Posted by Raine Hutchens on Feb 25, 2011

Review – Bulletstorm (Xbox 360)

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Ah, Bulletstorm. Needless to say I was more than excited to pick up this new shooter from Epic Games and People Can Fly. Ever since the game was mentioned in Game Informer it started building hype, and now that I’ve been able to play through the game I can honestly say it’s lived up to it. Let’s slide on into the review.


The storyline in Bulletstorm is a straightforward one, littered with witty comebacks and one-liners that will put you in stitches. We find ourselves taking the role of Grayson Hunt, an assassin (from a government group called Dead Echo) turned space pirate. After realizing that he is being used as a puppet by General Serrano to kill innocent people, Grayson takes his crew and disappears into the darkness of space. One night after binging himself drunk Grayson decides to take out General Serrano’s coveted ship, the Ulysses. After an ineffective pass at the ship using the forward cannons on Grayson’s own ship, he decides to use it as a bullet and sets it to blast through the Ulysses. In the process Grayson’s partner and friend, Ishi Sato becomes heavily damaged and hangs on to a thread of his life.

The explosion from the Ulyssses sends both ships down to the planet of Stygia, where crazy humans and creatures run rampant. Once on the planet Grayson sets out with another crew member to pick up a battery unit that will aid in the cybernetic reconstruction of Ishi. The duo are eventually overrun and make it back to the crashed ship in time to see Ishi reborn, at the cost of the doctor’s life. From this point on, Grayson promises Ishi that he will get him off world, and the two set out to find a means to do so. Not too soon after embarking on the mission Grayson and Ishi run into a young Echo survivor by the name of Trishka Novak. They decide to use her to aid them in getting off the planet, and find out some ironic, yet disturbing information along the way. From the meeting point forward the story turns into a journey for an escape from Stygia.

The great thing about the storyline in Bulletstorm is the dialogue. Some of the comebacks, insults, and one-liners are so clever I actually had to pause the game because I was laughing so much. The writers of the game did a great job keeping the humor built up, all while providing a sense of importance within each character’s relationships.

My only complaint about the storyline in Bulletstorm is that it does a great job of building to a climactic ending, but in the end closes off in a somewhat un-epic way. I feel like the game’s campaign could have been drawn out a bit more, with more emphasis on the end encounter. I won’t give too much away, but after I beat the game I felt like I was shorthanded a bit.


The gameplay in Bulletstorm is like nothing I’ve encountered before. The game plays as a first-person shooter focused around that are called Skillshots – different ways of disposing of enemies using different weaponry and the environment around you. There are many different Skillshots to discover for each weapon, most of them referencing a sexual or violent act. Grayson is equipped with an electric leash that allows him to pull in enemies. This allows for a boot, sending enemies into spikes and other environmental hazards, or he can launch them into the air for a multi-kill combo. The Skillpoints earned from enemies can be used to purchase ammo, weapon upgrades, and leash upgrades. Using these upgrades, Grayson has a ton of Skillshots available to him, each new one granting more and more points. The game really forces players to use their heads when playing in order to get higher amounts of points to spend.

While the introduction of upgradable weapons isn’t all that new, Bulletstorm offers them to you in a very different way than most games. Bulletstorm wants you to use everything you have at your disposal to be as creative as possible. There’s no one right way to beat a level or enemy. I found much enjoyment in replaying levels just to see if I could rack up more points, but that’s an entirely different part of the game.

I honestly feel like Bulletstorm has done a great job with keeping players on their toes, all while not being too overdramatic and difficult. The gameplay offered in this title will keep me playing for a long while, just to see if I can top myself.

Multiplayer/Additional Features

Bulletstorm doesn’t offer any competitive multiplayer, but it does offer a great co-op mode called Anarchy Mode. In this multiplayer mode players create teams to take on waves of enemies, trying to earn the highest amount of points possible. Players can rank up in levels, unlocking new skins and customizable pieces to add to the look of their Echo warrior. I found the Anarchy Mode a lot of fun, but when I tried to look for quick matches I found none. I believe that is because the game is so new. Hopefully more people will pick up the game and get into Anarchy Mode so that it becomes even more fun. There are plenty of maps to play through, and each mission is pretty fun. I enjoy the ability to upgrade and change weapons after every wave, because it allows for more available Skillshots to keep the points coming in.

Another mode that got added to the game is Echoes Mode in which players race through parts of a campaign level in order to score as many points as possible. Echoes Mode is really fun, and that’s what I played the most after I beat the campaign. As you earn points you also collect stars which open up new levels to compete on. You can see your stats versus friends in the leaderboards, but the rewards for Echoes Mode are slim to none, which is quite a bummer. Hopefully an update or piece of DLC will change that.

The Verdict

In the end, I loved Bulletstorm. I feel that the campaign was a bit short (I beat it in about eight hours total), and the ending was a bit anti-climactic, but I enjoyed playing. One thing I absolutely loved about it were the amazing landscapes that People Can Fly put together. While playing I found myself immersed in staring off into the bluffs and citylines of Stygia. The game looks very good, and it shows through gameplay.

While I feel that Echoes Mode and Anarchy Mode could use some attention what with the slow matchmaking and implementing something of a rewards program for Echoes, both modes provide for a lot of fun. If you’re looking for a new kind of FPS that isn’t boring like the rest, go with Bulletstorm. You’ll appreciate the humor, playability, and creativity that the game introduces.

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