Has Bulletstorm Revived The FPS?

Bulletstorm’s marketing might well be engulfed in the garrulous mouth of Cliff Bleszinski, but he’s trying to get a message across: this isn’t your regular first person shooter.  And it’s not – this isn’t just hyperbole or marketing (not solely, at least, as there’s certainly something marketable in a USP) because People Can Fly, resting comfortably in the lap of Epic Games, have come up with something fresh and exciting that we simply haven’t seen in a shooter for some time.

Indeed, this garishly hued, vapidly inhabited gun-em-up wouldn’t be half the game it is if it wasn’t for the mechanics, which, despite the viewpoint, make the game feel more like a next-gen mashup of Renegade and a Boys Own version of a rather more raucous, brash James Bond.  So what sets Bulletstorm apart from the rest?  It’s the wickedly entertaining use of weaponry and environment and the way the game’s Echo mode (essentially a stripped down, cut-scene free high score mode) brings out the devil in the player.

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Anyone can unload half a magazine into an oncoming adversary, but if you do this in Bulletstorm you’re a) wasting ammo, and b) missing the point.  In actuality, the game’s designed to soak up such attempts to play by now old fashioned rules, the enemies absorbing your pitiful attempts to take them down.  No, instead you’re supposed to mix things up, throw in a boot and switch out your weapons to maximise your score and inflict considerably more simultaneous damage.

Here’s an example: slow down a rushing bad guy with a few bursts of the assault rifle, throw him up into the air with the Leash, wrap a sticky bomb around his chest and – when he lands – give him a swift kick to the chest to send that ticking human timebomb into the next crowd of opponents.  It’s a viciously thrilling experience, your imagination being the only real limitation and whilst slow motion is a tired old practice, here it’s essential, giving you just enough time to change arsenal on the fly.

Of course, there’s an element of rote and repetition as you learn the layout of each level’s score attack mode, but that’s the point – the more you play the more you get out of it, and the better and more inventive you become at using the weapons (all of which have alternative fire modes) – the end of level leaderboards will no doubt prove as addictive for some as the likes of stablemate Need For Speed’s Autolog did as you try to best your mates at each level.  Only through skill and adroitness will you do this.

I’m impressed.  Bulletstorm has shown the world that a nice little hook is more than enough to ensure your game stands out, and although our man Cliffy’s keen to shout about the game until the cows come home, this is one game that kinda shouts for itself.

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63 Comments

  1. This game is destined to be one of those games that some people say is great but most people never ever play it Kind of a cult-ish status, but not really, just a game that is good but didn’t sell well enough

  2. I also hated the demo, the problem with this style of gameplay is that it gets old fast. Coming up with inventive ways of killing people will only bring a game so far and then it needs some depth. As for Bulletstorm, there wasn’t even much variety in the ways I could kill someone (and I did try to find some). I lost track of how many times my ‘inventive’ kills were just variations of leash, shoot and kick into an environmental hazard / enemy. Sadly, I was bored with Bulletstorm before the demo had even ended.

  3. IMO it has given a fresh new take on the FPS genre. The FPS genre is doomed, there are so many FPS’s that some gamers are starting to get bored with the genre and abanding it altogether. Bulletstorm has tried to stick out of the stale crowd and i think i might have achieved that if the story is good and the kills are very numerous that even the developers don’t know about them.

    • I doubt the Devs don’t know every kill/combo/trick in the game they designed.

      • There was an interview with the devs in FirstPlay a few months back where they mentioned they’ve seen testers perform kills they’d never thought of. It sounds like marketing talk to me.

    • how is it doomed COD is the biggest selling game out there its a FPS?

  4. I just arent feeling Bulletstorm….

  5. I’d like to believe this will be to the FPS genre what Just Cause 2 was to the third-person sandbox.
    Sadly, I don’t know if it has the depth to achieve that.

    • I’m not entirely sure I see your point. JC2 was undoubtably a fantastic game, but it didn’t really offer much extra depth than other third-person sandbox games. Bulletstorm looks like it has just as much depth as your average FPS.

      • He means in terms of the different ways you can kill people i think.

      • I just mean that JC2 was balls to the wall fun in a genre that had started to take itself a bit seriously. It had a few glitches, terrible voice acting and the plot was laughable but it was just such a big game with so much silly shit you could do. I never stopped having fun with it.
        Bulletstorm seems similar in its ethos but I don’t know if there will be enough of a variety of things to do

  6. I’ll stick with KZ3. Will pick this up when the price drops.

  7. Has a simlar “skill” feel to Unreal Tournament 3…that game took a lot of skill to get anywhere on godlike and online :’)

  8. Newsflash — the FPS genre has never been “dead” so it’s not in a position to be revived.

    • I think he meant it’s dead in terms of innovation, not sales, but I see your point.

      • nobody said anything about ‘dead’. =)

      • True. I wouldn’t say it was dead either. More stale…..

  9. Seems to be a Marmite game, either love it or hate it seems to be the way it’s going.

    From the demo I enjoyed the game and I’m very tempted to pick this up.

    It’s nice to see EA taking risks publishing new franchises like this, while companies like Activision are cutting back and sacking off great teams like Bizzare Creations!!

  10. i do quite like the look of Bulletstorm, but just can’t compete with KZ3 at the moment for me, will prob pick it up as a rental in a couple of weeks time when i’ve finished the kz3 main story and looking for something else to play.

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