It’s not often that I’ll play a first-person shooter other than Halo. It’s even less often that it’s a re-imagining of a title that was first released on the Xbox 360. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition from People Can Fly is one such game.
Bulletstorm isn’t usually the type of title I’d pick up. Not because I don’t like first person shooters, more the fact that I’m not a massive fan of being led around by the nose. I’m much more of an exploration kind of shooter fan than scripted paths and direction. That being said, I went into Bulletstorm with an open mind, especially as I’d not played the initial Xbox 360 release from 2011. I was pleasantly surprised.
Taking place in the 26th Century, Bulletstorm sees you take the role of Grayson Hunt. Grayson is the leader of Dead Echo, a covert hit squad under the direct command of Star General Sarrano of the Confederation of Planets. Sarrano, unsurprisingly, uses Dead Echo to clean up some of his dirty work, and, learning this, Grayson and his team desert. They become Space Pirates and ten years on, encounter Sarrano’s cruiser, the Ulysses, ramming it over the planet Stygia. Your story is taken up from there on in.
Initially, you have a few tasks to perform to save the life of team member Ishi Sato. Ishi was critically wounded during the crash and has been repaired by the damaged ship’s medical systems using cybernetic and robotic components. The AI on this repair is rather aggressive, however, turning Ishi into something of a loose cannon. During the initial search for power, you find an Instinct Leash.
This device is an interactive energy whip and tactical points-scoring system. The more kills that Grayson performs, in the most creative manner, the more points that you will earn. More points equals more ammunition and weapon upgrades as you progress through the game.
The weapons that Grayson has access to range in type and effectiveness. The weapon select allows you to choose between the primary automatic rifle and two secondary weapons. Choosing wisely could mean the difference between progressing on to the next chapter, or dying a horrible death at the hands of the local hybrid-mutant population of nuclear-winter crazies. You have good selection of combat weapons to choose from. From a magnum-type pistol to an explosive tipped flail chain launcher, there should be fun for everyone in the loadouts.
The loadouts are accessed through the Instinct Leash communicating your kill-score to drop-kits. You can choose to upgrade the weapons in your arsenal and purchase more ammo, but in truth, you’ll probably max out your ammo as there are so many crazies around, you’ll be buried in spent casings.
Importantly, the weapons are fun to use. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the firepower at your disposal is drab and lifeless, or worse still, ineffective. The standard automatic rifle does feel slightly underpowered though, and you can find yourself emptying clip after clip into certain enemy types before you try something else. The Instinct Leash allows you to get creative too. You can use it to whip enemies from behind cover towards you or into hazards like giant spikes, electrical wires or hungry plants. This can rack up your points and can be a source of amusement as you whip them towards you and give them a hefty boot away while trying to take their head off with a well-placed bullet.
There are a number of local mutant types that will come at you without hesitation as well. There’s no sneaking around trying to avoid conflict in this one, its full-on, in your face violence here. Once these are out of the way, by whatever means you have at your disposal, hell, even kick them off a platform, they will drop something useful, like a small amount of ammo. You can even use the Instinct Leash to pick that up if you’re desperate.
As you make your way to specific locations throughout the ravaged city, using a pre-defined path, you will eventually come up against a heavier boss battle before progressing to the next Act or Chapter. These will sometimes involve a little more of the story being revealed or occasionally, will suggest something other than a professional relationship blooming between Grayson and Ishi. Odd.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition has had a graphics update by all accounts, although not having played the original, I wouldn’t be in a position to comment on the differences. It also provides the Overkill Campaign mode, granting immediate access to all of the available weapons as well as six new Echo maps. There is also a great Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour DLC available with voice clips from Jon St.John himself.
The voice-acting in Bulletstorm is OK. It won’t win the game any awards and some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy, but it helps to keep the game, and more importantly the story, clipping along at a fair old pace, and there’s plenty to keep you entertained throughout. There are several hours of gameplay in the story alone and with multiplayer, Overkill and the Duke Nukem optional DLC, there’s enough to keep you seriously entertained for a long time to come. With all of that in mind, is there anything I don’t really like about Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition?
Well, I can’t help but feel that it’s all a bit samey. The mutants either come at you in some sort of suicidal frenzy or they hide and try to pick you off, making a swift Leashing inevitable. There’s little variation in the attacks or the way you end up defeating the hordes of nutters trying to end your existence. There’s no health indicator either. Take too much damage, and to be fair Grayson can take a lot, and the edges of your HUD turn red until you hide for a bit of time. This can be irritating of you’re in the middle of an important boss fight.
On the whole, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition lives up to the hype of the original release. The graphics are futuristically gory in a good way and most things are pretty well animated. The story keeps you engaged throughout and the voice-acting, while not Oscar-worthy, is good enough to get you through the cheesy dialogue. Save for repetitive waves of attacks and being led around a specific route to your goal, the game is well worth picking up to add to your collection.