PS3 Reviews: Bulletstorm Review

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Bulletstorm Review

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Graphics:

 

8.2

Gameplay:

 

8.5

Sound:

 

8.1

Control:

 

8.7

Replay Value:

 

7.9

Online Gameplay:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.3

 

 

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

People Can Fly

Number Of Players:

1-16

Genre:

FPS

Release Date:

February 22, 2011

Bulletstorm is uncouth. …there, I just began this review with the understatement of the millennium. In a game that urges you to “kill with skill,” that features not-so-subtle Skillkill titles like “Gag Reflex,” “Rear Entry,” and “Gang Bang,” that includes a record number of cuss words, that makes you laugh maniacally at horrific carnage, we emerge a little exhausted. It’s the kind of after-effect that’s almost languid in nature; you just sort of slump in your chair with a silly smile on your face, and all your muscles relax. It was insane. It wasn’t perfect; the little glitches and repetitiveness of the adventure got to you a little, but at the end of the day, you’re thinking about new ways to kill. In any other venue, this would be cause for concern. But somehow, developer People Can Fly infuses a lighthearted feel into the over-the-top violence…hard to explain how, but they do. Is it worth $60? Well, that’s up to you.

Graphically, we’ve got the Unreal Engine. For many PlayStation 3 fans, this conjures up unpleasant memories of mediocre visual presentations, which are often rife with small – yet noticeable – issues. But hey, don’t let that dissuade you, because while we have the Unreal signatures (somewhat muddled coloring and an overall lack of clarity), there are some huge highlights in Bulletstorm. Massive dinosaur-like beasts, a huge grinding wheel that chases you down a train track, and some surprisingly large and well-designed environments. The special effects are just downright gross, which of course means the designers hit their goal. Overall character design and detail is decent and we don’t have that layer of polish found in Killzone 3, but those high points just can’t be missed.

The sound is a bit more subjective, because I imagine some may have an issue with the voiceovers and writing. As I said before, there’s a whole lot of swearing and indeed, they go overboard. It just stops being amusing or fitting after a while; it becomes clear that the scribes were merely trying to jam offensive words into most any sentence. Still, the voice acting itself is really quite good and while I think they missed a big opportunity in regards to the music, the soundtrack does work. It’s very fitting, but man, in my eyes, this game is begging for some hard-hitting rock or metal tracks. But that’s subjective and not something everyone would agree upon. The sound effects match the graphical effects in terms of crispness and effectiveness so no worries there. In general, much of the sound will just make you wince, which is a good thing; you really want to hear exactly how that particular gory death sounds, right?

Without getting into the Skillshots and the epic atmospheric moments, the basic controls are about as standard as they get for an FPS: zoom in with L1, fire with R1, crouch with L3, prepare a charged shot with R2, and run by holding down X. You can double-tap X to slide, but then the fun stuff comes in: you toss out an energy Leash with L2; it yanks enemies towards you so more damage can be dealt. Then there’s the Circle button, which is used to Kick; combining the Leash and Kick commands is a basic foundation for many Skillshots and can be used in any variety of ways. Kick a dude off a ledge to get the Vertigo takedown, or Leash an enemy into a cactus or set of electrical wires. That’s really about as basic as it gets, though; after learning this easy stuff, it’s time to get all sorts of fancy. It takes more effort, but it’s worth your time.

In fact – and this is the primary caveat for the entire review – if you don’t opt to experiment and try your hands at different Skillshots, Bulletstorm downgrades into a very “meh” shooter. The good news is that I can’t really imagine why anyone would approach this like any other FPS, when it quite clearly is not designed to be like the competition. Besides, the points you earn for executing Skillshots (and learning new ones) are like cash; they’re redeemable for ammo clips and upgrades. Therefore, if you don’t choose to participate in the Skillshot program, you really won’t get very far in terms of bad-ass weaponry, and you’ll quickly lose interest. The vast majority of this game’s entertainment is centered on that “kill with skill” theme and the sooner you embrace that concept, the more fun you will have. Crushing your foes in new and elaborate ways is just endless entertainment.

You can always access the Skillshot database by pressing Select, where you’ll find lists of General and weapon-specific Skillshots. I was able to do all the Skillshots for the Carbine within the first couple of hours but those are pretty basic compared to some of the more complicated ones. Many require several steps – shoot an enemy in the balls, then shoot his head off – and others require the use of environmental objects. Killing a foe with a newsbot is one, and nailing him with an explosive hot dog cart is another. Then there are a bunch of secret Skillshots that you won’t even know exist until you do them (or until you look them up online). There aren’t a ton of weapons but I’m giving that lacking a free pass this time, just because each one is freakin’ awesome in its own way, and you’re always striving for more unique Skillshots. My favorite is the sniper rifle; it reminds me of the Seeker in Singularity… God, I love that slo-mo...

It’s loads of fun but there are a few problems. First off, I did get stuck on random pieces of the environment a few times (one time resulted in death). There’s something a teensy bit wonky with the collision detection for some reason. Secondly, ally AI is mediocre at best; they’ll kill a few enemies, especially those who rush forward with knives, but for the most part, your partner isn’t extremely helpful. However, I must once again consider a free pass, because I thought about this last night- if my buddy was killing foes left and right, I’d have less opportunity for Skillshot attempts. And that’s important. So is it a flaw…? Well, let’s just say “yes” and “no.” Thirdly, the game can get a little repetitive and tiresome; most notably when you get in a Skillshot rut and forget that you should be trying new weapons and new techniques. Or maybe you’ve decided the more difficult Skillshots are out of your reach and you just wanna blast through, and then you realize things are pretty bland without that singular mechanic.

Lastly, the story: look, this a game that doesn’t need much of a plot and it’s so ridiculously over the top, I believe we should’ve had a story that is equally absurd. There are plenty of humorous moments but they do try to strap a coherent drama onto this wickedly fast-paced, chaotic beast. It doesn’t really work, despite some valiant attempts by the voice actors. The best parts are the comedic aspects, like after you’re done controlling a half-robotic T-Rex with a remote control (you take out half a town doing that), Gray mockingly sobs, “I had named him Tailwagger P. Tallylicker, and now he’s gone…” Or something like that. The point is, the game excels when everything gels; when the ridiculous silliness of the gameplay fits in with the rash man’s man that is your main character. When they try to get dramatic and serious, it’s just jarring. It’s not bad; I just don’t think it fits.

But the bottom line is that Bulletstorm is likely a little better than the sum of its parts. The online multiplayer can be crazy fun and retribution has never been so satisfying. It’s not technically perfect but then again, nothing about this game is “technically perfect.” It looks good, though, and certain parts look great. The epic, fall-out-of-your-chair moments are numerous and much appreciated, the “kill with skill” idea works exceedingly well and always forces you to be creative and imaginative, and the effects, atmosphere and style are all engrossing. If this one grabs you, it’ll be tough to stop playing. I can almost guarantee that. The control is almost superb and the leash, kick, slo-mo, and most all other elements of the gameplay are very well implemented. It’s just a blast to play, despite the aforementioned drawbacks, which can indeed have a significantly negative impact on the overall experience.

Maybe the best thing to do is say, “if you liked the demo, you’ll love the game.” Oh, and if you want to let off some steam, this is probably a very therapeutic title.

The Good: Quality sound and decent voice acting. Some truly amazing visual/atmospheric highlights. Great control. “Kill with skill” never seems to get old (provided you stick with it). Cool weapons. Style and attitude kicks ass.

The Bad: Some slight – and weird – collision detection issues. Soundtrack doesn’t quite deliver. Beneath the Skillshots lies a standard shooter. Dramatic story wasn’t needed.

The Ugly: Really can’t be played around the easily offended.

2/24/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (65 posts)

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 8:39:58 PM
Reply

FYI: I believe the score is accurate but I don't want to give the wrong impression- I really like Bulletstorm a lot.

Most games I like this much at least get in the high 8s but I couldn't in good conscience ignore the obvious flaws. Just wanted to make this clear.

Don't ignore this one just because you think an 8.3 isn't high enough. Decide AFTER reading the whole review, if you please. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/24/2011 8:40:30 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 11:17:06 PM

8.3 is still a good score.

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Beamboom
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 11:18:59 PM

My rule of thumb is that any game rated 80+ is worth considering, especially if the game is within your preferences.

Edit: Or 8.0 or wherever you prefer to place the decimal. :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/24/2011 11:20:05 PM

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MadPowerBomber
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 12:04:08 AM

I read "ignore the obvious jaws" instead of flaws. O_o

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crunchy_nut_kid
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:09:21 AM

8.3 is better than i expected

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Vitron
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:28:05 AM

8.3 is already in my "fun" lists.

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oldmike
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:26:30 PM

YA the idea that a 8.0 is a bad game is MAD In my book the brake down is this

9.5-10 are MUST HAVES even if your not into the
game type you need to play it these are the gems
that will set what games to come will be like

8-9.5 Get it if you like the game type but pass
if its not your thing IE dont like shooters or
RPGs these are good games hands down

7-8 this is were things get hard these are not
bad games just not grate they may be buggy or
have things points some cant stand. these are
the games you need to study before you buy
but some of my most loved games fall in this
range or lower if its a hated sub type (JRPGs)

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Kiryu
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:27:30 PM
Reply

Yeah i'd rather play Killzone 3 Instead!

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Oxvial
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:31:58 PM
Reply

8.3 for a multi is much more than decent imo, games looks like a good guilty pleasure fps that I want to have this year...but gonna wait til Duke to compare them and get the most cheesy one.

Last edited by Oxvial on 2/24/2011 9:32:31 PM

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cLoudou
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:36:40 PM
Reply

I bought both this and Killzone 3 day 1 but have yet to play this. KZ3 comes first.

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Ignitus
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:42:31 PM

When you do, please tell us which one was more fun, from your point of view.

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cLoudou
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 10:57:31 PM

I will say that KZ3 is more fun basically because it offers split screen co-op campaign. Yes there's nothing like going through the story with a friend or family member on the couch or bed or wherever you game.

Single player, I will say Bulletstorm will be more fun. Going through trying to pull off trick shots can offer a bit of variation.

As for online multiplayer I don't know. I usually don't play online but I may give the online components for these games a try. I did play some KZ2 online but not alot.

KZ3 should be overall the bettr game, but in terms of FUN-ness Bulletstorm can be right there with KZ3 more or less.

Again I have not played Bulletstorm yet.

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SvenMD
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:47:34 AM

Hence why he said AFTER you play Bulletstorm, let us know....

We can all sit here and speculate which will be more fun. He wants an actual comparison, which you can't give until you play it...

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MadKatBebop
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:44:02 PM
Reply

Idk, I didn't like the demo, but I guess I can't judge based only off a demo. I really don't want to spend money until I get a release date from Deus Ex:HR, just to make sure.

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NoSmokingBandit
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:56:24 PM
Reply

I describe the dialog as being written by a 12 year old who poured red bull over his coco puffs for breakfast. Theres about 2 funny jokes and the rest is just immature crap.
I really feel like the dialog pulls the game down a lot. I get that they want to be over-the-top, and you can do that without acting like a child. Its a shame that its an M rated game because kids who would find the script hilarious wont be able to buy it.

I like that someone finally made a shooter that isnt gray and brown. That was refreshing.

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Deleted User
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 9:58:31 PM
Reply

I'll probably look into getting Bulletstorm after I'm done with Dead Space 2 and Killzone 3. The demo didn't do the game justice according to many.

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Jawknee
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 10:02:47 PM
Reply

I found the humor too obnoxious and I didn't like the controls. Gonna pass.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 12:04:48 AM

There's nothing not to like about the controls. They're as simple and accessible as humanly possible.

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AStiffyIffy
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 12:40:11 AM

Maybe simple and accessible as humanly possible is too hard for some people? ;)

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bigrailer19
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 1:24:05 AM

Yea jawknee, I'm kind of confused on your controls issue? I don't usually complain about controls ever, anyways, but bulletstorm is very very accessible. Not really different than any other shooter.

And the humor I thought was great. Almost a breathe of fresh air. But, I can easily see why people would be turned off by it. Completely understand that poit you made!

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crunchy_nut_kid
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:11:47 AM

the humor is hilarious... at first. sometime things are better in moderation. not to say it isn't funny as hell!!

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Jawknee
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:20:45 AM

Its not that don't find them accessible, I just don't like how the buttons are mapped.

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kraygen
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:47:20 AM

I'm with Jawknee, but I guess if you think the F word is funny, then yeah hilarious.

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bigrailer19
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 1:23:15 PM

It's not the swearing that's funny it's the little comments being made. The game doesn't tackle a serious side and that shows in the gameplay, and the dialogue. If you take everything serious then yeah this game wouldn't be amusing in that nature. It's just a game, and it's meant to be a little quirky. You either can handle it or cant.

And idk the mapping seems the same as just about every shooter out there. I must not notice something you do.

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kraygen
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 1:39:34 PM

Just because we don't find toilet humor funny doesn't mean we take everything seriously. I am a sarcastic joker at heart, but it takes very little intelligence to make poo poo jokes.

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bigrailer19
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:09:59 PM

Yeah sorry I didn't mean it like that. Don't take offense to it please, cus I wasn't saying that at all. All I'm saying is you'll either love it or hate it regardless what kind of person you are. And I completely understand why some people wouldn't like it. I'm in no way sticking up for what the game represents, all I'm saying is it was entertaining for me.

I happen to like it, but hate the movie the hangover lol so... It's just amusing is all.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 2/25/2011 2:11:24 PM

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kraygen
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 6:54:20 PM

Like I said, sarcastic joker, I'm pretty hard to offend, so no worries. I see where you're coming from and I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from.

It's totally understandable, we all have different senses of humor and that's ok, my best friends and I will both laugh at some things, but I think things are funny, he doesn't get, and he laughs at stuff that I don't get. That's life man.

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newchef
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 10:25:58 PM
Reply

maybe im just a simple guy with simple needs but im deff gonna get this when i get some money, come on tax refund!!! (after killzone 3 that is, of course)

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Qubex
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 10:29:10 PM
Reply

"But the bottom line is that Bulletstorm is likely a little better than the sum of its parts"...

That is a pretty good description Ben of exactly what it is. I also agree similarly though with Jawknee. An interesting game in some respects, and quite a lot of fun throwing people about, but I did have some control issues during the demo too. I also got stuck on want part of the environment during the demo... amongst some polygonal rubble features.

I too will pass on this one, just too much stuff with Killzone3 and L.A. Noire to get for the collection. Visually though the game environment looked quite good...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Nickjcal
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 10:56:27 PM
Reply

Got Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm day 1 as well. So far I've had fun with Bulletstorm and that's the reason I bought it. To have fun. Just a game where I can run around and shoot things any way I want to. Killzone 3 is amazing so far. Any review under an 8 should be scratched. Easily one of the best games out there imo

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Bloodysilence19
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 11:02:34 PM
Reply

i think the rating is where it should be. its no 9 and no way 10, but somewhere in the 8 range seems fair. the game is good when your trying to do the skill shots, which are awesome but than again start getting repetitive and boring after awhile. i wish there was more weapons and bigger moments in the levels like the huge dinosaur you face in it. the other thing i wish they added was a better covering system i mean crouching behind a wall isn't much of covering system, something like kz covering system would of been great. the voice acting wasn't bad, and the humor was good but i think over the top at times and to many di** jokes.
mp is actually lots of fun if your actually working as team to get the team kills, cause eventually having to reach the score limit in the higher waves gets hard, if your not working as team. the game is worth at least rent

Last edited by Bloodysilence19 on 2/24/2011 11:05:35 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 11:18:38 PM
Reply

I have the demo but haven't tried it yet. I'm not really seriously considering a purchase. The honor of crude hilarity in an FPS that is worth a purchase must needs go to the Duke!

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Qubex
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 6:38:46 AM

Lol, so true World, so true! Hail to the Duke!

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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bigrailer19
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 1:21:48 AM
Reply

My roomate picked this up and he just finished it, sux it was kinda short cus we both were enjoying it alot!

O well good thing we both got KZ3 to keep playing!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 2/25/2011 1:23:38 AM

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___________
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 1:27:04 AM
Reply

thats the point of the game, to be obnoxious and, well crude.
thats its whole appeal, as cliffy said games these days are far too serious!
oh no you cant do that its faaaaaaaaaar too unrealistic.
this says f*ck it, if its fun do it!
finally a game that gets the point!
games are suppose to be fun, not realistic!
only if we had more developers like epic, we would be living in a much better industry!

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crunchy_nut_kid
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:14:26 AM

__________ is right. we have far to many war simulators. its not perfect, but sometimes its nice to kick an alien in the face for a change.

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Jawknee
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:33:59 AM

As some said before me, this kind of over the top toilet humor was funny when I was in high school. Now....not so much. There are other ways to be funny than saying F*** all the time.

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Qubex
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 6:39:45 AM

Lol Jawknee... Underline has gone below the line this time...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 2/25/2011 6:40:00 AM

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___________
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 9:24:27 AM

its not suppose to be funny, its just refreshing to have a game take that attitude.
games are constantly holding your hand, this one lets you let your hair down and do whatever the hell you please!

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SvenMD
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:55:01 AM

Really?

Weren't you, just the other day, complaining that a game was too unrealistic and that's why you didn't like it... and now you're sitting here saying that this game is SUPPOSED to be unrealistic and that's what makes it good??!?

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SolidFantasy
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:29:46 AM
Reply

I was looking forward to this review. It's always interesting to see the contrast from what the developers say about their game to what the reviews have to say about it.

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Vitron
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:31:13 AM
Reply

Too bad Killzone arrived first.

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Deadman
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 3:09:39 AM
Reply

Awesome, I was skeptical about this one but ended up grabbing it anyway for the 360. Gonna give it a go right after KZ3 is over and done, priorities and all.

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Excelsior1
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 3:42:12 AM
Reply

yay, the full page ad is gone!! i'm definitlely picking up kz3 instead of this. i try to support sony, and their exclusives. 1 fps is enough, and i've heard great things about kz3 multiplayer.

is that grinding wheel segment one of the most awesome sequences in gaming? i thought i remember the developer boasting that they had something like that in the game.

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Jawknee
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 4:10:05 AM

Operations is pretty cool. Wish there were more objectives though.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:42:20 AM

The grind wheel section is cool, but its really not anything new. Games have had chase sequences on trains for a long time. The scale of the grind wheel is huge, but its not a new concept at all.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 5:00:45 AM
Reply

My prediction of the demo was spot on then :D

The game consists of pull a guy, kick him in the face into enviromental hazzards. I got bored of that in the demo.

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Sir Dan
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 7:05:01 AM
Reply

I've been playing the demo here and there and the other night it finally hit me: I've outgrown this kind of game. Probably have for years as I haven't even tried a game like this in quite a while. Just not my speed anymore. I was laughing for a little while, then I was like why am I doing this when I could be racking up some more money in GT5. I'm not knocking the game or people who like it. I'm just saying at 44 I've moved on. Probably more sad for me than anything I guess.

Last edited by Sir Dan on 2/25/2011 7:06:57 AM

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SirLoin of Beef
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 7:52:51 AM

I can understand the sentiment. I'm 40 and am not a big fan anymore of toilet humor and the like. However, after playing so many games based on a reality with people dying or even games with heavy moral questions and/or dramatic and depressing outcomes, I'm digging a game where the only real goal is kill stuff as creatively as possible. This kind of game isn't one I'd play all the time but it's one I can throw in when I'm having a bad day and take out my frustrations on some pixelated bad guys.

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maxpontiac
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:30:23 AM

I am 37, and gents, I agree with you!!

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:43:24 AM

I'm 21 and i think the humor is atrocious as well. The gameplay is still fun, so if you can completely ignore any dialog you'll find it enjoyable.

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kraygen
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:51:45 AM

I think it's more of a mindset than age specific. I have never enjoyed this type of humor. Although most people that know me think my sense of humor is pretty odd.

Watch the movie Stardust, near the very beginning the king is talking to his sons. Something happens, me in the theater laughing my head off, everyone else gasped in shock. I got some weird looks.

Great movie though if you're into dark comedy with a romantic twist though, set in a fantasy world.

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SvenMD
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:58:01 AM

Couldn't agree more...

I'm only 30, but I've never been into the over the top crudeness.

This and the Duke have no place in my collection.

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Temjin001
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 11:22:32 AM

"I'm only 30, but I've never been into the over the top crudeness.

This and the Duke have no place in my collection."

same here

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SirLoin of Beef
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:47:02 PM

@kraygen, I really dig the movie Stardust.

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CrusaderForever
Saturday, February 26, 2011 @ 12:29:48 AM

I just wanted to add that I am also 40! :)

I played the demo and it was just ok. That's it.

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maxpontiac
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:29:48 AM
Reply

I just got the feeling that this game was inspired by teenagers. Some of the quotes and in game comments are downright juvenile. That was not an insult, but it's obvious that this game is not for me.

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kraygen
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 10:53:44 AM
Reply

Meh, in the demo it was way too easy to get the same "kill with skill" ability even when you tried something different.

Might be different in the full game, but the worlds first fpk, is not for me.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 3:46:29 PM

Some of the kills are pretty hard to get. I got about 70 of the ~135 without focusing on it too much. Some of the more obscure kills are going to take some work.

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kraygen
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 6:57:44 PM

I don't remember the name, but if you land someone on a spike, you get a "kill with skill"

In the demo though, you can achieve that, by kicking, whipping, shooting, and hitting them with an explosion of some kind. Just some of the "kill with skill"'s are too easy is all I meant and sometimes they seem to take over even when trying for a different "kws".

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AcHiLLiA
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 1:23:07 PM
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Something tells me that this game should of been a 360 exclusive, just my opinion when playing the demo.

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RadioHeader
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 2:17:05 PM

It can't be THAT bad..

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CrusaderForever
Saturday, February 26, 2011 @ 12:32:40 AM

To funny!!! So true though!

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Deadman
Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 7:48:32 PM
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I think this game is set to become the biggest Guilty Pleasure ever.

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tlpn99
Saturday, February 26, 2011 @ 6:41:31 PM
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I got this and Killzone 3 on the same day. I got this cos I loved the demo and wil be playing both games together. When I get bored of one I'll jump to the other.



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