- Posted March 1st, 2011 at 12:15 EDT by Steven Williamson
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A creative and invigorating shooter that excels in expletives, over-the-top action and gratifying kills.
- The tremendous range of skill shots
- Being rewarded well for getting creative with a great upgrade system
- The co-op mode and Echo competitive play, which both add ample replay value
- The forgettable script and storyline
- The screen-stuttering that occurs during some of the more frenetic sections
- The lack of any traditional multiplayer modes.
Contrary to what some politicians, news channels and other narrow-minded do-gooders would have you believe, violent videogames can actually be quite educational. Take Bulletstorm, for instance, Epic Games and People Can Fly’s controversial new first person shooter. You may have heard it mentioned on Fox News recently, where a panel of psychologists suggested that its violent theme and excessive use of sexual innuendo could encourage real world crime. It’s actually had the opposite effect on me. After completing a hectic and intense single player campaign, I feel too exhausted to want to hurt anyone, yet alone ‘Shishkebab’ my next door neighbour and his wife by impaling them with a drill bit. In fact, I feel I’ve been educated somewhat with a new word to add to my vocabulary. In my 30-odd years as schoolboy, online gamer and semi-professional pub-goer, I’ve surprisingly never heard of the word ‘assmaggot.’ Thanks to Bulletstorm, however, I’ll be sure to take that tremendous insult with me and use it again whenever possible.
If those words offend you, you probably won’t like Bulletstorm, which is jammed full of expletives and jokes that might antagonize those with sensitive souls. Inappropriate as some people might think, I’m sure the majority of gamers will actually feel the opposite about Bulletstorm's use of language, because never before in a videogame have such insults and innuendos actually felt so appropriate and in keeping with the overall theme. This is most definitely a game made by men for men, and it’s all the better for it with its over-the-top, comical violence and tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Don't listen to the people who will have you believe that Bulletstorm will encourage you to start raping and pillaging like Vikings through the city streets, because it’s no more likely to incite barbarism than any of the dozens of violent big screen films doing the rounds. Bulletstorm is, after all, an adult game with an adult rating. If you're likely to be offended, then bugger off and play de Blob 2. This kind of creative violence and dirty humour should be positively encouraged.
Somewhere among the masses of dead bodies that you'll accumulate in Bulletstorm, there is a storyline too. However, if I hadn’t read about the background to the game prior to launch, I’d probably be none the wiser having played it. As so often is the case with games where the gameplay makes such a huge impact, the storyline isn’t even that necessary. After watching the first five minutes or so of cut-scenes and learning that space pirate Grayson Hunt has crash landed on the Planet of Stygia after getting drunk and trying to kill the man who betrayed his crew, the real reason why you’re kicking so much arse soon becomes a distant memory. As soon as I booted my first enemy in the crown jewels and got my hands on the energy leash, which I used to grapple onto a wild-looking tribal warrior and send him crashing into a set of spikes, I didn’t really care why I was fighting these people. All you really need to know about Bulletstorm is that it is full of violent tribesmen and monsters that you need to destroy in any way you see fit.
The meeting where the developers sat around to discuss giving names to over 130 different ways that you can kill your opponents was almost definitely dominated by men, who must have racked their brains hard to think of every sexual innuendo that they could to tie in with a skill shot. It sounds like a great meeting. Among the moves on offer, there’s the 'Sausage Fest,' 'The Money Shot,' the 'Gang Bang,' 'Topless' and even one called 'Rear Entry.' Granted, Bulletstorm isn’t going to win any awards for subtlety, but surprisingly the names given to the kills fit perfectly with the action that you need to carry out to execute them. 'Sausage Fest,' for example, requires you to kill an enemy by using a hot dog kart, and there are many more great examples which show off the creative genius of Epic Games. Bulletstorm is all about trying to kill folk using this full complement of skill shots, and that’s really what it makes it so addictive and fun.
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