Great game, awful product.
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Gearbox Software (unaffiliated with G2A)
Format: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Released: April 7, 2017
Bulletstorm was a great game back in the day, released as a big “screw you” to the modern military shooters that had flooded the market at the time. Despite featuring regenerating health and forcing players to wield only two guns, Bulletstorm‘s focus on skittish action and ludicrous violence won it a passionate fandom even if it didn’t perform very well in the sales department.
Indeed, Bulletstorm failed to make a profit and it seemed doomed to obscurity until Gearbox Software stepped in as the surprise publisher of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, a remastered version of what Epic Games once merrily backed.
Bulletstorm is a delightfully stupid shooter about tearing into armies of mutants and monsters with wanton abandon. Drunk space pirate Grayson Hunt – voiced to perfection by the ever-present Steve Blum – is tracking down the evil General Sarrano on a planet gone to shit, and he’s only got a bunch of oversized guns, a superhuman kick, and an energy lasso at his side.
That’s actually a lot of things, and he puts them all to vicious use.
Enemies are flung around the environment with Gray’s whip and bucked into the walls via his almighty boot while being torn to literal chunks by an assortment of assault rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, and that one really cool weapon with the drills that send opponents flying. The world itself is full of things that aid in slaughter – electric cables, death drops, spike-lined walls – all waiting to fry, swallow, or impale any would-be attacker that comes Gray’s way.
The more punishing and inventive the death, the more points players earn, which in turn may be spent on upgrading and refilling the ammo of their weaponry.
Players are encourage to shoot, whip, and kick their way around a level, observing their surroundings and scouting opportunities for new and inventive deaths. While the game can be more or less played as an ordinary shooter, it’s both materially and psychologically rewarding to experiment and see just how sadistic things get.
Every single weapon has its own selection of “skill shots” that hold unique point values, and they’re all given appropriately silly names because Bulletstorm is, at its heart, a very silly game indeed.
Despite the constant dick references and frequent attempts at edgy humor, Bulletstorm tells an entertaining and almost touching little story about revenge with some genuinely likable characters. Even the villainous Sarrano – a mass murderer, a racist, and a genuinely loathsome individual – has some level of affability if just for his unrelenting audacity.
Bulletstorm remains a vastly amusing romp of butchery that maintains an impressive pace for the several hours it lasts. Under normal circumstances, this would be one of my more positive reviews, a glowing recommendation of a game that offers a throwback experience without being bogged down in dated ideas – a satisfying merger of the old and the new.
Unfortunately, somebody at Gearbox or People Can Fly decided a game that failed to turn a profit in 2011 could be rereleased six years later for the exact same price. With its MSRP of $59.99, Full Clip Edition quite literally double dips with a game over half a decade old.
Even worse, the heavily advertised Duke Nukem Bulletstorm Tour is not included as part of the basic package. Instead, it was used as pre-order DLC and then sold on launch day for an additional $4.99. Five bucks gets you additional content for a five-year-old game that, I remind you again, needs all the help it can get because the original sold really fucking badly.
Naturally I had zero interest in purchasing it but reports claim it’s awkwardly shoehorned into the campaign and Jon St. John sounds bored while reading his unfunny lines.
Although price is usually a factor in any review I do, it’s normally not of significant importance. Some short games can be worth just as much money as longer ones, and if length automatically added value, there are a lot of terrible games I’d be handing out awards to.
A remaster, however, is a different prospect. The artistry of it is second to its nature as a commercial product.
These are old games publishers rerelease specifically to try and make more money from old content. With that in mind, the value prospect to the customer has to be a more integral part of the critique, and Full Clip Edition‘s value prospect is dreadful.
While it’s not as insulting as the litany of things Activision’s done with Modern Warfare Remastered, it may represent the second worse way a remaster’s been sold.
The remaster itself, tragically, is really quite good. It runs beautifully in 4K at a smooth 60 frames-per-second, with characters and environments that still look striking today. Aside from some occasionally buggy ally A.I., it’s polished up nicely, and I wish I could say it was worth rushing out to buy.
At $59.99 however, with launch-day DLC besides, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is little more than a pisstake.
And that’s that.
Note: if you find this on sale for at least half the price, consider the score 8/10