‘Bulletstorm’ is Just a Drizzle

Once known for fast-paced, gruesome fun, game studios People Can Fly and Epic Games have partnered to create an insufficient amalgam of former first-person shooters. “Bulletstorm,” although somewhat visually appealing, suffers from a lack of both originality and substance.

Utilizing the Unreal Engine 3.5, “Bulletstorm” is essentially a less sleek “Gears of War” played from a first person perspective. To distinguish itself from every other game developed from the same engine, “Bulletstorm” exercises a moderately cartoonish world that begs the player to polish off enemies in as many different ways as possible via a point-based scoring system. Each point earned from “skillshots” can be used to unlock upgrades for weapons and abilities. While it sounds intriguing, this style of play becomes a repetitive bore very quickly.

Employing excessive amounts of gore and profanity, “Bulletstorm” emphasizes itself as a game that doesn’t take itself very seriously. This is especially accented by laughably bad dialogue sprinkled throughout the game’s story. The plot is simple and unsatisfying, and tries surprisingly hard to make you like the blunt instruments representing each character. Written by comic book author and artist Rick Remender, the story is almost impossible to enjoy when the main protagonist spouts catchphrases like “Make like a Kaiser and roll.” Each character is absurdly large and brooding, and the amount of injected testosterone in this game will probably make you vomit Muscle Milk.

Weapon selection is limited, and players will find themselves mostly using an upgradable leash that can toss enemies into strategically placed death traps. As the game progresses, the uninspired level design makes it astonishingly obvious which areas and skillshots the game’s creators want you to use. This predictability effectively minimizes any thrill that could have been achieved through randomness. Some weapons, however, offer up a good time. Piloting a sniper bullet in slow motion is challenging and amusing, while remotely controlling a robotic dinosaur is fun beyond explanation.

Also slightly entertaining is the game’s slide feature, which allows players to zip through environments and flip enemies into the air. ‘Bulletstorm” also offers a pop-up menu to assist in keeping track of how many points each creative kill can earn. The list can become rather extensive as the game progresses, which can be overwhelming. However, near the game’s dull conclusion, players will have more points then they can actually spend. In essence, the whole game feels like a waste.

To fill in the empty voids that occur within the game’s cutscenes, quick time events are implemented poorly and require no skill to perform. To make matters even worse, “Bulletstorm” can be completed in about six hours, which makes the $60 price of admission a lot less inviting.

Overall, “Bulletstorm” has some inventive features and a solid amount of detail, but in no way should this game be purchased while sold at its full price. Acting as a ploy to fool gamers into emptying their wallets early, the marketing team behind “Bulletstorm” awarded those who pre-ordered the game a Beta invitation to the upcoming and much anticipated “Gears of War 3.” It’s as if they knew sales for “Bulletstorm” would be lackluster based on its own