sailor. His hotheadedness gets the better of him, though, and he decides to ram his beloved ship into the battle cruiser of General Serrano, a near-dictator-like villain who has put a price on the heads of Hunt and Co. (and whom the boys used to do dirty work for, until they figured out they were being used to kill innocents).
Crashing onto a planet below, survivors Gray and Ishi (a merc-turned-cyborg after the ship go bang) discover that the globe they are now stranded on was once a beautiful resort — which has gone to hell since several bands of ruthless and cannibalistic mutants have taken over. From there on in, the player tries to find his way to Serrano in order to get off the planet before his impending rescue team comes and goes.
Bulletstorm takes a first-person perspective and boosts it with adrenaline and really bad taste. But that’s what makes it a keeper in my book. Players roam one former vacation-paradise-turned-fucking-shithole of a locale to another, discovering even nastier inhabitants with every turn. Kicking, shooting, and blasting their way into oblivion, the game also introducers our main character to a cybernetically-enhanced Energy Leash — which can be used to pull enemies (and weapons) toward you before you kick them off of the ledge, into live wires, or impale them upon giant cactus plant thingies and spiked walls.
Oh, the carnage here, kiddies! Bulletstorm’s energy leash also keeps track of Gray’s unique kills and awards him points for them, which can in-turn be used for weapon upgrades and ammunition purchases. The game’s creators have also assigned memorable names for the skillshots: kill two or more baddies, and it’s a “Gangbang;” shoot ‘em in the neck, “Gag Reflex;” a bullet up the arse, “Rear Entry.” And they only get more amusing, with names skillshots being discovered with each new weapon you find, such as “Sausage Fest,” “AssPlosion,” “Boned,” “Splatter Punk,” “DrillDo,” “Mile High Club,” “Ejaculated,” etc.
One of the more memorable moments for me in Bulletstorm occurred when Hunt seized control of a gigantic robotic dinosaur (which our ne‘er-do-well boozing anti-hero proudly dubs “Waggleton P. Tallylicker”) and uses the mechanical critter’s deadly lasers (it was part of a Godzilla-esque theme park, wherein families could wreak havoc on a scale-model city with the “toy”). It’s a refreshing break from the constant bullet-ballet the rest of the game entails, and results in one of the game’s most unforgettable sophomoric lines ever once the enormous and deadly plaything comes to fitting demise.
Even when you cast aside all of Bulletstorm’s terrific “shock value” moments (the non-stop innuendo, violence, and language — all of which can be “censored” via the game’s options, interestingly enough), the game still manages to survive on its own because of its story. The game doesn’t suffer from being a straightforward “let’s go from Point A to Point B and shoot stuff in the process” formula that many of us see on an all-too-regular basis. Although any sensation even resembling pathos is unlikely to be felt for the game’s thoroughly-despicable characters at any point in time, the title’s developers and designers keep things motivating and appealing throughout that you won’t get bored.
My one and only qualm with the game finally did occur, though, toward the end. Frankly, I was hoping the game would last a bit longer — and maybe I should have set the level of difficulty to something stronger than in the middle (you can also change the level of difficulty at any point during the game, which is a nice touch) — but the final confrontation between Gray and Serrano is a real dud; clumsily opening the door for a franchise option. Granted, a sequel to Bulletstorm is something I would willingly give a shot at, and it might even be more fun than the first if the same brains get behind it and don’t get lazy, but that which we see in the final stages of the game looks like a cheap shot and nothing more.
Oh, well, Bulletstorm is still a kick-ass game that definitely deserves to be played. Highly recommended!
The “Limited Edition” of Bulletstorm comes with some exclusive in-game content, including 25,000 Experience Points (so you can upgrade shit to your heart’s content), visual upgrades for the Energy Leash, an additional weapon (the Deadly Peace Maker Carbine), and additional boots and armor. A similar Xbox 360 release, entitled the “Epic Edition,” contains the aforementioned goodies as well as a beta invite for Gears Of War 3.
Bulletstorm is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol. This game can also be found on: PC, and Xbox 360.