As the critical and commercial success of last year’s Doom showed, fans of sci-fi first-person shooters still enjoy gun games that don’t take themselves too seriously. It is to those people that I’d like to introduce Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), a uniquely over-the-top sci-fi first-person shooter. Well, assuming they didn’t already meet this game when it originally came out in 2011. But while this version doesn’t add enough to make it worth buying if you’ve played it already, those who missed the original are in luck because this is one ridiculous and ridiculously fun shooter.
In the story-driven campaign, which is the centerpiece of Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition, you’re cast as an ex-special ops soldier who’s trying to get revenge on his former commander, and ends up stranded on a mysterious planet that looks like it used to be a tropical resort. Except that instead of bartenders and cabana boys, you and your crew have to contend with the local wildlife, including some Borderlands-looking rejects, as well as soldiers still loyal to your old boss. Which means it’s kill or be killed if you want to get off world.
In many ways (and in every mode), Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition plays like a typical first-person shooter. Especially of the Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein variety, since this has standard first-person shooter controls, is fast and unrelenting, and employs a similar visual style to ID’s shooters. Except that unlike those games, this doesn’t just set its gun battles in dark corridors, but also in some beautiful locations that recall the tropical paradises of Dead Island and the early Far Cry games.
What makes Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition different from those shooters, and rather unique, is how you hurt people when not shooting them. For starters, instead of smacking people upside the head with the butt of your gun, you kick them. This not only sends them flying, but it also puts them in a brief state of suspended animation. But while you can then shoot them in midflight, like when you use the anti-grav biotic in Mass Effect Andromeda, you can also just sit back and relax as they slam into something hurtful like a spike or an exposed electrical wire.
Along with your fancy footwork, Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition also arms you with an electric leash, which works like a sci-fi version of Indiana Jones‘ whip. As with your boots, the leash temporarily paralyzes your enemies, allowing you to shoot them or, if you stand in just the right spot, pull them towards something sharp.
Using the leash and your feet in Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition doesn’t just help you kill people in helpful and creative ways, though. Taking people out with flair earns you points, not unlike what happens in the multiplayer modes of Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, and other online shooters. These points can then be redeemed for ammo and weapon upgrades, including one for the leash that enables it to send multiple enemies flying upward, preferably to their doom.
Earning points for kills isn’t the only thing Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition has in common with Call Of Duty, et al. The game also breaks up all the shooting, kicking, and whipping with some huge, Michael Bay-style action bits, including a train chase with a giant wheel, and a bit where you take control of a robot T-Rex with machine gun eyes.
Even with the point system and over-the-top action bits, though, Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition‘s campaign still feels very different from other modern shooters. And not just because Titanfall 2 doesn’t reward you for shooting people in the throat. The levels are all linear, though some have more open battlefields; there’s no ducking for cover; and while you can, as I said, upgrade your weapons and leash, these merely add functionality or increase how much ammo you can carry, they don’t get super specific and, say, increase the odds that your bullets will do 22% more critical damage against enemies who voted early in the last election.
The thing is, while some may feel the lack of open battlefields, cover mechanics, and character upgrades make Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition‘s campaign feel dated (which, for the record, I do not), the kicking and the leashing more than make up for it, since they make the combat really fun, varied, and ultimately rather satisfying.
That said, there are problems with Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition, not the least of which is that some of the humor falls flat, while your character comes off as a real idiot. He also has trouble jumping, and needs you to be in just the right spot before he’ll vault over something blocking his way. It can also be problematic how the onscreen indicators that tell you what kind of kill you’ve performed, and how many points you’ve earned for it, can sometimes block your view of other people you need to kill.
The Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition also comes up short when it comes to co-op and multiplayer options. Despite having cool and unique mechanics that would make it fun to kill your friends, there are no competitive multiplayer modes (though, in fairness, there weren’t any in the original version either). Not since the original BioShock has a shooter so cried out for a round of “Team Deathmatch.”
Instead, Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition has the co-op multiplayer mode “Anarchy” and a challenge mode called “Echoes,” both of which ask you to quickly kill as many people as you can. The difference between them being that “Anarchy” matches are set in small, enclosed arenas, while “Echoes” maps are enclosed sections from the campaign. But while they’re both essentially survival modes, they don’t have the depth you get in such similar modes as “Horde” from Gears Of War 4, which lets you construct barriers and the like. As a result, these modes are fun for a while, just not a long while.
That said, if you did enjoy either “Anarchy” or “Echoes” in the original, you’ll like them more in the Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition. Not only does this include all of the arenas later added to the game via the two DLC packs, but it has six new maps for “Echoes” as well.
Along with the new “Echoes” maps, the Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition also adds a new campaign option called the “Overkill Campaign Mode,” which gives you every weapon right from the start. Which just makes this game even more ludicrous.
This version of Bulletstorm also benefits from such aesthetic improvements as updated visuals (including 4K resolution for PCs and PlayStation 4 Pros) and remastered audio, though the only one that makes this play better are the smoother frame rates, and even then, not by much, since this game was already pretty smooth.
In the end, the Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition obviously doesn’t add enough new stuff to make it worth buying if you’ve already played it. But for those who haven’t, its mix of fast action, harrowing gun battles, and sadistic disregard for human life — well, digital life, anyway — make it one one of the more unique and effortlessly fun sci-fi shooters of the year. And six years ago.