Bulletstorm is a strange bird in the world of shooters. It chooses to violently wag its middle finger at the superserious shooter that's inundated the first-person-shooter market, offering a bit of levity among its doom and gloom-drenched brethren.
To that end, Bulletstorm offers a hilariously over the top experience, complete with a potty-mouthed cast, incredibly inventive ways to dispatch foes and a campaign that impresses with some nicely varied gameplay and thoroughly enjoyable boss battles.
Players take the role of Grayson "Gray" Hunt, a double-crossed space pirate out for revenge against his former commanding officer, General Serano. After his ship takes a devastating beating in a firefight against Serano's massive vessel, both Gray's and Serano's ships crash-land on the planet Stygia. In addition to being the home of some fierce wildlife and creatures, Stygia's humanoid inhabitants are at war, making Gray's goal of getting off the planet much more difficult. A half-cyborg named Ishi and the gun-toting badass Trishka accompany him along his way, both add a nice amount of personality to the experience.
Early on, Gray gains access to Bulletstorm's most innovative tool: the energy leash. The leash allows Gray to pull his enemies toward him through the air while simultaneously causing a sort of "bullet time" slowdown effect, giving Gray ample time to set up one of Bulletstorm's varied "skillshots." Pulling off a skillshot requires players to find creative ways to finish off enemies, whether it's shooting them in the crotch, pulling them into a spiked fence, feeding them to a carnivorous plant... the list goes on. Players can access the skillshot list at any time to see which ones they've yet to pull off, and in addition to the environmental skillshots specific to each level, each weapon has its own list.
Performing skillshots grants players points they can use to upgrade weapons and buy ammo, so simply running around and carelessly shooting enemies in the face is not really an option. Besides, the skillshots are actually really fun to pull off, and since Stygia's designed like a futuristic reimagining of Macaulay Culkin's house in Home Alone, the game constantly presents players with new ways to mangle their enemies. The whole system is wonderfully executed, and the way it allows Bulletstorm to deviate from typical run-'n'-gun shooter gameplay is refreshing.
In addition to utilising the skillshot system to take out lesser foes, players encounter some highly entertaining bosses over the course of the game. A few on-rails segments pit players against gigantic abominations, like a huge rolling wheel of death and a creature that resembles the Cloverfield monster. The scale of these battles is impressive and adds some nice variety to the more skillshot-centric gameplay.