“Bulletstorm” by Mazer

One of our friends wanted us to review this game for him. I thought the demo looked pretty nice, so I ponied up the money and bought it.

What I Expected:

Well, to be honest, I was expecting some decent, fun FPS game play with Epic Games at the reins. I wasn’t too concerned about the story elements to the single player but even that looked half-ways decent compared to some other stuff on the market nowadays. I guess I was just hoping for a game play experience that at least matched up to the first Gears of War.

What We Got:

We actually got quite a bit more: the kill with skill element wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be and the story was much more than “rawr, kill all aliens!”. They even went so far as to explain why the skill kills gave you points, which I thought was very interesting and the explanation itself was quite intriguing. It took me between 5 and 6 hours to beat the game on Easy (second out of five difficulties) though the game was definitely ‘easy’; I’m probably going to play through it again on at least Normal to see the differences. Oh and our ‘meh’ friend, Quick Time Events are in this game as well but Epic did a wonderful job with them. There are no “Press X to not die” QTEs, but instead are “Hit this button fast to gain points” making it so that you still do the action that you should be doing and rewarding your quick reaction skills as well. I think it’s the best use of QTEs and even though I hate them, if a game has to have them then they should do it in this manner.

All of the guns are very cool to use and each one has its own use. Every time the game gave me a new one I would say to myself “I’m never using another weapon again!” and then proceed to drop it for the next one along the line. This changed when I got the Sniper Rifle since it was a very situational usage gun and decided to stick with the chain-grenade launcher (it’s as cool as it sounds, trust me) and the Shotgun. You get to choose two side weapons that you can change between by holding down the Switch Weapon button and moving your directional key/stick left or right. You always have your starting weapon as your Primary weapon but that doesn’t really seem to hamper anything since it’s still a fine multi-purpose weapon. Plus, most of the enemies are using that same weapon so keeping it as a backup is always nice since there’s ammo for it everywhere.

The story itself is a tale of revenge, but instead of taking revenge on what the bad guy did to the protagonist, you are taking revenge for what the bad guy made the protagonist do. The story seemed to flow elegantly along and even had a short flashback near the beginning to further explain why these characters hated the bad guy as much as they did. As the single player progresses, the story gets all nice and wrapped up with a pretty bow on top leaving few, if any, questions at the end. Although there is the annoying “To Be Continued…” at the end at least the storyline arc ended (unlike, say, God of War 2). The main characters are all beefy super soldiers that you would expect from an Epic Games game but they still had some depth to them which was refreshing.

Let me talk a little on the Points system, because that’s a really big part of the game. For starters, the system is fun, which is exactly what it should be. I love getting points, I love chasing after new Skill Kills that I hadn’t done yet. But what are Points other than some number on your screen that gets higher you say? Ah ha! Bulletstorm has a great answer to that: you can purchase ammo and upgrades for your guns with points. The upgrades are mostly just how many bullets can you carry and how many charge shots can you have. So, you mostly spend your points on ammo, but even so, the Points are fun to get.

Multiplayer:

I was a little disappointed when I played the Multiplayer in Bulletstorm. There’s no Player vs Player Multiplayer at all, but that’s fine with me: the whip/kick mechanics wouldn’t really work in that environment anyway. There’s only one real way to play with your friends (other than just play ‘who can get the higher score’) and that’s in a Co-op arena battle where you are attacked by waves of enemies while trying to get a certain score in order to get to the next level. I played it for about an hour or so and had a blast, but I’m not sure how much it will add to the replay of the game itself. I would love to have a Co-op Campaign ala Gears of War 1/2 but there doesn’t look like that exists for Bulletstorm. Which is odd since you always have an AI companion with you during the Campaign; it’s not the same companion (like Gears of War) but I don’t see that being a big problem.

Conclusion:

The story mode is really fun to play and I might actually play through it again (a rarity for me). The characters are all believable, the story makes sense, and the few boss fights that are in there are amazing. I am in love with the Point system; they really did a good job with it. Plus the Multiplayer is pretty fun with just two of the possible four players. I’ve only done one map in the Multiplayer as well, so I think there’s some real replay value there if you’re into mindless (but fun!) killing. There is a lot (a lot) of gore and language (a lot) but there are also maturity filters for each (did I mention there’s a lot?). Now, I haven’t tried to turn those on/off yet, but at least they’re there in case you need/want them. Plus there’s always DLC which is going to add more maps to both the ‘beat your friend’s points’ mode and the arena Multiplayer mode; here’s hoping that they give us Co-op Campaign in a DLC too!

Overall Rating

I’m going to say Buy It, but it’s very much an Epic Game’s style of game. If you liked Gears of War, then you’ll love Bulletstorm. Plus the game is always fun if you just want to kill random mutants in crazy ways, and the Multiplayer will last you quite a while if you enjoy wave-style combat with your buds or online strangers.

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