It’s been a while since Bulletstorm has been released and yet, no other game since then has tried to successfully combine the best elements of style action titles like Devil May Cry, classic FPS games and modern scripted FPS games in one nice package. The only title which tried to go for at least something similar in speed, but not in tone or stylish action, was the pretty good DOOM (2016). Although, it does feel like the FPS games in general are trying to recapture the speed and simple joys of the earlier days of the genre recently, so maybe things aren’t that bad and we’ll get more fun titles. But for now, we can also finally replay Bulletstorm on PC without the goddamn GFWL in the updated Full Clip Edition. And that’s, mostly, good.
Let’s start with the good – the game itself is still really good. I’ve enjoyed it not just as much, but probably even more than back in 2011, since this time around I had all the experience and expectations of how you’re “supposed to play” the game and have been kicking, sliding and whipping it good more than shooting guns from the start. Yes, there is no elegance in the scoring system here, like there are in DMC or titles from Platinum, you can (and will) just kick 5 enemies in the same set of spiky surface and the game will reward you for that as much as if you’d try to be varied in what you do. But it feels fun and justified. And this time, unless I have been just playing better, it seems that upgrading the weapons is easier, so you can just upgrade everything to the max as you go, for those moments where it’s more fun and useful to shoot in addition to kicking.
That said, none of the PC-specific issues with the whole upgrade weapon UI have been updated or fixed and you still cannot use the mouse, and weapons are still called “right” and “left” even if you use 2 or 3 to switch to them and it’s confusing as hell. It also seems, that some of the skillshots (special bonus points kills you can do) are also still impossible to do if you disable some things that are unnecessary with the mouse, since they require you to have full auto-aim on. Also, a few bugs from back when the game was first released are still there, you can still occasionally get stuck at odd geometry (and there’s no jump), and some of the QTE timings seem to be a bit off.
However, the update otherwise feels really nicely done with tiny welcome improvements. Game natively feels and looks better and higher resolutions due to updated UI scaling. Lighting and a lot of effects look better, which adds to the fact that the original already looked really good. There is an FOV slider this time around, which makes the game feel so much better on the monitor. And all the loading screens between the levels (with the chapter cards) have been removed – they now only appear if you die and reload, or load the save/chapter. Otherwise, the game just fades to black and then fades from black. Sadly, some of the levels that are supposed to tie into each other still retain this fade out/in, even though they could in theory be combined into one level. But I would assume that would’ve required a huge map redesign and that would make the whole project more difficult and expensive to make.
Not that it’s cheap, though. I would strongly advise against buying the game at full price, especially due to the fact that the current publisher, Gearbox, are known for very non-customer-friendly behaviors and while it is understandable why they would not release this version as an update or a discounted upgrade to owners of the original, the fact that they went for full mid-range price on this welcome, but simple update is shocking. Less shocking than the new menu option that promotes the “Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour DLC”, which is currently taken off sale and probably can be acquired via other means, but… it shouldn’t. It’s just a pointless misunderstanding of both Duke and Bulletstorm, where Duke, of course voiced by Jon St. John, is just inserted as a main character in the game, while the rest of the game proceeds as if no change has been made. So the “humour” of the DLC should come from the fact that Duke just spouts nonsense and is being completely ignored by everyone around him, until he just starts saying the same things as the main character, just in his own voice. It’s such a pointless addition to the game that actually feels like it truly understands how the tone of the 90s FPS can be transferred into more story-driven era… I mean, I guess it’s better than Duke Nukem Forever, but then again, most of the things in life are better than that crap.
It’s also a shame that the little game that was originally created to promote Bulletstorm, a parody of Call of Duty and like games called Duty Calls, hasn’t been re-released. So, since it’s pretty hard to come by today, I decided to make a full video playthrough of it:
Overall, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is a great re-release of a great fun game, which is simply sadly marred by some of the Gearbox decisions. If you haven’t played Bulletstorm yet, grab it on a discount and give it a go. If you have – hey, maybe it’s time for a replay. I’ve enjoyed mine.
What I’ve also enjoyed is Nex Machina. I haven’t technically “completed” this fun arcadey shooter game, so I cannot write a review, but I really wanted to mention it and recommend everyone to check it out. It looks great, it plays great, it feels exciting and fun and it’s very easy to get into, even if you’re not a good twin-stick shooter player. It also has a really good soundtrack and did I mention how great it looks? No really, it does, while having a lot of things destructable, and yet remaining very readable. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a demo, but you can check out the videos to understand how it works. You’ll probably love it. :)