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General Description

Bulletstorm is a first-person shooter developed by People Can Fly and Epic Games and released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in February 2011. The game follows space mercenary Grayson Hunt as he tries to escape the extremely dangerous planet Stygia after his team's spacecraft crashes there. Players will use a variety of weapons to battle the many enemies that have overtaken the planet.

A few elements make Bulletstorm unique. One is the game's way over-the-top style; the game's super-masculine protagonist and ridiculous dialogue are far enough out there that the game often feels like a parody of mainstream action games.

Bulletstorm relies on its unique skillshot system to set itself apart from other FPS games. Rather than simply shooting enemies, players are encouraged to think more creatively and are rewarded points for killing enemies creatively. The game includes dozens of skillshots, with groups dedicated to each weapon, to kills that use the environment and more.

This puts one of the game's strengths in player creativity. This is especially obvious in the game's Echoes mode which challenges players to use the many skillshots at their disposal to reach the highest score possible.

Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C- C-
Ratings at a Glance
Facts: 1 Title: BULLETSTORM
Creativity: 4 Publisher: Electronic Arts
Business: 4 Developer: People Can Fly & Epic Games
People: 2 Year: 2011
Problem: 3 Genre: First Person Shooter
Simulation: 0 Strengths: popularity, creativity
Popularity: 9 Platforms: PC
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

Math is used when calculating the points rewarded for skillshots, and these points can be saved up by the player to upgrade their weapons and purchase ammunition.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

Players can run and shoot through Bulletstorm like any other game, but using the various weapons and environmental hazards to kill enemies in creative ways is more or less the name of the game. Players get more points for combining skillshots and taking multiple foes out at once as well. The game's weapons all work very differently, and each has a unique (but expensive) charged shot that players can use to access even more skillshots. Individual environmental hazards and enemy types also all offer their own skillshot opportunities.

Echoes mode takes set-pieces from the main campaign and splits them up into individual challenges which rank players on an online scoreboard, challenging them to think even more carefully about their tactics. Players are rated 1-3 stars after each run and the requirements for reaching the highest rank are often quite steep.

By the Developer:

Bulletstorm capitalizes on a certain kind of show-off appeal that many FPS games contain and makes it a main focus. Experimenting with weapons and going for headshots are genre staples, but here players are rewarded and rated on their creativity and skill. It’s a compelling system and it works well with the game's creative set of weapons and enemies. The game's environments are also built to encourage experimentation. Players can use their boots or a whip-like weapon to fling enemies over chasms or into spikes, and combining these techniques with gunfire can result in plenty of extra points.

Business Skills

Players use the points they earn from skillshots to restock at drop pods which appear periodically in each level. Players can purchase clips of ammo as well as charge shots. Players can also upgrade their weapons after reaching certain points in the game, expanding their ammo caps for regular and charge attacks. While money can be tight - especially earlier in the game - players that give skillshots a bit of attention should find themselves able to keep well-supplied for most of the game.

People Skills

The game includes a multiplayer mode called Anarchy mode. Like the rest of the game it relies on the skillshot system heavily, only now team-based cooperative skillshots are added to the mix. Players are placed in small arenas and made to fight off waves of enemies. Rather than surviving waves, the challenge is for players to reach a certain score in order to proceed. Players are often challenged to perform specific co-op skillshots that require them to time their attacks in tandem.

Though the mode is cooperative at heart, players still earn individual points for their kills, and these can be used to purchase a wide variety of upgrades between waves, with many more options than the main campaign offers.

Problem Solving

Since it's a first-person shooter, Bulletstorm's players will be concerned with collecting weapons and firing at enemies while dodging their attacks and finding cover. Bulletstorm puts a somewhat bigger focus on melee combat than many of its peers, and it gives players several effective options for moving around a battlefield - or moving enemies around.

While defeating enemies and surviving will be most players' main goals, Bulletstorm also asks players to consider skillshots at all times. A loading splash screen tells players that they should always be thinking of how to use as many skillshots as possible, and as players encounter new environments, enemies and weapons more and more options open up. Players can open up a list of most possible skillshots any time, and players are encouraged to try and unlock every skillshot to earn extra points.

The game's weapons and enemies are mixed up enough that most challenges don't get old, but the game spices things up with a handful of special set-pieces nonetheless. One of the best examples is the level that puts Grayson in charge of an enormous remote-controlled dinosaur that players will need to lead around to defeat waves of enemies.


Bulletstorm is not a simulation game.


Bulletstorm has received high praise from most publications. Reviews point out the game's fantastic graphic detail and creative skillshot mechanics in particular.

One point of contention has been the game's sometimes-obscene sense of humor. Characters often make fairly tasteless jokes, the protagonist included. Some have found the game's dialogue offensive, while some others have seen it as an exaggerated parody of the dialogue found in other such games.

Controls & Options

Bulletstorm offers standard audio, visual and control options. Five difficulty levels are available.


Bulletstorm was rated Mature by the ESRB with descriptors for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language and Use of Alcohol.