Bulletstorm is: a bromantic comedy starring two meat-heads and a chick with huge norks; a lesson in creative swearing and vulgarity; an interactive compendium of interesting things you can do with a gun; a middle-finger to the current customs and conventions of the FPS genre; and a shout out to its peers: "Hey! Assmaggots! Why you all gotta be so serious!?"
And they are. Killzone 3 might be technically flabbergasting, with glorious environments and reload animations that could make a grown man cry, but it "lacks heart". From the word go Bulletstorm is different. The opening scene finds mercenary captain Grayson Hunt swigging on a beer, staring through a wobbly haze of inebriation as he attempts to shoot a bottle off the head of a captured enemy. Alcoholism is one of a long list of character flaws afflicting our wannabe William Tell, but it doesn't take long to grow attached to the brute regardless. His loose tongue and quick wit make for entertaining banter, which shines brightly during the frequent exchanges with his facially disfigured squad-mate, Ishi Sato.
Like everything else that goes wrong in the game, Ishi's face is Grayson's fault - caused in the ramifications of a drunken decision to start a fight with the vastly superior space cruiser of nemesis General Serrano. Revenge drives the remainder of the plot, and while you might not expect a game of Bulletstorm's nature to offer much in the narrative department, the strength of its characters and comical situations turn out to be one of the title's strongest assets.
Those with sensitive ears might find the game to be crude and vulgar (which it is), but the use of profanity really is masterful. As well as dropping plenty of f-bombs, Bulletstorm combines words such as 'dick' with other anatomical lovelies - like 'tits' - for a brand new swearing experience. Chances are you've heard dick-tits already, but the wonderfully cobbled together 'fungal rim-job' is perhaps the best of the bunch. Not far into the story, Trishka gets in on the verbal sparring matches, at which point you'll realise it's not just the men that need their mouths washing out with soap.
After escaping from their burning vessel at the start of the game, Grayson and Ishi (with his face patched up) find themselves in some backwater corner of the galaxy. It's on this paradisiacal planet that the majority of the game takes place; a world populated with palm trees, waterfalls and dazzling pink sunsets. Oh, and mutants. The hooded freaks, gang members and hideous abominations that stroll about decaying architecture are a striking contrast to the landscape itself.
Disposing of them is a violent and bloody affair, largely defined by the game's Skillshot system: 131 specific ways in which you can kill your enemies. It's the mechanic behind Bulletstorm's Kill with Skill! slogan, the sentiment that if you put some creativity into your gun-slinging, you'll be rewarded.
Bulletstorm contextualises its main mechanic with the Leash, a rope of energy that grades your performance as you fight, with those who make use of Skillshots getting resupplies via shops scattered about each level. This Darwinian approach to battle actually makes quite a lot of sense when you think about it - survival of the fittest and all that. These shops not only offer upgrades and power-ups, but feature a database of every Skillshot in the game.
At first you'll rely heavily on the bullet kick: a sturdy boot to the face which sends an enemy flying into the air in slow-motion, at which point they're ripe for pumping full of lead. You could even choose to yank them back with your trusty Leash and kick them again, if you fancied. After time, however - once you know your weapons and surroundings - you'll be making use of far more entertaining executions.