Google+

Want to shoot a guy in the nuts and kick his head off? Play Bulletstorm

Immature. Wafer-thin plot. Dumb bro game. Just a long-list of dick-jokes. These were some of the criticisms thrown at Bulletstorm when it appeared back in February 2011. Didn’t bother me. In fact, I really enjoyed all the creative swears and testosterone-driven plot. In a game about murdering virtual people for high-scores, having anything less than a dumb, foul-mouthed narrative would be pretty disingenuous. It just feels… right.

I first discovered Bulletstorm about a month before it actually released, at a review event in London. Cliffy B and Adrian Chmielarz rocked up, very late, to introduce the game before we started playing. He used the words ‘Angry’ and ‘Birds’ a lot when talking about Bulletstorm, something that set off my internal alarm bells. I was tired, I was on deadline, I was hearing about Angry Birds--not a great start. But the moment I started playing all these reservations and frustrations just melted away.

From the first interactive scene--where you drunkenly shoot a bottle off a prisoner’s head and flush him out into space--through to the final scenes where you impale (yeah, it’s irony) your nemesis, General Sarrano, on an exposed spike of metal, Bulletstorm entertains and challenges. It doesn’t ponder life’s mysteries, or try to teach us about the savage nature of man. It demands that we shoot a bad guy in the nuts and then kick his head off so we can score more points than our friends.

It does that beautifully too. The actual gunplay is slick as hell, and the opportunities for combining weapons, whip and the hazards dotted around you to create absolute mayhem are vast. There are few things in games more satisfying than pinging a man 50ft into the air with a thump from your leash, before picking him out with a flare and watching him explode in a shower of gore and points. I love a smart story as much as the next person, but if the game is no fun to begin with… what’s the point?

People often criticise Bulletstorm for being a dumb game. Bulletstorm is actually one of the smartest games of this generation because it perfectly marries up gameplay and subject matter. Not only that, the balance between weaponry, scenario and the points you’re awarded for killing is incredibly well balanced. It’s one of those games where you assume you’ve nailed a certain level in Echoes--no-one could possibly beat your score--until you find someone who has not only beaten it, but smashed it. You go back, you replay, and you discover even more creative ways to kill. Most of the time, you’re not even competing against the person who beat your score; you’re challenging yourself.

People often criticise Bulletstorm’s producer, Cliff Bleszinski (formerly of Epic Games), for being a dumb bro. Cliffy B, as he’s known, is actually one of the smartest men working in games. In many ways, Bulletstorm is both his personality and persona in digital form. On the outside, it’s brash and loud. You assume it’s dumb because it wants to fist-bump you and use words like Sushi-dick. On the inside, it’s smart and knows exactly how to entertain and amaze you.

When it launched, no-one really knew what to make of Bulletstorm. It was a new shooter entering an industry at the height of the Call of Duty craze. It looked a bit like Gears of War, but it was first-person and had high-scores like a retro game. It laughed at itself and challenged the prevailing thinking that games should be serious, gritty and arty. No wonder it received a mixed critical reception and underperformed in the sales charts.

It was great to see Bulletstorm recently appear as one of the PS Plus instant game collection titles. This has undoubtedly exposed it to a wider range of people who ‘gave it a go, because it was free’. My hope is that I don’t even have to talk it up to you all--you’ve already played it. Good. A big, dumb game like Bulletstorm deserves a large, discerning audience like yourselves.

Want to parachute children into bottomless pits? Play Snowboard Kids!

Looking for games to play outside of the stuff we already tell you to play on a daily basis? You're in luck! Every Saturday we'll recommend an older game for you to check out, complete with a story on how we found the game and why we recommend you play it.

18 comments

  • Rub3z - June 17, 2013 8:16 p.m.

    "mixed critical reception"? Pah! No wonder GR's very own David H. gave it a 10/10. How's that for mixed critical reception? This game took the very idea of mixed critical reception and punched it straight in the dick. Also, as long as we're on the subject of Bulletstorm, one of my favorite lines: "Maneaters prefer tight spots." Lines like that alone can make any game pure gold. This is also the game that conjured up one of my favorite made-up words: "murdery." An apt and shorthand way of saying you feel like committing gross violence. You see, this game was basically poetic. It was just so brash in its delivery that it was easy to overlook.
  • Danomeon - June 17, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    I loved this game so much. The coolest part was the creativity in the environments. The host planet had some pretty fantastic sights to behold. My favorite levels included that Massive vertical dam full of rushing water just waiting to burst and stomping through a miniature city theme park ride like godzilla while offfing enemies by kicking them into little miniature telephone lines. Talk about creativity. This game needs to see a sequel. The first didn't sell well despite a cleverly conceived advertising campaign complete with a fake game mocking call of duty. It had a lot of replayability between playing levels over again to maximize score and going online to play with friends. If there ever IS a sequel (Hey, it's happening to Beyond Good and Evil and Mirror's Edge) I'd like to see more cool and creative weapons/skillshots. In particular it would be sweet to see a huge variety of environmental traps and hazards to punt enemies into. More radical, out-there enemies to mesh with the game's balls-to-the-wall insane theme would be great, too. Also, wouldn't it be awesome in the sequel if a zombified Waggleton P. Tallylicker made a triumphant return?
  • metalgatesolid - June 16, 2013 2:43 p.m.

    The game Duke Nukem should have been. Fun, violent and knows it. Havent enjoyed anything more this generation. Just great fun. Sequel... NOW.
  • -Ddraig- - June 16, 2013 1:56 a.m.

    One of the purest video games I have ever played, in the sense that video games are supposed to be fun. This made me grin like an idiot from start to finish, just a fabulous game and I am jealous of anyone who reads this article today and decides to try it for the first time. You are in for a real treat.
  • mafyooz - June 16, 2013 12:19 a.m.

    "I named him Waggleton P. Tallylicker, but I never got the chance to tell him. He will be remembered."
  • bobob101 - June 15, 2013 7:48 p.m.

    Lets not forget that GR and Dave H. also think this game is pretty good, hence the perfect score. Oh yeah, it's a super dumb-fun gore fest of @%^%#$%#%$@^%#$%#^%$%#
  • MrPkhead - June 15, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    Well timed; I just finished off Bulletstorm again last week. It looks like a shooter but it feels like a massively kinetic puzzler. With penis jokes. It has that exceptional quality for a game where just going through the various basics is intrinsically rewarding. Wrapping a bomb around the neck of a bad guy then kicking him into a cactus never, ever got old. Arkham City nailed that, Sleeping Dogs to a lesser extent. And unlike those two, the really fun basic elements can be combined in whatever way you want. It's sweeter than... well you get the idea.
  • Jbo87 - June 15, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    Hold on there just a second you fungal rimjob.
  • winner2 - June 15, 2013 3:48 p.m.

    I will kill your dicks!
  • Wavy Ranchero - June 16, 2013 2:07 a.m.

    What? What does that even mean? You're going to kill my dick? I'll kill your dick! How do you like that!?
  • randomdancingdude - June 15, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    I bet you guys won't believe this but this site just gave me a free psn code from a card and it worked!Awesomeness!!!! Got it at freepsnforever{dOt}com
  • somedude - June 15, 2013 2:43 p.m.

    It's an incredible game!
  • The_Tingler - June 15, 2013 2:42 p.m.

    I utterly loved Bulletstorm and was amazed that it didn't sell better. It made a few mistakes but it was lots of fun from start to finish, unless you were just shooting everyone and not experimenting with trying to get fun kills for better upgrade points. The multiplayer was superb too, it really required full co-operation between players to succeed on the harder stages.
  • pokepark7 - June 15, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    well in my perspective this game did sound cool but when playing it in front of other people it'l just show the dark side of a person.
  • mafyooz - June 15, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    To me personally, the fact that Call of Duty gets annual releases but Bulletstorm will probably never get a sequel is a fucking travesty! What I played of MW1 & 2 bored the crap out of me, whereas with Bulletstorm I had a massive grin on my face the entire time, both from trying to rack up the more insane kill point targets and the dialogue. Fair enough, it's not a game I can stick on when the kids are around, but General Serrano elevates swearing to level of poetry :)
  • PatHan-bHai - June 15, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    Sushid*ck! :P
  • pl4y4h - June 15, 2013 5:35 p.m.

    Not only that but it ends with perfect sequel material

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000