“A symphony of carnage.” Has there ever been a more elegant description of a gleefully violent shoot-em-up?
That was the expression coined by Adrian Chmielarz at last week’s EA Preview event, to describe his company’s new game Bulletstorm. Adrian heads up Polish studio People Can Fly and, in a thoroughly entertaining, hilarious demo, he showed that people can do exactly that. And that they can be blown apart by big weapons, eaten by hungry plants, thrown into the air by an electric whipt and, should you feel the need, pinned to columns from a great distance by a gun that fires boleros.
The plot, it must be said, is not exactly original but hey, when was the last time we got something new and shiny? Here we have a corrupt galactic confederation who are able to do pretty much whatever they please due to their security personnel, a group of the best-of-the-best mercenaries called Dead Echo. Grayson Hunt and Ishi Sato are two of those mercenaries but when they discover that they’ve been working for the bad guys they try to do something about it but end up in exile on a distant planet filled with man-eating plants and violent gangs. You play Hunt and your mission is to beat the plants and thugs, get off the planet and take your revenge on your former employer.
If they only spent five minutes on the outline, rest assured it only appears to have given them more time to inject the action with pure testosterone and the sort of big guns that make you suspect the holder is somewhat inadequate in the pants department. Not to mention quality dialogue like the previously reported “the shit I’ve seen shit would turn your asshole purple”.
As also mentioned on these very pages, the game is more “cartoon” than “snuff movie” and, on this evidence, that’s spot on. Yes, it’s hugely violent but hilariously, ridiculously so and while certain middle England-pleasing tabloids are no doubt already working themselves up into a frenzy, the rest of us can just anticipate the enjoyable mayhem.
Hunt appears to have a lot of weaponry at his disposal, from the electric whip – that grapples enemies and pulls them towards you – to fists and feet which, at close quarters, are as fatal as any bullet at your disposal. The gorier the kill, the more points you score, including the so called “Mercy Kill”: injure your opponent with a leg (or, indeed, groin) shot and you can then put them out of their misery by kicking them to the floor and finishing them off in screen-splattering close up with a point blank head shot.
The game appears to play like a dream – although admittedly this wasn’t a hands-on demo – and looks glorious too. Remember your reaction to Bioshock? The gasps that greeted this preview, with its deeply detailed buildings and vegetation (and yes, detailed executions) suggest Bulletstorm is going to be one of the titles of – and here’s the bad news – 2011.