Bulletstorm

Shotgurn.

We're sure you would agree with Bulletstorm's assertion that it's "time to break out the awesome". Clearly there is a gap in the market for a demented shooter where you're constantly sliding around on your knees blasting mutant jerks in the nuts and quipping like Duke Nukem with an irony bypass.

If the idea of MadWorld with colossal guns, unfettered misogyny and constant sexual innuendo makes you want to roar like an excitable grizzly bear, there's plenty to look forward to here. Sensitive types in touch with their femininity, however, might need a lie down with some Horlicks.

But then the fact that Bulletstorm is an exercise in frothing chaos and bloodshot machismo shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given that it's the bastard offspring from the makers of Painkiller - a game where you invade hell with guns - and Gears of War. You wouldn't expect anything less than unfettered mayhem.

After three years in development, this collaborative effort certainly delivers on that front, largely thanks to the unhinged 'skillshot' combat system that People Can Fly creative director Adrian Chmielarz reckons is "trying to change the FPS paradigm".

Over the course of a brief but action-packed presentation at publisher EA's showcase event this week, we see lead character Grayson Hunt engaging in a bewildering array of combat manoeuvres as he and his female sidekick Ishi Sato take down a procession of mutants.

1

Lost Planet says hi!

You're stranded on an abandoned paradise, but exploring this once-beautiful tourist resort becomes a battle for survival when flesh-eating gangs and towering triffid-like fauna decide they fancy you for lunch.

The next thing you know, you're whipping objects and enemies towards you, flinging and booting them back with interest, slip-sliding and kicking around the environment with oily grace, and generally blasting enemies with a hundred bullets at once. In the absence of a proper hands-on, it's hard to gauge how all of this madness works in practise, but the demonstration suggests slick mechanics that any FPS aficionado should adapt to in no time.

The game is evidently set up to encourage players to be as creative as possible, with practically everything in the environment available to use in combat. With an experience and progression system intimately tied into how often - and how well - you perform during fights, the incentive to vary your approach also seems clearly defined.

It wasn't always that way, admits Chmielarz. "Initially Bulletstorm started as a regular shooter, just with this People Can Fly/Painkiller vibe and flavour," he explains.

"Once we started to get weapons like the Flay Gun, we realised you can kill in many different ways and it can get really creative on the battlefield. So we changed it into an actual gameplay mechanic, and rewarded players for that.

"We were playing creatively - toying with enemies, playing cat and mouse, being the hunter before we had the skillshot system. So we thought if that works, then it would work if we promoted it with the skill points and started calling each kill something funny, and I think that's the most unique thing about Bulletstorm."

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