Bulletstorm is a game about shooting other people in the nuts and being rewarded for it. It's a game about kicking people into sparking control panels and watching as their limbs twitch and their eyeballs melt.
It's also about flattening people behind large chunks of metal you've just booted right across the room, and about how a single man can yank a helicopter out of the sky all by himself with his crazy electrical whip. Believe.
Bulletstorm is a shower of nutty weapons and a squirming bundle of single-entendres. It's a frat-boy piñata loaded with sex toys and cheap fireworks.
In other words, Bulletstorm is serious about being stupid. That's why its central Skillshot mechanic, which sees you earning points by killing people in the most imaginative manner possible, is so sweetly appealing.
You can get a good sense of just how serious the game is by playing through a few of the challenge modes. These are a range of sugary side offerings which shake the game's scrapheap landscape free of what little narrative consequence it might have possessed in the campaign – alien planets, mercs, betrayal. They let you revel in a world of pure score attack pleasure as you unleash murder at its most inventive.
EA's only revealing two such modes at the moment. Of these, Echo is probably the most straightforward. Actually, to be honest, it's entirely straightforward, breaking the single-player content up into little shards of score-maximising madness.
Your task is to barrel through the chaos with one eye on your points meter and another on the clock. Decisions, decisions: boot someone off a cliff for the Vertigo Skillshot or smack them with a reinforced door for the Pancake move?
The environment is often as important as the enemies in Bulletstorm. Echo emerges as a smart balancing act as you attempt to maximise the number of Skillshots achieved while keeping your completion time as low as possible.
Are you the kind of person who can't check into Hot Pursuit's Autolog without making sure you're right at the top of the leaderboard on all your events? Then you might want to say farewell to your family and friends and have one last, ritualistic Hoover of the entire house before you fire this one up.
Anarchy mode is a punkish twist on Horde, seeing up to four players take on wave after wave of nasty AI enemies. The Bulletstorm Difference (I'm trademarking this phrase) is that the game won't bring on the next round of baddies until you've finished off the last ones with sufficient style. It ensures you do that by giving you a meaty score target to match each time.
Anarchy takes co-op to heart, letting loose with the points only when you're working together on some truly collaborative murder. This is where Bulletstorm standards like Team Deep Penetration (being shot by several people at once, I gather) and Drawn & Quartered (being torn apart by more than one fizzing electrical leash) really come into their own.
It requires genuine teamwork to make the most of every situation. If your attention wanders, the game's pretty good at broadcasting opportunities for a combo attack using the age-honoured system of having them flash up on the screen in massive letters. This gives you plenty of time to quickly rush over to the action and put a boot in while there's still life to extinguish.
In a final twist, an unlock shop appears in between waves to make sure the carnage gets more and more extreme as the challenge progresses. It's smart, ghoulishly enjoyable stuff.
While it would be nice to have spent a bit longer with the campaign itself at this point, Anarchy and Echo are enough to suggest that Bulletstorm is coming together rather well.
The levels are colourful, richly detailed and filled with gimmicks. A run about during Echo let me loose in a cluster of futuristic garbage piles strung across an balmy atoll, while Anarchy takes place in an area built from blood-red caverns surrounding a pit with, um, a tornado in the centre.
More importantly, there's a real sense that the developers have thought through all of the brutally creative things players are likely to dream up. Think of an imaginative kill and the chances are the team got there first, and is waiting to reward you with a shower of points and an amusing name, probably taken from the realms of adult cinema.
The elaborately deranged weapon set provides huge potential for hilarious destruction. You'll get to try out cannons that fire bolo grenades, wrapping around an enemy's neck before exploding. Then there's the bone-duster, a quad-barrelled shotgun that's great for blasting enemies into the sky. Or how about the bouncer, which sends rubbery bombs springing through the world and is named after a dog from Neighbours.
Bulletstorm is a shooter where you're looking for the juicy racing line that runs through each level. Its high score arcade ethos has been tried before - notably with love-'em-or-hate-'em oddities like The Club - but it's never been done with this kind of big-budget assurance and hillbilly humour. Fling that together with a single-player campaign packed with set-pieces and huge bosses and you can see why EA's excited about this one.
So it seems 2011 might just be the best year yet when it comes to shooting other people in the nuts. Where do I sign?