BulletstormBulletstorm is a 2011 first-person shooter video game made by Polish developer People Can Fly and the American company Epic Games, and is published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The game was released on February 22, 2011 in North America and on February 25, 2011 in Europe.
The game is distinguished by its sense of style and crass humor, rewarding players with points for performing increasingly ludicrous and creative kills. Bulletstorm does not have any competitive multiplayer modes, preferring instead to include cooperative online play as well as score attack modes.
Bulletstorm PlotBulletstorm takes place in the 26th century, where the universe is run by the Confederation of Planets. Star General Sarrano sends his secret black ops team, the Dead Echo team, led by Grayson Hunt (Steven Blum), to do his dirty work. Following Sarrano's orders and assassinating those whom they believe are criminals, Dead Echo kill a man known as Bryce Novak, but soon discover he was a civilian reporter, documenting civilian deaths caused by Dead Echo. Grayson and his team realize they have been duped by Sarrano and desert, becoming space pirates on the run from Sarrano's forces.
Ten years later, Grayson drunkenly attacks Sarrano's battlecruiser, the Ulysses, while near the planet of Stygia. Grayson rams the Ulysses, hoping to gain revenge on Sarrano. The ships collide, forcing both to crash land on the surface of Stygia. One of Grayson's men, Ishi Sato (Andrew Kishino), is critically wounded in the crash and Grayson is forced to find an energy cell to drive the ship's medical equipment. On the planet, a former popular tropical-like resort destination, the population has mutated into feral tribes and carnivorous plants. Grayson fights through to one of the Ulysses escape pods, and retrieves the escape pod's energy cell, as well as an "instinct leash." The leash, when worn, begins to provide him strange tactile information, such as points for each enemy he kills.
Grayson returns with the cell, and while Ishi is under operation, the mutants attack their ship, leaving Ishi a disfigured cyborg. Grayson and Ishi, the only survivors, decide to work together to get off the planet, despite Ishi's disapproval of Grayson's thirst for revenge. The instinct leash leads Grayson to another escape pod, where they find Trishka (Jennifer Hale), a Final Echo soldier who agrees to work with Grayson and Ishi, but only after they rescue Sarrano. As they battle through the ravaged city, Trishka explains that Stygia has been used by Final Echo as a sort of training grounds, with the instinct leashes the soldiers wear as a means of ranking those within the test; those that scored kills would be the only ones that could get ammunition and other supplies to survive. When Grayson learns that Trishka was Novak's daughter, he tells her that Sarrano was responsible for her father's death, but claims he does not know who actually killed him.
The three make their way to the top of a skyscraper where Sarrano's pod landed. Trishka accuses Sarrano of her father's death, but he simply pushes her off the side of the building. Sarrano then warns Grayson and Ishi that there is an armed "DNA bomb" on the Ulysses that will wipe out all life on the planet, and they must go and disarm it, as his rescue ship will not arrive in time. As they travel underground, Sarrano explains that prison convicts were used as the labor force to maintain the planet; they rebelled when toxic byproducts, created by the planet's solar radiation shields, were dumped in the underground prison. The convicts destroyed the shields, exposing the entire population to mutating radiation.
Aboard the Ulysses, Sarrano tricks Grayson and Ishi into arming what was actually an inert bomb, and leaves them to die. As fire breaks out aboard the fallen ship, the two are saved by Trishka, who survived the fall by catching a power line on her way down.
The three race to where Sarrano's rescue ship is landing and manage to get on board. They make their way through Sarrano's elite troops and eventually face Sarrano alone. Trishka demands to know who actually killed her father, and Sarrano reveals Grayson's squad carried out the order. As they talk, Sarrano hijacks Ishi's computer systems with his own leash, forcing Ishi to turn on his friends. Grayson manages to break Sarrano's control of Ishi, and Ishi sacrifices himself to save Grayson. Grayson then impales Sarrano on the wall of a ship, leaving him for dead, but Sarrano performs one final act: ejecting Grayson, Trishka and several of his men from the ship back onto the planet.
Grayson and Trishka race back to the Ulysses where one escape pod remains unlaunched; they are able to board it and escape into low orbit, propelled into space by the explosion of the DNA bomb. Grayson and Trishka have a short chat in the escape pod concerning Grayson's revenge, the loss of his team, and Sarrano's escape. The scene fades after Trishka asks Grayson what he is going to do about Sarrano escaping.
After the credits, it is revealed that Sarrano was revived, now a cyborg like Ishi, and Ishi has also been revived now under Sarrano's control.
Bulletstorm GameplayAs a first-person shooter, Bulletstorm focuses on combat, both with firearms and melee attacks. There are a variety of fictional firearms available, although the game also places heavy emphasis on kicking enemies and using the energy leash.
The weapons range from a pistol to a cannon that shoots a bolas weighted by grenades. The player can aim down the weapon's iron sights or optical sights for increased accuracy. Each weapon has an "alternate fire" mode which uses charges; for example, the assault rifle's alternate fire is a single blast of bullets that destroy almost everything in its path. Much of the story and gameplay revolves around the "energy leash", a rope of energy projected from a device on Grayson's left hand. The leash allows him to pull enemies towards him, activate certain devices and traps, and slam down a ball of energy that launches all nearby enemies into the air. The player can also kick enemies and run and slide into them. If an enemy is launched into the air from the whip or by being kicked, the enemy goes into slow motion to allow the player more opportunity to perform skillshots.
One of the game's unique features is the "skillshot" gameplay system, which rewards the player for killing opponents in the most creative and destructive ways possible, from killing an enemy in midair to pushing an enemy into a carnivorous plant to executing an enemy after shooting him in the testicles. The more complicated or unusual the skillshot, the more points players acquire. The points are used to purchase weapons and upgrades. The weapons are unlocked at set points throughout the game, and after a weapon has been "re-armed" by purchasing it, a "charge shot" for the gun is unlocked at another set point.
Points are used as currency at "dropkits" scattered across the planet, which the player can use to replenish munitions. The dropkits include a gun shop, a skillshot checklist, and gameplay statistics. The player cannot upgrade their weapons, but can equip different guns, purchase ammunition, upgrade the amount of ammunition they can carry, and even purchase special-ammunition "charges". The player can equip up to three weapons, the assault rifle being the default weapon; it is always equipped, and is considered the main prop weapon in cutscenes.
Bulletstorm uses a recharging health system, in which damage to the player is reflected by the screen turning red, and the player quickly returns to full health when not taking damage.
ReceptionBulletstorm has received positive reviews from critics. The game scored 9.1/10 from CVG, 8/10 from IGN, 9/10 from Eurogamer, 9.25/10 from Game Informer, 10/10 from GamesRadar. and 8/10 from Jeuxvideo.fr.
Game Informer's Tim Turi gave Bulletstorm a 9.25/10, praising the game's degree of character control, which he compared to Mirror's Edge. He also praised the game's darkly humorous storyline, calling it a "goofy sci-fi romp that doesn't deserve to have its cut-scenes skipped", and also liked Bulletstorm's complex Skillshot-based combat and weapons system, praising them as very creative. However, he criticized the game's lack of multiplayer maps and the final hours of the campaign, calling it "stale". Eurogamer synthesis of the game was that it was "an astonishingly clever game folded up inside an exquisitely stupid one".
However, several reviewers criticized the game design. For example, 1UP.com and The Escapist judged that the plot was overly serious considering the focus put by the designers on the gameplay, "dragging the game down." Others considered that the multiplayer part of the game was limited and "gets tiresome". NoFrag found the plot fairly conventional and the dialogues not really funny, and the end of the solo campaign "sugary" contrary to the developers which said that the game was not taking itself too seriously. The game was also using too many quick time and scripted events for their liking, often breaking the flow of the gameplay.
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