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Looking Back to 2017 and the Battles of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition

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Bulletstorm was a game that I very much enjoyed playing the first time it was released. Originally appearing on the trusty Xbox 360 way back in 2011, it was almost inevitable that a new version, for the new generation of Xbox hardware would be released, and so it came to pass in 2017. Entitled the Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, this promised to not only update the visuals to take advantage of the power of the Xbox One, but it also featured all the post launch content and a special surprise. 

Strangely, reading around in preparation for writing this article, the original Bulletstorm was classed as a commercial failure both for Epic Games and for EA, selling “only” a million copies by 2013. So, come with me for a little stroll down Memory Lane as we look back to see what made this game so good…

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The first thing we should discuss is the story of the game, and while we aren’t talking Shakespeare here, it did make a decent fist of having a narrative. We play as Grayson Hunt, a member of an elite black ops unit, and we find out on a mission that we have been being lied to about the nature of the targets we are sent after. On one mission we discover that the “separatist” we have been sent to kill is in fact a journalist, gathering evidence against our commanding officer, General Victor Serrano. Once we discover that our whole purpose is a lie, Grayson and his crew desert and flee to the edges of the galaxy, basically becoming pirates. After coming across Serrano again out at the edge, Grayson attempts a suicide attack, and both ships crash land on a nearby planet called Stygia. And from here on out, everyone and everything is trying to kill us, so staying alive needs to be priority number one, with revenge relegated to second place. 

Now, a new game, as it was at launch, needs a new mechanic, a hook if you like to draw people in and differentiate itself from the other games in the genre. Gears of War had the cover mechanic, as an example, and so it was with Bulletstorm. The hook this time was the Skillshot system which rewarded you for killing enemies in new and amusing ways. There was a new weapon that made this all possible – the Thumper. We find an Instinct Leash in the beginning of the game, and the Thumper is an upgrade to that; this leash can either drag individual enemies towards us, or be “Thumped” into the ground to launch all the enemies in the area of effect into the air. And once they are either leashed or thumped, time seems to slow down and a variety of options come into play, depending on the weapon we have equipped at the time. 

Grayson can shoot, kick, maim and generally torture all the enemies he comes across, and leashing a bad guy, before either kicking them off a cliff or into a cactus, soon becomes second nature. There is an impressive array of skillshots to be carried out, and some of them are incredibly hard to pull off. In fact, to this day I have failed to gather the achievement for doing them all, on either version of the game. 

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Skillshots award us with points, and what do points make? Prizes, that’s right! Well, not so much prizes as new weapons and upgrades to existing weapons, that can be accessed at various Dropkits scattered throughout the levels. You can also use these Dropkits to replenish your ammo supplies, as I’m sure you can imagine, Grayson and his pals get through some ordnance in the course of the game. 

The weapons themselves range from the usual to the downright odd, with the standard assault rifle and shotgun archetypes present and correct, before going on to more exotic fare. How about the Bouncer, a gun that shoots bouncing cannonballs; or the Flailgun, that shoots bolas weighted down with grenades? Combine these with the leash, and also all the secondary fire modes the weapons have, and there is a seemingly never ending list of ways to kill with skill. If you want to check the database of all the Skillshots you haven’t managed yet, you can do that at the Dropkit checkpoints too. 

Of course, any game with guns in needs a boss or three to take out, and Bulletstorm: Full clip Edition had us covered. Ranging from dinosaur looking robots that we have to fight from the sky, right down to a giant wheel that chases our train through a desert, much imagination went into these encounters, so much so that the wheel fight still stands out in my memory today. 

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Now, I mentioned at the top of the article about all the additions to Bulletstorm via the Full Clip Edition. These included new maps for the various modes in the multiplayer segment of the game (this was pretty rubbish if I’m honest, the single player campaign was much better), and the opportunity to play through the campaign as Duke Nukem himself. This add-on included a lot of dialogue voiced by Jon St John, the voice of the Duke, and was a nice change, even if it didn’t alter the game in any noticeable regard. 

So, these are my memories of playing Bulletstorm: Full clip Edition back in 2017. It’s hard to believe that many years have passed, as time seems to have flown, but there we are. But what about you, dear reader? Did you play this game, or the original? What sticks out in your memories? What was your favourite Skillshot? Let us know in the comments!

You can grab a copy of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Series X|S

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