If I were to come up with a short and informative description of Bulletstorm, I would say that it has the delight in mayhem from Ratchet & Clank in the setting of Gears of War. This brings Resistance to mind – a comparison that bears merit but the differences between Gears/Ratchet and Clank and Resistance highlight what is unique and interesting about Bulletstorm … There is also the issue that the setting of Gears of War is not really the strongest part of that game. Ah well, I am glad I did not have to pitch it.

Bulletstorm is a game that is all about the game mechanics and these are usually very polished and makes a highly enjoyable game. The core mechanics of manipulating your enemies in mid-air work really well and are quick to get into, the system of rewarding the player for everything seems a bit cheap at first but is very well balanced and interesting enough to encourage exploration of the game but not so important that ignoring it will break the game. The leveldesign is stellar with different concepts being explored with just the right amount of time, the difficulty ramps up nicely and new features and moves are introduced in a sensible fashion. The features do get a bit too many towards the end, there is the occasional skillshot with a seemingly random success rate and some really annoying game-breaking bugs that break up the action from time to time, but these annoyances are minor in the context of the craftsmanship.

Then, there is the rest of the game. It looks pretty, disregarding the animations which are so-so (then again, I have yet to see an Unreal 3 game with impressive animation) and sounds good, but then there is the theme and narrative. It is very clear that Bulletstorm does not take itself seriously in this regard and the story is a string of one-dimensional characters spouting one-liners and acting out action film clichées – the bar is set very low. In a way I suppose this is good, the gameplay never has to suffer because some feature is hard to describe in a realistic setting and at least Bulletstorm is successful in its attempt to create a shallow story for cheap laughs and really basic emotional commitment. Personally I thought the worst parts of the story were in the few instances where it deviated from this and tried to be serious, although I can imagine others may take issue with the swearing and lack of depth.

It is kind of hard to classify Bulletstorm; in terms of being a holistic piece it is a poor example of a game because of the narrative components and how they are presented, viewed in this light it could be classified as unimportant – entertaining, but not bringing the “Art of games” forward. Looking solely at the gameplay though, one finds refinement and fresh ideas for both mechanics and how to get people to use them – in this light Bulletstorm could be an important game for years to come. A lot of people say that as they grow old, they require more from games and the simple fun of the games from their youth is not enough to make them interested anymore, there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be intellectually challenged but I think in order to enjoy Bulletstorm one must be satisfied with being merely entertained.

2 Comments so far

  1. Linus on March 3rd, 2011

    vem är CTO på starbreeze? har ni nån?

  2. Saint on March 7th, 2011

    Inte som förr, nej. Personalstrukturen är lite ändrad och några olika människor delar på ansvaren CTO:n hade.

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Posted on Feb 25/11 by Saint and filed under Reflections | 2 Comments »