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Bulletstorm (Xbox 360) Review

There’s
a good chance you’ve already made up your mind regarding a Bulletstorm
purchase, between the lackluster demo and questionable marketing it’s
understandable that some may be put off. The final product is a very well made
shooter and attempts to serve as the antidote for other shooters that are
clogging up the market like a bad infection these days. Bulletstorm doesn’t let
up one bit in its attempts to make every single aspect incredibly over the top,
the dialogue, characters, environments and of course; the weapons are light-years
away from what you would find in any other modern shooter. The action is what
matters here though, and Bulletstorm has some of the most responsive and
satisfying gunplay you’re likely to see in any shooter this year.

The
story in Bulletstorm is surprisingly decent, in the sense that a game called
Bulletstorm has a story and more so because it’s not complete garbage. Granted,
it’s safe to say that it won’t peak any emotions out of you, but it really
works for the game. You’re placed firmly in the boots of Gray, a soldier turned
outlaw that is being hunted by various nasty people. There is a very brief
flashback near the beginning that sets up why your character is on the path
that he is on. You can really take or leave the story in Bulletstorm, but the
characters are done well and give the occasional chuckle and they move the game
along in a way that’s better than just sitting through loading screens.

Meet Hugh Jack-… I mean Grayson Hunt, creative killer extraordinaire

Bulletstorm
is completely centred around killing your enemies in as many different ways as
possible to score points. These might seem quite arbitrary at first, but the
game does a lot more than you might think to explain this element. Almost
everything you do in the game will net you points, headshots, groin shots and
kicking enemies into barbwire or furnaces. The game is littered with
environmental kill volumes like spike walls or bottomless pits, but the main
way you’ll rack up points is with your shooting and your leash. Bulletstorm
requires you to have pretty good aim as every shot will require you to target a
specific part of the enemy whether it’s the legs, head, neck or rectum (seriously).
The leash can be used to pull enemies towards you, pull down objects onto
enemies or anything else that you can come up with. Every weapon has its own
list of unique skill shots and the leash can be used very creatively in the
right areas.


You need to be creative to score big, so think before you shoot

You
are of course free to play this game as a regular shooter, but it is pretty
boring if you choose that option. There is no mandatory element that requires
you to perform the various skill shots in order to progress. However, the
points you earn by performing these shots are used to buy ammo and upgrades for
your weapons. Each weapon also has an alternative fire, which is just an
enhanced version of the regular mode. For example, the assault rifle will fire
a high velocity round that can kill multiple enemies with one shot, and the
sniper rifles controllable bullet can be exploded. These alternate fire modes
all factor into unique skill shots that will earn you points; there is no
grading system in the single player game regarding the points earned. Although
you can get into trouble if you’re too lazy with your kills, on higher modes it
presents an interesting balance between surviving and getting a decent amount
of points to buy the necessary ammo and upgrades. Bulletstorm has a hidden
depth once you figure out the majority of skill shots and more importantly,
when and when not to pull off certain ones.

The
single player campaign should take you around six hours on the normal setting,
which proves to be spot on as the action is constantly being ratcheted up and
ends on a high. There are higher modes available but playing on them just isn’t
as fun as the lower ones, you don’t want to be cautious in a game with a
quadruple barrelled shotgun do you? You will want to run and gun once you get
the hang of pulling off skill shots and you have to be more careful than you
might want to be on very hard.

Echo
mode is the other single player segment present in the game and in this mode
points do matter. You are graded on a scale of one to three stars; the pacing
for these is a little off though. Some missions require nothing more than
selecting your favourite weapons and rampaging your way through, whereas others
do require strategy in order to gain the highest rank due to the amount and
type of enemies in them. These missions are great for jumping straight into the
action; they focus on what Bulletstorm does best and really shows off the
quality of the shooting and weapons.


This is actually a skill shot, you’re welcome 🙂
 

There
is no competitive multiplayer mode in Bulletstorm, saying that about a modern
shooter might sound extremely odd, but in this game it’s easy to understand. Instead,
you have a coop mode where you play as a team of four and work together to
score as high as possible. There is a minimum score requirement in order to
proceed to the next round but they’re always relatively low when you take into
account how much opportunity there is for skill shots on the maps. I found this
mode quite annoying when playing with strangers, far too much unnecessary
leashing and kicking enemies and no coordination made it either boring or
frustrating and sometimes both. This mode is tons of fun when played with
people you know, there are coop skill shots and setting these up is just
incredibly satisfying and hilarious.

Bulletstorm
doesn’t let up with its over the top style, the characters, weapons and
environments have somewhat of an exaggerated steam punk look and feel to them.
The emphasis on violent kills could easily put you off and come off as a little
gimmicky, but if you can look past all that and take it for what it is, there
really is a superb game here. Every single gun in the game is immediately
satisfying to pick up and shoot; you want to use every gun all the time. The
hectic fights and relentless enemies offer a very different experience than any
other shooter right now. The game is definitely not without its faults, but
none of them are found in the gameplay. If you’re in the market for a different
kind of shooter to what is currently on offer, odds are you will eat this game
up.

Rating
8.0

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