"Kill with Skill": Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Review
Bulletstorm was one of the better FPS games I played on the last console generation, so naturally, a remastered edition was a welcome, if entirely unnecessary prospect. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition has a higher resolution than its predecessor, runs slightly better, and packs in the slim DLC offerings from the original. For new fans, this is a great game, but for returning fans, it has little new to offer.
Players take the role of Grayson Hunt, a former special ops trooper turned space pirate after he discovers that he and his squad have been tricked into assassinating journalists at the behest of his commander, General Serrano. After a botched attempt at revenge that leaves most of Grayson’s crew dead and his friend Ishi rebuilt as an unstable cyborg, Grayson, Ishi, and Serrano are all stranded on an abandoned resort planet filled with roving bands of dangerous mutants. From there, it’s a race to find Serrano and get off the planet. Despite the familiar setup, the plot in Bulletstorm is surprisingly decent, with fun characters and interesting worldbuilding towards the end of the game. Proceedings are livened up by the juvenile sense of humor that permeates every aspect of the game, which is crude and often nonsensical, but self-aware enough to avoid becoming grating.
The real reason to play Bulletstorm is for the incredibly fun and varied “Skillshot” system. Killing enemies nets you points that are used to resupply and upgrade your ever-expanding arsenal, but blandly shooting your way through the game will ensure that you run out of points and ammo quickly. Early on in the campaign, however, Grayson is given a gravity-defying energy leash, and the possibilities for creative kills that net bigger point rewards open up. Examples include midair headshots, kicking enemies into spiky traps, shooting enemies in the groin and decapitating them via a powerful kick to end their suffering, or special kills that can only be achieved with the alternate fire modes of each weapon. Bulletstorm encourages players to get creative with combat, and by the end of the game this improvisation becomes necessary to complete some of the more difficult combat encounters.
In addition to the well-paced campaign, which clocks in at roughly 10 hours, there are “Echoes” and a cooperative multiplayer mode in Bulletstorm. “Echoes” allows players to speed through choice bits from the campaign for leaderboard glory, and is a fun diversion that allows players to revisit the highlights and nothing else. Multiplayer is also fun, but in my three attempts to find a game (spread out over the course of a long weekend), I only found a lobby once. It was a good time and certainly worth checking out, but frankly, I doubt that there will be anybody online in a couple of months.
The differences between the “Full Clip Edition” and the original Bulletstorm are minimal. DLC Echoes and multiplayer maps are included, but the extra Echoes maps are at the very end of a long list of levels and gated by a how many stars players have earned, so there’s no way to jump right into the newer content if you’ve played the original but not the DLC. I did not get the chance to try the new multiplayer maps due to the scarcity of players online, which certainly puts a damper on that aspect of the repackaging. The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second now and looks mostly like a current-gen title, but the game looked good to begin with in its previous iteration, so graphical improvements are negligible.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a serviceable port of a great game to new consoles. Fans of the original don’t have much reason to double dip, but those who missed out the first time should pick up a unique FPS that still feels fresh years later. The barren multiplayer servers and a small amount of extra content are unfortunate blemishes on an otherwise fantastic game, but those looking for an entertaining campaign filled with intense gunplay and humorous writing will be well-served.