Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Bulletstorm Review

Kid Safe: Very Low                     Game Quality: High

Genre: First-Person Shooter
-          These game are characterized by the viewpoint and weapons used in the title. In a first person shooter, you are looking down the barrel of a gun as though you yourself are holding the weapon. Likewise, as the term "shooter" implies, the game specifically uses guns and firearms.

Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          Bulletstorm features a moderate amount of internet requirement due to two available online-multiplayer modes. While these modes are generally unimpressive versus the wide variety of well-constructed multiplayer modes on the market, they are generally enjoyable and can add multiple hours of gameplay to this title.

Story Summary: In Bulletstorm, you play the role of the less-than-charming, Grayson Hunt, an elite ex
special forces soldier who, with his squad, was exiled by the Confederacy of Man when they stumbled upon the truth behind their corrupt General's back-alley dealings and government-endorsed murders. Now, deep in the heart of space, Hunt unexpectedly meets face to face with his ex-general's flagship, the Ulysses. In a drunken rage, Hunt manages to attack and bring down both his and the general's ship onto the forgotten paradise planet, Elysium, that has been overrun with mutants, monsters, carnivorous plants, and corporate secrets. Can you escape Elysium alive and bring justice to those lost?

Kid Safe: Very Low
-          Foul Language: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   Bulletstorm has, by far, some of the worst language that I have ever run into in any video game. This game features a massive amount of foul language, including, but not limited to: h*ll, d*mn, s*it, c*nt, d*ck, s*ut, p*ssy, f*ck, motherf*cker, and an endless stream of other profanity, inappropriate references, and commentary. This language is not limited to any singular character; just about every word that comes out of every character, with the exception of a robotic member of the team, essentially speaks in profanity. While I would love to give you an accurate assessment, I stopped recording the language after recording roughly 3 pages worth of profanity; it was mind boggling.

-          Violence and Gore: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   Not to stop at foul language, Bulletstorm also features an exceedingly high amount of violence, blood, and gore. To begin, as a first person shooter, the primary focus of the gameplay is to run around with a variety of firearms and weapons and kill, main, and destroy different enemy targets. In Bulletstorm, most of these targets include a variety of mutated raiders and vagabonds, but also include a number of different monsters, carnivorous plants, and even normal human soldiers. Enemies' heads, arms, and bodies will often explode in a spray of gore and viscera when killed. Blood sprays from enemies as they are fired upon or injured.

o   Players are able to use a number of different weapons including pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, miniguns, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers. Players are also able to forcibly kick enemies as well as use a "leash" weapon that allows them to telekinetically(?) pick up enemies and throw them around the environments. Players are also encouraged to use a variety of dangerous objects in the world to dispatch enemies including, but not limited to, massive spiky cactuses, patches of debris, and shards of spikes and iron of which to impale enemies on, cliffs to kick enemies off, chunks of building to drop on enemies, explosive barrels and electronics to ignite and kill enemies with, and more. Players are rewarded with more points based on how brutally they dispatch a target through "skillshots, or by using unique methods of murder.

o   Finally, players will run into a large number of scripted scenes where they will experience excessive amounts of blood, gore, and violence. There are a massive number of rooms and areas where players will find dripping blood, gore, and excrement along with piles of mutilated bodies, limbs, and skulls. Aside from visual gore, the game offers a fair amount of reference to the ramifications of death. In multiple scenes, a certain character makes reference to the fact that many of the people who are dying or have been killed all have families that will never see their loved ones again.
-          Sexually-Related Content: High
o   Bulletstorm features a high amount of sexually-related content that is found primarily in sexual reference along with some notable nudity. To begin, the game features an absolutely ridiculous amount of sexual innuendo and reference. A number of the games "skillshots", which reward points for unique methods of murder, are named in sexual innuendo. Some of examples of these skillshot names include, "Topless", "Gangbang", Rear Entry", "Sausage Fest", "Gag Reflex", "Drilldo", and "Ejeculated". On top of this, there are multiple conversations that mention d*cks, v*ginas, p*ssies, and f*ggots. Other examples also include scenes where characters, in banter back and forth, make multiple reference to venereal diseases, sex with each others' mothers, and sexual intercourse.

o   As far as the nudity is concerned, it is primarily found while fighting enemies. Players are able to expose the bare buttocks of mutants and cannibals in order to shoots them in the rear end for special points; see "Rear Entry" and "Fire in the Hole" skillshots.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: High
o   Bulletstorm features a high amount of alcohol usage, but no notable drug usage. The game features a multitude of scenes where different characters are intoxicated; the game actually starts with your character drunkenly interrogating a bounty hunter and shooting empty bottles off his head. As you play through the game, players are able to collect bottles of liquor (the game actually tracks how many you collect), imbibe them, and then rewards the player with more points if they kill enemies while intoxicated; providing them a special skillshot that is literally called "Intoxicated". When a player drinks liquor, the screen blurs, the camera sways here and there, and controls are difficult.

o   Aside from actually drinking, there are multiple advertisements in game that endorse actual consumption. Probably one of the biggest examples are a number of vending machines that you come across while playing that feature a large picture of a glass of scotch and a number of alcohol related slogans. The first slogan I heard, quite literally, was "Have another drink, blame it on your upbringing".

Game Quality: High
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   Bullestorm offers a high level of quality in terms of graphics and visuals. This title was built using what is called the "Unreal Tournament Engine", a well-revered piece of basic visual technology that allows a group of developers to build different games using the same basic design principals. In other, simpler words, they are using a program that has been used before to help build a different game. Now, before you think of this as a bad thing, allow me to reassure you, the Unreal Tournament Engine that was used to create this game has received a multitude of awards for its flawless performance over the years; Bulletstorm was no different. Using this engine, the game features an absolutely amazing rendition of everything from the rocky, desert terrain outside of the cities to the crumbling collapse and debris of the urban areas.

o   Ontop of the already masterful portrayal using the Unreal Engine, the Bulletstorm developers added two very notable features that really intensify the visuals in this title. First is the color scheme. While good, one of the major problems with the engine is that almost everything consists of dark browns, blacks, and grays; a very drab color tone. In BulletStorm, everything has gorgeous and vibrant color. I was blown away as I stood on the side of a cliff and looked out over the setting sun behind a crashing waterfall over a blue-green lagoon or as I marveled at the massive, failing cityscape sprawled out for miles in front of me.

o   There are only two problems of note with Bulletstorm. The first is that, due to using a slightly older engine, a large number of environments have "texture" issues; i.e. this means that a lot of different stuff looks slightly blurry. While visually it's still impressive, it's not quite up to snuff compared to a number of other games that have been released recently. The same can be said about the facial animations for human beings; no one seems to be able to move their facial muscles. Almost everyone looks like they are talking with cottonballs shoved into their cheeks, just moving their lips and jaws and showing little movement in the rest of their face. While these aren't major problems, they do stand out.
-          Audio: High
o   Bulletstorm features a pretty imprevious audio score, boasting a high level of quality when it comes to sounds and music. While it does not stand out on any one things, Bulletstorm generally performs admirably across the board. The music is nicely done and a number of different rock solos and beats accompany high tension moments throughout the gameplay, adding a wonderful boost to the intensity of the scene. Likewise, the sounds are equally good, with unique sounds for a wide variety of stuff in-game including roars and screams from the different monsters and creatures, a full range of gunshots for the many different weapons, and the creaks and groans of the environments around you. The same can be said for the voice acting in the game; it is generally well done and actors portray a decent range of emotion with their voices alone.

o   The main problem with Bulletstorm's audio quality just comes from a lack of overwhelming impact. Everything in music and sound is well-done, good by most standards, but really doesn't stand out as mind blowing or impressive.

-          Gameplay / Playability: Very High
o   Bullestorm features a high quality of both gameplay and playability. To start off with playability, the game caters to players that might not be the best at video games. All of the controls are inherent with accepted "shooter" controls; i.e. there is very little variation between Bulletstorm's control scheme and most any other first person shooter on the market. Plus, all of the controls are explained right off of the bat; slowly leading you through a unique and interesting introduction to the story, all the while telling you what button you need to push and how to play. Finally, should you forget a certain control or button, the game will almost always remind you of what you need to do. Anything that a player interacts with will always be labeled on-screen with whatever button you need to press. The same goes for "skillshots"; players are always able to access a menu that tells you exactly what you need to earn a skillshot and, thus, earn more points.

o   The gameplay for Bullestorm is equally impressive and offers a wide range of different features. We have already mentioned the "skillshots" several times; these shots allow players to earn more points based on how they perform in combat. The game has over a hundred different skillshots that are constantly unlocked as they play through the game; thus always giving a player something new to achieve. On top of the skillshots, the game itself is widely varied in its design. Almost every firearm has a unique and interesting design or has  multiple fire-modes that offer unique designs; some examples include a grenade launcher that fires two grenades on a chain to tie up enemies with or a pistol that turns into a rocket launcher.

o   Weapons and skillshots aside, Bulletstorm also offers a variety in the gameplay itself. Players won't just be using guns to shoot at enemies. Players will have the opportunity to fly a fighter craft in space to fun down enemy aircraft. They will get the chance to both fight and control a massive godzilla-like robot. They will be faced with timed challenges and be provided additional means of moving through the story based on how quickly and accurately they can think through a given dilemma. I was actually rather impressed just by how much more Bulletstorm had to offer over just gunning down enemies.
-          Dollar-Value: High
o   As you might have guessed, Bulletstorm has a relatively high dollar value. The only reason that it got marked down and did not receive a "very high" ranking is because it lacks a competitive online-multiplayer function that would have added a great deal more gameplay. The single-player story clocks in at about 8 hours of gameplay; pretty standard as far as first-person shooter games go. On top of that, the game features two online multiplayer modes that are interesting, but don't add a lot of incentive to keep playing once you're done. The first is the "Echo Mode" which allows players to play cooperatively with each other through short missions online. The second is a game-mode where players must fight off increasingly-dangerous waves of enemies. Once again, all of these different modes are good, but add little incentive to replay after their completion.

-          If you are looking for a game with less mature rated content, just about any other first-person shooter will do; perhaps with the exception of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Personally, I believe any of the Battlefield or Ghost Recon: Advance War Fighter titles would be excellent choices at the majority of them are all Teen Rated by the ESRB ratings system. On the flipside, if you are looking for a game with more creative and interesting gameplay, few can hold a candle to this title; however, two good recommendations might be Borderlands or Gears of War.

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