E3 2010: Bulletstorm PreviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jun 18, 2010
What We Already Know:
Bulletstorm is the joint venture between Polish developer People Can Fly (owned by Epic) and EA Partners. It’s been described as “Burnout with guns” in our prior coverage, but EA wasn’t allowing hands-on play during its first-look event.
What We’re Seeing Now:
Hands-on time with it. I’m not as sure that I agree with “Burnout with guns” as a descriptor. The irreverent (bordering on juvenile at times) humor, combined with score-based killing feels like a wedding of Serious Sam with The Club, and a measure of MadWorld thrown in. During an introductory video, a narrator broke down the fundamentals of Bulletstorm’s play with the sort of semi-enthusiastic delivery that we’ve all seen in EA games past and present.
Except, in this case, the dulcet tones of the female announcer had such quotables as “Are you ready for fearless, nut-stomping play” and “Bulletstorm is an orgy of mental illness, and your shotgun is a condom.” At times, I felt like the envelope-pushing seemed strained (MadWorld’s jaw-droppers came effortlessly at times), but the game seems hell-bent on telling you how self-aware and hardcore it is.
The layout is rather straight forward. You can whip enemies toward you with your electrified leash -- which pulls them toward you in slo-mo -- then pump them full of lead with the PMC (Peace Maker Carbine), kick them into environmental hazards such as giant mutated cacti or Venus Flytraps, or better, wrap them with a bolo grenade shot from the Flail Gun, kick them back out to more enemies, and detonate the grenade for multiple points. With those combat techniques in mind, there’s not much more to explain so much as there was to execute. And it’s certainly responsive after a few minutes of play.
The five-minute run simply provided me with an idea of how Bulletstorm will function. The stage truly feels like a chaotic playground full of opportunities to skin a... faceless goon. It’s all very mindless action, and the focus seems to be much less on a serious Gears of War-esque narrative as much as checking your brain at the door to play, not unlike the average Hollywood action movie. Though, I must admit, that I took a note during the demo that aptly parallels the same feeling I have watching summer action flicks: “I feel dumber after playing it.”
Bulletstorm makes no pretenses about what it is: a game that’s equally about style and technique as it is about cheerful sadism. If you’re a gamer who thinks that whipping an enemy at you, shooting him in the crotch, then kicking him into a giant carnivorous plant is pretty awesome, you’re going to absolutely love this game. If you’re looking for something more highbrow, consider yourself warned.