PAX East 2017

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Hands-On Preview: Trick Shots

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition brings back the 2011 cult classic shooter next month, with our hands-on preview looking at the upcoming remastered edition.

From the moment that players jumped into Bulletstorm when it first released in 2011, it was clear that the game was seeking to bring back a different era of gaming. More or less a spiritual successor to balls-to-the-wall shooters like Duke Nukem –– who even makes an appearance in this re-release — while adding in the more refined mechanics of modern shooters, Bulletstorm was a game that drew a small (but passionate) audience with its unique gameplay mechanics.

That will (hopefully) change with Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, the upcoming remastered version of the 2011 shooter that takes the original game, adds a brand new coat of refined visuals (including 4K and HDR support on PS4 Pro), a ton of additional content and DLC, a chance for the wacky, combo-based shooter to connect with fans of the original, and to find an audience that missed out on one of the last generation’s underrated shooters.

During PAX East 2017, DualShockers had the chance to get hands-on time with Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition on the show floor for a look at how the game has fared in the six years since it first released. Even from just a short 15-20 minute slice, it became evident that’s the core experience of the game provides the same fresh and unique take on first-person shooters that was presented in Bulletstorm the first time around, while its new visual enhancements and additions clearly show that developer People Can Fly hope the game can take off to a wider audience beyond its “cult classic” roots.

Bulletstorm is a first-person shooter that was developed by People Can Fly and originally published under the wing of Epic Games. The Full Clip Edition is instead under the care of Gearbox Software’s publishing branch; coming from the house that brought us games like Borderlands, it’s easy to see how the wacky nature of Bulletstorm would appeal to the studio.

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While visually similar to Unreal Engine games from the last generation (like Gears of War)Bulletstorm at its heart is a game that takes itself far less seriously. Aside from the use of very creative profanity like “son of a d***” and “d***t*ts” (and many others that I couldn’t possibly post here), the core gameplay of Bulletstorm revolves around “skillshots” and having players, creatively, use the environment and objects around them to get tricked out kills and combos.

Armed with a variety of weapons of the usual assortment like an assault rifle and shotgun, to more outlandish weapons like a cannonball gun and a weapon that spouts exploding grapeshot that can grapple onto enemies, the true joy of Bulletstorm is letting players kick ass in the most efficient and coolest ways possible. Typical headshots and grenade kills will only get you so far — but, using your character’s magnetic leash ability to draw an enemy in, and then kicking him into a giant cactus? Mad points, yo.

While Bulletstorm‘s sense of humor might be hit-or-miss for some, more importantly Bulletstorm was more than the sum of its parts thanks to its emphasis on player creativity and resourcefulness in nabbing high combos and figuring out the best ways to use the environment to take out enemies. From what I played at PAX East compared to first playing the game back in 2011, it’s apparent that nearly all of that is preserved in Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition and remains just as fun as it was the first time around.

With the Full Clip Edition, several new bits of content are being added to flesh out the experience as, on its own, the single-player campaign would only take most players about 6-8 hours to complete. The most obvious change that the Full Clip Edition offers are the game’s more refined visuals. While the game was already pretty striking when it first released, the graphical enhancements that Full Clip Edition offers show the game at its potential (aside from some textures and models that show its age a bit in some spots).

Compared to my memories of playing the title on Xbox 360, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition added amazing emphasis and detail to the game’s color palette, along with significantly increased responsive through its 60fps frame rate. While the demo we played was shown running on a PC at 60fps, the promise of 4K and HDR support combined with the game’s vibrant colors and environments is one that would undoubtedly show well on a capable TV or display.

During the demo at PAX East, we also had the chance to taste the “Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour” mode, which allows the gamers to play the entirety of Bulletstorm‘s campaign as the King himself. It was already apparent when it first released that Bulletstorm was, more or less, last generation’s Duke Nukem, though with Full Clip Edition that’s being taken a bit more literally; Duke Nukem is included as a playable character, and the game features a fully rerecorded script done by Duke’s original voice actor, Jon St. John.

While the campaign itself is still the same from the base game, the inclusion of Duke Nukem as a playable character is still a fun addition with a nice crossover between the two games. Thanks especially to the voice work of Jon St. John and the “breaking the 4th wall” nature of Duke as a character, the inclusion of his character into the game is not only brought up in-game but works in a number of very funny lines and quips.

The inclusion of Duke Nukem as a playable character makes for something that might be more enjoyable to Duke Nukem or Bulletstorm veterans than brand new players, but it does so without offering radical alterations to the core game in any way. A bit disappointing though is the fact that the Duke Nukem campaign is exclusive (at least initially) to pre-orders of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, so fans that want to experience it will have to act fast.

In the wake of a generation that’s seen more and more shooters releasing each year, it’s only gotten harder to stand out from the Call of DutyBattlefield, and Halo crowd. However, Bulletstorm at its time offered a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the pack in the last generation of consoles. Though it’s a far cry from revered shooters of the previous gen like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or BioShock (which have also seen re-releases on this generation of consoles), Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition represents the chance for an underrated title to (hopefully) gain the audience it lacked the first time around, and with this remastered release it’s clear that Bulletstorm is well-deserving of some foul-mouthed fans.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on April 7th, 2017.

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Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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