Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
You could just shoot a man to death in Bulletstorm, but it’d reveal a horrible lack of imagination. The game would sneer and dole out a measly 10 murderdollars. Try harder. Slide into a man to launch them up in slow-mo then shoot them to death and you’ll get 25. You can do better. Wrap explosives around a man, kick him into the air, then detonate him to murder a pal of his and you’ll get, gosh, lots of points – more if the blast also knocks others onto spikes, into man-eating plants, or other horrible environmental traps. It’s some of the most fun shooty-shoots I’ve had in years.
With giant guns, environmental traps, a man-grabbing laser whip, and mighty kick and slide moves that launch enemies into slow-motion, surviving in Bulletstorm is easy. And boring. If you just shoot men, Bulletstorm is any generic FPS from the past decade, albeit one with a pleasingly daft story. Scoring high is the real challenge. It’s got dozens of special ‘skillshot‘ kills, where killing people in certain ways bags you extra points. You’ll avoid killing someone until you’ve figured out the best way to murder them, carefully getting groups into place for a chain of high-scoring skillshots.
A tale of revenge against your former commander is typical modern fare FPS, but Bulletstorm plays it so very camp. The antagonist is a spittle-spraying fury, your best mate gets turned into a cyborg with anger issues, and your new ally threatens to “kill your dicks” when you first meet her then berates you as you bumble around, solving everything with shooting. It’s a merry romp from set piece to set piece, big fancy things like blowing a dam and controlling a theme park’s laser-spitting robot Godzilla.
In another developer’s hands, Bulletstorm could have been so very obnoxious, but People Can Fly committed to pull off cussin’, murderin’, and dick-killing chat with confidence. And it has a quadruple-barrelled shotgun that can blast men in half.