First-person shooter Bulletstorm has been out for a week and we must say the generally positive reviews and commentary from critics remind us of the simplistic and old-fashioned shooter Serious Sam. That, plus a generous amount of profanity that is meant to give a flashy spin to the genre.
Marketing for the game has followed a similar pattern. Last January a viral video for Bulletstorm was released spoofing Halo 3's "Believe" campaign. Then a month later they followed up by mocking the Call of Duty series with a free downloadable PC game named "Duty Calls". That's not to say it's all been genius on EA's part considering that they refused PC gamers a demo that consoles did receive ahead of release.
Co-developed by Epic Games and People Can Fly, the companies claim to have focused on the gameplay and storyline of Bulletstorm rather than the visuals. That said, if you look at any of the screenshots of the gorgeous vistas we took within the game you will be impressed with how they have used the Unreal Engine 3.5.
At the center of Bulletstorm's gameplay is the "skillshot" system. This gameplay system rewards the player for creating and inciting mayhem in the most creative and destructive ways possible, from killing an enemy in midair to pushing an enemy into a carnivorous plant to executing an enemy after shooting him in the testicles. The more unusual the skillshot, the more points players acquire to upgrade their character and unlock weapons, which allow the player to perform even more creative moves and exaggerated skillshots.
At this point we should mention another game that Bulletstorm reminds us of: Singularity. We tested this game last year, also built using the tried and true Unreal 3 game engine, but that's not where similarities stop. We found Singularity to be frustrating to adjust given that the developer (Raven) decided to conceal all advanced configuration settings from users despite the fact a majority of PC gamers like to tweak options to improve performance and visual quality. Bulletstorm unfortunately follows this trend, as noticed by many, no matter whether you are most interested in the single-player or multiplayer portion of the game.
As usual our focus with this performance review will be on how Bulletstorm will run on your PC. After struggling with the game's configuration settings, we were able to run all the necessary tests using a large array of GPUs as well as a number of different processors. Read on.