March 12, 2011
Bulletstorm – Keeping the history of shooters alive
Bulletstorm is dumb. It’s brash, repetitive, and has more dick and fart jokes that a bad National Lampoon movie; but the thing that stands out about over all of that, it’s a hell of a good time. When you’re using the leash to pull an enemy towards you just so you kick him back as soon as he reaches you, then send him into orbit with a flair launcher is priceless. Sliding at mach 1 into an enemy, launching them into slow-mo, only to fire off a shotgun round as your rise from your slide is one of the most satisfying kills in gaming. This game takes a step back in time for shooters, back when a Duke owned some alien scum, back when a Indian was launching grenades at humans and dinosaurs, and when a space marine with a BFG sent some demons back to hell, it went back to the basics. It went back to being fun.
Shooters were not always about customizing load outs, and kill/death ratios. They were founded on the idea of fun, as well as all video games in a sense. From the start of time all a shooter need was a paper thin story, a handful of weapons, some power ups thrown about the levels, and hoards of enemies for you to disperse. The first shooter I got my young hands on was the original Wolfenstein, and its sequel Spear of Destiny. I would spend hours just going around the levels making sure anything that looked like it could move was dead. I didn’t care why I was in the castle turning Nazis into bloody messes on the floor, the only thing I wanted was to find the Gatling gun so they could be turned into dog food faster.
Normally the standard quo for the modern FPS is weapons galore, an end of the world story to wrap everything around, a customizable multiplayer suite, and epic Michael Bay (mother f*cking explosions!) set pieces. Bulletstorm has some huge set pieces, has very little in the multiplayer department (anarchy mode which is just a horde mode but a total blast), the story is complete cheese, and has around a total of 8 weapons give or take. The most depth this game has is in the kill shot point system. The more creative you get with the way you dispatch you enemies, the more points you get for ammo and upgrades. There is a whole game mode (designated as Echoes) built around this concept. The story is not told what so ever, it gives you guns, ammo and lots of cannon fodder. The better you kill and in a shorter amount of time the better the score you receive, it’s all fairly basic, and that’s the beauty of it all. It throws all complication out the window and just leaves me with fun, which is hard to come by with some of today’s “modern” shooters. With this game I feel like I am on a Saturday afternoon with my gameshark plugged into my Nintendo 64 and the original Turok sitting on top. I would turn the all weapons cheat and the infinite ammo cheat on and use the grenade launcher to blast people into next week. To just see that explosion, the body take flight with a trail of blood flowing him was a riot.
Video games should first and foremost be about fun and entertainment. If neither of these two characteristics are present then what is the point. Yes, telling a great story and having robust systems in place can be fun and entertaining, I have a good time with a lot of games that have these features in them, but sometimes it just feels good to back to basics back to what used to define a genre. Bulletstorm is a good history lesson. It harks back to the days of Duke Nukem, Doom, and Turok, and basks in what made those great shooters to begin with, fun. HAIL TO THE KING, BABY!
Just had to leave you with this, good times, good times.