While Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition serves as a great reminder of its novel Skillshots system, chuckle-worthy — and profane — story, extras are in short supply in this full-priced port.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Consoles: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
MonsterVine was provided a copy for review purposes.
Any time a port makes its way to a new console generation, it’s easy to get bogged down in the stat sheet concerning potential upgrades and additional content. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition checks most of the requisite boxes.
B:FCE takes advantage of your fancy 4K TV by providing a higher-resolution picture, adds six new levels to Echoes and Ultimate Echoes leaderboard modes, Overkill Mode (read: new game+) and even gives you an alternative audio (plus character model) mode with “Duke Nukem’s Tour” — offered as a $5 unlock for those of you who missed it as a pre-order bonus.
Other than that, it’s pretty much a straight port of People Can Fly’s 2011 PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 release. The added content serves as a different coat of paint but ultimately proves to be inessential as it’s still the same experience you’d get by picking up the original off the bargain bin.
While delving into B:FCE‘s extras was a little underwhelming, what really grabbed my attention is just how good — and novel — the gameplay continues to be. It’s a high-octane first-person shooter that resembles the bro-tastic attitude popularized by the Gears of War series, but much faster and even more profane and gore-filled, if you can believe it.
I played it the first time around and remember digging its Skillshots system that rewards you for creative kills. Shooting an enemy in the privates and going for a headshot as he agonizes in pain for a “mercy” kill is but one of many examples. It stands the test of time being just as fresh as when I first played through Bulletstorm‘s campaign six years ago.
The story is full of coarse dialogue with plenty of phallic references as you follow Grayson, Trishka, and Ishi on their journey of revenge against the sinister, manipulative General Sarrano, and it works for the most part.
It’s the perfect antidote for our current outrage culture. Will you be offended at one — or ten — of the jokes? Sure, but more often than not, the self-aware, self-deprecating comedy lands with great timing helping to keep the action and story moving along at a smooth clip.
B:FCE is also great at using more than the typical grays that shooters are still accustomed to implementing throughout their campaigns. You’ll run across aqua-hued waterfalls, sandy beaches, and greenery — serving as bonus points fodder in the case of cacti — along the way as you master the Skillshots system and encounter giant bosses encapsulating entire levels.
While the graphics look cleaner and truly make B:FCE‘s comprehensive use of the color spectrum pop, the textures and character models were, for the most part, left intact and give it an unmistakably dated feel. Audible groans and grimaces were a regular occurrence as I played through the campaign contemplating the visual fidelity we now take for granted on current generation hardware.
“Duke Nukem’s Tour,” the day one pre-order bonus, is an interesting overlay on the entirety of B:FCE‘s campaign that serves as an alternative audio track and, appropriately enough, fits right into the game’s tone even if it consists primarily of Duke correcting the rest of the cast when they refer to him as Grayson and spouting 90s mannerisms — bubble gum references and all.
As none of the cast’s dialogue was changed to reflect Duke’s inclusion, DNT fits the bill as doing the bare minimum in terms of additional content for the game but an odd pairing that veterans of the original release should enjoy upon replay. Jon St. John’s voiceover is great even if the lip-syncing is a bit off (an issue Gearbox is aware of and promises to fix shortly after launch).
It’s unfortunate that this day one add-on content sits in a sort of no man’s land in — what seems like — Gearbox’s attempt to promote pre-orders where fans will potentially miss it instead of throwing it into the standard version of the game.
If you never played the original Bulletstorm, you owe it to yourself to check out the re-release of People Can Fly’s shooter classic. While the graphics are decidedly dated, the ridiculous, laughter-inducing story and creative Skillshots system more than makes up for that fact. Veterans of the game need not apply unless you’re a diehard Duke Nukem fan and yearn for the fitting DLC included with the pre-order. It’d be a little easier to recommend at a lower price point, but $60 for what amounts to be a bare-bones port is a harder pill to swallow if you fit the latter category.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 4 out of 5 – Good
[Reviewer’s note: While the servers were up at the time of publishing, I was not able to find a match for B:FCE‘s 4-player online co-op mode, Anarchy. I plan on jumping in at launch to get a sense of the online experience, community, and will update the review accordingly.]