Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Duke Nukem Bundle Review

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is for all intents and purposes the exact same game that was released to critical acclaim and commercial failure back in 2011. Sure, there is support for 4K resolution, there are a handful of minor additional modes and some of the textures and character work has certainly been improved, but for the most part, despite the name suggesting otherwise, this really is an unchanged experience.

What that means on paper is that you’re getting the same stellar gameplay that made Bulletstorm so much fun 6 years ago, but equally, it invariably means that you are getting the same terrible story, and above all else, the same horrendously annoying characters and dialogue.

When it comes to action games, especially those that aren’t taking themselves too seriously, I’m usually pretty forgiving when it comes to character and story. Very few shooters have exemplary narratives, and to be honest, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of gameplay, I’m pretty happy to ignore it…….there are limits though.

As good as the gameplay might be (and it really is fantastic), there is no getting around just how annoyingly puerile the dialogue is. Some younger gamers might find it slightly amusing in an immaturely offensive kind of way, but for the majority of players, the dialogue is something to be suffered through rather than enjoyed. I have nothing against swearing, but here, it’s thrown about in some vein attempt to sound, I don’t know, cool? Edgy? Funny perhaps? Whatever they were going for, they failed pretty bad. This is Gears of War minus the (attempts at) emotion and plus a whole load of really bad dick jokes.

It really is a shame that Bulletstrom remains so obnoxiously unfunny, as behind the terrible dialogue and decidedly unlikeable characters lies an absolutely fantastic first person shooter. The narrative’s attempts to run contrary to the po-faced nature of modern day shooters might well have fallen disappointing flat, but the gameplay does just about everything right. By doing away with common sense and instilling an arcade-style scoring system to sit alongside its unique suite of mechanics, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition delivers one of the most uproariously enjoyable shooters since, well, Bulletstorm I guess.

Co-developed by People Can Fly and Epic Games, It’s no surprise to see just how many similarities there are between this and Epic’s, Gears of War series. It might be more tounge in cheek, not to mention in first person rather than third, but from its chunky character design through to its general aesthetic and brutally solid gunplay, this really does feel like a game made by the same company that delivered Gears of War’s genre defining shooting mechanics. There is no cover here, but taking down Bulletstorm’s collection of mutant thugs is a consistently cathartic and rewarding experience.

The biggest difference (beyond the tone and more colourful palette) comes via Bulletstorm’s commitment to its arcade sensibilities. Thanks largely to its slow motion kick mechanic and spectacularly effective energy lasso, Bulletstorm is effectively turned into a score-chasing rampage that allows you to kill the vast majority of enemies in a huge selection of weird and wonderful ways.

With the kick sending enemies flying away from you in slow-mo and the energy leash pulling enemies toward you in slow-mo, you are imbued with this fantastic ability to manipulate enemy movement at will, and combined with the brilliant selection of brutally effective weaponry and vast collection of environmental hazards, Bulletstorm allows you to take down these enemies in over 100 different ways.

Listed in the menu as you progress, these ‘skillshots’ effectively act as an ongoing collection of mini challenges that you look to unlock and subsequently unleash upon your foes as you progress. Whether it be shooting an enemy in the butt after kicking him into the air or dragging enemies into rows of spikes or explosives, Bulletstorm’s action is nothing if not violently inventive, and when combined with a handful of spectacular set-pieces, manages to deliver some of the more consistently entertaining gameplay found in the genre.

In terms of new content, well, there isn’t much to shout about. Beyond the flashy new visuals which, beyond the occasionally iffy character models, has been spruced up quite nicely, there are a few new maps in the score-chasing Echoes mode and an all new four-player co-op mode called, Anarchy. This is very similar to Gears of War’s Horde mode and allows up to 4 players to take on wave after wave of enemies. It’s nothing particluraly inventive, but thanks to the games’ fantastic core mechanics, proves an enjoyable distraction for as long as it lasts.

If you’re willing to fork out for the DLC, you can also play through the game as Duke Nukem which is…..exactly what it sounds like. It’s entertaining to see Duke Nukem in an a genuinely enjoyable game (the first time that has happened in quite some time), but unsurprisingly, it doesn’t do much to improve the questionable tone or relentlessly dodgy dialogue. Some of it becomes a tad more bearable with Duke delivering the dialogue, but unless you’re a massive Duke Nukem fan, missing out on content that really should have been included in the core package shouldn’t prove all that painful.

The characters and dialogue remain largely terrible and the high price point will certainly put some people off, but despite its issues and general lack of notable new content, Bulletstorm remains an exemplary shooter 6 years after its original release with the Full Clip Edition’s visual overhaul going a long way towards bringing it up to modern day standards. With its score-chasing mechanics and arcade sensibilities, Bulletstorm still stands out from the increasingly po-faced shooter crowd, and while its attempts at humour fail miserably, its gameplay remains a glorious success.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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