One of the best shooters of the last generation, Bulletstorm sadly didn’t perform at the tills, despite attaining a healthy amount of praise. The game offered fast action and skill-based shooting, which involved killing people in extremely creative but brutal ways. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition brings this action back onto current gen consoles, but this times brings a familiar character along for the ride. The Duke is back.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, Bulletstorm’s story takes place in the 26th century and involves a black ops group called Dead Echo led by Grayson Hunt, who are hired to kill criminals by a Star General called Sarrano. A mission gone wrong and a double cross later, the group flee to become space pirates on the wrong side of the law. The game picks up ten years on, following a brutal space battle that leaves Grayson and his closest friend Ishi stranded on a nearby planet. Ishi, however, has been made into a rather psychotic cyborg.
A good few years on from its original release, Bulletstorm still holds up very well compared to modern titles, even if controls initially feel a little unfamiliar. Get past that hurdle and the gameplay is still snappy and over-the-top, based around skillful play and killing enemies in imaginative new ways, so that any player should feel incredibly powerful. The energy leash in particular pulls enemies around and suspends them in the air for a few seconds, for you to shoot, kick or do with what you wish.
The skill system at the heart of the combat also earns you in-game points to buy new weapons, ammo and upgrades with. It’s a really fun and clever way to encourage players to learn how to use your equipment and environment to your advantage when killing enemies to score major points. This adds a really fun arcade element to the game which will have the player skilfully killing enemies in over a 130 different ways. It just doesn’t get boring either.
Some of the skill kills are environmental and location-based, and you’ll soon start looking for ways to use the gorgeous world around you to your advantage. There are a number of beautifully remastered environments within the game, though distant objects and scenery can suffer from being low in detail compared to modern games, especially in the first couple of missions. However, the game is extremely linear and even environments offer little to explore outside of the set path. These environments still offer well-hidden collectibles for players to find which will keep the player busy for many additional hours.
As you progress through these different areas you’ll get a sense of how the gameplay mechanics and unique environmental qualities some of the areas have. The good thing about the ridiculous gameplay is that the game can afford to introduce equally ridiculous characters like Duke Nukem into the mix through the Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour DLC – a pre-order bonus or a separate purchase after release. I have to admit that initially I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but after hearing the completely rewritten script for Duke, I’ve been convinced otherwise.
The game is so rich in testosterone-fuelled humour, with Grayson having clearly been created in Duke’s mould, that Duke’s unique attitude can come through and shine. However, it’s worth mentioning how out of place Duke feels and looks given the setting of the game and circumstances of the characters. There are many occasions when the other characters will refer to Duke as Grayson too. I understand all the voices couldn’t be changed, and it is played for laughs quite nicely, but it did seem a little inconsistent considering Duke has some hilarious dialogue. It makes it feel like there’s no real interaction between him and other characters, and his many one liners would always fall on deaf ears.
As mentioned earlier in the review, the gameplay for the most part is very snappy and fast-paced, but there were obvious dips in performance when I skilfully killed enemies in certain ways, or if there were large groups of enemies being killed at a time. These occurred on a small handful of occasions and didn’t really affect the gameplay for too long either, but are slightly disappointing given the base game is 7 years old and should really have had these issues ironed out.
- Good testosterone-fuelled humour
- Fast-paced and fun gameplay
- Duke Nukem’s DLC appearance and dialogue
- Pretty remastered visuals
- Controls options and presets could be better for DualShock 4 and Xbox One
- Noticeable frame rate dips
- Characters and plot are easily forgotten
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition brings back a mixture if beautiful visuals and fast-paced first-person gameplay that we’re rarely treated to. The Duke Nukem add on also works surprisingly well too, with Duke’s dialogue working well alongside Bulletstorm’s blend of phallic jokes and crass humour, even if he does look out of place in the game’s cutscenes. It’s a decent remaster that could have been improved further with an updated control scheme, but whether with Grayson or Duke, this is still some of the best FPS gameplay in recent times.
Version tested: PlayStation 4