When I heard this game was going to be remastered, I was shocked. I didn’t think this game had a fan base big enough to be worth remastering, but here I am playing the remaster on PS4. Not only that, they added in Duke Nukem as a character (which actually totally makes sense after playing this game). Bulletstorm is a strange game to me, but one I wanted to play anyway, so here I am with a review. This is Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, and it’s time to mutilate bad guys in horrible ways, and come up with even worse taunts.
Taking place centuries in the future, you play as the leader of a squadron for a military group known as The Confederation. After being tricked into killing a civilian and realizing every hit they have done has been on innocent people, they decide to split off from Sarrano (the leader of The Confederation) and fight against them. After a space battle against them, your team as well as the ship you were fighting crash land onto the abandoned resort planet of Stygia where they must fight tooth-and-nail to get off the planet and kill Sarrano once and for all.
When it comes to the story elements, I found them to be okay at best. While there are some interesting aspects to it, I found there to be a lot of cringy and overall bad elements to it as well. The story itself that plays out feels serviceable, though I was surprised that the whole game is essentially one long escape mission instead of spending some time on the escape, actually escaping, and spending more time chasing around Sarrano. For me though, the location and the backstory behind that proved more interesting than the plot playing out. Stygia was once a resort planet, built off of the backs of prison labor. After a revolt, they destroyed the filter blocking off the radiation, causing the city to be infested with strange plants and mutants. What this leaves is a beautifully ruined location with an interesting history that feels deeper than anything else the game tries to do. The only other way this game tries to be anything above serviceable is with a side character named Ishi, who is a half-robot because of the injuries he took in the crash. Not only does Ishi deal with his own personal conflict of an evil AI trying to take over his system, but the more serious moments between you and Ishi adds layers to your character and shows that he isn’t just some drunk stumbling his way to vengeance. While I don’t think these aspects on the outer edges of the story are as impactful as most other games, I still think these deeper moments brings the story to life a little more.
While those aspects bring the story and characters to life a little more, what squashes that life and rubs it against the pavement is its utterly horrendous dialogue. The few serious moments between characters are squished in between hours of coarse, raunchy dialogue that makes you wish they took The Quiet Man approach to the game. It’s a very dude-bro style of dialogue, where one-tenth of the words being said is ‘dick,’ and it gets on my nerves. The king of this is Sarrano, in which every encounter that entails is about how he is better than you at everything and how you are just children, all of it being the worst dialogue in the game. Sometimes, a joke actually comes across as funny and I’ll give it a small chuckle, but for the most part the dialogue felt like it was written by a frat house full of meat heads. This game is more gameplay-oriented, which should mean that this shouldn’t bother me as much, but the characters never shut up for a second, even when they are fighting. One last issue I have with the story is that it leaves on a cliffhanger. I won’t spoil what happens (even though this story isn’t really worth it), but I feel the game concludes in a very poor way that feels like nothing more than sequel-bait. Overall, I think the story elements prove to be serviceable with a few shining example, but with the dialogue ruining the show.
Lets be real though, this is a gameplay-focused game. Who cares about the plot or even character development when you got dudes to shoot? Bulletstorm reminds me of a more cartoonish FPS version of Gears of War, limited weaponry and all. I don’t think that comparison does the game justice entirely though, because I think this game adds enough new and different mechanics to somewhat separate itself from comparison. The biggest way this game separates itself from the crowd as well as the highlight of the gameplay are the tools given to you as well as the environment and how these elements can be combined to make dozens of ways to kill enemies. Bulletstorm gives the player a leash that can pull enemies and objects closer to you in slow motion as well as a kick ability that sends enemies and objects flying in slow motion. On top of that, the environment offers many different hazards like steep drop-offs, protruding steel beams, open electrical wires, and much more. It wasn’t long until I stopped using guns as often and starting combining leash and/or kick with the environment to make some truly unique kills. This is where the highlight of the game is because it makes a deeper and more interesting FPS that doesn’t solely rely on shooting. On top of that, the game offers challenges to complete that rewards creative moves with extra cash that can be spent on upgrades and ammo.
Unfortunately, the leash and kick abilities also feel rather vital because of how weak the gunplay feels. It isn’t terrible, but I didn’t find it all that great either. There are very few weapons in the game, and all of the ‘basic’ ones like the assault rifle or the pistol feel weak. The other weapons are creative, fun, and powerful, but it is easier to find ammo for the basic weapons, which make it harder to leave them behind. I get that enemies are more bullet spongy because they want to emphasize doing creative kills, but I still think it is annoying that the option to allow players to use basic weapons easily isn’t available. One thing that weapons do have, however, is an alternate firing mode that fires a very powerful round and uses a separate kind of ammo. I found all of them to be a lot of fun to use, but I found it hard to use outside of sub-bosses because of how little you can carry. There are challenges for weapons as well, but I found the weapon challenges as well as the challenges in general hard to care about towards the end because of how hectic the situation can be and how much money I have. Despite the economic system put in place, there isn’t a lot to spend your money on, and I found myself with every weapon upgrade halfway through the game. And unless I wanted to pause in the middle of a fight, learn how to do a specific move, then do it while three other dudes are shooting at me, I didn’t really want to do challenges towards the end of my time with the campaign and instead stuck with fast kills. Finally, I found it awkward to only be able to carry three weapons at a time. For an FPS game, I found the actual shooting part to be only mediocre.
One last thing I want to talk about for the campaign are the enemies. Other than being bullet spongy, I enjoyed the enemies because of their variety and reactions to being shot. Throughout the game, you encounter various enemy factions that have their own types of enemies. Guys that shoot, guys that shoot pistols and can’t be leashed, guys that charge you with melee weapons, suicide bombers, mutants that are really fast and powerful but only melee, sub-bosses with different kinds of weapons, and more. The gameplay never truly felt repetitive because of how many enemy types there are. Also, I like how enemies react accordingly to what body part got shot. Shooting them in the leg will have them trip, shooting them in the throat will have them clench their throat, and so on. I like that they spent the time into small details like this, and it adds onto the variety of ways to kill enemies.
After completing campaign, a new mode unlocks called ‘Overkill’ which replays through the campaign but with all of your upgrades and weapons equipped. I didn’t play a whole lot of it because I pretty much got the gist of it within the first few minutes, so I moved on. One thing I will say about it though is that I think this mode works well with this game because it’s about emphasizing creative kills more than worrying about weapons and upgrades.
Outside of the campaign, Bulletstorm offers a multiplayer mode and an arcade mode called ‘Echoes.’ Echoes consists of snippets of campaign levels that focus on trying to get the highest score. I didn’t play with this mode a whole lot either because it feels like every other arcade mode in every other shooter, so I moved on to multiplayer, which proved to be a good deal of fun.
The biggest surprise of the multiplayer mode is that I still found people playing it. Granted, this game is a recent PS Plus game (which is how I got it), but I am so used to dead multiplayer modes, that finding people was a good surprise. Bulletstorm offers only one multiplayer mode, in which it is a wave-based mode that has you and up to three other players trying to get to the next wave by both surviving and reaching a certain score threshold. Even though there is only one mode, and I wanted to have a competitive mode, I still found this mode really fun because it highlights both creativity and teamwork. Also, upgrades are available to purchase after each wave finishes, giving new ways to earn more points. The best part of this mode, however, is the ability to play it solo. You can play solo, the difficulty is scaled to solo play, and you still get to level up and unlock cosmetics. I love having the ability to play a multiplayer game solo and still being able to level up in some capacity (combat training in Black Ops 1, for example), but very few games offer that, which is why I am glad this game did.
Within the mode, however, are some issues. The biggest issue I had with this mode is the announcer: Serrano. Just imagine my…joy when I got to hear Sarrano taunt me for every little thing I did while playing. What certainly didn’t help are challenges failing for me for some odd reason. Occasional enemies would pop up that would give you a lot of points if you killed them in a specific way, but they always failed no matter if you killed them right or not.
In conclusion, I think Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a fun FPS game that is about what I expected from a game titled Bulletstorm. The game’s combat system and enemy variety shows just how creative this experience is, while things like its dialogue and weapons drag it down. While I think there are better FPS games around, I can see recommending this game to someone looking for a wacky FPS game to play.