Yes, I know it took me far too long to write this review and I promise that I’ll be more expedient in the future. I was so busy playing the game that I didn’t have time to write about it. It’s that good. Remember how much I talked about Rift? Yeah, that’s because even though Rift was a lot of fun, I was able to stop playing it. Bulletstorm had its hooks in me and it wasn’t going to let go until Sarrano (he’s the bad guy) was a dead man.
Bulletstorm is the latest game from the Polish development studio People Can Fly. PCF has only made one game before this one, 2002’s freakish hell-fest Painkiller. If you haven’t played Painkiller, you need to do that right now. You can download it on Steam for 10 bucks. Quit being a cheap-ass and treat yourself to one of the most intense and graphic shooters ever made. Well? Fucking go already, the review will be here when you get back.
PCF was having some trouble with their engine, specifically that it was a bit outdated and they didn’t have the resources to build a new one (or maybe they just wanted to concentrate on making the game itself… whatever). They got in contact with Epic Games so that they could say “Hey, you dudes seem cool. How about letting us get some of that sweet Unreal Engine action over this way?” And then Epic was all “Well if you want to be part of our club you have to pass the initiation.” So PCF got all starry-eyed and said “Initiation clubs are the best! What do we have to do?” Then Epic comes up with all of this crazy shit like putting a banana in Bungee’s tailpipe, a panty raid on the Pi house, and filling John Carmack’s house with popcorn. But the final test was the tough one – PCF had to port Gears of War to the PC and create additional content. They did such a great job with the port that Epic welcomed them to the club and gave them a shit-ton of work to do in the form of Bulletstorm. Holy swear words, they did not disappoint.
Kill With Skill
If you’re going to be making bodies, you may as well do it with style. That’s what the Skill Point system is all about. The fancier the kill, the more points you get. Points are used to purchase weapon upgrades like bigger capacities and charged shots (more on that in a bit), but also more ammo. That’s right, if you want to keep killing, you’d better make it pretty. There are 135 different Skill Shots in the game as of the time of this writing, and I’m sure that with future DLC and new weapons there will be more fantastical ways of dispatching your enemies. The easier Skill Shots are worth 25 points with the truly ridiculous ones ones being worth 250. You’ll get a substantial boost the first time you discover a Skill Shot, and after that they revert to their normal scores. You’ll get multipliers for killing large numbers of enemies with a single Skill Shot.
A couple of my favorites:
Mercy – 100 points – Shoot an enemy in the balls, then shoot or kick their head off while they scream in pain.
I like this one simply because the animation really makes it look like your victim is in a world of pain… until you kick him in the skull and end the screaming. I know that it goes against everything we are taught as men to shoot someone in the babymaker. But fuck that guy, he was trying to kill me.
First In, Last Out – 100 points –Get an enemy airborne, kill a different enemy, then kill the airborne enemy before he lands.
This one is fun just to try and pull off. It’s not easy to do but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Like Painkiller before it (goddammit why haven’t you played it yet? GO. NOW!), Bulletstorm gives you some weapons that are somewhat familiar alongside some insane creations that make you wish they were real. Like any good shooter, each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses. Your standard weapon, the Peacemaker Carbine, is great for pumping out that wall of lead, but it’s fairly inaccurate if you’re just spraying and praying. The Boneduster, Bulletstorm’s answer to the shotgun, is amazing up close but beyond worthless at a distance. But the really fun part about the weapons is that they each have a “charge shot” that almost makes it into a different weapon. What’s that, you say? This is something else that Painkiller had? Wow. How about that.
That Boneduster that’s completely useless past 10 feet? All of that changes when you charge that baby up. In fact, you’re going to want to save the charge for a large group of enemies that are about 30-40 feet away because it will dissolve them. And yes, turning large mobs of bad guys into large puddles of bloody goop looks just as badass as it sounds. Charging up the Flail Gun sends a red-hot chain screaming through your enemies like uh… something that goes through something else easily. But with more blood and screams. You’re going to want to experiment with all of the weapons and all of the charge shots because every one of them has a new and interesting way to dismember your enemies and it never stops being fun.
The multiplayer aspect of Bulletstorm is a bit of a new twist on shooter co-op action. Instead of going through the campaign mode with a friend (which would be a good thing since your AI partners are worthless on higher difficulties) you get placed into arenas with up to 3 other people. During your time in the arena you are beset by waves of baddies that increase in difficulty that you have to eliminate with the same flair that you use in the campaign mode. But in order to progress through the levels, you have to beat a set score. Working with your teammates to get bigger and fancier kills (like ripping an opponent apart using your leashes at the same time) is the only way to get a score large enough to advance through the later levels.
“Is that it?” you are asking me right now. “No, you silly thing!” I respond in a jovial manner. Bigger scores translate into experience points for your character. As your character levels up you will unlock new armor skins, new taunts for the score screen, new skins for your PMC, and fancy helmets that will make your character stand out from “teh n00bz”.
Overall, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth for this one. It’s great to see that People Can Fly is still capable of cranking out a quality product that makes you want to play. I had a lot of fun with this one, and I’m still enjoying it because I jump on with friends and rock the multiplayer. I still have to beat it on Very Hard because I’m obsessive about that kind of thing. I also have to finish all of the Echoes with 3 stars… fuck I didn’t talk about the Echoes… screw it, just go buy the game and you’ll figure it out. Honestly the only word that can be used to describe the game is “awesome”. It has some small quirks in it like how climbing over obstacles can sometimes be a little wonky (there were a few times that I pressed the A button right as the A button disappeared because I wasn’t looking directly at the obstacle). But minor shit can be ignored when the rest of the game is just so much fun to play.
No really, it’s over.