Bulletstormis one of those games that I’ve always wanted to try after hearing my co-hosts on the EvilCast podcast go on and on and on about how insane it is (See also Saints Row The Third). I bought it when it went on sale, and it sat in my stack of shame for some time. Recently, I had a bit of a personal tragedy, and I wanted something over the top, silly, and yes, a little violent.Bulletstormwas promptly moved out of the stack and into my Xbox 360, and it did not disappoint.
Bulletstorm is so incredibly, delightfully ridiculous, from the gameplay to the dialogue, that it’s virtually impossible to not have fun. Well, that’s not true. I suppose it wouldn’t be fun to those who are easily offended, don’t like dick jokes, and don’t enjoy creative headshots. But if you’re a shooter fan, and you don’t get offended that easily (hey, Call of Duty fans!) then Bulletstorm should be right up your alley.
It’s a first-person shooter that completely focuses on creative kill shots. Any creative kill you make earns points (nicely called “skillshots”) that you can spend on weapons, ammunition, and weapon upgrades. If you do nothing but regular ol’ headshots and shots to the chest, you won’t rack up many points and therefore won’t be able to unlock or upgrade your weapons properly, if at all. Different guns have different skillshots, so by simply swapping out weapons you pick up, you can pull off some hilarious skillshots without much effort. The fun with skillshots comes with the ability to kick and leash opponents. Early on in the game, the main character, Grayson Hunt, picks up what they call a leash, which is an electric whip of sorts that allows Grayson to leash enemies toward him or pull down objects in the environment. He can even use to pick up weapons he can’t reach. Grayson can also kick enemies away, which is great for both stopping enemies from shooting at you and great for kicking them off of high places–which leads to a series of skillshots, depending on where you kick them off of. Kicking and leashing also slows down the action for a little bit, thereby allowing players to more easily make that headshot or aim for a certain part of the body to earn other skillshots. For example, a shot to the throat is called the “Gag Reflex,” and if you shoot an enemy in the balls and then kill him, it’s the “Mercy” skillshot. I swear I’m not making this up.
The dialogue is as over-the-top as the skillshots. I played rugby for a few years, my husband is a former rugby player, and my husband is in the military, and I swear I have never heard so many dick jokes in my life. I turned on the subtitles so I wouldn’t miss a single crazy thing said while I was laughing so hard. I’ve actually turned some of the dialogue into text tones and ringtones on my phone because they’ve made me laugh so hard. My phone is now a weird conglomeration of Gears of War and Bulletstorm tones…I should just slap on an Epic Games logo and move on.
Surprisingly enough, the story was pretty good as well. It wasn’t as deep as something like Spec Ops: The Line by any stretch of the means, but it never once felt convoluted, it made sense, and as the game went on, it got pretty serious. It was amazing to learn that there was a reason why all of these crazy, insane, and twisted-looking humans were on the planet. It was nice to see that there was a reason why General Sarrano was hovering near the planet in the first place. They could have made the story completely happenstance, but they chose to give some meaning to the craziness, and it was a nice touch.
Bulletstorm wasn’t nominated for any Game of the Year awards for 2011 that I’m aware of, and that’s most likely because of its insane and violent nature as well as its okay story, but it’s still an incredibly fun romp. If you need something silly and just fun, I can’t recommend Bulletstorm enough.