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developer: People Can Fly
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Feb 22, 11
|» All About Bulletstorm on ActionTrip|
If we go back in gaming history a bit, I'm sure you'll all recall a very exhilarating shooter called Painkiller. Created by a Poland-based development studio People Can Fly, Painkiller met with a largely positive response and to this day remains one of the company's most successful titles. Their talents were spotted by the folks at Epic Games who eventually acquired a majority share in the company. People Can Fly worked on additional content for the PC edition of Epic's shooter Gears of War. Teaming up with EA and Epic, the Polish devs devoted their attention to a brand new first-person shooter, entitled Bulletstorm, which utilized the Unreal Engine 3.5.
In Bulletstorm you play as a character named Grayson Hunt, a space pirate who got kicked out of an elite black-ops army unit called Dead Echo. Having learned the terrible truth about some of his assassination targets, Grayson decided to go rogue. The fact is that his entire unit was misled into thinking they are killing terrorists and mass-murderers. He swore to take revenge on General Serrano, the very man who sent his unit to hunt down targets, most of which turned out be reporters and innocent civilians. Many years later, Hunt encountered Serrano's massive battle-ship -- The Ulysses -- and decided to blow it from orbit. Unfortunately that cost him the lives of almost his entire crew. The Ulysses and Hunt's ship crash-landed on the nearby planet Stygia - once a beautiful and peaceful resort now swarming with aggressive giant plants, mutant tribes and insane blood-thirsty convicts.
Mmm, nice and crispy.
Oh yeah, look at 'em fly.
Let's get one thing out of the way before we go any further. The story in Bulletstorm is exaggerated and silly. In fact, almost everything in the game is exaggerated and silly - the characters, the intentionally vulgar dialogue, weapons, enemies... everything. Bulletstorm beats every other game on the market when it comes to dick-related jokes and senseless swearing. The weird thing is none of this bothered me much (maybe I'm just the kind of guy who's used to stupid dick jokes). Now, the reason why this wasn't much of a problem is that People Can Fly and Epic kept their focus on the gameplay mechanics, which are straightforward and yet quite challenging. Make no mistake, this is a classic first-person shooter we're talking about. It's frantic and insanely fast most of the time, so be prepared for some serious action and hysterical shootouts if you want your character to survive.
The variety of weapons is pretty solid and you get to use the extremely handy energy leash that allows you to flail poor soldiers and mutants every which way. Each weapon has an alternate firing mode, so it boils down to combining these weapons and the leash to grab yourself as many 'skillshots' as possible. Skillshots represent the spine of the game. Each kill is rated through the skillshot system, as the player accumulates points. If you ice multiple foes at once or if you improvise and finish off enemies creatively, you'll be rewarded with extra points. The points are subsequently used for upgrading and purchasing weapons. It's not inventive, but it works very well and keeps you focused on the clear-cut and well-polished FPS mechanics.
8.5 Very Good
Frantic ceaseless action, solid and rather rewarding gameplay mechanics, combining weapons and achieving a variety of kills, some areas look gorgeous;
The multiplayer isn't as engaging and addictive as we hoped, lack of campaign co-op, only a few relatively easy boss fights, the word 'dick' gets flailed around to the point where you consider muting the dialogue.