Review: Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (23.36 GB)
Release Date: April 7, 2017
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Developer: People Can Fly
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Originally released in 2011, Bulletstorm was underappreciated in part due to its brash attitude and a marketing campaign that did it no favors.

Under its crass language and in your face marketing was a fun first-person shooter that was very different from the other shooters in 2011.

Six years later and a partnership with Gearbox brings us back to Bulletstorm to see if the game holds up in 2017.

This is a profanity filled story about a mercenary named Grayson Hunt who’s out for revenge.

While working for a special forces team, he finds out his targets have actually been innocent people that his commanding officer deemed a threat. After this revelation he and his team go rogue and become drunken space pirates.

Early in the story you learn that life as a pirate may not be going well for Grayson as he’s now a drunk filled with regret and a hunger for revenge. This eventually leads to the core of the story as he goes on a suicide mission to take out his former commander and crash lands on a hostile planet. From there the story unfolds and surprisingly the journey he goes on leads to some character growth despite the game’s “F-you” attitude and crude humor.

To be honest here, the best attribute of Bulletstorm is the gameplay. The shooting is satisfying and the action is fast.

The core mechanic is the leash ability. Equipped with a tether, Grayson can launch a (Mortal Kombat) Scorpion-like rope at enemies and bring them towards him or smash them into the ground. When pulled in, enemies move in slow motion allowing for strategic shooting and artistic murdering.

The reason to get imaginative here is because every kill is scored for its creativity. There are dozens of ways to kill enemies either by using the various weapons or using the environment to your advantage.

… a six to eight hour campaign that’s well paced …
For example you can pull an enemy towards you then kick them in the face, launching them into an electric fence. Sure you could just shoot someone in the face, but where’s the fun in that? Wouldn’t it be cooler to send someone flying off a ledge into a gigantic Venus Flytrap? Of course it would, and you can do that here.

The goal is to be outlandish and think outside the box. If you play the game as a straight up shooting gallery you won’t find much enjoyment. You should go into each level looking for new ways to take enemies out. If you think something sounds crazy, go for it, because you can probably pull it off and be rewarded with points.

Points can be used to purchase upgrades and ammo for your weapons, though I rarely ran out of ammo and the amount of upgrades available aren’t that game changing. To compensate for this negative, there is the Skillshot Database which is a listing of all the different kill combinations available. This alone is bound to scratch that completionist itch.

Returning to Bulletstorm felt like a fresh experience. The gameplay is one of the better first-person shooter experiences out there and the story is surprisingly well done. It’s a six to eight hour campaign that’s well paced and held up by fun mechanics.

I should also mention the Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour DLC. Priced at $4.99, this add-on drops Duke Nukem into the story in place of Grayson – and that’s the only thing that changes. The story and world around him remain exactly the same.

… a decent variety of locations and set pieces …
This leaves us with the unfunny 90’s relic that is Duke Nukem dropping dud jokes left and right. Duke is just out of place because everything around him is treating him like he’s Grayson. It’s just an odd thing to make and it feels utterly pointless.

The whole experience feels like it was forced into the game so Gearbox could get whatever return they can out of their Duke Nukem IP acquisition. I’d recommend skipping the DLC.

Visuals:
The game looked great in 2011 and in 2017 it still looks pretty damn good. Running at a steady framerate with better textures, it plays great. The campaign, while linear, is filled with a decent variety of locations and set pieces.

There are some nice vistas and the game only shows its age when looking closely at the lack of detail in some areas. It’s still a game from 2011 which means it might not stand well against newest shooters in terms of visuals, but taking its age into account, it’s fine.

Audio:
The audio presentation has also been beefed up and while I cannot attest to how much work was done, I can say I enjoyed what I heard.

The score is a perfect fit for the nonstop action that is the campaign. Everything is fast and strung together nicely with music that can jump from standard orchestral to rock at the drop of a dime.

… I have no idea how it works, I just know that it does …
The voice work does a nice job of balancing the writing’s cheesy in your face attitude and a story that, at its core, is about redemption and growth as a person. The beauty of the storytelling is its self awareness of how outlandish it is. This wouldn’t work without solid performances.

It’s tough to pull off lines like “give chase, I will kill your dicks” or “plenty of murder to go around” without a good voice cast and a world that allows it to work. This style of writing would fall flat, but instead it works. I have no idea how it works, I just know that it does.

Online/Multiplayer:
There are two modes that feature multiplayer/online connectivity: Anarchy and Echoes.

Anarchy is the four player co-op mode which is your standard horde mode, but with Skillshots. I only dabbled in this mode, mostly because I preferred the linear story with the game’s mechanics and playing horde mode with others is cool, but couldn’t hold my attention for long.

… get really creative if you want to make a dent in the leaderboards …
With that said, there are twelve maps which is a decent number so if you have a group of friends it can be a fun time. And since I mentioned friends, you will probably need them because I rarely found people playing online through matchmaking. I couldn’t tell if it was because no one was playing or if the online was just bad.

Echos is not multiplayer, it’s chucks of the single player campaign with leaderboards. This mode is for those that like a challenge and it was something I found appealing. It forces players to go into a scenario and really seek out all the possible ways to kill enemies. You have to get really creative if you want to make a dent in the leaderboards.

Conclusion:
Bulletstorm was great six years ago and today it still holds up as a good game. Currently I find the retail price of $59.99 to be a tad high for what is a rather straightforward port. It’s great that the game looks a little better and runs a little smoother, I just can’t justify it receiving a full retail price.

With that said, it’s fun. If you didn’t get a chance to check it out last generation it’s worth checking out today, if the price is right. Just don’t go in expecting a serious story. Embrace the chaos.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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