The RPS Verdict: Bulletstorm

By RPS on March 8th, 2011 at 8:00 pm.

You've let Kieron talk about Bulletstorm? This can't be a good idea.

With John literally ten minutes from the end of the game, Kieron having completed it, and Quintin having reviewed it, it was decided that a gathering of the Verdict for Bulletstorm should be called. The mighty trumpet sounded, and we gathered around the Rock, Paper, Shotgun Reflecting Pool, whereupon we sang our tales of dick-fuelled murdering. Read on.

Quintin: You guys want to get started, go ahead.
John: What do you hate most about Quintin?
Kieron: His functioning organs and his vague sense of vimness.
John: For me it has to be the way he keeps just on going.
Kieron: I’m listening to the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes“. I believe this is how we should start our verdict.
John: Well, no.
Quintin: Wow, that Doobie Brothers album has the best cover. What’s going on with the guy in the middle? Cheer up!

John: You two have completed it, right? I still haven’t quite finished it, because PEOPLE WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE. But I’m right at the end.
Kieron: You are just so slow and weak. I’ve played it, and a bit of the Echo stuff and a bit of the MP.
John: Go on Kieron, tell us what a Bulletstorms are.
Kieron: Bulletstorm is a manshoot game. A very manlymanshooter by People Can Fly/Epic. Who you’ll remember from the liked-by-bad-people Painkiller. It’s a dick-obsessed smartdumb scripted linear shooter set in a OTTP, amps-set-to-10 Sci-fi world. Its main “thing” is a score-chasing system, which is the core of its “Echo” system where you replay bits of the game trying to amp up your scores. So if you kill a dude, you get 10 points. And if you kick a guy off a cliff, you get 50. That kind of thing.

Quintin: Here’s what could be, as Kieron says, the most over-the-top manshoot ever made. We should be poking fun of it, shouldn’t we? Now, we here at RPS have been known to poke fun at the FPS, haven’t we. We have. But we’re not.
John: Well, I can. Because it’s such a pathetically needy game. “Please look at me! Please! No! You’re not looking at the right! Look at me this way! NO! HERE!”
Kieron: I’m not. It’s interesting to see the line between people who think it’s smartdumb and people who just think it’s dumbdumb.
John: It’s obviously smartdumb. You’d have to be dumbdumb to think it’s dumbdumb.
Quintin: Agreed. The writing, art, design, scripting is all artisan-level stuff. But needy? What do you mean?
John: Its desperation for you to constantly be looking in the right direction, begging you to, forcing you to, even bribing you to. As a concept, it’s a great idea. And for a good proportion of the time, it’s great fun. But sadly its real dumbness is in some excruciatingly silly design choices.
Kieron: Give an example.
John: The blue flashing objects.
Kieron: Honestly, I’m on the side of “Anything to keep its flow up”.
Quintin: It’s an arcade game, though, or at least it is in the Echo multiplayer mode that sees you doing timed score-attacks of the single player. Surely you need a bright outline around the drop pods?
John: If you turn off the spoiler interaction hints, objects just flash blue. And you have to guess if it’s a kick one, a leash one, or a climb one. And that you can’t choose – that you have to pick the one it decided, really underlines how madly on rails this whole thing is.

Kieron: It’s not STALKER. It’s Op Wolf.
John: I almost wish it were the Time Crisis game it so desperately wants to be. Why give me WASD at all, if every single aspect of the game is designed to fight against my using them?
Quintin: Time Crisis! Oh man. Can’t we do a Verdict on Time Crisis instead?
Kieron: Stop it Quinns. That’s nonsense though John. It’s not the follow-the-dude Call of Duty BLOPS-ism.
John: No – it’s not follow. But you have literally no choice at any point. Thank goodness it doesn’t go so far as the CoDs. You get to do most of the cool stuff, which is why it’s a great fun game, rather than, say, Medal Of Honor.
Kieron: The hand-holding are in the linking bits between the set-pieces. It’s totally linear, and all that’s there is the actual game. Opening the door isn’t the game.
John: But there’s no choice about route, or approach. It’s purely how you approach each battle, and that’s a lot of fun. But that’s why I say it really might as well be Time Crisis.
Quintin: Wait, so are you railing against corridor shooter design now? Are you going to bring up these arguments against Half-Life Ep 3?
John: Only if HL Ep3 never lets me feel like I’m making a choice. That’s what the HL games do so well, trick me into thinking I’m making choices.
Kieron: But you get no choice of how to approach each battle. In Time Crisis.
John: Sure there is. You can choose the order you shoot people in. That’s all I’m doing here, too.
Kieron: Movement, positioning and all that jazz. I mean, I’ve said it before, but for me Half-life always breaks when I can’t work out which way to go next and go around clicking on all the walls. (I exaggerate a bit.)
John: Yes. No doubt.
Kieron: Bulletstorm is just a game about shooting. It concentrates on that.

Quintin: So, here’s question I’ve been turning over in my mind. Does Bulletstorm have the most impressively expensive, all-out setpieces of any game ever?
Kieron: Yeah. It really does
John: And it looks utterly incredible too. I’ve never enjoyed the graphics of a game so much.
Kieron: Quinns – Did you say that it’s the best environment since the first Bioshock? Because that’s what I think
Quintin: I did say that, yeah.
Kieron: It’s basically UK Resistance redesigning Bioshock. So it’s all crass and sunshiney.
John: It’s Gears Of War with a degree of artistry. And the rain’s stopped.
Kieron: I’m not even joking. I mean, the holiday resort stuff is easy to see as a Bioshock link.
John: Yeah – I got BioShock vibes too. Not in terms of sophistication – it’s a dumb old empty alien world. But in terms of a sense of place.
Quintin: Tell you what. I wouldn’t mind trading all these shattered utopias for a few perfectly functional utopias.
Kieron: When will anyone get their Utopia right? Even Bub and Bob fucked up with Rainbow Islands.
Quintin: Haha.
Kieron: With the rising damp. I mean – draw a line between the bit with the waltz and the dancers in Bioshock and the bit with DISCO INFERNO! in Bulletstorm. Honestly! There’s meat on that Bioshock/Bulletstorm bone.
Quintin: I remember an RPS commenter saying that what he really wanted from Bioshock was a detective game set before the fall of Rapture. I’d love for Bulletstorm to have set you as a mercenary protecting this resort from mutants on the outskirts.
John: Sure, but you design the engine that can handle that many NPCs, and that many variables.

John: I was surprised how long it took to get going, AND to be funny.
Kieron: It’s got a slowish start. Though the visual of walking down to the assasination! Down the side of the building!
Quintin: Hell yes. I disagree with that. I really enjoyed the start.
John: Oh come on! It doesn’t let you play for half an hour!
Quintin: From the opening cutscene with you taunting your prisoner with the bottle duct-taped to his head, to the assassination flashback Kieron’s talking about, to the crashed ship.
John: I’m still telling it to “OH FUCK OFF” every time it steals the controls from me, especially when something interesting is about to happen. But that opening made me furious! LET ME BLOODY PLAY!
Kieron: How long is it until you get to HL2′s first weapon?
John: You get to get to HL2′s first weapon! It doesn’t drag you there with two fingers up your nostrils.
Kieron: I dunno. I may be with Quinns here. Though I felt the characters relaxed a lot more when you were down on the planet. Or maybe I’m with John. I think I may be between you. In a games criticism sandwich.
Quintin: That’s an unpleasant mental image. Speaking of weapons, I’ll tell you what I like. The revolver. I would like that revolver to be in every game. Who can I talk to about that?
John: Simon Gunsingames.
Kieron: We will write to the proper authorities. I love the weapons.

John: I like the sniper rifle best. I like smashing bodies into each other with it.
Kieron: I liked the grenade-bolos.
Quintin: The shotgun’s alt-fire caused my single-player game to collapse like a souffle by the final fifth.
Kieron: Yeah. I saw that coming and didn’t use it that much.
John: Yeah – that is way too powerful. I’ve just got hold if it.
Kieron: The alt fire is expensive though.
John: I’m kind of loving it though, because everyone turns all red skellingtony.
Quintin: While the weapons are interesting, the way they’re designed explains the game not having PvP multiplayer. All of the guns affect your opponent in some way, by wrapping them up or knocking them down or slaughtering them instantly. It’s interesting to me that Bulletstorm went so all-out for the skillshot thing that they abandoned the direction that everybody else is going in- combative multiplayer with unlocks.

Kieron: Weapons are great. I’ll tell you what is iffy – the space-to-jump-over-stuff.
John: Oh that sucks so bad.
Kieron: I almost always trip up with it. It’s a shame. I’ve got no problem with the system per se. As in, removing a jump. But it’s just not quite right.
John: Why can’t they just have it be smoothly integrated into a slide? Or just let you hold space while running before it to smoothly vault.
Kieron: Yes, exactly that. We look forward to Brink, basically.
John: Also that climb over thing is so buggy. I’ve gotten stuck on top of them, and there’s no way out.
Kieron: I had some problems with the AI scripting. It fixed itself, but there was one bit I thought General McSweary was going to have to make me restart a level. It’s very polished in some ways, and not in others.
Quintin: The only bug I encountered was pretty amazing. My allies held open a door, ran through, then let it close behind them, leaving me trapped on the other side as my character continued a conversation.
Kieron: How rude!
Quintin: Then, on my next reload, I had to quit out and SPRINT through that door.
John: I’ve had to restart from checkpoints three times due to getting clipped into the scenery. That never feels okay.
Kieron: Oof. I’ve never had it that bad. Or anything like that.
Quintin: Me either.

Kieron: You were probably being wimpy and taking cover or something. Or trying to heal.
John: Or exploring. Because the game is so bloody determined that I don’t, I look down every other possible route. Tom’s piece on Gamer really captured my frustration with the game. While I don’t do stuff to be a dick, and don’t skip cutscenes or ignore dialogue (because I’m not mad), I do get frustrated and start trying to break stuff when a game won’t let me make choices.
Kieron: I saw Tom’s editorial about that. I just imagine Tom screaming at Time Crisis. In his underpants.
John: While you cry.
Kieron: It’s hilarious though. Why are you trying to explore? You’re going to die if you don’t get somewhere.
Quintin: I really didn’t feel that at all. The game’s offering something you different to what you want from it. Why try and break it as a result?
Kieron: This is not the time to admire textures.
John: But it so often is. When the game tells me to sprint, I sprint. But when the others are standing around blathering at each other, I poke around.
Quintin: I think Kieron means in terms of the story. Or does he?
Kieron: I mean in the story. I think we can agree that its approach to hand-holding is going to drive some people mad.
John: Good.

Kieron: Did you find it funny, John?
John: After the first boring hour, yes. I laughed lots.
Kieron: I was really wondering what you’d make of it. To state interests, I know the writer. And it’s very, very Rick Remender. And if you like this, you should go and buy all his FEAR AGENT trades. But it’s been divisive…
John: He sure likes to write “dick”. And I’m glad too, because the word “dick” is a funny word.
Kieron: It’s very much the Sistine Chapel of dick gags.
Quintin: And yet! My favourite joke in it isn’t even rude.
John: I think the girl is written poorly. Has your friend met a girl?
Kieron: I didn’t say he was a friend. Rick has no friends. And no enemies, above the ground.
John: “I’m tough, in a way you might not expect from a girl! Grrrrrrrrr. Wah my daddy’s dead.”
John: (No one ask Quintin what his favourite joke was.)
Quintin: I couldn’t say anyway! It’s a spoiler.
Kieron: That is now my favourite joke from this verdict.
Kieron: File next to “Not enough Iron”. “Don’t ask Quinns about his fave gags”.
John: What a shame.
Kieron: I’m going to out you about that if you’re not careful, John Walker.
John: So Bulletstorm!

Kieron: What did everyone think of the Skillshots? I think this will segue to the echo-skilltest mode too. I think it works better in the skilltest, where you really are planing stuff.
John: I guess my issue with the Skillshots is that there’s not enough of them, despite there being loads of them. I think it needed more basic ones, ones less context sensitive.
Kieron: In the single player, I found myself all too often just doing stuff like killing with spikes. As it was a safe 100 points a shot. Or 50 for a kick off the roof.
Quintin: You slide into a guy, shoot him into the air with a shotgun, switch to the cannonballgun, and catapult him over the horizon with a cannonball to the gut and the game gives you twenty five points. Which feels like a slap.
John: Also, aren’t you supposed to be able to shoot people in the balls? That never seems to work for me.
Quintin: It requires tremendous accuracy. Also, perseverance. For a game that sold itself on cockshots it’s bizarrely hard.
Kieron: Ballsing a guy is tricky
John: They must have very tiny balls.
Kieron: Probably an evolutionary protective measure when people know it gets points for doing so.
Quintin: IMPORTANT: Have you guys got the skillshot for popping open a boss’s protective cast-iron anal flap and shooting him there.
John: Yes.
Kieron: The anal-death-one? Yes.
Quintin: Yes.
Kieron: Also, in the game.

John: I think the points, aside from their practical purpose, solve another problem brilliantly. That where games offer you the option for being inventive, but can be completed with one or two repeated attacks. Here, whenever any enemy dies for 10 points, that appearing on the screen makes me feel ashamed.
Quintin: Right.
John: Gaming the game results in the game telling you you’re a loser.
Quintin: The beautiful thing about Echoes mode, and what really makes it work, is that it erases your list of completed skillshots for the duration, so you get ludicrous bonuses for doing nothing but new shots. Which means playing Echoes is like a shopping list. Shoot a guy into the water? Check. Kick a guy into a cactus? Check. Then by the end it gets really, really tough. You can check the list, of course, but then it breaks your flow. It’s brilliant.
Kieron: Yes. It really works. Remember the first verdict we did? Of The Club. And we said that The Club desperately needed more bells and whistles to make scoring the points be exciting? Bulletstorm is that game. It is the pinball of the manshoots.
John: BioShock should have given points for electrocuting water. That’s what geniuses would have done in their underwater city, right?
Quintin: Planescape needed a high score table! Also, “The pinball of manshoots” is the takeaway sentence from this Verdict, I suspect.

John: Right, well, we need to wrap up because I’m the poor sod editing this.
Kieron: Yeah, we’ve covered everything – just a small word about the multiplayer.
Quintin: Just one word. That’s all you get.
John: Say it! A small one, too.
Kieron: Which is co-op, in groups, versus waves. I’ve only touched it a little, because it’s got the problem of most wave-based MP modes have for me – as in, they take too long to get to a wave that’s any trouble.
Quintin: FAIL.
Kieron: But still – better than a kick in the balls. Or a bag full of dicks. Or something like that.
John: DICKS! I’m definitely enjoying it. I’m constantly shouting at it for being so idiotically needy and controlly. But then it gives me another battle and I forget what I was saying. I think I wish it were more of an arcade, or more of a shooter, because it frustrates me by not being quite enough of either, but too much of the other. But I’m still having a tremendous time. Summarise, dicks.
Kieron: You should definitely go and nose at the Echoes. I think it would solve the problem for you. Maybe. I digs! Probably the best linear shooter I’ve played since… oh, can’t remember one. A while, anyway.
Quintin: I feel the same way. Any FPS that makes me forget that I’m bored of the FPS is a must-buy for me.
John: I think in the end the whole Fox News/rape fiasco was good publicity for the game. The game could have been crucified in such press for its violence and language, but instead it was accused of something it has nothing to do with, and so ironically escaped any serious criticism. So thanks Fox News!
Quintin: We love you Fox News.
Kieron: Hearts!
John: That’ll do.

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129 Comments »

  1. Javier-de-Ass says:

    check out the Necrovision games for the skillshot system done right

  2. squareking says:

    When it’s on sale. Only then.

    • bildo says:

      I’ll probably never buy it. However, if it somehow get’s a $5 steam sale…i’d consider it.

  3. Zanpa says:

    I just started playing this game.
    So far, the only thing I can say is that it looks good.

    However, I don’t think I’ll be enjoying it too much.
    I love when the developers give me cool guns to shoot things with. See: Painkiller, Killing Floor (my two favourite FPSs).
    Here, we have cool guns. Yeah! However, I can’t use them however I want. Boo!
    Another thing I like is being swarmed by enemies. As in, enemies aren’t hard to defeat when they are alone, but they are never alone. See: Painkiller, Killing Floor.
    Here, we have enemies that aren’t hard to defeat. Yeah! However, there are only a small number of them and you are never in danger. Boo!

    So, definitely not my kind of game. I will play it, I might enjoy certain aspects of it. But it seems more suited to people who are tired of the regular mechanics of the genre.

    Maybe a mod which disables the skillshot system, and multiplies the number of enemies by a factor of 13? If such a mod comes to life, I may be able to enjoy Bulletstorm more than any other recent game.

    (Excuse me for my terrible grammar – I’m not quite used to write anything long in English.)

    • Icarus says:

      I can absolutely recommend the Serious Sam games in that case. Funky weapons (including a medieval cannon) and absolute hordes of enemies. And an oddball sense of humour. I just replayed them recently and they’re quite a laugh.

    • darthmajor says:

      You are missing the point of the game, the skillshots ARE the challenge, not ‘not dying’. Ramp up difficulty and then see if you have to time to think/set up the skillshots. It’s refreshing, and instead of a reload on a failure you get a face-slapping 10 points…

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Your English is perfectly good! Worry not!

    • crainey92 says:

      Perfect English like Sheen #winning on ABC News.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Agree! I think Bulletstorm is a disappointment for people who wanted new Painkiller.

      I WANT NEW PAINKILLER ! ! !

    • MattM says:

      One of the nice things about the Serious Sam games is the advanced options they make available to the players. You can use auto-detect to set graphics and sound settings, but if you want to tweak they have around a hundred settings in the advanced menu. They also describe what each setting does so you don’t get too confused. Why other (much bigger and richer) developers cant find the time for this is beyond me.

    • Zanpa says:

      @Icarus: Thank you for the advice; however, I have already played (and enjoyed) the first two Serious Sam games – in coop with 4 friends. Really good games indeed.

      @darthmajor: No, I do not think I am missing the point of the game. However, I do not like the point of the game! Not that I think it’s bad, but it’s clearly not intended for people like me – who like good’ol, dumbdumb shooters.
      And by the way, I already set the difficulty to the maximum level!

      @MattM: PC gaming at its finest! When the developers did not develop their games for consoles and port them directly onto our computers…

      @Shih Tzu: Thank you!

    • Dhatz says:

      (ignoring the replies)ohohoooo, that would be named fury mode and i’m all for such a mod.

    • PUKED says:

      Have you heard of ScoreDoom? It’s like Bulletstorm for a 486, but with a larger emphasis on shooting than score, and since it’s Doom it has proper old school swarms of enemies.

      I’m really liking it, since even though I thought the scoring system in Bulletstorm was pretty decent stuff it never really managed to scratch the shooter itch for me. ScoreDoom just seems to strike a more satisfying balance.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheTourist314 says:

      @PUKED: You are the answer to my prayers! I’ve played DOOMs 1-Final about a bajillion and a half times and have wanted something new to try. ScoreDoom just might be the Final Solution of PC gaming! Thank you thank you thank you!

  4. ran93r says:

    I’m playing through for a second time on the hardest difficulty, have played through the echoes and have done a little online farting about, it’s fun and a little disappointing at the same time. It could have been a really nice title but it’s essentially just a game of score attack where you get funneled down beautiful looking corridors. I too tried to explore every nook and cranny only to be rewarded with a handful of nothing (there were ammo crates on rare exceptions but that almost invalidates my whining). I’m baffled why they would go to the lengths to create such beautiful environments but not let you actually explore it all, it wouldn’t fit with the (1) Kill wave (2) Slide a bit (3) Kill wave formula I suppose.
    At least there is Brink to look forward to as I doubt any DLC could really add much in the way of longevity to Bulletstorm.

  5. qrter says:

    I don’t know about this game. I do enjoy it in parts, and it does make me laugh quite regularly, but I find myself not really wanting to continue playing it, as if there’s some kind of momentum missing. Which is weird, because the game is nothing but momentum, really.

    I agree with John on the prologue – no idea why I’m allowed to walk down the side of a skycraper and then basically do nothing. It made something that looks spectacular quite boring.

    A lot of reviews mention the feeling “shamed” by low skill scores – I found I started to care less and less, because the game seems inconsistent with its scoring anyway (which is also mentioned in the Verdict).

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      Also there’s no reason to want Skillshot points, i found myself accumulating them & not spending them cause there was no need.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      “but I find myself not really wanting to continue playing it, as if there’s some kind of momentum missing.”

      Xactly. Same experience. It gets incredibly boring after 20-30 minutes of gameplay.

  6. PatrickSwayze says:

    While Bulletstorm is a phenomenally fun game, I feel you guys missed out on what a case of consolitis this game has, along with some bugs that I couldn’t cure without quitting the program fully.

    I spent as many hours editing .ini files as I did actually playing the game which was a real shame, just to make it playable, plus I miss out on half the graphics because the god-rays effect doesn’t properly work with my series of video card, the Radeon HD 6XXX.

    Because of all this i’m waiting to play echoes mode till there is a fix and I can enjoy the game in it’s full splendour.

  7. Flappybat says:

    I normally play FPS games but six linear hours with no real multiplayer or replayability doesn’t tick any of my boxes for dropping thirty quid on a game.

    • Thants says:

      The main single-player is more than six hours and that’s not even counting the score-attack mode, which is very repayable. And there is a proper co-op multi-player.

    • JohnH says:

      Took me around 6 hours to play through the single-player.

    • Thants says:

      It took me longer than that, but it may just have been because it was on very hard.

  8. Mutak says:

    Bulletstorm’s single player is a smartdumb shooter that looks very pretty, gives you some amazing set pieces and lets you choreograph some truly entertaining ballets of violence and gore. But when you get to the multiplayer and the echoes, that is replaced by a resource-management game disguised as a shooter. It’s an fprts that where the mutants who are trying to kill you are not a real threat, but a raw material that you turn into points via awesomely convoluted Rube Goldberg combos.

    On the one hand, that’s some awesome innovation. On the other hand, if what you like is shooters then the echoes and anarchy modes aren’t really going to add much value for you. They probably should have included at least some basic deathmatch-ish multiplayer to sate that sort of unimaginative bloodlust.

    • DarkeSword says:

      This comment was quite informative. Thanks. :)

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      So, more evidence that this is totally linear utter shit for dullards and people that still think they’re 11-year-olds, which is the only sort of game Epic release any more?

      Roll on Stalker 2, as soon as possible. That might actually be replayable, and take more than a couple of hours to finish. FFS!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Most people merely don’t like a thing. You seem to have gone out of your way to let us know you hate it. I happen to love Bulletstorm and its smartdumbness.

      Take the hate elsewhere, sir.

    • PUKED says:

      Casmir, it’s a shame you can’t win some kind of douchebag award for internet comments, you really knocked it out of the park with that one.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    Shooters like this are too over-the-top for me. I mean being over-the-top is my kind of thing usually, but being over-the-top violent and then rewarding players for it? That’s just sadistic and I don’t think I would enjoy this.

    • Xtinction says:

      “Sadist” is actually a skillshot :o

      I not once felt sadistic tbh, it was too much fun. Sadistic is God of War Helios scene, Kung Lao fatality in the upcoming MK game, not once did I feel any kind of remorse. It’s a planet filled with dicks, so shoot em :P

  10. darthmajor says:

    It worked great on my radeon HD4850 (which really pleases me these days, i’m looking at you DA2/COD/MOH), looked breathtakingly beautiful, both technically and artistically. Gameplay was a riot. Definitely the best shooter i played in YEARS.

    The part i think i loved the most is when general wotshisname is guilt-tripping you on the ship, about how you murder everyone in your path. Killing fathers and husbands. It was awesome.

    Oh, and “God is dead”…that made me laugh through the credits :D

  11. Berzee says:

    RPS, did you ever mention you can turn off swarez in this game, and I just missed the mention? If not, why not? I still won’t buy it, because ew, but I would love to see more games take this route (even just simply bleeping them or silencing them). I don’t care if it’s sometimes “realistic” — all games should have a PG-in-every-way-but-violence-and-preferable-that-too version. =)

    • neems says:

      I’m not sure if you are asking or telling, but yes you can turn off the profanity – I haven’t tried it (yet) but apparently there are entirely new lines of dialogue to avoid awkward censored speech.

    • qrter says:

      I can see why you’d want that from gaming in general, but not from Bulletstorm – that game is expressly made to be the exact opposite of a PG-rated game, it is Bulletstorm‘s (juvenile) raison d’etre, if you will.

    • Mman says:

      Because being able to make sure no-one says “fuck” is such a notable aspect of a game that rewards you for torturing enemies to death.

    • Berzee says:

      It is notable! (Do we need to give it the same treatment we gave Old Man Murray to make it notable?)

      Anyway, valid points all, and reasons I won’t buy it anyway. But isn’t it weird that the one game you would most probably not want it for is the only game you can get it for?

    • Berzee says:

      P.S. Here’s the reason it’s silly to say “The swearing pales in comparison to the murder”.

      Here is the reason.

      Here it is:

      “The real swearing pales in comparison to the fake murder.”

    • Mman says:

      I should note I was more mocking the “why not?”, as if it’s somehow more notable to mention in a review than many other potentially vital aspects that could be mentioned (E.G. Violence censorship options along with Language censorship ones. Proper support of both 4:3 and 16:9/10 with no black bars. Amount of customisation available. Quality of port where relevant, and similar). As opposed to the option itself, which I would agree is at least nice to have as a choice (as with many things) and should be added if relevant to the game.

    • Berzee says:

      Ahhh-hah, much more sensible. =) I guess I expected it would have been bundled in with all the talking they DID do about the language, though.

    • bleeters says:

      “Yeh? Go bake a delicious cherry cake! You delightful gentlemen give chase, I will be fairly cross at you!”
      “What? What does that even mean!? You’re going to be fairly cross at us?!”

      Mmmmnope. Just not the same :(

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      Real swearing does pale in comparision to fake murder in a lot of countries, in other countries not so, It’s a very dangerous idea to believe all games should be made for children, would you say the same about other types of media, Scientific Journals for example, it’s preposterous. If you wouldn’t, what makes games so unique that they must be as inoffensive as possible?

    • Chris D says:

      “The real swearing pales in comparison to the fake murder.”

      Nice try, but isn’t the actual comparison real swearing vs real depiction of murder?

    • Berzee says:

      “real swearing versus real depiction of murder”
      If you think the gap between a word heard in real life and a word heard through computer speakers is about as significant as the gap between a death and a story about a death, then sure. o_O
      Also all this rubbish about me saying games should be made for children, I never said that. I said I want to be able to play any game in the universe without swearing. “No Swearing” == “For Children” is a pretty weird concept, I guess if you get your philosophy of life from the ESRB or PEGI then it makes sense?
      edit:
      “Mmmmnope. Just not the same :(”
      I know! The stuff that’s not the same about it is the stuff I dearly desire.
      Also, regarding the comment about some countries…that doesn’t really change my demand for ALLGAMESNOSWEARING. I am still over here demanding it regardless of number of countries. =P

      Or more like wistful wishing, since I don’t know all these people in order to make a proper demand.

    • Chris D says:

      Berzee

      Firstly, I’m not trying to get at you. You’re more than welcome to draw the line wherever you please, so I apologise if it came across that I was.

      But you did seem to make an interesting philosophical point, and I have never been able to leave those well enough alone.

      So, “If you think the gap between a word heard in real life and a word heard through computer speakers is about as significant as the gap between a death and a story about a death, then sure.”

      I’m not sure that the gap between real and fake murder is the point. I would have thought that for whatever value of harm/offence you want to give to swearing it would still rate below watching someone being dismembered (even fake dismembered)

    • Berzee says:

      No worries. =)
      I s’poze the fake dismemberment could still be worse. I generally don’t play games that have a lot of either (because the swearing takes a lot of the fun out, and dismemberment makes me queasy…strangely enough, the actual separation of body parts doesn’t, just the gooey inside bits. People should be hollow, right?)

      When all’s said and done though…I stick by my interesting philosophical point :) Some “Bad Things” can be simulated and still be distant from the real thing. Other bad things cannot be. For instance, hearing a bad word is basically the same however you hear it. Looking at an immodest picture is a little further removed from looking at an immodestly dressed person in real life (and quite a bit further if the person is a 3d game model). But while the seeing and the hearing are somewhat similar to real life, something more active and permanent like murder is hardly even related.

      (This is why you see lots of arguments about whether or not violent videogames will make chillens violent, but never see anyone discussing whether playing tons of games with swearing will change a kid’s language — because the second is a lot more believable than the first, though certainly not certain =).

  12. Premium User Badge

    abhishek says:

    Bulletstorm is one of the most fun shooters I’ve played in quite some time. The only significant complaint I’d level against it is it’s length, as I completed the single player campaign in a day (partly because I was having so much fun that I couldn’t put the game down). However, since then I’ve spent a lot of time in Echoes mode and Anarchy mode, which has easily doubled my personal playing time but I can understand if it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

    As a result, I would wholeheartedly recommend this title to anyone during any sort of decent sale. No need to wait for the inevitable 7.5$ sale 12 months down the line… If you can get it for half off or something like that, jump for it. Put the niggles aside… GFWL, Unreal Engine 3, CliffyB, Epic’s attitude and whatever else annoys you about games but doesn’t actually have anything to do with the game itself. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s outrageous, it’s beautiful and it also has one of the best new video game characters in quite a while (Waggleton P. Tallywhacker). Unless you’re completely jaded with shooters, I cannot see how this would not entertain someone.

    One more point to note… the demo that will soon be released is likely not representative of the actual game itself. This is assuming that they choose the same level that they gave in the console demo. If that is indeed the case, it’s a short 6-10 minute gameplay sample where you have to rush through a section of a map. They chose a horrible mode and map for the demo because the game is certainly better than it.

  13. Torgen says:

    So, what you are saying is, it’s a console game.

  14. faelnor says:

    This verdict covers everything except the abysmal ending/last hour.

    Not discovering any new setpiece while doing the exact same level twice? Check.
    Having to suffer the general’s awful dialogue? Check.
    Feeling like an overpowered millionaire with all those unspent skillshot points? Check.
    Unsatisfying, un-interactive end boss fight? Check.

    What a shame, the rest of the game was absolutely ace.

  15. Mark says:

    I’ve been playing Bulletstorm in drips and drabs. It’s basically The Club plus character, which is what you said. My issue with it is that these are the kind of games that should be played rushing through, just to see how far you can get cheesing before dying. Bulletstorm’s set pieces are too short and confined, and it never gets to that point of where you get overwhelmed but somehow manage to survive. There aren’t enough enemies coming at you for that to be the case. It’s the fundamental risk/reward structure which makes certain games great, and they didn’t quite get the formula right here.

    There’s too much breaking of the flow. Too much stop. Start. Press R to jump down. Press Space to hop over. Don’t run too far ahead otherwise the AI will get stuck, causing you to restart the whole level over again. It’s okay, but there are too many annoying design elements preventing me from having any real fun with it, before the developer whips back the leash and you’re forced to LOOK OVER THERE for points.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Hmm.

    Seems the Verdict just makes me want to wait for the new Serious Sam.

    And possibly it reminds me why I don’t like manshoots very much (with certain exceptions).

  17. Agrona says:

    You used the same picture twice!

  18. Navagon says:

    Nice verdict, but Staring Eyes tag, FFS!

    Judging by the comments on the extreme linearity I think I will bump this one a lot further down my to buy list.

  19. Red_Avatar says:

    If you ask me, it’s a dumbdumb game – as in, it’s childish fun. It’s a freaking shooting gallery with targets and getting points for hitting the right spots – all the rest is filler and fancy crap. The story is ridiculous (your friend becoming a robot and the whole clichéd friend vs AI personality fighting which every sci-fi series has had in some episode – The Borg anyone?) and the action is so linear I just feel like the game plays itself for me and i just have to press the left mouse button now and then.

    For $5 it might be worth it – it’s short, shallow and offers almost no replay value unless you get turned on by hitting enemies in the groin but I’d rather play Doom or Duke Nukem 3D to be honest. This game is also too “American” in feel, if you ask me – typical male macho mixed with Michael Bay crap.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      *facepalm* PC gamers…

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Yes, Mr. Biscuit? Do carry on with that train of thought.

    • karry says:

      “typical male macho mixed with Michael Bay crap”

      Thats “USian”, not “American”.

    • Berzee says:

      I knew what he meant by “American” before you cleared it up so nicely, actually.

      (Are there any other countries in the Americas that have “America” in the name?)

    • SirKicksalot says:

      I think the whole point of Ishi is to out-robocop Robocop.
      It has a lot of replay value for me, because I like score attacks and because I simply don’t get bored of the skillshot system. There’s a lot of variety there, especially since in the campaign you get more ammo the better you play so there’s a lot of room for experimenting and abuse.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      @karry That’s idiotic.

    • Nick says:

      It’s as USian as apple pie.

    • Mattressi says:

      I don’t understand the dig at PC gamers Biscuit: he didn’t even mention that it was console crap – he just gave an honest review saying it was childish and on-rails.

      I’ve got to agree too, it’s mindless (and for me boring) gameplay with no exploration. But then, I don’t like any linear games; even Half Life 2. Though, at least Half Life 2 had a decent story and interesting puzzles (and a small sense of exploration); this game does not.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      An honest review? He’s pulling nonsense out of his ass like ‘oh well maybe it would be worth $5′, which is this stupid prevailing attitude from the vocal minority. $5 is pocket change, he’s implying that an expensive triple-A title is worth $5, less than a decent burger costs around here. It’s bloody nonsense and it’s the kind of baseless noise that tarnishes PC gamers in general, giving the impression that we as a market force are a bunch of penny-pinching, ludicriously entitled delusionals that think way too highly of ourselves.

      “The story is ridiculous”

      You spend a level controlling a robotic dinosaur which the protaganist names Waggleton T Tallylicker, how is the story remotely relevant to this game?

      “It’s short and has no replay value”

      It’s about 8 hours which is sadly longer than most triple-A shooters these days and has co-op which is good for a laugh, Echoes which if you actually enjoy the shooting (which you should since it’s the main strength of the game), is worth a bit of a play and forgettable multiplayer.

      We get it, it’s on rails, forgive me if I’m not interested in the wonders of exploration when I’ve got points to earn in a myriad of joyful ways.

      Opinions are one thing, but this whole “$5″ crap is really starting to get on my nerves.

    • Thants says:

      The story is well written, the actually combat isn’t linear, it’s not very short, there’s a lot of replay value, and it’s basically a parody of male macho.

      @karry: By USian, you mean the United Mexican States, right?

    • Mattressi says:

      Biscuit, the only reason PC gamers talk about buying something at $5 is because we actually get sales like that. Where a console gamer would say “that looks crap, I’m not buying it” a PC gamer might say “that looks crap, but if it goes on a really good sale it might be worth a few bucks for a little bit of mindless shooting”.

      There is no entitlement there. If you think someone is self-entitled for doing what they want with their money, you might like to move to China. It’s a capitalist system and people vote with their wallets. If Red_Avatar had said ‘they should be forced to sell their game for $5″, that’d be dumb. However, he stated what he thinks it’s worth – what’s wrong with that? I don’t like this kind of game, so I won’t even fork out $5. That means I think it’s worth $0. Does that make me worse than Red_Avatar?

    • poop says:

      totalbiscuit just because you resemble dominic white in every way doesnt mean you have to be him, bruv

    • Dominic White says:

      First: Fuck right off.

      Second: How in the hell have I become an Internet meme on three major sites!? I dare not even look, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was passive-aggressive enough to make an Encyclopedia Dramatica page about me.

      Thirdly: Seriously, fuck off.

    • Berzee says:

      lol, Mr. White, it’s probably related to those times (well, I only remember the one) where you made it sound like people should never ever say a game is bad or lame, without providing a long disclaimer saying THIS IS MY OPINION.
      edit:
      I think you should embrace your fame and become a paragon of forceful subjectivism :D

      edit again:
      “Opinions are one thing, but they get on my nerves.”
      ^ fixed!

  20. trjp says:

    I have this and it’s amazing – but as with all PC releases, there are hoops to be jumped through.

    When a slight change to your desktop resolution can double your framerate – for example…

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1774877

    That works for all PC versions – not just the Steam one – 4 vertical lines less, double the fps…

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      I don’t own, or have any intention of owning, this game but that is a fascinating thread and may explain quite a lot in other console orientated games too.

    • Rane2k says:

      Thank you very much for that one. Might solve the troubles I had with my frames dropping ridiculously low (10?), on a PC that plays other modern games on maximum settings.

      It´s also quite embarassing for Epic, did they even test their game, or did they think something like “aaaah, PC gamers, if it runs slow they´ll just buy better hardware…”?

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      That’s a remarkable QA failure, especially as—from Steam’s hardware stats—1680×1050 is the second most common screen resolution, and only second by a smidgen.

  21. Jesse L says:

    I just don’t WANT points.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Monchberter says:

    Come back when you’re going for £8 on Steam. See you in 6 months Booletstorm!

  23. Bhazor says:

    “That’s what the HL games do so well, trick me into thinking I’m making choices.”

    Huh? When?

    • Berzee says:

      You are a magical kingdom, Bhazor. Nobody picks up that can like you can. You give it a style all your own.

  24. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I think it’s average intelligence dumb, not smart enough to be smart dumb and too knowing to be dumb dumb, i agree with John except that the Skill Shot system isn’t deep/rewarding enough for me to persevere with all the bugs/bad design.

  25. Flameberge says:

    Look, who’s this ‘Kieron’ fellow? Is he a reader who won some sort of competition or something? Or just some random from the street?

    I mean, it’s not as if he invented games journalism, is it?

  26. Dhatz says:

    RAGEFU: colorcode your code of uncolored named speakerssssssss to the core! already

  27. Coins says:

    I read the entire review but now all I want is a detective game set in a working Rapture really badly. That -would- be awesome.

  28. MultiVaC says:

    I think the argument about hand-holding in shooters like this is a pretty interesting topic, especially after reading the PC Gamer rant and the Bulletstorm designer’s response. I was really annoyed when the guy said that stopping the entire game until the player presses the button it tells you on the screen in huge letters was something they found was necessary to teach players how to do something. You can go through the commentary of the HL2 games and see how Valve had already mastered several vastly superior ways of teaching players things and getting them to watch scripted events years ago. A pretty good example was a moment in Episode 1 where a dropship crashes into a bunch of stuff and looks awesome. The commentary states that Valve had a lot of trouble getting players to see the whole sequence, so they placed a weak combine soldier with a pea shooter pistol on a ledge near where the sequence starts, which basically forced people to look up there. It had the same effect as the “PRESS RIGHT MOUSE TO LOOK AT THIS” feature in Bulletstorm, but in HL2′s scene I would have never had any idea I was being forced to look at something if it weren’t for listening to the commentary later. There are subtle and clever ways to guide players through set pieces that avoid making us feel hand-held when we actually are, and construct a much more immersive game. Unfortunately it seems to be a lost art; in games like Bulletstorm and BLOPS the developers can’t seem to grasp anything other than the most obvious and brute force methods of guiding people through their games, and as a result it’s painfully obvious and feels condescending.

  29. Shagittarius says:

    Serious Sam meets Unreal in a Bioshock style universe is what I thought.

  30. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Meta-question: How do you conduct these verdicts? Do you sit down with a recorder and someone has to transcribe it later, or do you use a speech recognition program? Is it just a chatlog, with the three of you writing from the comfort of your respective homes?

    Edit: Of course another possibility would be the combination of the two, where you sit down in a circle of chairs with your laptops and giggle awkwardly at each other’s quips.

  31. strange headache says:

    No RPS verdict is complete without Optimus Prime thumbs.

  32. Thants says:

    You may as well complain that Dirt 2 was too linear and didn’t let you go exploring. It’s just not that kind of game.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I disagree – even linear FPS should let you explore (though in a linear way – such as wide arenas with explorable nichés, or a complex of viusually separated and intertwined areas so you don’t see everything in a corridor in front of you).

      It still can keep the linearity of events, but you shouldn’t feel like on the rails – which is sadly the case of Bulletstorm.

      Take the admired sequence on the side of the building: You can see a HUGE OPEN scenery all around you and where can you go ???? Precisely 5 steps down, 3 steps left, kick, 5 steps down, jump. All in a supertight corridor.

      Have you tried to run around for the pure joy of the beautiful inviting scene?
      I believe everyone wanted to -
      too bad.

  33. Freud says:

    I don’t mind shooters, even very linear ones. But having a game that is half based around Epic’s ideas of what is cool and half around a laundry list of ways to kill baddies just doesn’t sound all that fun. I’ll guess I will give this one a go when it is on sale in six months or less.

  34. Ultra Superior says:

    I completely agree with John on this one. I quite regret spending my money on it in a way.
    It has a great world, but GOD the game is SO RESTRAINED.

    And it advertised itself as being the exact opposite.

    I think that Painkiller gave you much more freedom in killing things than this game. Another strange thing is, I got bored playing it –

    - Has anyone else experienced this too?

    Time Crisis analogy is absolutely precise (in my view). And how incredibly needy it is!

  35. Dracko says:

    Kieron: Quinns – Did you say that it’s the best environment since the first Bioshock? Because that’s what I think

    ahahahahahahahahahahahahaa

    • Olivaw says:

      I don’t know, I’d tend to agree.

      In terms of art design, Bulletstorm is actually pretty high-end shit, and it paints a colorful and cohesive world much like the first BioShock did.

      It’s just that instead of being based on objectivism, it’s based on total nonsense.

    • Coins says:

      And if you didn’t like it, we’d love a reason instead of ‘ahahaha’. I’m curious to hear why you think otherwise? I haven’t played the game yet myself, but the screenshots look very promising.

    • Dominic White says:

      People, meet Dracko. He trolled every Bioshock thread on RPS for years, until he flipped out one time and called Kieron something unrepeatable and vanished. He really, REALLY hates Bioshock.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I don’t get the fascination with Bioshock either. It was a crowded-corridor FPS, and sometimes they let you look out the pretty windows.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      They’re very pretty corridors.

      KG

    • Nick says:

      The art style and a couple of brief paper mache moments are the only things I enjoyed in Bioshock. Well, the twist was neat too.

    • Love Albatross says:

      The design is jaw-dropping. Truly beautiful. And not all brown!

      Love the architecture of the city, it looks futuristic without being ridiculously implausible, those buildings could exist.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Josh Brandt says:

    It’s the best linear shooter I’ve played since Metro 2033. There you go.

  37. Bhazor says:

    TL:DR
    So a 7.8 then?

  38. Bret says:

    So, Rick Remender is still in his endless war with the mole people?

    That’s too bad.

  39. A-Scale says:

    I’d like to know how this game is, but because there are no optimus hands I don’t know.

  40. Muzman says:

    Caption for the leading screenshot: “My God. It’s full of dicks!”

  41. Axyl says:

    “General McSweary”

    Awesome.. :)

  42. outoffeelinsobad says:

    “Quintin: Planescape needed a high score table!”

    I lol’ed.

  43. terry says:

    I’ve enjoyed the game for some hours but lamentably my guy is now stuck front of an untriggerable lift in Act 5-2. I’ve tried restarting from checkpoint and restarting the chapter, but the dialogue simply won’t trigger. This happened earlier where I had to rope the big ball thingy, but that fixed itself by restarting the level. My AI buddies are standing like lemons in the centre of the room rather than in their COD-peering mode so I can only assume some dialogue is supposed to trigger. Le sigh.
    The game itself is a fun rollercoaster, if a tad insubstantial for the price.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention the ini tweaking to get it to run without lag/without the textures looking like ass was a bit rotten to force on users. A little pre-game config launcher would have solved this but I guess that GFWL would throw a fit. And as usual, the inclusion of GFWL was an unwarranted extra headache (A reboot to play my manshoots? Really?)

  44. Giftmacher says:

    I liked Bulletstorm, I really did, but I get the feeling that everything about it would have been infinitely better without Epic hanging over the whole project. Every problem with it that I can think of (and most of the ones mentioned in the comments) would probably have been fixed by simply staying away from Epic. They’re extremely talented, technically speaking, but they have zero design literacy. And they’re also dicks.

  45. Captain Hijinx says:

    Stop being so bloody Obtuse Kieron, those Half-Life 2 comparisons are nonsensical.

  46. mda says:

    “it’s got the problem of most wave-based MP modes have for me – as in, they take too long to get to a wave that’s any trouble”

    Unless I was just really bad, Killing Floor seemed to get hard fast (and in the game)… but I only played a tiny bit of it.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I never gave KF a shot, so thanks for the pointer. The comment was made after giving The Last Stand a shot recently and just being bored by the starting characters plus the first waves.

      KG

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, depending on the map and the difficulty level, certainly.. even the basic enemies can catch you by surprise enough for the first wave to force you to at least pay attention, especially if they “grab” you. Obviously MP required for the full effect.

  47. crooon says:

    “Quintin: Wow, that Doobie Brothers album has the best cover. What’s going on with the guy in the middle? Cheer up!”
    ‘The guy in the middle’ is Michael McDonald and you’ll show some damn respect!
    His voice can vibrate the knickers off of any woman!

  48. Madlukelcm says:

    I’ve been on the fence as to whether to buy it or not, I just don’t want that linear gameplay. I wanna be able to explore! But at the same time I love the Serious Sam style over the top mayhem.

    I just don’t know. :(

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Bulletstorm is nowhere near mayhem and chaos, nor could it be. The fact that some guns have a 32 bullet, others an 8 shot limit should make it clear to anyone that they did not want you to start having too much fun, let alone too many enemies at once to shoot in a game that is called “Bulletstorm”.

      As an over the top shooter-shooter they went and crippled the very foundations of what would have made it one.

      Compared to SS, this is an incredibly tame and slow-paced game(except for perhaps sprinting to hide/cower in some corner to let your autoregenerating health recharge every now and then..).

      IMHO only worth bargain bin prices if you really do want to financially support people that think giving PC gaming FPS only 2 guns to choose from.
      Check out the demo first before deciding anything at all.

  49. RegisteredUser says:

    @”Bulletstorm is just a game about shooting. It concentrates on that. / I love the weapons.”

    Now if only they had not cripppled both maximum ammo as well as how many guns you could carry, there might have actually been enjoyment in that.
    As it stands, Bulletstorm is the very opposite of it’s name, a crippled, wingless bird, trying to hop along, never unable to fly.

    Even with heavy modification of the .ini files to up ammo limits you constantly have to break immersion by using droppods to change weapons instead of just pressing 1-8..which is retarded.

    That’s the very kind of thing that is the opposite of a shooter to me and made the game much more of a nuisiance than it’s linearity.

    From what I know it will give you 2 days of playtime at most, so I would not shell out above 10$/EUR/GBP for it.

    Also @TeamRPS wtf, it seems the only FPS game you know is Half-Life 2 and I personally view that as one of the worst SHOOTERS that ever existed.
    HL1/2 are anything but proficient shootfests and it bugs me that they are constantly used as examples of gems in the FPS genre, because they are just not any good in terms of the actual shooting, in no small part thanks to the utterly boring/nerf gun feely weaponry(look, feel and sound..just compare HL 2 to CS:S and you will see how many galaxies they are apart).

    Necrovision may have had a “skill” system as well, but people make it sound like that was so much better. It wasn’t. But at least it is a game that still lets you carry any and all guns you find at once, has “secrets”(i.e. rewards exploration), armor and even “leveling” for your rage-gauge(adrenalin/bulletmode) as well as the damage multiplier.