Originally released in 2011 on Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, Gearbox Publishing has decided to roll out the red carpet for People Can Fly’s pisstake on the modern shooter (are you smelling a sequel like we are?). Bulletstorm was well-suited for its time, spitting in the face of a bevy of realistic, militarised shooters. Limiting players to two active weapons, giving players a sci-fi leash with which to fling enemies around the map and, most importantly, rewarding stylised kills, the first-pesron shooter was something different. Six years later, it can’t make that same claim.
Full Clip is the original game with a couple small tweaks: an Overkill mode unlocks all weapons from the get-go and you can also pay extra (!) to insert Duke Nukem into the game’s campaign. As is the norm for a re-release, Bulletstorm runs at 1080p or 4K, depending on your platform, at 60 frames per second. On Xbox One, things are mostly smooth, though each chapter suffers from a disappointing frame rate drop at least once when things get hectic.
Bulletstorm’s beauty comes from the idea of its skillshot system, one that rewards players with XP for creative kills. Armed with the leash and a powerful set of calves with which to kick, anti-hero Grayson Hunt is rewarded with skill points for flair. Headshots, nutshots, impalements – they’re all on the cards, and pay quite handsomely too; said points then are used to upgrade Hunt’s weaponry, opening up more types of skillshot kills. While environments are littered with spikes, combustible objects and the like, the amount of skillshots you can perform in any one area ends up rather limited. You’ll end up repeating the same types of kills in the same area far too often, which is a drag. Still, points (pun intended) for getting you to think on your feet.
As fresh as the point-gathering system is, every other thing about Bulletstorm is deplorable. The characters and idea of humour (or lack thereof) reminds me of the gritty, edgy wave of comic book anti-heroes in the late 90s. Gray and his companions aren’t funny, always dropping vulgar comments simply because they can. Around all that, they fire off insanely stupid commentary. One of the better exchanges between characters is all about ‘killing the dick’ of the other.
The twelve-year-old me is laughing uncontrollably right now (for the record, the thirty-one-year-old me didn’t find any of this funny either).
It’s fitting that John St. John’s Duke Nukem is a potential character in this game; both the Duke Nukem and Bulletstorm franchises worked better back in the past. Neither needed to come back, and hopefully, this’ll be end of them both (though, to Duke‘s credit, players had a jump button). Offered up to players as a full-priced current-gen game, Bulletstorm: Full Clip doesn’t have enough to warrant its price tag.
Gameplay, perhaps with the sound muted, is fun as all hell — but sadly, much of Bulletstorm gets in its own way. Save yourself the price tag – if you can get this on PS3 or Xbox 360, go for it. Otherwise, kick Bulletstorm: Full Clip square in the junk in an attempt to kill its dick.