Let me just get this out there, so y’all understand that when you see me crawling out of an alley, begging for money and smelling worse than the rotten remains of a Stygia mutant previously eviscerated by the “Rear Entry” skillshot, it’s because of this: Steam sales. They will be my undoing, as just about anything heavily discounted suddenly becomes interesting in front of my eyes. And I do mean anything.
Take, for instance, the crude and callous first-person shooter Bulletstorm. I absolutely disliked the demo, ultimately saying this:
Bulletstorm is irrefutably juvenile, and the demo is all I probably needed to experience…ever. And for fun’s sake, here’s some phrases used affectionately during the demo to hit home their target audience: pasty, bean bag, butt hole, and, the new cult favorite, dick tits.
Right. So, why then did I buy a copy of the game over the weekend for the PC? Why have I been unlocking a lot of Achievements in rapid succession? Why am I–and this is almost troubling to admit–having fun kicking mutants into slow motion and then shooting them in half? Well, because Steam was selling it for $5.00. And at that kind of price, Bulletstorm is a blast.
At its boyish heart, Bulletstorm‘s story is about revenge gone wrong. Grayson Hunt is looking to kick his former commanding officer General Sarrano of the Confederation of Planets in his nuts and then shoot him in the head. This is because Sarrano used Hunt and his fellow friends to assassinate innocent people by telling them they were corrupt evildoers. Unfortunately, trying to ram Sarrano’s spaceship with Hunt’s spaceship brought both vessels down on the planet Stygia, which is infested with mutants and monsters. But Hunt’s no quitter, and so he’s crawling across the planet’s dangerous grounds in search of the man that made him mad. He is helped by Ishi, who is now part android, and Trishka, a former member of the elite squad Final Echo.
Gameplay involves moving forward through a level and racking up points by using creative kills against the many, many mutants that want to ruin your very existence. Headshots are boring, and so one must look for other ways to create mayhem: tossing an enemy of a cliff, dropping them on some spikes, shooting them in half, setting them on fire, and so on. Points let you buy ammo and upgrade weapons, so the more creative you are, the stronger your guns will be, which in turn let you get even crazier. It’s a system that works and reminds me of the way weapons upgraded in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. You also use a hi-tech leash that can grab objects and throw them around though I prefer sliding into enemies and then kicking them off ledges the most–really helps conserve precious ammo. Occasionally, gameplay gets mixed up, with Hunt controlling a huge, Godzilla-like monster or trying to just escape a section of the level under a time limit; otherwise, it’s still just a lot of shooting.
Also, what’s kind of nice is that, unknowingly, Bulletstorm on Steam counts as a Game for Windows Live thing, meaning I can play it logged in as PaulyAulyWog and earn Achievements for my actual Gamerscore. Think this is my first GFWL experience, and it’s all good in the skillshotty neighborhood. Here’s a few that I unlocked that are not tied to completing story chapters:
Master of Disaster (40G): Earn 2000 points or more at once
Disco Inferno (10G): Kill all enemies without leaving the dance floor in the city outskirts
No Man Left Behind (20G): Kill all enemies while escaping from the collapsed building
Currently, I’m somewhere in Act 4. Second chapter? Third? Don’t really know what that means in comparison to the overall game, but it feels like midway through. Maybe even more than that. I’m sure it won’t take long to finish up, as we’re definitely getting closer to wherever Sarrano is hiding. Again, for $5.00, this is a good time; however, if I had bought Bulletstorm at full price on Day One…I would definitely feel otherwise. And there you go.