People Can Fly / Epic Games (original) / Gearbox Software (studio)
07 April 2017 (released)
13 April 2017
I have to be honest with you; I was never a big fan of this game originally and couldn't understand the cult status it had to this day. That was until I played it again recently and finally understood why. But in the long line up of remasters, is this worth the high price tag?
You play as Greyson Hunt, former squad leader of the Black Ops task force, Dead Echo. After being betrayed by their commander; General Sarrano, Greyson and his team resign in a magnificent fashion of bloodshed and bad language. Ten years on, Greyson and his team do nothing better than to get drunk and kill off chasing bounty hunters, until they cross paths with Sarrano’s battlecruiser the Ulysses.
In a drunken fit of rage, Greyson attacks the Ulysses and successfully brings it crashing down along with his own ship. Greyson has doomed hundreds and managed to kill off his entire team, including best friend Ishi. Yet this is only the beginning of the troubles as Greyson discovers the planet Stygia has gone to complete Hell. In order to escape the planet Greyson has to team up with a stranded soldier and a resurrected Ishi who’s been infused with robotic parts. However, among Sarrano’s men are the crazed gangs, mutated prisoners who live beneath the planet's surface, savage wildlife and things much worse. Lovely.
Right off the bat, I can definitely say Bulletstorm is an awesome spectacle of bloodthirsty mayhem, intense action and glorious creativity. The story is humble but carries a surprising amount of lore and depth with the factions at war and the history of the planet to discover. Our characters are likeable and even the main villain has his moments of profound filth and snappy comebacks. Steven Blum voices Greyson and I have to say the man is extremely cool both actor and lead role. There's plenty of humour to enjoy and even though there's plenty of lame dick jokes, the ones that work, work brilliantly well. I enjoy games which infuse the humour with the gameplay and several moments prove the team know how handle dynamic humour.
Stygia is a compelling world that was once home to a massive holiday resort. But underneath the surface of the planet was a maximum security prison which you could imagine they failed to mention to those poor tourists. Once the inmates broke free, no one stood a chance.
The lore is fascinating and Stygia itself is incredibly stunning, visually impressive with enhanced lighting and textures for the most part. It's simple polishing on an otherwise terrific looking game. The world is rich in detail and highly atmospheric as you explore old theme parks, disused hotels, clubs and horrifying feeding grounds of mutated creatures. There’s a variation of terrains and locations that provide brutal gun fights, appeasing interactions and epic set pieces.
Bulletstorm’s gunplay is highly satisfying; with a range of deadly weapons to blast your way through the world and the movement being so agile that traversing in combat situations is a breeze. For the most part, you still can’t jump unless promoted near small obstacles. As Greyson obtains a leash in the first act of the game, he’s allowed to grapple and throw enemies around like crazed rag dolls. But this handy little device also grants Greyson to take part in Sarron’s deranged yet method of measuring effectiveness. The “Skillshot” system registers the various ways you kill off your opponents across the planet and awards points for different methods and the most creative kills you can pull off. So for just shooting an enemy you get next to nothing but if you fling an enemy into the air and kick him into a deadly cactus, hey presto you got a neat little achievement of “Prickler” and 100 points in the bank. All these points can be used to upgrade ammo capacity and purchase ammo yet other grades are lacking.
With a great variation in “Skillshots” players are encouraged to allow creativity in their methods of murder and this highly revamps the tired and stale approach many FPS titles have. You’ll find confrontations are energetic and utterly amusing while naturally pushing players to venture out try different weapons and reframe them from using constant cover. The gameplay overall is excellent and I don’t understand why I was harsh on this game before, it’s mental and hugely fun!
Now the third act does dip in comparison as the creativity does thin out in the Skillshots, executions and it all ends on a weak cliff-hanger ending and QTE boss battle. It should be also known that this is a pretty short game, lasting around 7 hour’s altogether. Which isn’t bad considering the game is highly re-playable thanks to the additional Echo maps added in and the new Overkill game mode that allows players to start a new campaign with all weapons and Skillshots unlocked. There were also some issues with the frame-rate dipping massively during certain big events but thankfully these didn’t happen too often yet it shouldn’t happen at all considering this a remaster of a game that came out in 2011.
I will say while I love Duke Nukem, he’s a little underplayed here. His humour and awareness of being in the wrong game is funny but this felt like a miss opportunity as many of the lines are just rehashed from the original script and don’t get excited expecting to see his classic weapons as they’re not here. Not to mention if you didn’t pre-order the game, you’re looking at buying Day one DLC just to get Duke’s World Tour which is pretty insulting.
Overall this leads me to my biggest complaint is the price tag. While Bulletstorm is an excellent game which deserves the attention and possible sequel, I find the price tag a little high for what this remaster is. I love Gearbox but I have to say this won’t help them or the game obtain a wider audience unless the price was dropped and the Duke DLC included. Overall I can't recommend this game enough and suggest you check out it.
+++ Insane, action packed gameplay
++ New additional content including a new campaign mode
+ Stunning visuals, great soundtrack and great voice acting (Even Duke's)
+ Interesting story, likeable characters and some great comedy
+- Duke's World Tour
- Frame rate issues during big events
- The price tag for a remaster
- Duke's World Tour as Day one DLC
An Xbox One copy of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review