Not one for grandma
Being served on a bloody platter as an antidote to the increasingly stagnant military and sci-fi first-person shooters, Bulletstorm unloads revitalising ingenuity and puerile larks straight into the heart of the genre.
Implementing an addictive 'skillshot' system, the gameplay drives players into dispatching their enemies in increasingly creative and gruesome ways, awarding points based on head-bursting flourish. Blow a few collective enemies into a thousand pieces and you'll be rewarded with 100+ points and the quip 'Gang Bang'; pierce a hole in a raging assailant's neck to see them spluttering blood like a leaking tap rewards 50 points, along with the term 'Gag Reflex' chiming across the screen for your pleasure. It's a provocative system.
It's paired with a selection of weapons seemingly bred from '90s PC gaming (all style and devastation): skull-exploding bullets, incendiary ammo that rips the skin off enemies and a gun that allows you to drill through the most private of areas - needless to say, the armory is instantly endearing. It forms a motivating 'Gotta-Kill-'Em-All' attitude, running in tandem with the skillshots to reward murderous artistry with further killing implements and upgrades.
The game isn't without its subtleties either, as the exquisite pacing proves, gradually drip-feeding the player all the vital ingredients. Whether it's the gameplay fundamentals (the indispensable kick and leash), weapon upgrades, or the impressive set pieces that escalate, its level of focus is outstanding.
Then there's the language. A main draw in pre-release marketing - and not without its charm within the game - characters spew some of the most wonderfully imaginative cusses ever put to disk. Yet, the story of Grayson Hunt and his team of ragtag mercenaries, while not exactly groundbreaking, offers a compelling backdrop, proving there's more to the script than just eloquent terms, such as 'dicktits'.
The most innovative first-person shooter in years, Bulletstorm is as addictive as it is bold. Beyond every crude one-liner and the unashamed gratuity of its violence, it's a game full of hidden depth and simple thrills of gaming past. Not one for grandma, mind.