It’s a slow, midweek afternoon and suddenly twitter comes alight. “Bulletstorm is on sale on steam, get it” – seems to be the consensus of the internet. Really? Bulletstorm? The bland, linear shooter mired in bad mechanics and a tonne of equally bad marketing? I hadn’t played it, but I don’t remember anyone having anything particularly nice to say about it – certainly Steve Croop didn’t.
I stare at the steam store page. It’s £4, I have nothing to do, Skyrim is broken, and Joe Martin, Alec Meer, Ed Stern, Phil Savage and some others have all said it’s good. Ok. Why not? It installs, and I load it up expecting to be mildly entertained for a bit before ultimately putting it down to gather dust on an incomplete savegame.
Bulletstorm, I’m sorry. I judged you before I played you. I made some dirty assumptions about how you felt and what you said, and I was wrong. See, sometimes videogames can just be videogames, much like sometimes I can just be a grinning idiot male falling back on base pleasures like violence and swearing and dick jokes. Sometimes that’s fine.
The thing with Bulletstorm is that it’s completely breathless. Kick this fucking door down, shoot these fucking dudes, shoot this massive dude, shoot him all the fuck up, hahaha yeah kick that fucking explosive thing into his face yeah now shoot him in the dick, now slide into these dudes and kick him into these spikes while you reload your shotgun now smash this dude into the wall with your shotgun YEAH BRO ALL THESE POINTS FOR YOU! Now fucking run away there’s a giant monster, now drag this bus into a pit, awesome, now kick this fucking gate open and shoot this dick in the dick and the ass.
Maybe it’s just happened to arrive at the right time – a time where I’m bogging myself down with serious racing sims and Skyrim survival and taking Battlefield too seriously. Maybe it’s just tapped into that part of my brain, but I adore it. It’s so juvenile, but it plainly doesn’t care – and when Jennifer Hale is telling you she’s going to “kill your dick” if you mess with her, neither should you.
The main thing I’m thinking here, though, is that this seems to be the first straight/linear shooter that I’ve played since probably Episode 2 (or maybe Metro) that I’ve actually enjoyed, and I think it’s because it feels like a natural progression of what 3D realms and to an extent id used to be, but missed with Duke Nukem Forever and Rage. The guns feel right, but most importantly it’s fun, and the absolute whole point of the game is to blow stuff away and laugh at stupid jokes. It’s a pallet cleanser, if you like.
So, Bulletstorm. It’s not genius, it’s sometimes buggy and sometimes the scoring is all kinds of wrong and whether you find it funny or just stupid is something only your sense of humour will dictate (though I’d argue it’s crassness is more skillfully crafted than what most would give it credit for. See also: Saints Row 3), but next time it’s cheap I’d say you should absolutely go for it.
Disclaimer: Steven Croop didn’t like it when he reviewed it, but this is GamingDaily and we don’t pretend to be an all knowing hivemind that can somehow spit out opinion as fact. Everyone is different and reviews are subjective, hence stuff like this.