From the first loading screen of the demo, BulletStorm makes no empty promises or excuses. It knows exactly what it is and it tells you that up front. It’s a cocky, in your face shooter that is cemented in the wonderful world of fun. A quick video plays with voice-over that tells you the basic controls and displays how some of the action is going to play out. The entire thing takes a refuge in audacity that I find refreshing. It goes too far in how over the top all the ass kicking he-man macho bull crap is, and then it goes even farther. In fact it goes so far that it comes full circle back to being awesome, which is a hard thing to do. Keep reading to see why I’ve already played through this demo six times, and will be booting it up many more times leading up to it’s release.
The game starts you off in an empty room with gun in hand, and one way to go. As soon as you round the corner, your first two enemies are sitting there and begin shooting at you. Your entire goal in this demo is to kill anything that gets in your way, and reach the end. How you do that is up to you, and the myriad of options available is just insanely awesome. Your first enemy is sitting behind a small chest high wall; how do you kill him? You’ve got a machine gun, a pistol, flachette launcher, and an energy whip; all which can use a charged up overpowered version and combined together, along with your trusty boot and the environment.
Each time I’ve gone through the demo I’ve killed these first two people in a different way, and I still don’t think I’ve exercised every option. Walk up and kick him, mow him down, pistol headshot, pull him towards you with the whip and kick him away, wrap the grenade flachette around him and kick him towards the other guy, slide kick him in the junk…and this is the FIRST ENEMY.
The game rewards you for creativity, and half the fun is figuring out what all of your options are. I don’t want to go too far in depth to all the combos I’ve discovered, but let’s just say that everything in the game can be combined with almost everything else, and then some. Each kill and combo you perform adds to your score, which is displayed in the lower left hand corner. At the end of the demo your score is added up and ranked against your time and a few other factors, and displayed against your friend’s scores which is sure to add a lot of extra life to the full game.
You’re accompanied by two teammates throughout the demo that really do little but stand by and absorb some of the bullets, but this isn’t really a bad thing because that just leaves more killing for you. It’s not that your teammates AI is bad or anything that I noticed, they just didn’t seem to do much. The enemies are fairly intelligent in their own way, and will flank you if given the opportunity. This doesn’t stop them from standing behind a wall blindly shooting at your team or rushing at you berzerker style, but they never came off as bad either. They do their job well enough.
As I said before, BulletStorm doesn’t try to hide what it is and makes no excuses or apologies. It’s rude, immature, cocky, and over the top in a way we haven’t seen since Duke Nukem, and I loved every minute of it. The graphics are top notch the entire way through and the controls are rock solid for the most part; the only complaint I have is that the game can be picky about when it wants to let you vault over those chest high walls littered all over the place. Thanks to the A button being the action for running, the slide kick and to vault over walls, you’ll find yourself running when you want to slide or vault sometimes.
This is a problem that plagued the first Gears of War game and got better, so maybe they’ll take note of this and tweak the sensitivity of it before the full game comes out. Even if they don’t it’s a minor annoyance at best. Upon beating the demo (that is, the one time I picked “return to main menu” instead of “retry level”) the game informed me that I had unlocked a unique whip color, boot color, PMC and character model for use in the full game, which is always cool.
I had a blast with the BulletStorm demo, and I don’t think I’m quite done with it yet. This is something I’ll be loading up quite a few times before the final release, and I have a feeling that the final product is going to spend a lot of time sitting in my disc tray. Do yourself a favor and download this right now.