Now the developer Gearbox remastered it as Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition for Xbox One and PC, making a great game even better. Will those enhancements (and the addition of Duke Nukem) be enough to win over gamers?
- See Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition on the Xbox Store
- See Duke Nukem's Bulletstorm Tour on the Xbox Store (opens in new tab)
Bulletstorm takes place in the far future, with mankind traveling between planets and solar systems via massive starships. Protagonist Grayson Hunt (who goes by Gray) is the leader of Dead Echo, a small black-ops squad that's been performing covert assassinations for Star General Serrano.
During one of these missions, they discover that Serrano has tricked them into murdering numerous civilians rather than military targets and criminals. Flashing forward several years, Gray and his team encounter Serrano's flagship in the far reaches of space. Gray drunkenly insists on attacking the enormous ship, a decision which will cost his crew greatly.
Soon, Gray and one of his teammates awaken on a hostile desert planet somewhat reminiscent of Borderlands' Pandora. This partner has been forcibly turned into a cyborg, RoboCop-style, after losing nearly half his body in an explosion. The operation leaves him in a constant state of pain and forces him to battle an aggressive AI for control of his mind. Still, our cyborg sidekick must work with his former commander if he's ever to find peace.
As you can tell, the narrative here is darker than your average shooter. Gray is an extremely flawed protagonist (somewhat artificially voiced by Steve Blum), one with much to atone for by the end of the game.
As serious as Bulletstorm's story can be, it's even more laden with profanity. Virtually every character drops multiple expletives during every conversation, as does Gray during gameplay. Even in multiplayer, players will endure an announcer who refers to them as "blowjobs" and other gratuitous euphemisms during the action.
The florid language can be funny in its daringness, not unlike the effect South Park had during its early days. Still, the copious crassness wears thin at times, especially if you (like me) generally try to keep your language clean. Thankfully, profanity can be disabled in the options, so you can always tone it down once it wears out its welcome.
Run, gun, and grab
Bulletstorm is a first-person shooter that shares stylistic similarities to Gears of War, which makes sense since Epic Games codeveloped the original game along with Polish studio People Can Fly (which ported the original Gears of War to PC back in 2007). Still, the gameplay deviates from Microsoft's Gears series in several ways.
The big gameplay innovation here is the energy leash, a grappling weapon Gray acquires during the prologue. You can use the leash to grab and move environmental obstacles, but that's only part of the fun. The rest comes from pulling enemies to any number of deaths, sticking them to spikes and cacti, throwing them off of ledges, into fire or electricity, and much more.
Gray can kick or slide-kick enemies into things, as well. All of these mechanics cause time to briefly slow down, which is all the better to chain kicks and grabs as you set up devastating kills. Most such kills qualify as Skillshots, Bulletstorm's other unique gameplay wrinkle.
Skillshots reward players for creative kills. Killing enemies in mid-air, using a weapon's unique Charge abilities, environmental kills, headshots and more, all qualify as Skillshots and award points to spend on weapon upgrades. You can pause and check the Skillshot list to see which ones you haven't done yet; these award the most points. Skillshots help keep the moment-to-moment gameplay fresh, since you're always encouraged to try new things.
Less impressively, Bulletstorm has no proper cover system. You can duck to avoid fire by clicking in the analog stick, but that's a far cry from the sublime sticky cover mechanics of Gears. The lack of sticky cover (or even a way to jump or roll) makes Bulletstorm's gameplay feel a tad dated, but the energy leash and Skillshot systems mostly make up for it.
The single biggest mistake during Bulletstorm's development is that the campaign has no co-op multiplayer support. Given the general similarities to Gears of War, shared staff between both games, and the story pairing Gray with a partner, it would have made so much sense to allow two players to team up to take the game on. No such luck here, unfortunately.
Still, Bulletstorm does have an online cooperative mode called Anarchy (split-screen is not supported). Up to four players can team up in 12 different Anarchy maps with the goal of surviving 20 waves of enemies. Between waves, you can spend points earned on upgrades, a welcome addition to the standard Horde-mode formula.
Just wiping out the enemies isn't enough to win in Anarchy mode. You've got to do it with style. Each wave has a score target that can only be reached by performing Skillshots and the occasional co-op Skillshots. Fail to reach the target, and the team must replay the wave. These targets are mostly doable – my team only failed a few times on the way to Wave 20.
Anarchy mode can be fun, but it feels archaic compared to more robust Horde modes in games like Gears of War 4 and Sniper Elite 4. Bulletstorm never got to improve Anarchy mode in sequels, so that makes sense. But the small arenas and a general lack of variety during individual co-op games limit Anarchy's long-term potential.
As if that wasn't enough, matchmaking leaves a lot to be desired. You can't just create a public lobby and sit in it until someone joins (like you could with most games). Instead, one must search for Quick Match and hope that others are searching at the same time. After a few minutes, the search times out and you have to search again. I spent numerous attempts searching in vain before finally getting matched up with another player. I suspect many gamers will fail their first search and never try again.
Duke Nukem's Bulletstorm Tour
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition includes little new content, other than a few forgettable single-player Echo (challenge) maps. Mostly, you just get the original game with much improved graphics and all of its downloadable content in one package.
Still, Gearbox and team produced one new paid DLC (which was free for preorders) called Duke Nukem's Bulletstorm Tour. As the name implies, this DLC brings the once-popular first person shooter (FPS) hero Duke Nukem into the world of Bulletstorm.
The Duke DLC doesn't add a new game mode or levels like you might expect. Instead, it simply lets you play as Duke Nukem instead of Grayson Hunt in the main campaign. Duke speaks newly recorded lines and shows up in cinematics, but everything else stays the same. The other characters even refer to him as Gray, which is bizarre. Duke frequently corrects them and says plenty of other goofy things, adding some nice humor to the normally serious narrative.
The Duke Nukem's Bulletstorm Tour DLC sells for $5. That's just the right price for what it offers – a silly new way to experience the game. If you don't care about Duke, you can easily skip the DLC without losing out on anything important.
The Xbox One version of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition has 60 Achievements worth a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. These include all of the Achievements from the original Xbox 360 game and its two DLCs, which are included by default here. The Duke Nukem DLC does not have its own Achievements.
Goals include beating the game on the highest difficulty, finding two different types of collectibles, reaching level 30 in Anarchy multiplayer (I got to level 18 in one complete game), and numerous Achievements tied to specific levels and Skillshots. Levels can be replayed at will, so nothing is missable. But with 60 Achievements and so many Skillshots to go after, it will take a fair number of hours to get them all.
Bulletstorm was a great game for its time, but mismanagement by original publisher EA kept it from finding an audience. Maybe the world wasn't ready for an ultra potty-mouthed shooter set in a dark science fiction future. Things looked a lot brighter back then, and we were all so innocent.
If any game from a previous generation deserved a second chance, it's Bulletstorm. And that's just what Gearbox has given it with the Full Clip Edition. They fully remastered the visuals in Unreal Engine 4, bringing high-resolution textures and models to Xbox One with a (generally) 60 FPS frame rate. You get all of the original DLC, too, and that's pretty much it. Oh, and the Xbox One version currently costs $59.99.
- Looks as good as any current-gen game thanks to fully remastered graphics.
- A thrilling campaign with lots of variety and spectacular set pieces.
- The energy leash weapon and Skillshots keep the moment-to-moment gameplay fresh.
- No campaign co-op in a game that cries out for it.
- Anarchy multiplayer is limited and suffers from poor matchmaking.
- Would benefit from a proper cover system.
It's a shame the developers didn't fix up Anarchy mode or add something brand new for players who've already experienced the game. But since so many gamers (including me) missed out on Bulletstorm the first time around, the Full Clip Edition still makes for a fairly compelling package. Let's hope this version sells well enough to justify a sequel. A Bulletstorm 2 with modern gameplay refinements and improved multiplayer would be truly epic.
- See Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition on the Xbox Store
- See Duke Nukem's Bulletstorm Tour on the Xbox Store (opens in new tab)
Xbox One review code provided by the publisher.
I really enjoyed it the first time around on the Xbox 360. I love these kings of games. It doesn't really need a "proper cover system". The whole point is "run and gun". You slide to get out of the "bulletstorm". If I remember right, Cliff Bleszinski said it was a "balls to the wall, run and gun kind of game". If you haven't played it, and have no problem is profanity-laced games, pick it up.
This game may be awesome (never played it), but I don't like the idea of $60 remasters.
Agreed, it's an annoying practice and one of the things that stopped me from buying a Switch. I shouldn't have to pay $60 for a game I already have, let alone one that was just made prettier. Def charge money for it, but not full game price unless it has new content.
Great game, just pure fun
"Bulletstorm is a third-person shooter in the vein of Gears of War" Hah
Corrected Paul on this, failz.
Loved this game back in the day and am glad it got a re-release. But..........$60 for a 2011 game currently selling for £5.50 on PC?
I agree, the price is not right at all. Also think they should have put the effort in to make this a Play Anywhere game. £30 + PA might have been worth it
I'll most likely pick it up when it goes on sale
I loved this game on the 360. It was a very underrated shooter, and only got blasted for it's sophopmoric dialog and generous use of profanity. The skillshot system encourages you to be creative, and in my opinion makes the need for a cover system irrelevant, as you are always moving - the best way to die in this game is to stop moving. However, $60 is a bit much for a remaster, even with the added Duke stuff, which doesn't interest me
Yeah, the price is stupidly high.
I'm a bit torn since didn't pick this game up back in the day. It would be a new game to me, and with the graphics updated, it wouldn't kill me to pay full price, but I've got a backlog of games, and I know it'll eventually be on sale.
I endorse this game (and re-release). Played a bit over the weekend, so good.
If dan says its good it must be. :D:D
I hope you can turn off the swearing like you could the 360 version. I believe all Epic games had that feature
That is mentioned in the review...
Yeah, but can you turn off the profanity though?
This looks like fun and I've never played the original game. $60 is a bit much though so I'll put this one on the back burner list to grab if I see a good sale.
I like the lack of cover system. Plays like a hybrid of classic and new fps
Bought the 360 version back in the days, never really played it because I bought the game for some early access game that comes with it, can't recall what was it lol
looks fun if dan likes it i might try it eventualy i still havn't playd the latest gears that i have :D
This game is like your Quake/Doom. It isn't about cover. Lol. Amazing game. One of the best shooters of last gen. However I bought Yooka Laylee. And that game is amazing. It destroys the current crap of shower after boring shooter we have in modern gaming. 10/10 easily.
I am not really sure how cover would work in an FPS other than pulling you out of first person and considerably slowing down the action. I'll get this game, I always wanted to play the 360 version but never got the chance.
I don't care for cover, I go behind objects typically. Battlefield 4 has cover when you're behind an object , it basically gives you the option to peer over slowly and shoot.
Guns and Combos... what else? Great game! +1
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