Wot I Think: Bulletstorm

By Quintin Smith on February 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 pm.


Bulletstorm isn’t actually out until this Friday, but EA recently demanded we send one of our number along to play, complete, and review the finished game. I returned to RPS having finished the single-player game and invested some six hours into the multiplayer, making me perfectly equipped to tell you Wot I Think.

I want to start by dispelling an assumption that I think a few people have been dragged towards by the gale of gore, guts and innuendo surrounding this game. If you’ve been following Bulletstorm’s noisesome marketing, you’ll know this game has a quadruple-barreled shotgun, and that if you blow an enemy’s torso clean off with it you get 100 points and the ‘TOPLESS’ Skillshot bonus. You’ll know that if you shoot a man in the testicles, you’re encouraged to kick his head clean off as he lies screaming on the floor for the ‘MERCY’ bonus. And you’ll know the game’s story centres around a murderous romp across a dusty planet where killer freaks and mutants swarm about like ants on a lollipop.

A natural assumption when you learn all this is to think that Bulletstorm is a dumb FPS, albeit an over the top one, and that maybe you’ll pick it up somewhere down the line and have a bit of fun with it. But the problem with labelling Bulletstorm as dumb is that dumb implies thoughtless, and Bulletstorm is as far from thoughtless as any FPS I’ve ever played. Bulletstorm is the whip-smart kid at the back of the class in the vintage replica rock & roll t-shirt who’s not paying attention because he’s so torturously bored. He’s bored because he is so smart, and has the potential to be awesome.


I’m not talking about the Skillshot system here, although that is part of it. I’m talking about stuff as basic as Bulletstorm’s plot and its sense of humour. Writer Rick Remender has done an extremely good job here. The voice acting is flawless, and the designers have provided a lavish stage for the entire thing – beautiful backdrops of a fantastical holiday planet turned mutant playground, moments where the action falls away to let the dialogue or vistas speak for themselves, even instances where the level design and set-pieces accompany the jokes with impressive comic timing. This is how great games are made.

With the exception of Sumotori Dreams, a game hasn’t (deliberately) made me laugh this much since I was eleven years old. And yeah, a lot of that’s down to Remender’s bottomless creativity when it comes to swearing (he pokes fun at himself early on in the game when the character you’re hunting declares that if you come any closer she will “kill all your dicks,” only for your exhausted protagonist to scream back that he doesn’t understand), but I was also laughing at the most absurd setpieces the FPS has ever seen, as well as moments of perfectly inoffensive wit and irony.


And it’s not all jokes, either. Despite Bulletstorm’s story amounting to two foulmouthed men – who look and sound like they’ve been injecting ground-beef since birth – trying to get off a pulp sci-fi terror planet, the characters work well within the game’s idiot universe. The reason you’re on the planet is because you attacked a space cruiser belonging to General Serano, your ex-employer and betrayer, causing both of your ships to crash land, and now the only way you’ll get off the planet is by hitching a ride in a rescue vessel sent to save him. Kill him, and you’ll doom yourself. There are lots of little sparks like this. The story’s pulp trash, but I’d happily argue that it’s great pulp trash.

The same could be said for the shooting. It’s rather difficult to fault. The guns all pop and crackle pleasingly, each with a reload animation an alt-fire that whispers of hundreds of man-hours of work. The enemies are charismatic in their mad, cannibal dodging and attacking, and they’re plenty obliging when their time comes to fall over, howl in agony, or burst into meaty chunks, as enemies must.

They’re also far less of a danger than you might be expecting. The skillshot system rules all in Bulletstorm, and for it to work enemies can’t be something you’re concerned about. Instead, they’re more like your playthings, and the real spectre that dogs you is your score. Every time an enemy runs out and you fail to glean a solid wad of points from the kill, you feel impoverished, partially because points earned from skillshots are what let you upgrade weapons and buy ammo. Dying and going back to the last checkpoint feels less like the ultimate failure and more like being given a chance to do better.


So it’s interesting, and succeeds in constructing excitement in its own rude way. Quite early on in the game I ran out of ammo and was forced to go wading past enemies like some tiny giant, defeating them by running up and kicking them against walls over and over again for paltry handfuls of points. That this is even possible illustrates just how much the game leans on Skillshots instead of danger to provide tension, and to its credit you do feel a tremendous awkwardness when collecting the smaller point denominations, like sobering up while singing a karaoke song that you had no idea was this long. Likewise, the strings of awesome tricks and techniques you’re encouraged to pull off bring with them a feeling of incredible achievement.

At its simplest, if you use an explosive barrel not to simply kill an enemy, but to knock back the piece of cover they’re hiding behind to flatten them against the wall for an enormous ‘PANCAKE’ bonus, you feel amazing. But that’s just one skillshot. Good fights in Bulletstorm see you unthinkingly stringing a half-dozen of these moves together, and perhaps accidentally discovering one you didn’t know about (earning yourself double the points).

As much as I want to cheer on People Can Fly for piecing together an FPS that’s quite this different to its cousins, I did have a couple of problems with this system, the lesser of which was that it started crumpling in on itself about 7 hours into the 9 hour single player campaign. Perhaps it was because of me using a mouse in the face of the game being designed for multi-platforms, but I’d amassed such a mammoth reservoir of points that I stopped playing with quite so much mind for doing well, bought enormous reserves of my guns’ nightmare alt-fires and started casually ripping my way through enemies at top speed, like some strange, 400lb tourist snapping last-minute photos while running for a plane. This considered, I’d cautiously recommend playing on a higher difficulty setting when you get in there.

The second, bigger problem was to do with the skillshots feeling too regimented. To do well you have to play this game according to Bulletstorm’s whiskey-soaked rulebook. All too often I’d pull off something I felt was impressive, perhaps fishing for some of the yet-to-be-revealed entries in my list of skillshots, and be handed the greatest insult – the 25pts you get for a perfectly ordinary kill. Of the game’s 135 skillshots, most are divided between your eight guns, and what counts as a skillshot for one weapon (say, killing an airborne enemy or killing an enemy the split-second your draw your gun) will often not count for another weapon. Getting a really high score involves memorising what’s worth a lot of points and doing your best to club enemies around with Bulletstorm’s thick, steely rules, which is fine, and it works, but it makes getting a really high score more of a science and less organic than I think many people would prefer.

But like I say, the system does work, and that was made most apparent when I was carving my way across the multiplayer scoreboards. For all its rubbery bravado, Bulletstorm doesn’t actually have anything resembling Deathmatch or combative multiplayer modes. You have the choice between Echoes and Anarchy mode, the former being a straight score attack on a segment of the single player game, played alone or with friends, and the latter being a co-op arena battle against increasingly vicious waves of enemies, with the twist that you can only progress to the next wave if you score enough points.


Echoes was excellently moreish, but Anarchy was the more interesting mode, elevating the importance of the skill shot system to the point where all four of you display total comprehension of it. The heart of it is that if two of you work together to pull off a skillshot, you both get the bonus for it, which is the only way you’ll hit the totals demanded of you in later rounds. Not even Left 4 Dead demanded co-operation to this degree- in Anarchy mode, killing anybody by yourself can be a mistake, and the synchronised kills the game encourages are a joy to take part in. Especially all the unique team kills. Imagine the last enemy of a wave coming hurtling into the arena with a little tag above his head saying you’ll get extra points if you kill him with the Das Boot technique. Obligingly, one of your teammates weaken him with a spray of fire, another kicks him towards you like a footballer making a pass, and you unleash a punt that arcs the confused enemy across the arena to burst against a wall, showering the lot of you in points. It’s a recipe for high-fives. Technology might have made LAN parties a thing of the past, but this is the kind of giddy action to make you want to have one anyway.

So, to get back to my original point, you’re perhaps with me now in thinking that this isn’t just a dumb FPS. This is People Can Fly doing everything within their power to make entertainment- to make something fun, and they’re doing it by being creative, but also by being irreverent, over the top and, yes! Unbelievably crass. And if you think that’s a failure of imagination as to how games can be entertainment, I’d agree with you. But this isn’t games. It’s the FPS. It’s already the most tasteless thing in the world. And Bulletstorm is the most fantastically entertaining, tasteless creation I’ve played in ages.

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155 Comments »

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  1. White Whale says:

    Creativity causes rape: tonight at 11 on Fox News.

    You heard it here first, folks

  2. Premium User Badge

    El_MUERkO says:

    So it’s good, still not even considering buying it till I play a demo and hear from the PC community how Epic are treating it because frankly they’ve been shite so far.

  3. Staggy says:

    Sold.

  4. Teddy Leach says:

    Oh, I don’t know what to think any more.

  5. draknahr says:

    Must….resist…more….games…..

  6. zergrush says:

    Great to hear that Remender did a good job, I really enjoy his work.

    But as I don’t want to have to reinstall GFWL and it doesn’t seem to be the kind of game that would play much better with a mouse, I’ll get this for PS3. As soon as I manage to stop playing Marvel vs Capcom 3, anyway =X

    • Gunrun says:

      Yeah an FPS all about accuracy and fast reactions will play better on a PS3…

    • zergrush says:

      Have you seen the ammount of slow-mo this game has? It looks like a frikkin’ Zack Snyder movie, I could play it confortably with a trackball.

      And awful controller aiming bothers me in more competitive games, but I’ve been using a controller for Borderlands and Left 4 Dead with no significant drawbacks. On versus and when sniping I usually aim with the mouse, but for the rest I only use the pad.

    • The Codicier says:

      Had no idea Rick Remender had anything to do with Bulletstorm, Fear Agent is a great little book and the thought of him getting his hooks into a big budget game is intriguing.
      That little fact combined that with this writeup has me add this to my steam wishlist.

      a quick question if quinns is still lurking about (or if anyone else knows) its mentioned that the enemies are ‘less dangerous than expected’ , is there multiple difficulty levels to the game? & if so what level did quinns try it at.

      Ive played several games where difficulty really seems to affect enjoyment sometimes the ‘hardmode’ in games like fallout 3 really improves the game. That said sometimes dropping to easy is the right choice. wonder if Bulletstrom is one of those games which just scales its enemies HP & dmg or if on harder difficultys they might force you to use skill shots more.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I played the 360 demo and I didn’t have any aiming problems. As mentioned, there is the slow mo, and then you also have iron sights to make aiming even easier.

      Having said that, a mouse always will have quicker aiming and more accuracy, but this is perfectly playable on a console. And this is coming from someone who plays 99% of FPS games on PC.

  7. Bostec says:

    By Epic and has GFWL. A real shame. Would of got it I think.

    • Jad says:

      It’s by People Can Fly. So you can cross that “complaint” (really?) off your list at least.

    • Bostec says:

      Epic who own People Can Fly. All the same to me.

    • Navagon says:

      *would have

      Since you’re being pedantic, I’ll join in.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      I’d say ‘released by EA’ would’ve been a more valid argument than ‘by Epic.’

  8. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Maybe I’m just too much of a RPS fanboy, but this makes me want this game more than any of the marketting so far. Probably not a day one buy, as there is way too much coming out in the coming months, but certainly down the line.

  9. HunterZ says:

    So what kind of posh resort did EA set up for reviewers this time?

    • Jad says:

      At least they had a PC set up for Quinns to play on, I understand that some of these review events are restricted to a single platform (usually 360), which would be terrible.

  10. karry says:

    “EA recently demanded we send one of our number along to play, complete, and review the finished game”
    “Bulletstorm is the most fantastically entertaining, tasteless creation I’ve played in ages.”

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…….

    • mandrill says:

      Do I detect a touch of scepticism regarding the reviewer’s objectivity?

      Do you imagine them sitting in a jacuzzi surrounded by bikini (and less) clad models plying them with margaritas under the azure skies of some tropical resort whilst playing the game? (I didn’t but I am doing so now, its quite a pleasing mental image)

      hmm, I started this reply in an effort to defend your integrity Quinns but seem to have got distracted….

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Actually you review games at EA while sat on a golden throne. It looks awesome, but it’s not that comfortable.

    • bigtoeohno says:

      Of course its a little like that. But u can’t hold it against someone for earning thier bread and butter. Besides I’d like to think the rps guys are capable of putting negative undertones through a positive review to somewhat protect their valor. I do think quintin genuinely enjoyed this one at least for what it is(ea if your listening)

    • CrazyBaldhead says:

      Shill!

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      Stompywitch says:

      So as Kotick is blatantly Horus, who is the Emperor?

    • bigtoeohno says:

      Shill,I had to look that one up.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      If you doubt the journalists’ integrity then why the hell are you commenting here?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      (Honestly , a publisher making me have to go to fucking Guildford to review a game is more likely to make me drop marks.)

      (JOKING, PUBLISHERS!)

      KG

    • Tim Smith says:

      @FunkyBadger3
      Relax yo!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Stompywitch, I’d guess it’s Gabe Newell or Notch, whose last name I can never remember how to spell.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheTourist314 says:

      The problem with being an American that’s a fan of British media is that whenever a city gets name dropped, I grumble and have to google the relative places. I’m not complaining about having to know things about another country but mostly that I guess it feels like an inside joke I’m not in on.

    • SimonHawthorne says:

      Guildford Flames!

      KG – Do we have you to blame for Bullfrog’s demise? When I was a wee lad my parents would drive by their offices and I’d ask them if we could go in because I imagined an office full of people playing Theme Hospital. I wanted to work in that office.

      Damn you, Gillen.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      You can blame me for everything, generally speaking.

      KG

    • Quinnbeast says:

      KG – That being the case, I’m putting your name down as the reason I was off work on Monday.

      “Is the likely to be a recurring issue? Answer – Fuck yes.”

  11. Rob Hale says:

    Like many people had it not been packaged up with GFWL I would already have this pre-ordered and pre-loading on Steam.

    As it is I’m going to be waiting for it to drop in price on the Consolebox.

    • Shagittarius says:

      I don’t understand why people like Steam it’s just as shite as GFWL.

    • Wilson says:

      @Shagittarius – Eh, I don’t think you can really compare them, since Steam is a game library, where I don’t think GFWL does anything like that. And if you were to compare them, with Steam I only have to log in once, then I can play all my games. There is a pop-up window in the bottom corner of my screen, which goes quickly enough. In all my time with Steam I’ve had irritating problems with updating/running a few times. With my very limited uses of GFWL, it has never updated properly from inside a game, it constantly harasses me to log in on some games before I can do anything, it provides me with no useful services, and it has two pop up windows, in the top or bottom centre of the screen, one after another. Just to be extra annoying. No doubt my views are skewed because I’m more familiar with Steam, but I really don’t like GFWL.

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      FriendlyFire says:

      All my GFWL-based games crash to desktop on launch with absolutely no error message whatsoever. I need to manually start it and log in before I can play, which is done externally and is not hinted at in the slightest. Looking for a solution brought up nothing.
      On top of that, the only thing it’s supposed to do (ie matchmaking), it does really, really bad. I’m sorry but Steam is way better than this, on top of the awesome sales it does (which the Marketplace does not match at all).

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Steam is not just as shite as GFWL. Either you haven’t used Steam, or GFWL, or both. If you had, it would be pretty obvious how bad GFWL sucks versus Steam.

  12. Jad says:

    Definitely downloading the demo now. It sounds like People Can Fly have not been beaten by the dumb-and-dumber stick for this one (as opposed to the dumb-yet-clever stick that Painkiller had).

    As long as you can do offline profiles like in Batman: AA, I’ll be fine with GFWL.

  13. Azradesh says:

    Would be a day one buy if not for GFWL, maybe I’ll get it later.

  14. Joannes says:

    Yes, but does it have actual dicktits?

    • Matt says:

      I don’t know what a dicktit is, but I do know that I don’t want it anywhere near me.

  15. xcession says:

    You had me at “rape”.

  16. subedii says:

    I can appreciate a good over-the-top game sometimes.

    The only problem is that I wasn’t a huge fan of Painkiller so I’m not sure where I sit on a game like this.

    And I really, really hated the crass stupid “ME BIG TOUGHGUY!” plot and dialogue of Unreal Tournament 3’s story mode, which despite how ridiculous it was, kept trying to take itself seriously and make a riveting storyline about guys endlessly killing each other and respawning. Complete with the same style of ultra-bad dialogue that seems to be here.

    Even Gears of War worked better for plot and dialogue.

    Those two factored I’m wondering whether the lineage here doesn’t automatically discount me from the audience.

    I’ve already said my piece on GFWL, I can put my angst for it aside on a decent singleplayer game, but it really doesn’t do a good job as a community multiplayer system.

    • WJonathan says:

      The problem with games that try to be ironic or self-deprecating is that they’re very often, at heart, what they pretend to mock. That self-awareness is amusing for a while, until you start to realize that as the player you’re as much of the butt of the joke as the developer. Bioshock and The Bard’s Tale spring to mind, though I’m sure there are better examples. Not having played Bulletstorm, I can’t judge it, but games can’t cover up a lack of ingenuity by pretending to be mocking tired conventions. At least not over a 10-15 hour campaign.

    • Shagittarius says:

      haha hater! Learn 2 Bioshock.

  17. Casimir's Blake says:

    Short levels. “Unlockable skills”. (oh fuck not Prototype again) A reliance on repetitive score-based gameplay, and a worrying lack of exploration mentioned anywhere?

    I don’t like the sound of this one bit. All the evidence suggests it panders towards the “look at me I can 360 headshot and get a bazillion points” crowd. But then no one is making non-linear FPS’s or immersive sims any more, so MEH!

    • Tyshalle says:

      Your bias is showing.

    • noodlecake says:

      Lots of people are! It’s just some people make very good linear games too! There’s nothing wrong with a bit of linearity sometimes if you can make it work in an exciting and unique way. Pffft

    • Jad says:

      But then no one is making non-linear FPS’s or immersive sims any more, so MEH!

      Call of Pripyat came out last year and Deus Ex 3 is releasing soon, so these genres are not entirely gone.

      All the evidence suggests it panders towards the “look at me I can 360 headshot and get a bazillion points” crowd.

      Yes. Of course it is. The developers never pretended that it was anything other than this. In fact, that is effectively the design document of the game. This isn’t a secret that you need to unearth “evidence” for.

      You sound like someone saying “All evidence suggests that Super Meat Boy panders towards people who want very fast-paced, hard-as-nails platformers with tight controls and an emphasis on timing” and sounding surprised.

  18. Ian says:

    So then, Quinns. How many people have you raped (or at least sexually assaulted) since you completed the game?

    I need to know as it’s a big factor in whether I deem it worth buying.

  19. DJ Phantoon says:

    I preordered this as soon as it was available on Steam because in the trailers the people sounded just as nutty as the Doomguy in the Doom comic.

    • CrazyBaldhead says:

      Ah, the reasoning behind your purchase makes sense I guess. If you have money to waste, that is.

    • Dominic White says:

      He has a point, though. The writing is very strongly reminiscent of the Doom comic, which was insane and hilarious.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      As a followup: Grapple Beam.

      That is all.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Hmm; the review has convinced me that this isn’t my cup of milk and that I’ll get bored of it in exactly the same way I got bored of Madworld on the Wii.

    Maybe someday down the line an enthusiastic comment or two will encourage me to buy it in the sales.

  21. DarkFenix says:

    I was under the impression the campaign was co-op-able. Without that this is basically just another singleplayer shooter I’ll be bored of inside a weekend. No sale to me.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m curious about this too. Quintin mentioned that one of the multiplayer modes was “a straight score attack on a segment of the single player game, played alone or with friends”. Could he expand on that a mite? (possible number of players, how much of the dang thing is playable, does it mantain all the points-mean-purchases stuff from the singleplayer, is it possible to play the whole thing through co-op with consistent purchases etc)

    • Baines says:

      An article on a different website said that co-op Campaign was planned, but was dropped because they didn’t like how co-op players would just rush to the end of the stage. So they dropped co-op and added single-player only effects like controlling other things and dramatic slow motion sections that they couldn’t do with multiplayer. I can’t remember the site/article though. :/

    • DarkFenix says:

      Well now that’s just retarded; they didn’t like something players tended to do, so they cut off the feature entirely. What about the players who wanted to casually dick around through each level, getting the intended hilarity out of the experience?

    • wu wei says:

      Is there any way for developers to win here? Commenters regularly complain about the lack of attention given to the single-player component of new games, and when one does try to make it a unique experience of its own, the complaint is that it doesn’t also focus on the multiplayer at the same time?

      It sounds to me like People Can Fly were trying to provide a compelling experience for both types of players.

    • Baines says:

      Found the article and quote on Hot Blooded Gaming.
      http://www.hotbloodedgaming.com/2011/02/18/cliff-bleszinski-explains-why-bulletstorms-co-op-was-canceled/

      If you don’t want to follow the link, basically it says that Bulletstorm was supposed to be a kind of puzzle shooter, but co-op players were racing to the end without bothering as much with skill shots and ignoring the environment.

      Considering that Bulletstorm’s by far most driving mechanic appears to be to do as many skill shots as possible for the highest score possible, it is understandable why the devs would frown upon the behavior shown in co-op. I’m not saying it is the right path to take, and I’ve replied elsewhere that I think the focus on skill shots and score above all else is a *bad* design choice. I’m just saying that if you are already committed to that goal, then axing co-op campaign and adding to single player makes sense.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Bulletstorm: WE DIDN’T WANNA BE HALO!

      And props to them. So far, I am loving this game. Even the Sniper Rifle (a weapon when I generally abhor) is juuuuust fine.

  22. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Can you talk to the monsters?

    • Gary W says:

      No, but you can shoot at their exposed buttocks for a “Fire in the Hole” bonus.

    • subedii says:

      I think he’s referring to EDGE’s review of Doom.

      Back when it was released, EDGE did a review of Doom where they marked it down for just being about shooting monsters, and lamenting how you couldn’t strike up conversations with characters and things.

      It became a sort of byword for completely missing the point of a game, and having issues over things it was never supposed to be.

    • Tim Smith says:

      Is that true? That’s damn hilarious.

    • subedii says:

      Yeah it’s true. And EDGE are often still like that, they’ll do a review or article that’s outspoken for artistic reasons (fair enough, everyone’s got a different opinion) and then continuously tout how right they are by being so (which is stupid). Happened with their Halo review IIRC, where they gave it the magazine’s 3rd or 4th ever perfect score.

      I used to like EDGE because they had some really good articles (never really liked their reviews), but these days I actually prefer Games TM for games industry articles and stuff.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Thirith says:

    Once more of the RPS guys have had a chance to play this, I’d be interested in their take on the game. Based on QS’s writings so far, he’s a bit of a Marmite guy for me.

  24. Ertard says:

    I totally agree (reviewed it as well). I recommend y’all folks to get it.

  25. Gaff says:

    In your endo.

  26. Unaco says:

    I’ve had my eye on this, because it looked and sounded like a big, dumb, game. I’m not usually into them, but I’ve been hankering for something like that… that I can jump on for 30 minutes or so and have some fun, and not have to remember the story, or what quests I was doing, how my character was progressing, what my strategy was, what trade route I was plying. Just a game to jump right in and get some action.

    As some people have said though, It wasn’t too high up my list… one to pick up for a good deal, or when I have some spare rainy day shekels, what with some of the other games coming out in the next 2-3 months (Witcher 2, DXHR, Brink, S2:TW and a few others). But, after reading this review, and probably giving the demo a spin, this is getting bumped up a little. Especially as it’s out this weekend.

    In fact, I just put it on my Steam Wishlist, at #5.

  27. Bungle says:

    Remember how good the reviews were for CoD BLOPS before rushing out to buy this game! Big publishers buy good reviews.

    • Chris D says:

      Hmm, I think I have the RPS review around here somewhere…

      “I didn’t hate it”
      “It’s not a game that stands up well to close scrutiny.”
      “I’d also say it’s unnecessarily nasty”
      “It’s not artful in its violence, merely noisy”
      “despite its handholding gloss and underlying crudity, I didn’t hate it”
      “It’s incredibly stupid for sure, but unlike MW2 it isn’t too obnoxious with it.”

      What was your point again?

    • randomnine says:

      If you’re going to insinuate that RPS are corrupt, you could pick a better example. Alec’s review of CoD: BLOPS started “I didn’t hate it.” and contained such fawning lines as “Attempts at emotional resonance end up ludicrous”, “it does suffer for enemies that never surprise”, and “there’s that sense that no kill matters, there’s no pride in the achievement. It’s not artful in its violence, merely noisy”.

      edit: HIGH FIVE CHRIS D. I choose to believe that your slightly more prompt riposte lends extra weight to mine instead of making me look foolish and late to the party. Good show!

    • Chris D says:

      Randomnine

      If I had bothered to link to the article as you did then you would have been first. High Five.

    • Jad says:

      Actually, the line “there’s that sense that no kill matters, there’s no pride in the achievement. It’s not artful in its violence, merely noisy” is really kind of interesting in light of Bulletstorm, where paying attention to each kill seems to be the actual point of the game. Possibly not exactly in the manner that Alec was meaning (I assume he meant that BLOPS should denote more emotional weight to killing, not more game mechanical), but still it’s interesting.

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      Durkonkell says:

      Bungle, did you think that Deus Ex was a documentary? Or based on a True Story?

      Why would RPS go out of their way to provoke Fox with balanced, intelligent reporting and then accept backhanders from publishers for a positive review? Oh, I’m sure that they gave Quinns some nice sandwiches and a cup of tea in return for him selling out the journalistic integrity of the hivemind…

      [CRITICAL: SARCASM RELAY OVERLOAD!]

    • Kadayi says:

      I’m pretty sure I did see Quinns wandering around with a ‘Will positively review for food’ sign at the airport No score though…no doubt John Riccotello has informed the Ninjas to seek suitable recompense.

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      drewski says:

      If you don’t trust RPS writers to be honest, why are you reading a Wot I Think?

  28. westyfield says:

    I’m not buying it due to GfWL so I think I might go do some rapes instead.
    Edit: DISCLAIMER: I am not going to rape someone. If you were offended by the suggestion I apologise and offer this amusing video for you instead.

  29. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Too many games, too little time, giving this one a miss…

  30. jplayer01 says:

    I’m loving this game and I haven’t enjoyed an FPS for years (I haven’t been into MoH since the Allied Assault, or Call of Duty since CoD 2). There’s something fresh about pulling an enemy towards you, kicking him towards a big meatgrinder, shooting him in the ass with a shotgun and watching him go splat, along with his friend who was standing in the pellet spread. All of this giving you a shitload of points.

  31. vodkarn says:

    Did I hear correctly that the only ‘co-op’ is the multiplayer, wave modes? That may sway my wanting it from “purchase!” to “maybe when it’s on sale.”

  32. Torgen says:

    This reminds me that I bought the Serious Sam series on the Steam Summer Sale, and haven’t re-explored it.

  33. ChampionHyena says:

    “The voice acting is flawless…”

    The IMDB page already tells me that this is impossible.

    • Oak says:

      But it’s got that lady from the video game you kids like.

    • ChampionHyena says:

      And Steven Jay Blum as the main character. That is to say, the character you’ll be hearing from most. Casting Steven Jay Blum in your game at all is serious points off your Intelligent VA Hiring Exam, but making him the main character? Automatic fail, See Me After Class.

    • Gunrun says:

      Just because an actor was in a bad game or show doesn’t make that person a bad actor. For the best example of this have a look at the majority of the work Hayden Christensen has done outside of star wars.

    • Oak says:

      The only role of his I’m familiar with is Grunt from Mass Effect 2 and – while Grunt was as ill-conceived a character as Jack – I can’t say I remember his performance being bad at all. If anything, it was pretty much what I’d expect a grumbly dinosaur-man to sound like.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      George Clooney is a bad actor because he was in Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

  34. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    If The Club was secretly a racing game, this review makes me lean towards Bulletstorm secretly being a fighting game – learn combo techniques for high score! I’m having flashbacks to Orchid’s 47-hitter…

    • SirKicksalot says:

      You can’t repeat the same combo over and over again though, the point rewards drop heavily.

    • Gunrun says:

      Actually it doesn’t seem to be the case for the demo. There is a big bonus for performing something brand new but once you perform it again it gives you the same score as it always does.

      eg: Kick a guy into some spikes, initial score 500 points (Voodoo). Every other incident of kicking a dude into some spikes awards 100 points.

    • SirKicksalot says:

      So if you perform the same action twice or more in a row you earn the same amount of points? I thought the rewards get smaller each time.

    • Premium User Badge

      mpk says:

      You’d end up getting a single point per skillshot/combo – even if there are 135 different ones, I imagine a lot of players will find their favourite few and pummel the shit out of them.

  35. Muzman says:

    It’s something people will miss but I can sorta see why deathmatch isn’t there given how most of the enemies are complete canon fodder (or is that whip and boot fodder) in the real game.
    I don’t know though. Do people think it would work?

    I can imagine a sort of one on one arena with a set number of lives each, with the object of wearing each other down to do a skill-kill, might be ok. The wearing down part couldn’t be too time consuming though, the way I imagine it anyway.
    Or perhaps loads of hitpoints would work if you got rid of that slo-mo business and just let players slam one another into walls with the thing.
    I’m only going by what I’ve seen in videos of course, so I don’t really know how the gimmicks work.

  36. Sigma Draconis says:

    Good to see Bulletstorm getting some very positive acclaim, and not just on RPS, either. Gamey Games are coming back in style.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Josh Brandt says:

    This is downloading at home. I have had an annoying day so far (and it’s only 11:30am!) and I’m looking forward to ridiculous explodey time when I get home.

    Whee.

  38. Wulf says:

    This one sounds a bit too crass for me, and I still can’t bring myself to trust the Cliffy Brigade. Demo after release, to try to tempt people into buying a preorder based on reviews? Hm.

    Then again, this isn’t my sort of thing to begin with, I suppose. Hugely looking forward to Human Revolution though, maybe that’ll do something to push the now hybridised FPS genre forward.

  39. DarioSamo says:

    “RockPaperShotgun.com promotes gamer kids to buy Bulletstorm-new videogame which causes rape- with a nearly universal good review. Experts agree, America on danger”
    Fox News/

  40. CrazyBaldhead says:

    FunkyBadger3: You obviously don’t have a keen eye for sarcasm.

  41. Daryl says:

    9 hours. 60 dollars. I’ll save my money for another day.

  42. Zogtee says:

    Forget the game, who got raped?

  43. nikral says:

    Wait what? Not out till Friday? I just received the game in the mail from Gamestop……

  44. Wulf says:

    Ooookay, let’s try this this way. @_@ The spam bot is apparently eating all of my posts now, this is interesting. It’s eaten the last six posts of mine.

    @stahlwerk | Gary W | subedii above
    RE: Talking to the monsters.

    I’m kind of inclined to agree with that. I’d love to see more games where everyone involved is a faction, where you can act for or against factions – likely altering your reputation with other factions in the process. Yes, I’m talking about New Vegas. But it worked! D:

    I really would love to see more factions in games, rather than having everything being black & white, with good guys and bad guys. This is just a personal opinion mind you and not intended to offend those who like black & white games where you shoot bad guys, I’m not against that, I’m just saying that there are so many of those… it’d actually be refreshing to have something that variates from that. I’d love to see an FPS make a point that the ‘bad guys’ are the ones you’re shooting at, because there are arseholes and saints on every side.

    It’s easy to dismiss this as ridiculous, but really, I think it’s an underexplored game mechanic and one that I’d love to see fleshed out in more games. I’m a fan of moral grey quagmires and I feel unsettled by a game that paints the opposing force as a purely evil thing. That feels artificial to me to the point where I actually find it immersion breaking. But then I’m just an RPG nerd, and I suppose what I’m hoping for is more RPG hybridisation into FPS games, and perhaps Human Revolution will be one of those games to give me that.

    But yes, I’d like to be able to talk to the monsters and work with them on one playthrough, just to understand their point of view. Interesting thing: The Charr are being heralded by many as the most interesting thing about GW2, to the point that people are having far reaching debates about them. Why is this? They were portrayed as evil in GW1, purely from the Ascalonian perspective, and the Ascalonians at that time tended to be very religious, and ensuring that their version of things was hammered into every young mind was important.

    However, in Eye of the North, we begun to find out that the Charr are completely different to anything we might have expected from them, and we saw the greyness on the side of the Ascalonians. Eye of the North actually had a few eye opening moments for me. One, that Gwen was known as Gwen the Goremonger to the Charr for her atrocities (torture, merciless slaughter of anyone regardless of whether they were a warrior, farmer, or medic alike, willing to put children down, and so on), and two, that we see Gwen torturing Pyre. That fascinated me, because usually games don’t do anything like that, and such instances are rare.

    In GW2, the Charr are being portrayed as ‘just people’, not especially evil or saintly, but just people. And that’s been breaking some minds because there are those who can’t wrap their heads around this, they can’t stop seeing the Charr as an enemy, and this is something that was proved time and again in some very interesting debates. It actually took a while to drive the point home to some people that they were essentially embodying the Nazi mindset, and endorsing wholesale racial genocide because of something they were forced to believe. These were fascinating debates to read.

    This is what happens when you make the foes of your games not faceless, and then you actually take the next step along in that line and make them not foes. Then the player has to decide who their enemies really are, and this can screw them up, because on most sides of a war there can be both saints and real bastards, but generally it’s just people who’re caught up in this mess. There will be people you won’t want to shoot when you know their story. What if we became aware that the enemies we were shooting in one game were a slave cast, forced into combat via mind control devices, without the right to choose for themselves. What then? Do we keep shooting?

    These people could be from a subclass of people who regardless still have families back home, but they’ve been surgically fitted with devices that force them to follow certain pre-programmed rules, and thus essnetially you’re slaughtering innocents who can’t do anything to stop themselves. That’s why I don’t like black & white games, because I always find myself asking too many questions about the supposed opponent, and then I lose interest because I can’t find out the truth of things from the point of view of the developer. They’re so faceless. And that means I can’t know anything about them.

    So there are my thoughts on things. Yes, I’d like to talk to the ‘monsters’.

    Edit #1: To talk a little more about this, I actually encountered similar thoughts while playing Champs Online the other day. I was romping around as my telepath and as I was taking down Mind Inc Inductees I couldn’t help but think to myself how glad I was that I wasn’t playing a munitions man or a blades bloke. Why? I’d essentially be slaughtering innocents.

    There’s all sorts of messed up darkness surrounding Mind Inc and PSI in Champs Online. It’s bright and colourful, sure, but when you get into the lore it can be eye-openingly disturbing. Mind Inc are essentially trying to take over large portions of Millennium City with technology and powers borne from the original PSI-serum. And that means that the Inductees you’re fighting are everyday people who were brainwashed to aid PSI in their coup.

    As you play, you actually encounter instances where PSI folks have setup ambushes to try and catch people so that they can brainwash them and add them to their ranks. And essentially it’s hard to know how many people are guilty of the violent acts they’re committed, and how many were just mind raped into doing it. And again, at this point, I was very happy to be playing my telepath, since as him I could easily say that I wasn’t ‘killing’ anyone. Knock ‘em out and leave them for the cops to round up and help.

    Perhaps it’s unnatural to actually be thinking these things when playing a game, but I do. It helps with my immersion with the character and all. And I really enjoy games that allow me to get into things my way.

  45. rocketman71 says:

    “Technology might have made LAN parties a thing of the past…”

    WHAT?. You lost me there, Quintin. If you’re so lazy that you can’t move your computer to have a great time and prefer to just play via Steam, it’s your loss.

    Nothing beats the fun ten of us have every month in our LAN party. Technology has not made LANs a thing of the past, they’ve made it easier (plus, everybody can now have a PC that will move every game for a low price). The bastards are ActiBlizzard and EA/DICE are the ones trying to kill it, and the gaming press isn’t calling them for it anymore. Thanks, guys.

  46. Òscar says:

    So Bulletstorm is what would happen if Tony Hawk got guns.

  47. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    It’s … Bulletstorm!

    I say number 19.

  48. Jumwa says:

    This review had me sold up until I realized it would use Games for Windows Live. No thanks.

  49. Baines says:

    The things that Quintin likes about the game are the things that soured me on the demo.

    One of Madworld’s major shortcomings was how the enemies were intentionally made to be low risk playthings, so that the player didn’t have to concern himself with survival while trying to find the highest point methods to kill them. The demo for Bulletstorm carried that same feel, and Quintin says the whole game is designed in that fashion. That is extremely disappointing. It killed Madworld, and it implies Bulletstorm is just as boring its demo once you get past seeing the different kills. Yes, playing for score can be fun, but this is crippling one aspect of the game (risk) to focus entirely on another (high score).

    At least Bulletstorm isn’t as immediately visually boring as Madworld became, with its single canned animation for each injury type, and a score system that encouraged you to perform the same action several times on each opponent. Impaling someone with a signpost lost its charm even faster when you did it three times to each guy, and only drove home how the enemies were nothing but scoring opportunities. Though Bulletstorm’s humor is even lower brow, and not particularly funny to me either.

  50. Premium User Badge

    Hypocee says:

    The second, bigger problem was to do with the skillshots feeling too regimented. To do well you have to play this game according to Bulletstorm’s whiskey-soaked rulebook.

    This, this this. From the moment I saw it, this. This is what I was hoping against hope would not appear in RPS’ coverage. I’m happy for you guys who can get excited about this kind of system, but I do not understand you. Please shoot a giant awesome wheel vehicle for me.

    It fills me with ennui; I can only imagine it as being like trying to entertain a small, spoiled child for hours. ‘Ha ha! Now do something else! Now do something else! Now do something else! OK, I thought that was especially fun. Do it again. Do it again. Do it again. Again. Again. Again! Again!’ No actually, you do something else, entertainment device. In Painkiller, that kind of physics manipulation and weapon combination jibed with the core of the game by improving your ability to survive and kill enemies on a budget of time or ammo. Freeze it into a points system, divorce it from any advantage to either running or gunning by neutering the enemies…and you’re left with a checklist, Achievement Unlocked without the irony or the progression.