Bulletstorm: Full clip edition is a remastered and updated version of 2011’s Bulletstorm, from developers People Can Fly and publishers Gearbox Software. It was released on the 7th of April 2017 and features updated textures, frame rate and upgraded audio. The remaster also includes all previously released DLC, however, it doesn’t come with the new ‘Duke Nukem’ DLC, which unless you pre-ordered you’ll sadly have to fork out more money for. The game was fun back in 2011, and I was definitely excited to find out it was being remastered, but sadly although still a unique shooter, some elements are definitely stuck in the past.
The game kicks off with with a swift introduction to the storyline and motivations of the main protagonists, who are in themselves almost anti-heroes. After being betrayed by his previously commanding officer, player controller character Grayson Hunt recklessly pursues revenge, leading to him and his team crash landing on an alien planet. Things obviously don’t go too well from this starting point, as the team fights to survive against the harsh terrains and hostile locals.
The story is mostly the bare bones on which the gameplay is given some structure. The focus never leant too heavily on the more serious tones, instead providing humorous banter between the squad in amongst some more tense, but ultimately non-emotional moments. Considering the game was based on having crazy gun-slinging fun, I don’t think the basic story was a problem, Bulletstorm knew what it wanted to be, and had fun with the story where it could.
The Duke Nukem edition does not change the story, instead, it replaces the main character Grayson with the ever iconic Duke. The DLC adds his classic character traits by adding consistent swearing and aggressive language. His attitude fits in nicely with the gameplay and game’s tone, and is genuinely funny at times, especially in cutscenes. It is a nice gimmick and seems almost like an apology for Nukem’s last video game outing (let’s not start on that disaster) but ultimately, it doesn’t change anything else in the game, so to charge extra for what is essentially a new skin, seems like a bit of a cash grab.
Bulletstorm prides itself on having fast paced, loud and crazy gameplay, with most of this coming from the combination based skill system which rewards creative kills. These kills are achieved by using various weapons, techniques or environmental elements, which when combined together create higher multipliers; whereas simply shooting enemies in a ‘conventional’ way earns significantly fewer experience points. Earning new weapons and upgrades unlocks more and more options for combinations and creative kills, so there is always a something to be aiming towards when playing. This definitely rejuvenates gameplay, and without these constant challenges, the game would be much more stagnant.
The main bulk of gameplay involved fighting through a variety of enemy controlled environments, and using them to try to always get new and fun kills, or looking around for environmental factors to use for higher XP counts. Although the nature of the game encouraged this fun and varied style of playing, it could become highly repetitive considering the percentage of play-time this consumed. The game did try to combat its repetitive nature by adding new ways to kill certain enemies, and new guns seemed to appear at the exact points the game started to become borderline tedious. I applaud this attention to pacing, which admittedly wasn't perfect, but the game dished out enough new tasks, guns and upgrades throughout the entire length of the campaign, and the deliveries were usually timed very well.
Some features of the game felt decidedly less exciting and could become quite grinding and tedious. Thankfully they didn't appear overly often, but the on rail sections and the LT/RT prompts to move characters in segments were tiresome and frustrating at times. There was an early 'on rails' section that could have you restarting the last section with just one wrong move. I rarely found these parts fun, and although it changed up the constant running and gunning gameplay, I think it made the pacing inconsistent with the movement sections sometimes slowing it to a halt.
Playing on Xbox One I did encounter some frame rate issues here and there, most times they were small, but one or two were highly frustrating, especially since I was in the middle of trying to complete some the challenges. The updated frame rate was one of the main selling points of the remaster, so for it not to be consistent across platforms is a little disappointing. There were also more than a few visual bugs with characters or guns clipping into the environment, this would not have bothered me on initial release, but considering the game has been remastered, I would have expected any bugs to be removed before release.
The game also includes the ‘Overkill Campaign’ which is unlocked upon completion of the standard campaign. It allows access to all the weaponry and skill shots unlocked in the campaign the first time around. ‘Echo Mode’ and ‘Anarchy’ mode are also present, adding leaderboard based gameplay, and a 4 player horde mode which also introduces team-kill combinations. These modes are fun, but the real meat of the game is definitely within the campaign options.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
Graphically the game is a bit of a mixed bag, the updated environments look fantastic, but the character models look dated in their movements and appearance. Some of the lip syncing was awful, and I think if the animations were to be tweaked here and there a little, perhaps even just in cutscenes, the game would have transitioned much more easily to 2017, as it is though, it is obvious the game is a bit older.
The game is colourful and the environments are diverse, but only towards the later half of the game, the first few hours and environments, in particular, seem to all fall victim to the dusty browns and earth tones that were highly prevalent in the late 2000’s to early 2010’s. The colours reminded me a lot of Borderlands 1, and Gears of War, which I think the game also referenced heavily in the character designs. It makes the first introductory hours dull to look at, and although this works in bringing the focus to the crazy kill tactics, it would have been nice if the remaster brought some thoroughly needed colour to the palette.
The audio has been vamped up as well, with the fantastic grizzly voice of Steven Blum sounding better than ever, and the always amazing Jennifer Hale providing her talent also. Even outside of the big names, the voice acting across the game is well done and sounds polished. The game is a fast-paced shooter, and as a result, the game is very loud. Lots of explosions, kill combo noises, screaming enemies and screaming heroes. It never get’s too overwhelming thankfully, but for anyone that doesn’t like dialogue being delivered in constant shouts, maybe just make sure the TV is turned down a bit.
A nice feature that not many overly-gory games include, is the option to censor the profanity, and turn off the excessive gore. This allows players who perhaps aren’t mad for graphic mutilation or electrocution to also enjoy the frantic gameplay. However I think to get the ‘true’ Bulletstorm experience, gore should be turned on. This is completely at the player's discretion, but the comedy and gruesome tones of the game suit the more curse-heavy, blood filled carnage of the uncensored mode.
Whereas I found Bulletstorm to be a fun, exciting new first-person-shooter back in 2011, sadly the gameplay and graphics don’t fit in very well in today’s gaming climate. The gameplay is still fun and fast paced, but graphical bugs, frame rate drops and bad animations hold it back from becoming a truly great, worthwhile remaster. For anyone who never experienced the game the first time round, I would definitely recommend trying it out, just perhaps not for the AAA price tag that it currently retains.
|+ Unique run-and-shoot gameplay||– Dated gameplay sections and animation|
|+ Fast paced||– Repetitive|
|+ Lots of challenges and combos||– Graphical issues|
|+ Unique weapons||– Duke Nukem DLC price|