Giant rampaging aliens might but be cool, but they can't compare to the pure fun of controlling a robot Godzilla that fires laser beams of destruction from his eyes and stomps on enemies hiding in a miniature city.
Humour is a big part of the game's charm, and those fearful of a relentlessly juvenile assault can relax - beyond the lewd profanity, Bulletstorm does a good job of poking fun at itself. Even uber-geeky games industry in-jokes (such as a certain Red Ring) are sent-up, offering some light relief from all the puerile puns and comic gore porn. But the easily offended should be warned: there is a truckful of both contained within Bulletstorm's walls.
As you'd expect, the game uses Epic's ubiquitous Unreal Engine 3, and dresses the old dog up nicely. Although the game looks strikingly familiar, the art direction has produced environments that are a departure from the greys and browns that UE3 has become synonymous with - with a noticeable presence of greens, yellows and red.
Bulletstorm's locales span the visual gamut, including the darkness of a metropolis where building are traced by the gleam of twilight; a mutant botanical garden where deadly plant life glows vibrantly as it menacingly squirms to life; and dark underground caves where makeshift mutant settlements are eerily lit to cover ambushes and everything in between. There's even a few odd locations such as a nightclub and a city mall that serve as welcome palette cleansers.
The game isn't entirely without its faults in the visual department, though. Unfortunately it also suffers from the 'texture fade-in' problem that plagues a number of other Unreal Engine and Epic Games titles. But these occurrences aren't frequent enough to be anything more than a trifling annoyance.
A STORM BREWING
Bulletstorm is an FPS that offers the kind of personality and tone which propelled genre icons such as Duke Nukem and Serious Sam into stardom - and one which carries this with an originality and freshness that will bring much cheer to those who have become tired of stale, earnest military shooters.
It's a bright, good-looking game with a very smart combat mechanic, one which sadly only fully thrives in multiplayer. Sometimes it seems as though PCF and Epic have ignored modern genre conventions where they would have been welcomed, but in nearly all cases, their striving for innovation (or, at least, a reckless nod to the past) pays dividends.
Yes, its vulgar and obscene nature might rub some people the wrong way, but for many Bulletstorm will be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek romp that distinguishes itself from the samey sci-fi and military shooters clogging up the genre. The game brings simple design concepts used in the infancy of the FPS to the modern day and garnishes them with all the current-generation trimmings.
If you're looking for an exciting FPS which is packed to the rafters with identity - and, of course, doesn't mind getting a little bit silly - this one comes seriously recommended.
Make sure you check out CVG's attempt to answer specific questions you asked us to consider before our Bulletstorm review through here.
Whether or not its rampant juvenile style is to you tastes, Bulletstorm is the most unique, fun first-person shooter 2011 has seen so far.
- Hugely refreshing non-stop action
- Likeable lead in Grayson
- Deeper characters than you may assume
- Varied and strategic combat
- Colourful and vibrant use of UE3
- Skillshots are ace - especially in multiplayer
- Immature humour's value doesn't last
- Unlikely plot
- Will leave you yearning for Deathmatch