Xbox One, PS4
April 7, 2017
People Can Fly
Bulletstorm was originally released in 2011, and while it doesn’t feel like all that long ago we were being creative with our carnage with more bravado than you can poke a stick at, it’s back and remastered with Full Clip Edition. Developer People Can Fly created an over-the-top shooter that was full of hyper masculine adult dialogue and smooth, fun gameplay, which is on show here for those who missed the ride the first time around. For fans of the original however, there’s not much here to bring you back apart from nostalgia.
Bulletstorm plays like a fast-paced first-person Gears of War, complete with the same level of appreciation of gore and foul language – so much so that you are given the option to turn these things off at the beginning of the campaign. It’s the kind of game that rewards you for kicking enemies in the face, sending them flying and impaling them on a nearby cactus. It’s the kind of game that throws around insults and profanity so much that it desensitizes you completely. There is no nuance here and no subtlety, but at least its identity is a clear one: these characters get the job done by any means necessary, making awful jokes while they do it.
The most memorable mechanic is the leash, which allows you to hook enemies in the distance and pull them dramatically towards you, letting you to then blow them to pieces or kick them into a wall of electricity, and other comically well-placed environmental hazards. This makes the frequent situations where you’re outnumbered into great opportunities to earn bonus points for killing in the most creative and brutal ways possible. The constant scoring adds lots of replay value, along with good incentive to upgrade your weapons. It’s also a whole lot of gory fun.
The dialogue remains intentionally cringe-worthy, with lines such as “I will kill your dicks” and when an Asian character tries to defend himself after being told “those slanty devil eyes of yours don’t see so good” and is then referred to as a “prancing Geisha”… yeesh. Sure, these characters are hyper masculine and it’s supposed to mimic a team of disgruntled angry soldiers who just don’t give a shit, but this kind of humour still felt out of place to me and didn’t make me laugh, more just shocked and a little disappointed.
“…action set pieces never left me relaxing for too long before something explosive happened around the corner.”
Still, everything holds up really well and Bulletstorm feels right at home on current generation consoles. Large, sprawling areas look gorgeous in the distance, as do the beautiful lighting effects that have been given an upgrade. There was the odd frame-rate issue but mostly the game runs very well at 60fps, and I enjoyed the action set pieces and hectic boss battles that never left me relaxing for too long before something explosive happened around the corner.
The trouble is, if you played and loved the original, there’s not much more here for you other than the visual upgrades. The campaign is in desperate need of co-op, and given the developers history with Gears, it’s a missed opportunity to not work it in somehow here in the remaster. The campaign and multiplayer is as you’ll remember, and the cool addition of Duke Nukem was only available as a pre-order bonus. It does make things funnier having Duke’s cheesy lines throughout, so hopefully this is made available to everybody in the future.
- Gameplay is over-the-top action goodness
- The leash is a brilliant tool
- Frantic and fun pacing
- Writing can be awful
- Not much new content
I really enjoyed my time diving back into the planet Stygia, racking up high scores as I turned kills into cool combos and smashed through enemies at a blistering fast pace. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a fantastic opportunity to play one of the most underrated games from last generation, so it’s a shame six years later that they didn’t add more to make this into an unmissable package for fans and newcomers alike. It’s a really fun ride, but like all rides, you can only do them so many times before the excitement wears off. The most positive outcome I can hope for is that this cult classic finds a new audience and justifies the creation of a more fleshed out sequel.