Preview: Bulletstorm

[boxout]There are few people in modern game development that are as outspoken, well-known or unapologetically opinionated as Cliff Bleszinski, Game Designer at Epic Games. Simply having his name attached to a project is a surefire way to get the press talking about it as his quotes (and, often, misquotes) are used to write headlines that keep an upcoming title always to the forefront of a gamer’s mind.

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People Can Fly is the name of the studio who are actually doing the overwhelming bulk of the development work on Bulletstorm although we’re confident that, with Epic Games playing the role of producers and their Unreal Engine powering the game, PCF will have had access to all the resources and knowledge of that venerable collection of developers too.

With the game due this week and our review due to arrive shortly thereafter, we thought it was time we talked a bit about what we have seen so far.

You will play as Grayson Hunt, a dishonourably discharged former special forces soldier who has been working as a space pirate since his commanding officer betrayed him and got him unfairly booted out of the force. It’s been ten years and, when Hunt finds himself inebriated and with an opportunity for revenge, things take a turn for the catastrophic and his ship crash lands, delivering him and his robotic sidekick on to the surface of a planet infested with meat-eating plants, mutants and giant dinosaur-like monsters.

Thus, the scene is set and you will now have to fight your way through a varied and diverse collection of enemies on your quest to escape and, presumably, avenge your disgrace at the hands of that nefarious commanding officer.

The game is a loud, foul-mouthed, brash assault on the senses and it has been smugly joked by many previewers that its obvious attempts to appeal to a base sense of humour leave it feeling unintelligent. We found that there was a surprising, and enjoyable, sense of self awareness to the humour. Rather than just being dumb humour for the sake of a cheap laugh, it seems to be dumb humour with a sly wink to the fact that it is unashamedly dumb because sometimes that’s just fun.

The gameplay revolves around the principle that killing stuff is easy but killing with style should be rewarded. Players will get higher scores for more imaginative ways to kill using the range of weapons, “energy leash” and the regular, uncomplicated use of your boot. It’s a novel approach that serves as a hook to hang the rest of the gameplay on and will allow high-score runs and leader boards to play a prevalent role in the game’s long term playability.

There has been a substantial amount of excited buzz surrounding Bulletstorm (not least around that profoundly stupid Fox News piece) and we’re not far away from knowing if it was well deserved or just a whole lot of fuss without much substance. From the little that we’ve seen so far, our money is firmly on the former.

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38 Comments

  1. I literally played the demo over and over and it never got tiresome. This is just my sort of game.

  2. I was really excited about this until the demo, actually. Just felt like a one trick pony to me.

    • Same here. Calling shooting people “MotherF*cking A*se Bender Skillz!” doesnt disguise the fact it’s still shooting people. Environment kills, multiple weapons, been there done that, it just didnt scream “Pantie Sniffing C*ck Jockey!” all over the screen in other games.

      Still, I’m sure many will enjoy it. Just not me :)

      • The point is to get the highest score by discovering the most violent kills, is it not? If it isn’t then I await your sage advice.

        If it is then is definatly not for me – high score tables are from a bygone era of gaming. Its nice to see how you compare to your mates but trying to be “best” isn’t for me.

        Because obv, I am the best already. At everything.

        Ever.

        And the only thing I ever chase is Ben Cohen, not high scores, because High scores have no value, no meaning, whereas Ben would look very nice handcuffed to my radiator.

        In all seriousness, going by the demo it’s not for me. Can’t please everyone all the time :)

      • Well yes high score has no real meaning, but neither does completing a game really? What value have you gained from completing a game other than simple enjoyment?

      • I’m not a big fan of high scores either but I don’t have to compare myself with other people just because there is a score. I’ll just enjoy the heck out of this game and move on. Simple as that.

      • I’m with Tuffcub on this, it just didn’t work for me. High scores are fun as a bit of a distraction from time to time, but for the most part they are just numbers I ignore while I get on with the gameplay/story. Unfortunately the gameplay felt very awkward to me, and the story was non existent so I was left a bit bored for most of it!

      • Mr Halbpro: No, completing a game has no “meaning” but Id’ rather immerse myself in a good story than go for a high score.

      • I’m all for a good story in a game but Red Faction Guerilla made it clear that a game can rely on entertaining gameplay if the story is somewhat lacking.
        If the Bulletstorm gameplay is not your thing then there is nothing to argue about. But if it’s just the fact that you accumulate points during your game then it’s something that can be ignored for the sake of enjoying the game. As far as I know you can spend the points for upgrades and stuff, so you can think of it as EXP. :D

  3. I don’t see the need of Bulletstorm its interesting but I’ve just grown First person shooters.

    Shame :(

    • You grow first person shooters? Your garden must be awesome. And loud :D

      • Its a alien mushroom war…

  4. I have this on pre-order. Fun, fun, fun! It was this or KZ3, and for me this wins hands down.

    • both for me.

      • Kirby!!!! (sorry its the 25th as well)

      • I crumbled and just bought KZ3 too!

    • Yeah, this game takes priority in my book too. Can’t wait!

    • KZ3 over bulletstorm for me,the main reason why is because bulletstorm has no offline co-op.

      • hoping brink will deliver, as oppose(imo) to b.storm

    • Hmm. Not surprising really considering all the activity of late.

    • Not surprising at all. They’re retail copies, which just mean that they’ve just managed to find a shop that’s willing to break the street date.

    • I can sort of attest to that. Went to a store and found it sitting behind the glass wall like it belonged there all along. So I bought it, LAST WEEK. Already beat it. The language got the point where I didn’t even notice it anymore, but still it was a fun game.

      And yes, I do feel a little bad for buying it early, but it’s not at all like I went to the back of the store and stole a copy.

  5. Not feeling it tbh….

    Bargain Bin maybe…. but not interested whilst its sat above £14.99

  6. I got precisely nothing out of the demo to be honest, shame really.
    It seems to have split opinion quite strongly! I think this will perform much better on 360 sales-wise and not just because of Killzone 3.
    Never mind, it’s just as well there is such a wealth of choice out there as I have neither the money, nor time time to play everything (no matter how hard I try :D ).

    • Really, you got nothing out of the demo? I was completely dismissive of the game before the demo but completely loved it after I’d played! I think it’s shaping up really well.

      • Honestly, it just didn’t connect with me at all.
        I might give it a go one day at a bargain price but we all inevitably have these games that just don’t strike a chord with us. A few of mine are Gears, GoW and Batman: AA.
        All undispuitably excellent titles, I just felt nothing (well, I felt things, just nothing good).

        I’m not dismissing it in favour of Killzone 3 either, I’ll be renting that. deBlob 2 is where my pennies are going this week. :)

    • I think the main players of Bulletstorm multiplayer will be eleven year old american kids who thinks shooting off a guys arms arms ramming up his arse is ‘cool’.

      • to be honest, that does sound like fun. The arms bit, obviously. Not the 11 year old kids bit.

      • I thought the average 11 year old american kid is already occupied by playing COD all day long. The fact that you simply generalized an entire nation’s 11 year old population because you don’t feel this kind of game is a little over the top in my opinion.

    • At the risk of sounding like an eleven year old American kid, I thought it was quite good fun. Didn’t pretend to be anything other than a shameless, switch-your-brain-off-and-pull-the-trigger shooter. Unlike, say, COD. Don’t think I’d put it down as a day one purchase or call it an essential addition to my game collection, but certainly wouldn’t be ashamed to say I enjoyed it.

  7. Bargain bin for me too, besides Killzone 3 is this week too, I cant play both!

  8. I enjoyed the demo, this adds new take on FPS’s. But it is not on my list as i don’t have that much to spare this year.

    It is a very fun concept. I think there could be a few comps that can be done. E.g. highest score comp.

    i bet that EA will use the online pass with this game.:(

  9. I didn’t expect much when I put the demo in the download queue, but when I played it there was an overwhelming sense that not many games that i can recall bring:
    FUN :)
    Although, I can’t see how the game will be any different, and the demo is beggining to bore me, so its quite a shame.
    With shopto telling me I’m getting KZ3 tomorrow (woop) I won’t have the time to play it anyway (would be great for a £15 pick me up for the summer though!)

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