Bulletstorm Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC
Bulletstorm screenshot
Bulletstorm screenshot

Although you're often at the mercy of your environment in terms of what actions you can perform, the game really lets you put your own stamp on each level. Run and slide-kick an enemy into a cactus, for example, and you'll have executed 'Pricked'. To add 'Om nom nom' to your database, you need to send an enemy into the mouth of a carnivorous plant, who will violently masticate the poor fool to death. You might choose to use the Thumper - an orb of electrical energy released from your Leash - to bring an airborne foe thundering back down to earth. 'Slam Dunk', baby.

As your gun collection grows, more gruesome finishers become available. Take the Penetrator, for example, a weapon that fires high velocity drill-bits to impale an enemy to the nearest surface. Each weapon has an alternate fire mode, too, which increases it's firepower by expending special charge ammunition. In these instances, the Penetrator benefits from pin-point accuracy, so you could choose to fire off a drill into a mutant's face for the 'Root Canal' Skillshot. In this charged state, it also becomes lethal at close range, capable of tearing an enemy's insides to ribbons.

There's a Pokémon-like mentality to trying each Skillshot in the game. Gotta catch 'em all, right? As you scroll through the database, you'll notice which you're missing and work out what you need to do to nail it. This is how the game is designed to be played. True, it's possible to complete the campaign without paying this side of the game much heed, but you'll completely ruin the experience for yourself because, more than anything else, it's beneficial to the player. The more points you earn from a kill, the more credits you have to spend at the Drop Shop. Killing with skill is very much to your advantage.

This is taken to new levels in Echoes mode, where there's something even more important than survival on offer for big scores: bragging rights. You might have had a taste of this already in the demo, which incites score-based competition with the inclusion of leaderboards. Using the levels that form the campaign, the idea is to use Skillshots to rack up as many points as humanly possible. To do this, you'll need to learn the best route through each level and work out which Skillshot is most effective on which enemy. This is where the longevity in Bulletstorm comes from; getting to the point where it's impossible to squeeze any more points out of a level and making a mockery of your friends' scores in the process.

There's multiplayer too, of course, but once again People Can Fly has decided to go against the grain of current conventions by dropping the bog standard Deathmatch. In its wake is Anarchy mode, a team-based event similar to Gears of War's Horde mode. Here, up to four players take on increasingly difficult waves of enemies, but with a twist. Killing is not the key to reaching the next wave here, score is. The game militantly enforces working as a team, with extra points on offer for using all-new, multiplayer-specific Skillshots. 'Double Penetration', for example, asks that two players riddle an opponent with bullets at the same time. Co-ordination and conversation between team-mates is vital if you're planning to reach the latter waves. The kind of thinking required to do well in Anarchy mode is something quite unlike a multiplayer game mode has thrown up before.

Despite offering gorgeous scenery and stunning vistas, the game can appear a little rough around the edges at times. It suffers from occasional texture pop-in (as is common in games using Unreal Engine 3) and during more hectic sections the frame-rate can suffer considerable drops. It's hard to concern yourself too much with all this during play, though, as there's always too much going on.

The eight hour-odd campaign is fantastically well paced. Long stretches of 'everyday gameplay' are punctuated with on-rails mini-gun rides, drawn out sniper fights (where you can take direct control of a bullet) and boss fights against building-sized plants. Perhaps the most memorable set piece (and possibly the best part of the entire game, actually) furnishes Grayson with a handset for a remote controlled cyborg-dinosaur that shoots lasers from his eyes. It's every bit as awesome as it sounds.

At a time when games are brimming with gritty realism, a single-minded approach to multiplayer and oh-so-serious plots characterised by a chorus of military buzz-words, Bulletstorm is a refreshing departure from the norm. Behind the f-bombs and dick-tits are some incredibly mature and well thought out mechanics. Not only does the Skillshot system invite a completely new approach to shooting in single-player, it uses scores and leaderboards to inspire competition in a completely different vein to the amalgamate of contemporary shooters. Given the current landscape of the genre, it's fair to say that Bulletstorm is not only a great game, but an important one, too.

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Highest Rated Comment

IndoorHeroes's Avatar

IndoorHeroes

Does it make me want to rape? Hell, I'm rapin' right now. I'm rapin' everyone up in here...

Click for Image
Posted 17:48 on 22 February 2011

User Comments

Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Oh man, the multiplayer is so much fun, especially with friends and not elitist twats.
Posted 12:21 on 22 March 2012
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

I paid £2.98, and feel guilty about that. Should have paid more, and will definitely buy the online pass as soon as I have ANY money to spend on ANYTHING.
Posted 11:42 on 22 March 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Just a fun little game that tries something a bit new. Not outstanding, but certainly great fun from what I've played so far.
Posted 11:13 on 22 March 2012
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ draytone

Yes, it was DEFINITELY worth the £15 i paid for it.
Posted 11:12 on 22 March 2012
dudester's Avatar

dudester

Thats all down to opinion for me no it wasn't but worth playing for 97p absolutely.
Posted 11:05 on 22 March 2012
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Thanks to the demise of GAME I picked the Limited Edition up for 97p yesterday... is it as good as Jamin's review makes out?
Posted 10:41 on 22 March 2012
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ EISPower

Jesus, that's high praise indeed.
Posted 07:31 on 13 March 2011
EISPower's Avatar

EISPower

The best game i have ever played on PC,could have topped Mass Effect but i wish it would have been a bit longer.
Posted 06:35 on 13 March 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Ishi alone has more character than anyone in Killzone 3.

It's an amazing game and it's DEFINTELY worth a 9.
Posted 04:22 on 25 February 2011
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist

Good review. I'm still not prepared to throw down my cash for this yet though, I'll probably grab it when it goes cheap.
Posted 12:36 on 24 February 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker@ RecoN

I've heard from a couple of people its a bug in the game. It'll lag with anything above AAx4 no matter what kind of a rig you have.
Posted 00:01 on 24 February 2011
joe7's Avatar

joe7

Regarding the scores: is a hiccup in the system, the correct scores/values got overriden temporarily by some unrelated data. Shall be fixed shortly.
Posted 17:44 on 23 February 2011
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN@ p0rtalthinker

My Pc version has come :D Ive installed and sadly I can only run the game smoothly on AAx4 and rest on high setting (1680x1050 res)

I have XFX 280GTX XXX in SLI on a Quad core. Good game so far, shame that this game struggles badly with frame rate issues above AAx4 =:S
Posted 12:15 on 23 February 2011
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ Jamin

Wasting your time, Jamin. Sony droids never bother reading things. All they ever see are numbers that aren't 10 and then moan about them. Your score was fully justified in your review, you do not need to defend yourselves against those idiots.

Current metacritic of 85 has it higher than Killzones 3's 84, as well. VG is not alone in thinking it is a better game.
Posted 12:07 on 23 February 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker@ Bloodstorm

I'm waiting for the demo as well; but for now this is definitely going on my wish list. The visuals looks amazingly fantastic on PC.

Great review Jamin. You've really made me want to pick this up...
Posted 02:00 on 23 February 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Bulletstorm
9
Out of 10
Bulletstorm
  • Skillshot system is inspired
  • Fantastic script
  • Plenty of memorable moments
  • Occasional technical let-downs
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 25/02/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 1,929 444
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