Greetings all, and welcome to the next installment of One Hour In, the blog that makes it's own gravy! I mean - gives you snap decisions based on nothing more than the first hour of a game.
In this installment -- Bulletstorm!
What do you get when you take the insanity of Painkiller, the gruff, buff boys of Gears of War, and a little bit of old-school arcade shoot-y scoring and blend them together? Well, probably some sort of mess in your kitchen, OR Bulletstorm! Yes, the good folks over at Epic Games teamed up with People Can Fly to bring you some bonkers over-the-top shooter action. And, I have to say, after just an hour of playing, I sure am glad! Let's get to it, shall we? Alright, then, here we go!
Man, I like a game that gets right down to business. No filler, all killer, as they say. (Do they say that? I dunno, it just sounded good. Shut up!) Right off the bat, I'm plopped into the skull of Gray, interrogating a bounty hunter. The dude's got a bottle tapped to his head. Oh, I get it, this is the "here's how you look around" (RS, yeah, thanks game, I already knew that) tutorial. It's made even better by the blurred vision and slurred speech of Gray, who's had a bit too much to drink at this point. Okay, now I know how to shoot, too. After that, something explodes, and Rell and Gray almost get sucked (or is it blown?) out in space. A bit more tutorial (okay, how to duck, "use" things, kick stuff, got it), then some story.
Ishi, Gray's buddy piloting the ship, has some bad news. We've warped right into the vicinity of a Confederation warship, the Ulysses! Oh boy, it looks like Gray wants to go up against the big ship, since his old boss, who betray the crew, is up on that ship. Probably not smart, but I don't think Gray really is in charge of his faculties at this point. A kinda neat turret section, but it's all for naught, the warship is too much for us, and we're going down! At least, not before smash through the hull of the larger ship sending both us and them careening toward the planet below.
Ooh, flashback time! A short, but cool, sequence that explains why Gray and crew (well, mostly Gray) are going after General Sarrano, their old boss. Seems he's kind of a jerk, and not very honest to boot. Well, I'm sure he'll deserve what he may get in the end, if Gray has his way. Anyway, back to the present. Seems that we made it down to the planet. Ishi's been badly wounded, though, and Doc needs some supplies. Luckily, looks like some escape pods with what we need are nearby, so Rell and I go hunting. Uh oh, we've got company. Crazy savage guys start busting into the ship. Making short work of those dudes, we make our way outside. More targets, oh yeah! The shooting feels solid, but is gets better. Looks like a member of an Echo Squad, some sort of elite commandos, gets smooshed, but I get his Leash! Rell finds the parts Doc needs, and we head back to the ship. Leashing guys is satisfying, especially since they go into slow-mo, and I can kick, or shoot, or do whatever with them. Say like, IMPALING THEM IN REBAR! Ouch!
Back at the ship Doc gets to patching up Ishi. But, those savages bust in! Ishi and Gray barely get away as the ship explodes! We find out that the General is stranded, and that means that our way off this planet is to find him and hijack one of the rescue ships that will surely be coming. Ishi is now half robot, and he needs to recharge before we can make our way to Sarrano. We head toward a mine facility that should have what Ishi needs. I finally unlock the Skillshots, which is the whole hook of this game. And boy, is it satisfying to Leash and kick and shoot and explode dudes and then have a bunch of points pop up on screen. Nice.
Also, this game looks real nice. I like how, at least so far, it's really bright. A turn from those drab FPSes. So, we finally make it to get Ishi recharged, and, unfortunately, looks like his refill may have overloaded the facility's electrical grid! Luckily, there's a train that we can hop on and use to get out of there. What's this? A guy with a minigun? No problemo, I shoot him and then Leash his head off. (BOOYAH!) Ishi gets the train running, but things have gone from bad to "we're gonna get crushed!" A giant grind wheel, which was being used at the mine to dig out huge tranches, breaks free from it's moorings and starts rolling after us! Get that train moving, or we'll be jelly stains on the desert floor, Ishi!
What, really, my hour's up already?! Man, that went by pretty quick! So, Bulletstorm. I downloaded the demo when it came out, and enjoyed it, but didn't really get into it as much as I thought I might. But, since getting the full game, I can say I think I'll be getting my money's worth. As I wasn't putting my expectations up very high, I've been pleasantly surprised. The story, which I thought might be non-existent, is not as paper-thin as it could've been. I really hope it keeps a good pace throughout the rest of the game. The Skillshot system is cool, but I've heard it's hard to pull of the 'shots if you're trying. Better to let them happen naturally, I suppose. Well, this was fun, and I fully expect it to only get better. So far, so good!
Join me next time, when I'll give my thoughts on the first hours of both Dragon Age 2 and Okamiden! Until then GB faithful...