Bulletstorm was a game that I hadn’t heard of back in 2011. I had visited this local gaming store and saw the box art for it and had noticed Epic Games was behind it, of which I am a huge fan of the Gears of War series. Why hadn’t I known about this game then? Well it seems the game was only going to cost me about $4, so I bought it, of course. Initially, I didn’t have my expectations too high due to the price I had paid. If the game was crap, well then I was only going to be out four bucks. After ten or so hours, I came to the realization that this was a damn fun shooter and it felt worth more than the price I paid.
Little did I know that Bulletstorm would end up gaining a cult following. It was all just a stupid, crude, balls-to-the-wall first person shooter with some impressive physics and brutal kills, but I hadn’t appreciated the quality of it all back then. Developers People Can Fly must’ve felt the same, as they came together to create the remastered Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, being supported by Gearbox, who stepped in as publisher this time.
To the unfamiliar, Bulletstorm may seem like a basic first person shooter that looks suspiciously familiar to Gears of War. While I won’t the deny the Gears similarity, this is not just a normal shooter. The controls may seem awkward at first as it has some things that don’t work in modern titles. Pulling up the weapon wheel sometimes doesn’t register and takes a slow amount of time that just feels weird. A huge annoyance for me was having to hold the crouch button down instead of just pressing it once. It’s just something that not many games do, so it takes time to adjust. For anyone who plays this game as just a regular shooter, they will be severely disappointed, as they aren’t playing it the way its meant to be played.
Bulletstorm rewards players for actually having creative and the over the top kills. The rewards come in the form of Skillshots, which are points that are rewarded for specific and unique kills. The more creative or challenging it is, the more points the player gets. To get an idea of how just how interesting and funny these Skillshots can be, I’ll use my favorite example. The description for this is also directly from the game, which states, “When a miniboss is stunned, kick him from behind, then shoot him in the butt.” This Skillshot is appropriately named, “Fire In The Hole.”
One of the things that helped Bulletstorm carve out its own identity is the kick and leash mechanic. Players are equipped with a laser lasso that can pull enemies towards them. Once the enemy is close enough, they will float in slow motion for a few seconds, giving the player time to pull their next move. The kick is the same concept, however this time, it is just pushing the enemy away from you. The player could either use the slow motion time to get a nice clean hit, or they could kick the enemy into one of the many environmental hazards the levels have to offer, such as cacti, spiked walls, or piranha infested waters. Although my favorite would have to be kicking enemies into these steaming hot burners in one chapter, for which I was awarded the “Man Toast” Skillshot. It’s these stupid and hilarious moments that makes Bulletstorm a blast to play to now, just as it was 5 years ago. The comedic tone is set right away, which is necessary for a game where I’m literally trying to be a creative killer.
Bulletstorm has been upgraded for the current generation of consoles. On the PS4 and Xbox One, it does have some enhanced visuals. The planet of Stygia looked impressive in 2011, however due to some improved lighting, it has never looked better. The reflections add more vibrant colors to the environments, for example the blue/green color of the water just looks so refreshing (even though an enemy was just eaten alive by piranhas in it). Stygia looks more realized thanks to the depth of view being improved as well. It felt wonderful to see all the destroyed skyscrapers and cities in the distance. The gorgeous views of this once peaceful planet are an awe to look at times in between the violence. Some enhanced detailed textures are present in the remaster, however I did notice texture pop-ins way too often when running and gunning at high speed.
While People Can Fly did keep the majority of the sound effects, it appears that they improved some of them as well. The disgusting sounds of landing a headshot or the splatter of an enemy being impaled by spikes sounds just so over the top. Overall, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition does look and sound well enough to call itself a remaster. It shows that even the original title aged well, especially compared to other games that came out in the same year.
Of course, when it comes to Bulletstorm, gameplay is at the forefront. While the gameplay stays exactly the same, it is the added 60 frames per second which make the gunplay more satisfying. As a console player, this is a welcome addition as I love playing my old Xbox 360 and PS3 games in glorious high speed. Unfortunately, while the framerate can stay consistent throughout the traversal of levels, the frames will drop often when it can’t keep up with the over the top nature of the game. Scripted set-pieces will still stay in 60 fps, but in the unscripted and chaotic moments that Bulletstorm let’s players create, it is a shame that the game can’t keep the frames up. These drops in frames are never game-breaking, but noticeable enough to feel disappointing. In one encounter, I launched all the enemies into the air, lit them on fire, then began to proceed with headshots, but the game had a hard time keeping up with me every few seconds and I could tell it needed time to process it all.
I have yet to mention another new addition that is available for Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, which is the inclusion of Duke Nukem as a playable character. Those who pre-ordered the game will be able to replace main protagonist Grayson Hunt with the one-liner spouting king, Duke Nukem. He is a welcome sight in Bulletstorm since the game doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. It’s impressive how they were able to get Jon St. John to come in and record all new dialogue, for which Duke as a character is super aware he’s in a game that isn’t his. His dialogue is created specifically for the context of each situation, as they weren’t able to get all the voice actors to come in and get new lines. Duke’s cocky attitude meshes pretty well with the tone of Bulletstorm. He is even included in cut-scenes, which completely changes the scene sometimes. It’s an ongoing joke while playing as Duke where one character constantly calls him Grayson, and Duke keeps forgiving her for calling him the wrong name. Its silly, but that’s Bulletstorm for you! My biggest gripe about all of this though is the fact that while he was available for pre-order, he will be $5 for anyone else. The idea of paid DLC for a remaster rubs me the wrong way, but I digress. At the end of the day, Duke is a worthy addition to the world of Bulletstorm.
I have mentioned that some of the frame drops can be noticeable as well as some texture issues, but make no mistake, Bulletstorm is still a damn good time. I had a blast trying to get the most creative kills I could get. The over the top set pieces mixed together with the brutal combat is something that shouldn’t have gotten overlooked in 2011. It is a game that I believe deserved a remaster due to its cult status and quality. There is no denying the potential that the original game had and I’m sure it would’ve spawned a franchise if it had been more of a commercial success. I’d bet money that if this remaster is successful financially, we may end up getting a sequel to this extremely underrated title. For anyone looking for a stupid fun time, Bulletstorm is the title for them. There is no complicated plot to follow, instead it gives players an arsenal of weapons and lets them have a bloody good time!
Anyone who missed out on Bulletstorm originally, they owe it to themselves to check out Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is coming to Windows PCs, Xbox One, and PS4.