In Bulletstorm players take the role of Grayson "Gray" Hunt, a double-crossed space pirate out for revenge against his former commanding officer
- Innovative skillshot system, hilarious dialogue, engaging campaign from start to finish.
- Thin story, AI quirks, multiplayer may not be for everyone
Like its innovative predecessors, Bulletstorm goes against the grain of the popular norm, often in exciting and hilarious ways, and though it's not perfect, it's still one hell of a ride.
Though the gameplay throughout Bulletstorm is consistently rewarding, its dialogue could truly be the star of the game. I'm fairly certain that comic wiz Rick Remender and the rest of the dialogue team for Bulletstorm went to the Duke Nukem School of Colorful Language. That may sound like an insult, but make no mistake: They graduated magna cum laude. If Bulletstorm is deserving of a reward, it would be for having the most vile, obscene, and laugh-out-loud funny character banter I've heard in a video game. In the same way that Drake and Chloe of Uncharted 2 would fit in nicely in an Indiana Jones movie, the cast of Bulletstorm (especially the vitriol-fueled General Serano) could moonlight as the supporting cast in a Tarantino flick. The dialogue is one of my favorite aspects of Bulletstorm, as I continually anticipated how they'd proceed to up the ante throughout the game. More importantly, I never felt like I was listening to a bunch of beefcake space marines cursing for the hell of it; Bulletstorm rarely takes itself seriously, and the dialogue is a testament to the consistently over-the-top vibe of the game. That said, I don't doubt that many gamers won't "get" what Remender is trying to do; in fact, I'm betting that many will hate the dialogue outright. But if you've ever enjoyed an outrageous action movie where characters throw out insults you'll likely never hear in real life, you'll probably enjoy the hilariously obscene dialogue in Bulletstorm.
Though the dialogue shines, I wasn't nearly as impressed with the narrative arc. The double-cross that kicks off the derivative revenge story is a convenient trope that serves as an excuse to go from point A to point B across Stygia. The journey itself is a great deal of fun, but don't go in expecting the second coming of Homer. Additionally, and without spoiling anything, I was especially unimpressed with the conclusion of the game, which implies a sequel so outright that it's just silly. Like I said, the journey itself is Bulletstorm's strong suit, and as long as you don't stop to think much about the greater meaning of the narrative, as I did, it's easy to overlook this misstep.
Another quibble I have is that while the enemy A.I. is consistently good, Gray's companions are a bit spotty. Too often they'll end up blocking a corridor or walking into your gunfire, and at their worst they'll get stuck somewhere, leaving you to run around the area until they snap out of it. This didn't happen often enough to be a major issue, but it still made me wish the developers had spent a little more time tweaking their A.I.
Any gamer can attest that the first-person shooter genre is easily the most overpopulated video-game category, and for good reason: They're also the most popular (to Western gamers, at least). Developers and publishers churn out shooters like there's no tomorrow, and for the most part, gamers eat them up without a second glance. Sadly, the developers of FPS games are also the least likely to innovate. That's not to discount the handful of truly inventive shooters that've graced the gaming masses, but those titles are unfortunately too few and far between.
Bulletstorm is, truly, a strange bird in the world of shooters. It doesn't offer the rich backstory and characters of a game like BioShock, but damned if I didn't laugh countless times during the many outbursts of colorful language from its cast. Like its innovative predecessors, Bulletstorm goes against the grain of the popular norm, often in exciting and hilarious ways, and though it's not perfect, it's still one hell of a ride.
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