Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition – the full name of this latest remaster – is the polished revival of People Can Fly’s action-heavy shooter that first graced our screens back in 2011. Although it may not have made all the headlines when it released first time round, it certainly wasn’t down to it being a bad game. Instead it was rather more something we hadn’t become quite so used to, and in being different, it went under the radar for most gamers. Sure, we had Gears of War bringing gruesome rage-filled shoot-a-thons to our living rooms, but throwing comical and wacky commentary throughout wasn’t something that was associated with a great and aggressive shooter. Back then it was all about in-depth story, beautiful visuals, and realism.
Nevertheless, Bulletstorm has returned, and the latest generation has been much kinder to in-your-face FPS titles, with DOOM proving just how great FPS aggression can look. So with that in mind, how does Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition sit amongst the offerings?
Bulletstorm, for those unaware, is essentially the equivalent of DOOM meets Sunset Overdrive – a colourful yet murderous rampage of killing in style. Throughout the game players take on the role of Grayson Hunt, a reckless know-it-all and leader of Dead Echo, a black-ops team whose job is to follow orders from Star General Sarrano. All turns to chaos however, after Grayson and the rest of the Dead Echo squad find that the killings they have been ordered to take out weren’t the alleged criminals they had been made to believe, but rather innocent civilians who were being executed to oust their gathered knowledge of Sarrano’s lawless attitude coming to light.
From this point on, Grayson and his team of mercenaries set out for their new role as space pirates whilst on the run from Sarrano’s forces. Fast-forward ten years and you have the beginning of the adventure. Ulysees, Sarrano’s ship, has appeared out of nowhere, and with revenge at the front of a thoughtless attack, Grayson and co crash land, along with the Ulysees, on the planet Stygia, all with no way of escape.
It would be unfair to go into any more detail and potentially ruin the story for anyone yet to play Bulletstorm, but it doesn’t take much game time to realise you’re playing through an FPS spectacle. Whilst many games have had anger and revenge as the plot for their twisted and in-depth stories, none feel quite as unique as the adventure in Bulletstorm. From the moment you begin, to the moment you finally come to the end, plenty of fast paced action is thrown your way. Although Bulletstorm isn’t entirely different to other shooters, in the sense that you are faced with groups of oncoming enemies which you must first clear before being able to move on, the way it makes you go about this is what makes it a unique gameplay experience.
In order to progress, you will of course need to use all of the available weapons in your arsenal. To do this you need to ensure you have enough points to upgrade them and purchase ammo, and to do that, you must make the most of the spectacular ways in which you can dispatch the game’s various enemies. After acquiring a Leash early on, you gain the ability to attach to dropkits – boxes that appear throughout the game and pack ammo, upgrades and a complete list of all the Skillshots you can perform. These in turn let you earn the much-needed points that you will be spending on each of the upgrades and ammo for your weaponry. The idea is simple; the better the kill, the better the point payout. Repetition of the same Skillshots will lead to less points of course, meaning it is up to you to work the magic and make for a magical combination of trickery and killing.
Whilst the Skillshots cannot be praised enough, one thing that helped make the story a joy to play was the humourous bickering that plays out along the way. Sure, we’ve had plenty of games do this before, and more often than not you’d usually find yourself skipping everything as quickly as possible to avoid hearing those cringeworthy lines for the hundredth time, but from early on in the game, after all the bravado, there is a clear picture painted that Grayson feels at least a little bad for his wrongdoings. It makes all the bickering fall nicely into place alongside the angry killing of murderous grunts, with a feeling that you’re playing with actual characters and not just A.I.
The campaign is of course where most will want to start their playthrough, but it isn’t the only thing to be enjoyed in Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. After finishing the campaign, players are greeted with the chance to run back through on Overkill Mode – this unlocks all the weapons from the off, and allows you to carry all at once with infinite ammo, instead of just a primary, secondary and special.
If this isn’t for you though, then maybe you’d prefer the chance to run through the entire campaign with fresh dialogue, and the King of FPS story adventures, with the additional Duke Nukem Bulletstorm Tour campaign.
The Duke Nukem Bulletstorm Tour sees the angry boots of Grayson Hunt swapped out for the beloved Duke himself, for a new opportunity to kick ass and chew bubblegum. Of course, Duke has fully re-written lines all voiced by the original voice of Duke to ensure the mode fits right. And my god, it is greatness.
Duke Nukem’s latest adventures may not have seen the love they should have, but there’s no denying that popping off countless killshots with the witty humour of Duke is one of the best things you’ll see on console for some time. With all new lines, it really helps the experience feel a little different, especially if you don’t want to experience the exact same thing over and over. There may not be much else to go on with, other than the new character, and fresh script, but the inclusion of Duke’s Tour, is certainly something to be praised. It’s just a shame it is hidden behind another paywall.
Other than that campaign, there is of course the return of Echoes. Echoes provide small segments of the familiar areas, but with a bunch of enemies for you to kill in as skilful a way as possible – all in order to gain the highest score. This is particularly great for those with a competitive edge as with leaderboards in place, beating your friends will be all about who can produce the most skillful kills, and who can earn the most stars.
It’s certainly great to see Echoes make a return, but there is also a new addition for veterans from the original outing; something known as Ultimate Echoes. The principal is the same… almost. In Ultimate Echoes you are given special challenges which unlock additional gameplay rules. These come in tiers and passing each challenge will see you move onto the next, each progressively harder. And yes, these also come with a separate leaderboard for each as well as stars to be earnt, and may just be the best extra content you’ll find in a shooter besides the multiplayer.
Speaking of multiplayer, that is the final offering in Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. Here up to four players can join together in similar echo-like maps to face waves of enemies, with the goal to reach a particular score in order to progress. To do this, you will need to make the most of everything around you, as well as learn the new multiplayer only skillshots that require the actions of more than one person to pull off – completing each of the various challenges that pop up so you can grab precious extra points. At the start of a new wave players can resupply via dropkits, meaning only those who performed well will be equipped enough for latter rounds.
Many may have let Bulletstorm slip by unnoticed first time around, but the undeniable polish given to this remaster, and the joy to be had throughout, makes this one game that should be played by all action fans – or indeed anyone with an appreciation for something different. With enough fresh content to call back the interest of veteran players and a unique experience that should be welcomed by new players, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition finally gets the opportunity to really shine.