E3 2010: Bulletstorm Hands-On Impressions (And Screenshots)

Upon leaving the screening room for Dead Space 2 at the EA Booth, I immediately hit up the nearest behind closed doors preview. It was for the upcoming 2011 first person shooter, Bulletstorm. The game, originally slated to debut on the Jimmy Fallon late night show in May but missed because of scheduling reasons, was officially introduced to the public by Adrien Chmelarz (People can Fly) and Cliff “CliffyB” Bleszinski and Tanya Jensen (from Epic Games) at this years Electronic Arts press conference.

I recall sitting in the theater and listening to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of the crowd as they showcased the title on screen, but for some strange reason I wasn’t feeling as impressed as those around me. However, I thought to myself that I wouldn’t let these reservations tarnish my opinion of it until I had some hands on with the title. Thank goodness I did that.

At first glance, the game’s protagonist looked as if Marcus Fenix and Dom Rodriguez of Gears of War fame had given birth to a love child. During my hands on with the title, I actually brought that up to Tanya Jensen while she was in the demo room, to which she replied that “the main character is molded after Kurt Russell’s “Snake” character in Escape from LA more so than anyone from the Gears universe.” I didn’t see the resemblance, but she swore it was there, so I just left it alone.

Initially what you will notice with Bulletstorm is that it’s all about over-the-top gun play. Think if Bayonetta and Devil May Cry were first person shooters. But instead of over-stylized, homerotic (Devil May Cry), sexually charged (Bayonetta), characters you had a super American man’s man who’s all about pounding beers and hitting friends with the occasional nut shot. Imagine that same guy running around with an electrical whip and an arsenal of over the top guns and used those tools to put together chain explosions. Chain explosions which launch enemies in the air, where you can earn even more points for shooting them in the d**k.

Now imagine if the initial explosion was worth 3000 xp and the words “Gang Bang” scrolled across the screen. Does that sound good to you? If so, that’s what Bulletstorm is all about. An over the top action FPS with sandbox style elements that allows you to, scratch that, ENCOURAGES you to “kill with skill.”

Now, if you couldn’t realize it from that description above, this title is obviously not for the little ones.

The game runs incredibly smooth. I think it’s safe to say that although it’s running on Epic’s Unreal Engine just like Cliffy B’s other baby (Gears of War), all of the bright colors it really help it pop off the screen much more than anything starring Marcus Fenix.I asked the PR person, who was watching as I played and was my guide of sorts if the game running at 60 frames per second. And rather than answering me he only said “It looks good right!” I ignored the fact that he ignored my question and went right back to kicking bad guys in the d**k.

One thing that I didn’t enjoy was how hard it was to tell where the hell you’re supposed to be going. There’s no real indicator, and you’re left looking for your on-screen A.I. partner to make the next move, that way you can follow him/her to the next checkpoint or area that had to be cleared.  Occasionally you would get a “look” notification that would have you press a button to know what to focus on but even that wasn’t enough. I can recall two times throughout the demo that Tanya had to come over and point me in the right direction. This is something that I feel needs to get addressed before the title ships.

Overall, I have to say that from what I saw, Bulletstorm doesn’t seem like a title that will make the jump from video game to the big screen because of it’s “gripping story.” At the same time, I don’t think it wants to be that game either. From what I’ve seen so far is that the team at People Can Fly and Epic Games are making what will probably be one of the funnest titles of 2011. That’s only of course if you consider – shooting guys in the d**k and kicking said guys into some conveniently placed cacti behind them – well, fun.

I know I certainly do. Stay tuned for more coverage from Bulletstorm in the coming months. In the mean time check out the screenshot gallery below.

Title: Bulletstorm

Developer / Publisher: People Can Fly , Epic Games, Electronic Arts

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC

Release: Spring 2011

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Joel Taveras

Joel Taveras is one of the founding members of DualShockers. He hails from New York City where he lives with his wife and two sons. During his tenure with the site, he's held every position from news writer to community manager to editor in chief. Currently he manages the behind the scenes and day-to-day operations at the publication.

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