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Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 4) artwork

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 4) review

"Gearbox remasters this fun and crazy shooter, but can it strike gold this time? "

Bulletstorm was originally developed by People Can Fly and published by Electronic Arts in 2011. Even a cursory look at the game makes it apparent the creative design received assistance from Cliff Bleszinski. At the time, the title was known for its ridiculous, vulgar humor and its over-the-top violence. Players were incentivized to kill enemies in a number of insane ways. Though that experience wound up being a lot of fun, it failed to generate the expected sales due to competition from other FPS behemoths released around the same time. Now, Gearbox Studios has given it a second chance by remastering the original version for current-gen consoles and Windows systems. Hopefully, despite some marketing missteps, the new publisher will succeed where Electronic Arts failed.

As Bulletstorm opens, a group of ex-military mercenaries are interrogating a man who attempted to kill the team. They find out his orders came from a former employer of theirs, who lied about the nature of the job they worked for him. Now wanting revenge, they strike at the ship that officer commands, but the operation goes horribly wrong. Several crew members are killed or seriously injured, and the ship crash lands on a nearby planet's surface. The remaining team members must find a way off the planet and avoid being killed by violent locals, their former employer and his special forces squad. Over the course of the adventure, they manage to get tied up in a new scheme hatched by said former employer, so revenge may not be out of the question entirely.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 4) image

Gameplay takes the form of first-person shooting. At a glance, it all seems typical enough. But the game quickly introduces new twists to the formula. Its real draws are the ridiculous gameplay and crude dialogue. The former relies on the skill-shot system, which awards players points for killing their adversaries in creative ways. This is possible thanks partly to an energy whip that pulls objects and enemies toward you. Manipulate that whip and your foes can be skewered on a spiked wall, hurled over cliffs, or flung into other hazards. If you want to reorient foes caught in your grasp, a slow-motion effect allows you to kick them or shoot them in various body parts, which has that effect.

Different weapons offer different skill-shot methods. An initial shot grants a double bonus, and you can chain kills to increase the multiplier. Points work as currency, which you can spend to purchase additional ammo or to upgrade weapons so they can perform even more ridiculous kills. Such mechanics, when combined with crude dialogue that includes references to "dick-tits" and lines such as "I'll kill your dick!" provide an entertaining experience, all around.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 4) image

The game's remaster doesn't add much to what was already there, but the alterations are nice. Upgraded textures ensure the presentation is superior on current-gen consoles, like something made in the past two years rather than in 2011. The framerate has been bumped up to a locked 60FPS and runs great, without pacing issues. Support for 4K resolution is also offered on both Windows and PS4 Pro systems. The Xbox One misses out, but players can expect that the Scorpio will take advantage of such options when it launches later this year. There's also an Overkill campaign mode, which unlocks all weapons from the get-go. That allows you to go all in with the skill-shotting. And there are six new Echo maps, which you can play in the Score Attack modes.

Unfortunately, the new release does suffer from some missteps, which may harm its chances at finding new success. A new Duke Nukem campaign mode replaces the former main character with Duke Nukem, complete with new dialogue and commentary. After the awful Duke Nukem Forever, though, one has to wonder whether this is actually a selling point. No one seems to have asked for it, so why was it included?

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 4) image

An issue for potential returning fans is that the Windows version isn't available at a discount if you owned the previous release, since Electronic Arts still owns the rights to that edition. The game was originally made available as a Games on Windows title, and there also are some lingering issues related to the discontinuation of that unpopular service.

Even if you put aside those two concerns, the fact that the game was introduced to the marketplace as a full-priced game makes me wonder if Gearbox really wanted to find success this time around. The new publisher really needs to offer the game at a discounted rate, especially the less spectacular Xbox One version. Otherwise, it's likely that history will repeat itself. Bulletstorm is a fun and underrated game that definitely deserves a second chance, no matter how things wind up going. As long as you're undaunted by the steep price tag, it comes highly recommended.


EricRPG's avatar
Freelance review by Eric Kelly (April 29, 2017)

Eric Kelly likes writing about RPGs, reading non-fiction (usually academic in nature), watching anime, and listening to mostly video game music. So a total nerd.

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