Bulletstorm – Demo Impressions

Racking up the points by toasting an enemy.

Bulletstorm is the next game from Epic Games, the studio behind Unreal and Gears of War among others. It’s being co-developed by a subsidiary of Epic Games, People Can Fly, themselves known for the PC first-person shooter, Painkiller.. As the demo starts Grayson Hunt, the main character, introduces himself and a little about the game, all the while harassing the player; from the get go, Bulletstorm looks to be a dumb, offensive, madcap, and ultimately, fun game.

The demo consists of one level, and as Grayson Hunt and crew make it to the end they have to kill with skill. Instead of playing out like a standard FPS where you’re solely focused on getting from A to B, Bulletstorm is more interested in you killing enemies in creative ways and giving you more points for doing so; it’s more about getting a high score, then reaching the end of a level. I can tell that the leaderboards will be one of the more interesting aspects to Bulletstorm and will keep players coming back. There will be a story mode, and while I assume from the demo that the story will be over-the-top zany and provide an entertaining experience, what draws me towards Bulletstorm is the potential competition between friends, and if there were to be a challenge room type mode where you play individual levels, attempting only to best your friends’ scores, that would be very appealing.

There are only three side arms in the demo, but they are all extremely deadly, and that’s before taking advantage of their alternate fires, producing even more gruesome results. Besides the standard weapons, Grayson Hunt also has a whip-like item that grabs enemies and jolts them towards you, with time slowing down when they’re right in front of you. It’s very easy to utilize and I used it as a beginner to combos. Afterwards, I’d kick the enemy away and unload on them, headshots on their flailing bodies, ripping their bodies apart with explosives, or by just shooting them into some dastardly part of the environment.

Grayson Hunt with the leash in action, yanking an enemy towards him.

The demo took place in a destroyed city full of rubble and debris, which leads me to believe Bulletstorm will take place in war-torn environments. The environment in the demo was quite drab, but the game as a whole looks to be brighter than the Gears of Wars games, a complaint of mine towards them. Bulletstorm will be a very vulgar game, the violence is ridiculous, and the profanity is profound, with the demo combining profanities for interesting results, for example, at the end of the demo Grayson Hunt called me dick-tits and suggested that the game wasn’t going to pre-order itself; yet it’s easy to not take offense at the game’s vulgarity, Bulletstorm is crude, but the tone of everything is humorous and cheeky.

I’d stayed in the dark about Bulletstorm up until now; it didn’t interest me at first glance but after playing the demo I can see that Bulletstorm is a quality game with a unique combination of gameplay mechanics that provide for an enjoyable time. The story looks to be a dumb, over-the-top, fun time, and I’m sure the multiplayer will be seriously good, but the real draw for me will be the competition between friends on the leaderboards.

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