Bulletstorm is a collaboration from People Can Fly and Epic Games that harkens back to the heyday of first-person shooters with its over-the-top violence and endless foul-mouthed banter. You play as Grayson Hunt, leader of a group of rogue ex-military elites bent on seeking revenge against the corrupt and manipulative commanding officer that has a bounty on their heads. After crash-landing on a remote planet over-run with crazed convicts, mutated plant life, and other abominations, you must fight your way to the rotten bastard, kill him, and find a way out. If you hope to survive, you must tap into a sophisticated evaluation system designed to reward the most combat-effective soldiers with all the weaponry and supplies they need to kill with skill!
It’s a murder party, starring me!
The game’s trademark “skillshot” system provides for plenty of arcade action against hundreds of enemies, whether you’re taking careful aim to hit ‘em where it hurts most or using your surroundings to slaughter in all sorts of creative ways. In the latter case, your energy leash and strong kicking leg are just as deadly as any of the weapons you can wield. Anything in the environment that looks dangerous probably is, so all you do is get the bad guys to come in contact with those cacti, gnarled metal bars, exposed electrical wires, giant fan blades, or man-eating plants and you’re golden. There are also several pre-made traps for you to discover and use, such as an elevator in a toppled building that is called down to squash all the bad guys in its path, which was shown in one of the preview videos.
Any time you manage to kill somebody in any of the hundreds of overly violent ways, you’re treated to the instant gratification of big, bold text floating into the air, which notifies you of that skillshot’s name and point value. Like a champion figure skater, you can’t just repeat the same moves over and over, so fewer points are given for every repeated instance, down to a minimum 10-20% of its original value. You can get a multiplier bonus for group kills, though, so watch out for ways to achieve those. The key to succeeding in Bulletstorm is to always be thinking of ways to kill besides just using bullets. In fact, those “regular” kills will only give you 10 points, which is worth pretty much nothing.
All of the tens of thousands of skill points you can earn are as good as cash at the various drop-pods scattered across the planet, which act as virtual shops where you can buy weapons, upgrades, and ammo. You start out with the assault rifle, but later on you can find or buy such outrageous implements as a quad-barrel shotgun, explosive cannonball launcher, and a hand-held mining drill that impales targets at range. Not including the energy leash, there are seven weapons in all, but for some reason you can only equip three at a time, including the Peacemaker Carbine that you always carry with you. This is where you really detect that People Can Fly signature, since there are just as many wacky-yet-lethal weapons here as there were in Painkiller.
Each weapon has a charge ability (secondary fire) that uses separate, more expensive ammunition but is capable of delivering immense pain and/or immediate death to anything you point it at. For instance, the assault rifle basically turns into a railgun that can shoot through obstacles and multiple baddies, the revolver fires homing rocket flare things, and the sniper rifle shoots an explosive round that can be detonated in mid-air. Most of them have their own associated skillshot, so be sure to try them all; they especially come in handy when fighting those pesky mini-bosses.