Let The Bullets Fly
Some first person shooters are slow-paced, realistically driven, and feature tactical gun play. Bulletstorm has none of those elements, but what it lacks it makes up for in over-the-top comical shooting craziness. Unlike other games in the genre, this new fps title from Epic Games and People Can Fly breaks all of the rules in order to provide players with a fun and unique gaming experience. You will blast your enemies away with a variety of flesh-ripping weapons and use a high powered leash to wreak havoc on the masses. The traditional objectives do not apply here, as your progress in the game will be determined by how you decide to decimate your opponents and how good you look doing so.
Aside from the seemingly mindless carnage, there is a story behind the chaos. You play as a soldier in a space-faring mercenary group looking to get revenge on their corrupt leader. The characters are a bit cliche and aren't too interesting, but the hilarious Duke Nukem like commentary and grotesque dialogue easily covers it up. The cut scenes and voice acting is well done and the gore flows nicely during the scripted sequences. There are some instances where you are required to perform actions as they appear, which mix up the action and let you interact with your surroundings. This is typically booting open a gate or ripping the lid off a downed space capsule. The events in the game range from reaching objectives to destroying entire complexes and the enemies within.
The main component of Bulletstorm that stands out is the Skill Point system. These are points that are earned by performing different moves or combos that are used while killing enemies. There are a large number or these "moves" that can be done using the various weapons in the game, and will be unlocked as you perform them for a set number of Skill Points. With these points, you can upgrade your weapons and buy ammo from drop pods, which are essentially stores scattered throughout the levels. For the most part this system works very well and the better you play the more SP you earn, thus providing for faster upgrades which then lead to even better carnage. There are many environmental objects that will also contribute to your mayhem, such as explosive barrels and even cacti with massive spikes. Using your leash, you can grab your enemies and send them flying into impalement, or kick them straight off a cliff--the choice is yours. These are just a couple examples of the many gruesome combos at your disposal. The possibilities are nearly endless...
Overall, Bulletstorm is a great example of what unorthodox game mechanics can do in a video game. The gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of past releases such as Painkiller, also a People Can Fly creation, and the Unreal engine provides the game with fantastic graphics and flexible system requirements. The weapon and character models are what you would expect from Epic (terrific), but the level design is mostly linear with objectives falling into a regular sequence. The game is easy to recommend for those who are tired of the countless tactical shooters out there--or those who wish to expel some of their anger by booting virtual goons into spiked walls. In other words, the game is very fun and if you enjoy blasting foes to pieces with an array of devastating weapons, then you will probably like this game.