Shooters can always use a solid shot in the arm, and if you don’t feel like doing anything different in terms of core structure or mechanics, you had best go totally over-the-top and blow everyone’s minds. That is the goal of People Can Fly and their current project, Bulletstorm . It’s not just about crazy arcade-style insanity, it’s more like taking the concept of Unreal Tournament and amping it up to the tenth degree; it’s about literally torturing your opponents and spitting on their corpses. It’s about using both your heavy weaponry and the environment to destroy any living thing that makes the mistake of strolling into your path of destruction. You can use your guns, energy leash, and even your freakin’ boot to lay the smackdown on unfortunate foes. The combination of different elements even allows you to chain action-like combos together: kick ‘em in the air, shoot ‘em, yank ‘em back with the leash…shoot ‘em again. How’s that sound?
Sure, you can go through and play it like most any other shooter, but the real fun will be had when up close and personal, when you have more than just your gun at your immediate disposal. The truly entertaining part will be finding new and sadistically interesting ways to eliminate the competition, so if you’re willing get creative and inventive, Bulletstorm could be ceaselessly awesome. The world you find yourself in – Stygia – is a total chaotic mess; it was once a technologically advanced city and a place for the elite to relax, but something catastrophic has happened. What’s left is a post-apocalyptic setting that sort of reminds us of the atmosphere we’ve seen in Ninja Theory’s Enslaved , but it should also be more dynamic. Heck, there are even plants that could pose a problem in Stygia; shoving enemies into man-eating traps is a definite possibility, and the goal will be to keep an eye on your surroundings. This should add another dimension to an already-enticing premise.
Getting back to the potential combo aspect, this may be the first time we’ve seen God of War -like strings of attacks in a FPS. You will be encouraged to spread death in as many different ways as possible, and the game will reward you for your ingenuity. The more ridiculous and gory your death dance is, the more points you will receive: just gunning down a foe will only result in the minimum point prize, while shooting an explosive piece of the environment and nailing multiple targets will rake in more points. Rewards will also be received for impaling enemies on parts of the environment or even shooting them in the crotch…yeah, you heard that right. The more points you receive, the more upgrades you will have access to, so you should have plenty of motivation to be patient and creative. Playing it just like another FPS won’t provide you with the “funnest” upgrades, you know? So don’t sit back with a sniper rifle all day long.
It’s unfortunate that we don’t know much of anything about the aforementioned upgrade system just yet. We’ll be very interested to see what kind of upgrades will be available, and how those will affect the gameplay. We’ve heard that some upgrades are passive, in that they simply up the physical attributes of your character by offering enhanced offensive and/or defensive capabilities. Now, as for the story – yeah, it exists – the designers have actually said it’s similar to that of TV’s short-lived “Firefly” (you may be more familiar with the movie spin-off, “Serenity”). The main character, Grayson Hunt, has a giant chip on his shoulder and is easily annoyed, which definitely fits…obviously, just about everyone gets on his bad side and he flips out. So we shouldn’t say Hunt is anything like the show’s Malcolm Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion), but we’ll take People Can Fly’s word for it regarding the plot. In the end, Bulletstorm appears to hold a lot of promise…it’s like the very definition of “guilty pleasure.”