I played through Bulletstorm over the course of the last two days and some of the things I experienced are worth writing down. Join me as I navigate the labyrinthine passageways of my own thought process!
The ad campaign for Bulletstorm was god-awful, I think we can all agree on that. The Epic people tried so incredibly hard to drive home the point that Bulletstorm is totally crazy and fun, and look at how ridiculous it is, that they totally overshot the mark. Yeah, Bulletstorm is pretty ridiculous, but not at all in the teeth-grindingly irritating way that those ads of Cliffy B telling us a shitty joke about his girlfriend's pregnancy are. They should have let the game speak for itself instead of overselling it to the point of almost unselling me on the entire game in the process.
The characters are two-dimensional stereotypes and the writer never attempted to make them anything more than that, which is why it works. Many games try to have interesting characters, but in spite of pretenses, very few pull it off. Mass Effect 2 is one of the few. Then there's Red Dead Redemption, which looks and sounds so much like a movie, it has a lot of people fooled into thinking it actually has a great story, and isn't 90% about a guy running errands for insufferable jackasses. But at the end of the day, the characters in that game are no more layered than Bulletstorm's characters, with the possible exception of Marston's wife and kid.
Bulletstorm's total lack of pretension, both from a gameplay perspective and a narrative one, is a refreshing blast of fresh air in a landscape of grimdark games that try to make you care about their characters by using well-worn archetypes and plot devices lifted from other media. As a result, Bulletstorm is a game that has heart. It's an entirely nebulous concept with no real definition other than what I just made up, but to me that's what it is. Which is a far cry from the incredibly cynical ad campaign Epic ran for the game. Give it a chance, and space morons just may win you over.