Retro Review: Bulletstorm – PS3

Quite recently, Gearbox graced us with a remaster of Bulletstorm, a game which did not receive a lot of love when it first came out. Since Gearbox has also decided to make a remaster of a six-year old game full retail price, I bring to you a review of the original Bulletstorm because, let’s be frank, nobody is going to buy it for £45 when you can buy the original with the change in your back pocket.

You play as Grayson Hunt, mercenary turned space pirate, who is stranded on a foreign, unknown planet with the rest of his crew after a fight with General Sarrano, Grayson’s former employer. After learning of Sarrano’s location, Grayson sets out on a blood-soaked romp across the planet in an attempt to rescue his former employer who has the means to escape the planet.

Bulletstorm isn’t like most triple-A shooters, but instead has one gimmick that makes it a cut above the rest. You’ll be given a number of methods to slaughter your enemies at your disposal including a variety of weapons such as assault rifles, shotguns and sniper rifles, an electric whip that can be used to grab enemies from a distance, and the biggest boot in gaming which allows you to kick enemies long distances.

All throughout the game, you’ll be killing mutants and natives in deadly environments that have spikes jutting from the walls, cacti conveniently placed, and explosives dangling from the ceiling. The more convoluted and complicated the kill, the more points you receive which allow you to buy ammunition and weapon upgrades. These kills are known as Skillshots.

Each weapon has a variety of Skillshots that you can perform. You’ll get points for shooting people in the head, shooting people in the throat, kicking them into cacti, dropping explosives on their head and the list goes on and on. It can be a treat to go through Bulletstorm and just see how many ways you can kill your enemies. Each level also has secret Skillshots that you can perform, specific to that particular chapter. It’s worth it to comb your environments to scan for potential death-traps to boot your enemies into.

Along with a fairly short campaign, you also get a horde mode in which you have to defeat waves of enemies in the most inventive way possible to rack up a score. This is where Bulletstorm’s multi-player aspect comes in as there are certain Skillshots that can only be performed with two people. For example, you can rip an enemy apart with two leashes. It’s a fun mode that you can play if you’re looking for a quick murder session, and a reason to keep the game around.

If you’re looking to buy Bulletstorm after reading this review, you should be aware that you’ll be buying it for the gameplay, not for its story. Whilst it’s humour is brilliantly rude and crass, the underlying, touching moments feel a little disjointed and out of place. It’s hard to get emotional about a touching speech when literally seconds earlier, Grayson is making dick jokes a plenty.

Since the game sold very poorly upon its initial release, a sequel was never made, which means the ending a is kick in the bollocks as well. Bulletstorm has a horrible sequel hook for its ending so anybody looking for closure in a game will be sorely disappointed.

Cutscenes also show their age quite a bit which is to be expected for a game that is six years old. Facial animations and textures are particularly bad and the lip sync is off-balance some of the time. Frame rate tends to drop when a lot of things are happening on-screen at once, and since Bulletstorm is composed of sixty per cent explosions, it can be quite jarring sometimes. However, these are things that you can usually criticise about most games of Bulletstorm’s age.

Everything else still carries through very well to the current year. Bulletstorm’s combat is still an incredibly fast paced, entertaining romp and just endlessly slaughtering mutants by kicking hot dog stands into them is a level of fun that no shooter has matched since. Bulletstorm is one of the most innovative, triple-a shooters I’ve ever played and it still matches, and even excels against whatever tripe that is pumped out by Activision or EA.

Going through the game trying to find each Skillshot to complete your lists is vastly entertaining, and it adds a massive amount of replay value to the game. I can guarantee that you’ll miss a good chunk of Skillshots on your first playthrough and it was more than a pleasant experience to go back through the game to try to nail those trickier Skillshots.

Whilst the story is pretty subpar, the characters are still pretty great when they’re not engaging in sloppy speeches about guilt and friendship. Grayson’s humour is so crass and blunt that you can’t help but laugh. His reactions to the events that occur and his sheer explosive personality is a joy as you make your way through the game’s many unique environments.

Each one is different and extremely detailed. Every now and again you can see that a hazard has been specifically placed for you to stick the boot into an enemy and rack up a massive score. Watching all of the numbers pop up onto the screen and watching your points fly up after a well-placed shot is so satisfying to behold and one can get endless enjoyment out of it.

One of my favourite weapons in the game is the Thumper, a grenade like weapon which, when used, sends enemies flying into the air for you to pick off one by one. When used indoors, you can send enemies flying into the roof, turning all the enemies in the room into a red paste. Using the Thumper indoors is one of the best and most satisfying weapons to use in Bulletstorm and encapsulates the game perfectly.

Sheer chaos.

Bulletstorm PS3 Review
  • Overall - Fantastic - 8.5/10


Bulletstorm is one of the best shooters of the past decade, delivering a unique and innovative combat system that hasn’t been matched to date. Along with great characters, unique environments, and some top-quality voice acting, Bulletstorm is only somewhat tarnished due to a weak story and outdated visuals. However, to say that I bought this game for £1.50, the game is an absolute steal and one that I can highly recommend to anyone looking for a unique first person experience.

Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.

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