Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Review
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a remastered version of the Bulletstorm game that was released on the PlayStation 3. It's one of those games that attempts to be such an over-the-top parody of shooter game tropes that it essentially becomes what it is trying to parody. It may all be done in a tongue in cheek attempt to poke fun at testosterone fueled burly men with guns taking on entire armies while spouting pithy one-liners, but it's still a game about a testosterone fueled burly man with guns taking on entire armies while spouting pithy one-liners. That being said, there are some unique elements to the game that make it different than a generic shooter and if you're not careful you just may find yourself having some fun with it.
In Bulletstorm you are Grayson Hunt, a mercenary hung out to dry on a mission designed to fail by his client General Sarrano. After managing to survive the mission, Hunt chases Sarrano into space, finally catching up with him in orbit around the planet Stygia. The battle sends both ships crashing to the planet's surface, and Hunt takes off with his cyborg companion, Ishi, in tow in pursuit of Sarrano to exact his revenge.
Central to Bulletstorm's gameplay is its "kill with skill" system. Every kill in the game awards you with skill points, and the more elaborate the kill, the more points you'll earn. These points are used as currency in the game to purchase weapon upgrades and extra ammo, so they pay off beyond the satisfaction and visual appeal of pulling off skilled kills. Each weapon in the game has its own list of skill kills, and each of these lists is extensive. Aiding your quest to kill enemies in as many unique ways as possible are a pair of tools that are unusual for a shooter: an energy leash and your foot.
Bulletstorm gives you the ability to kick enemies, and once you've kicked an enemy he'll float through the air in slow-motion in a bullet-time style effect giving you a few extra seconds to be precise with your follow-on attack. The energy leash can be used to latch onto distance enemies and send them flying towards you, again in slow motion. Leash an enemy, kick him into a spiked plant, and earn a skilled kill. Leash a hot dog cart, kick it at a group of enemies, shoot its propane tank, and earn multiple skilled kills. Discovering new kills on your own is surprisingly fun, but completionists can always consult the kill lists to see which ones they're still missing in an attempt to try and perform them all.
While all of the killing with skill is fun, you'll always be limited by what's available in the area. You can't kill a guy with a hot dog cart if there's no hot dog cart nearby. This takes just a little bit of the fun out of things when you realize that the level designers have set-up each area for specific types of kills and you're not quite as free to be creative as it first appears. This feeling is reinforced by the tight linearity of the levels. There's one very well defined path through the entire game and there's no opportunity to stray from it in the least bit.
Bulletstorm provides additional single player modes if you'd just rather focus on the action and forgo the story. Echoes mode takes the battle highlights of the story mode and packages them into individual levels - no story, no cutscenes, all action. You'll also be given a full complement of weapons, which you probably won't have for most of these levels if you played them in story mode. You'll be scored on each of the levels based on your kill skill points and the time it takes you to finish the level, so there's a built-in challenge factor that adds an element of replayabilty to these levels. Ultimate Echoes mode is similar to Echoes, except that it adds a set of objectives for each level. Lastly, Overkill mode will open up once you finish the campaign. This mode gives you access to all the weapons and upgrades in the game from the very start of the campaign, so it's like a cheat code mode in a way.
Bulletstorm has multiplayer support, but it doesn't come in the form of a kill with sill free for all. The multiplayer mode is instead an arena style co-op play in which you must work together to fend off waves of attackers. In the spirit of the single player game, killing with skill is important because waves end when you've reached the requisite number of skill points. This mode is truly co-op in that you'll need to work together to get the team skill kills, so if a random match teams you up with a couple of lone wolves you won't be getting very far. This mode is one of those that will be fun while its novel, but that doesn't have enough going for it to keep you hooked for the long term.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a remaster, which always leads to questions of how good it looks compared to the original. While I couldn't do a side-by-side comparison of graphics for technical and logistical reasons, I can say that Bulletstorm passes for a PS4 game without too much difficulty. It's not as impressive as some of the top-tier titles that were developed natively for the PS4, but it doesn't look bad or completely last-gen by any means.
Final Rating: 80% - Killing with skill lifts Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition above the generic shooters it tries to parody.