A veritable tempest of projectiles.
I was initially quite skeptical about Bulletstorm, I was intrigued by the concept of Skillshots but my main concern was if it would be varied enough to last me a long time without getting tedious. And I'm more then happy to report that this answer is "YES."
StoryYou're playing the role of Grayson Hunt, an ex-member of Dead Echo, a squad of highly trained soldiers, which were also used for assassinations. After killing your latest target, one of your squadmembers finds out that all the targets you've taken care of were in fact NOT mass-murderers, slavers and gunsmugglers, but innocent civilians trying to prove your General's corruption.
Disgusted with his general, Grayson swears to get revenge on General Sarrano for using them to do his dirty work, which brings us to present day, a couple of years later. One thing leads to another, and they happen to come across the Ulysses, the General's prized warship. In a drunken haze of revenge and recklessness, Grayson takes over the flight controls of his squad-mate Ishi, and launches a head-on assault, which ends up getting both ships to crash-land on the planet below. And the inhabitants are far from friendly.
Audio and Visuals
If Borderlands and Gears of War were to ever have sex, then its highly likely that 9 months later Bulletstorm would emerge kicking and screaming with a futuristic assault rifle in one hand, and a bottle of booze in the other. For me the game ran smooth at 50-60 frames per second and I experienced very little issues in the form of crashes. Not that you might think to look at everything now and then but it all looks quite stunning. From the scenery to the industrial areas, it's all looking very nice and appealing.
Now if you ever watched anything about Bulletstorm, then the dialog certainly jumps out. Everyone speaks like the most foul-mouthed individuals you have ever encountered. While some of the more completely random insults got a chuckle out of me, a lot of it felt like it was trying a bit too hard and came over as forced. The music during the combat however feels completely appropriate, with guitar riffs and drums everywhere. It's not going to win soundtrack of the year, but it gets the job done.
Now we're getting to the meat and potatoes, that which sets Bulletstorm apart from other First Person Shooter's - the Skillshot system.
The Skillshot system is a mechanic that rewards you for being creative in the ways you destroy the enemy using the enviroment, your weaponry and a combination of those. There is a grand total of around 138 Skillshots available, all varying in difficulty and ways you can pull them off, and while sometimes the amount of enemies got rather tedious, the entire campaign through I was discovering new Skillshots and trying to use the means available to me to the best of my abilities.
And it was honestly the most fun I had in an FPS for quite a while because while games like Call of Duty certainly aren't bad, they focus more on the action and spectacle of making it look like a Hollywood movie, but I most certainly won't get 500 points for shooting an enemy in the nuts, then watch them squirm around in pain for a couple of seconds, then kicking their head off. And after that I will spend those points to buy a Sniper Rifle which lets me steer the bullet around.
Now, while my time with Bulletstorm was a whole lot of fun, it's not without its faults.
For instance, the times my AI companions were completely useless staring at a wall or failing to kill a single guy attacking them numbered in the tens, and I got stuck in the scenery about 6 times, forcing me to reset my checkpoint and lose a bit of progress. Even though it wasn't as horrible as losing an entire level, it was certainly quite frustrating.
MultiplayerEvery FPS nowadays has a multiplayer mode in it, and Bulletstorm is no exception - Anarchy Mode will have 4 players co-operate against individual waves of enemies while combining their skillshots to be able to reach the predetermined amount of points for moving on to the next. There's a couple of downsides to this mode, namely that fact that one guy not co-operating with your group can seriously fuck you over in the end, so I suggest playing this mode with a group of friends for maximum enjoyment.
The only other thing I can count as sort-of Multiplayer mode is the Echoes mode where you get a series of levels to beat with the highest amount of skillpoints as possible with pre-set weaponry, and in the quickest time possible for the most glorious position possible on the leaderboards.
ConclusionWhile sometimes issues of getting stuck and jerky AI got in the way, Bulletstorm is an experience I think anyone who can enjoy an FPS game should play. The moments of humor and witty retorts and had me laughing most of the time, and the Skillshot mechanic hasn't bored me yet - And I've played it for about 13 hours now.
In short I can only recommend Bulletstorm to anyone who can enjoy a First Person Shooter, and even if you don't I suggest you at least rent it!