One of the first things you'll notice about Bulletstorm is the writing. I'm not talking about the plot, that's a simple revenge affair. I'm talking about the "adult" language. I can't figure out if it was written by a fourteen year old trying to sound like an adult, or if this is what people on a committee think eighteen year olds want to hear. I mean, I like a good "murder boner" as well as the next guy, but it just gets so stupid. Then it gets really funny. After a few hours in the campaign you may convince yourself the writing is smart and clever. I can't really tell if it got better or if the writing simply damaged my brain enough to adapt my mind to its whims. The end result is hilarious and entertaining, even if it makes you feel a little dumber.
The game starts out simply enough. The main character, Grayson Hunt (who sounds suspiciously like Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop), is a disgraced soldier turned space pirate. He was once part of an elite military task force dubbed "Dead Echo." Now he and his comrades are hunted by bounty hunters, while they themselves seek revenge against the government they used to work for. Bulletstorm starts out with the obligatory tutorial, and other than a pretty sweet fireman's kick, seems as vanilla as a discount sundae. After a stupefying turn of events, we find Grayson and what's left of his crew on a once luxurious resort planet. While the planet is still beautiful (remarkably so), it is now populated by gangs of savage men and mutants. None of this really matters, though. Minutes after crashing onto the planet, you acquire an Energy Leash, an "instinct moderated weapon." This is what separates Bulletstorm from your standard space marine FPS, and it is glorious.
The title screen screams campaign co-op, but alas, it was not to be.
By now you have most likely played the demo or at least seen one of the many "Skillisodes." This is a game made exclusively for adults, or children whose parents don't read ESRB labels. Ridiculously foul language is accompanied by incredibly violent "Skill Shots." The game's mantra is "Kill with Skill," and the gameplay exemplifies it perfectly. You can stomp through Bulletstorm easily enough. Even with the lack of a cover system you have to really work to be killed in the campaign on Normal difficulty.
We played both the PC and 360 version of the game and found the PC version controlled a bit smoother, making it even easier than its console counter-part. If you're going to play on the PC, we definitely recommend bumping up the difficutly. The PC version of the game is also extremely gorgeous, gamers with high end rigs are going to be treated to some seriously impressive visuals. Both versions of the game offer something much more than your traditional grays and browns. Color is everywhere and its a welcome addition.
Picture this, but everywhere.
Bulletstorm actually makes playing for points fun again. And with a unique resupply system, the skill shots become a necessity instead of a novelty. There are Drop Kits spread through out the entire campaign. These re-supply points enable you to upgrade your leash and other weapons. The currency for these upgrades comes from your Skill Shots. So if you just blasted through ten enemies with simple body shots, you may find yourself low on ammo. At 10 points a kill you just got yourself 100 points for the drop kit, which won't even buy you an ammo clip. But if you head shot one guy, then kick another into some exposed rebar, leash another into an electrified sign, kick a hot dog stand into a cluster of enemies and then fire on it, causing it to explode, and then cap it all off with a shot to the groin followed by a head crushing stomp, you will be flush with thousands of points. You will also have performed the Skill Shots "Headshot," "Voodoo Doll," "Shocker," "Sausage Fest," and "Mercy."
This can all be done with the standard PMC rifle and leash. There are more weapons to unlock, each with a delicious charge shot that will obliterate your enemies and rack up the skill points. For example, there's a flail gun that fires two grenades attached together by a chain. Charge it up, and it becomes red hot, slicing through foes like, well, a red hot chain. The title actually does a very good job of explaining why there's a heads up display and why you are being graded on your methods of murder, but that's for you to find out. Or you can just skip that cut scene and get back to the killing.