Bulletstorm is set in the 28th century and you play as Grayson Hunt, who is voiced by none other than Steve Blum, the man who voiced Wolverine in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men. Grayson is also fighting alongside long time space pirate colleague Ishi Sato. Grayson and Ishi are ruthless space pirates who work for a black-ops army called Dead Echo, they thought they were fighting the good fight by doing the universe a favour taking down drug dealers and mass murderers, but how wrong were they?. It soon comes to light that they were being set up by their commanding officer General Sarrano, who they thought they could trust; but in fact they were being manipulated by the General into killing innocent civilians to cover up Dead Echo’s dirty and corrupt business.
When they believe that things couldn’t get any worse they crash land on a planet called Stygia where Ishi suffered devastating injuries. The planet that they have crash landed on is infested with cannibal mutant tribes, human eating plant monsters and the kind of enemies that would eat King Kong for breakfast. Now it is up to Grayson and Ishi to find a way off this planet alive and in one piece and at the same time, satisfy Grayson’s burning desire for blood thirsty revenge on General Sarrano.
Bulletstorm as you will already know is made by the same development team that gave us Gears of War and when you play Bulletstorm, you can certainly tell. Everything from Grayson and Ishi’s character design to the appearance of many of the weapons seems a little too familiar. But as the game starts to develop further down the storyline, you begin to forget about Bulletstorm’s big brother and you begin to admire its graphical beauty in its own right.
It’s not until you get to about the back end of the 2nd Act that you really begin to admire Bulletstorm’s visuals, especially when you get to the destroyed and decaying city. In many ways, the environments begin to remind me more of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, rather than Gears of War. In all credit to Bulletstorm, I don’t think I’ve seen many Cities that look so stunning and yet so demolished at the same time, it certainly has a post apocalyptic feel. The attention to detail is certainly one of Bulletstorm’s strong points with lush vast landscapes, and giant BIG boss fights.
Bulletstorm is that chaotic and fast paced, that you don’t really take in whether or not there is any background music being played as you will be enjoying the sound of bullets spraying in all directions. The satisfactory sound of a sniper bullet to an enemy’s forehead to every barrel explosion, the over the top sound effects all feel like they are fulfilling there over the top duty with glimmering pride.
Bulletstorm also comes with well scripted trash talking between its characters and I’ve never heard such a random, inspired use of curse words in any video game that I have ever played. There are many occasions when the banter in Bulletstorm made me laugh, especially between Grayson and Ishi, you really do get an understanding of the close bond between the two main characters. Whether there’s bickering, arguing or complementing, the voice acting of Bulletstorm is excellent and the characters really do shine in their own unique, inspirational and abusive way.
In the early stages of playing through Bulletstorm, you can be forgiven in thinking that it is going to play like any other FPS and in many ways it does, but Bulletstorm does have some of its own features, that provides its own identity. What sets Bulletstorm apart from other games, is the Leash, think of it as a super bionic Indiana Jones whip. Every weapon in Bulletstorm is upgradable, but in order to upgrade your armoury, you must acquire skillshot points.
In order to acquire these skillshot points, you must kill your enemies in the most unique and imaginative way possible to earn maximum points; simply gunning down your enemies will result in you getting minimal points. You can do this by leashing the enemy towards you and you can fire, kick punch, slide in whatever way you can think of, the more combinations you pull off, the more points you will earn. You can dismember and impale the enemy in so many ways and at times it will have you creasing with laughter. As much fun as this can be, as you progress towards the end of the game, all of this can start to feel all a bit stale. Disfiguring wave after wave of enemies does eventually get tiresome and even though Bulletstorm is not a very lengthy game, it does feel at least a level to long. But this does not mean you won’t have a blast playing Bulletstorm, as it provides some gigantic and very memorable moments.
This is where Bulletstorm lets itself down a little. Playing through the game just the once will be more than enough, unless you want to go back and search for the hidden collectables that will increase you gamerscore. The thing that puzzles me most of all, is that Bulletstorm would have made an excellent co-op campaign as you are accompanied by A.I from start to finish, I believe this is a massive missed opportunity.
There is also a mode known as Echo mode, which will require you to replay various chapters of the game. In Echo mode, each chapter you playthrough will be timed and the idea is to accumulate as many points as you can, which will result in you getting an overall rating at the end of the level. Even though the Echo mode can be fun, essentially you are just playing through the same levels over, but this time your sole concentration is to build up as many combos as you can and to finish the level within par time.
But Bulletstorm does at least offer some enjoyable online multiplayer action, though the options are VERY limited. Being a FPS shoot em up, you’d think that Bulletstorm would have included some Team Deathmatchs, Capture the Flag and so on. But what really gets me is that Bulletstorm only has ONE match type for online, this mode is very similar to the Horde Mode that was so successful with the Gears of War franchise, where you have to fight off waves of enemies that increase their numbers as you progress through the match. But even though the online features of Bulletstorm are very limited, it is still a highly enjoyable experience non the less, especially when played with a friend.
You can pick up a pre-owned copy of Bulletstorm now-a-days for less then £10/$10 and may be a lot less if you shop about. Getting Bulletstorm at this price is well worth it and would cushion the blow with it having such a limited single player and online multiplayer. Bulletstorm in all fairness is a fresh concept and a break from the norm and as long as you don’t expect too much, you may just be pleasantly surprised.