In 2010, we saw some examples of great stories saving titles with unexceptional gameplay. Mafia II and Alan Wake were rescued from the depths of mediocrity by compelling narratives that overshadowed their derivative game design and/or direction (in Mafia II's case at least).
Compared to the above, Bulletstorm is of the opposite school. This is an exceptionally enjoyable game, tainted by a simplistic plot and puerile language. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the dialogue initially. After a while though, it all started to head into territory far north of ridiculous, with female protagonist, Trishka threatening:
"Come any closer and I'll kill your dick!"
Of course, the central character asks what that really means (as did I), but why work so hard to convince players that this game isn't as complex as it really is? You could of course argue that the game is satirising cliches of the FPS genre, but in the end I believe it becomes what it's trying to parody. The story, while littered with expletives, actually tries to take itself seriously; particularly towards the end. Behind the layers of vulgarity though, you'll find an intricate system that becomes all the more absorbing as the game progresses. Bulletstorm may talk like a foul-mouthed teenager, but deep-down, it's a dedicated mathematician.
Ironically though, just as the story started to turn sour the gunplay began to strengthen considerably. Once you unlock the Thumper and upgrade a few weapons; Bulletstorm is like a super-fun-happy-slide full of explosions, and consistently jaw-dropping visuals. Unless the camera zooms in on human characters, Bulletstorm is the most visually-impressive game since Uncharted 2. The humongous creatures, fountains of blood and breathtaking vistas are almost enough to warrant a purchase. Throw in the over-the-top action, and the ability to dispatch opponents in hundreds of entertaining ways, and Bulletstorm makes a convincing case for your hard-earned dollars.
If you mute it, disable subtitles and add a soundtrack of your choice, it may just be game of the year.
10 Year Wait, 2 Year Hangover
Yesterday, the postman put me out of my misery and finally delivered Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Did Capcom ever have any chance of delivering on ten years worth of expectation? No. At least not on brief, first impressions.
Firstly, I would like to allay any concerns: the four button setup still has plenty of depth to it. I'm still having a lot of trouble figuring out which of the face buttons does what for the moment. Shit, for the first ten minutes, I didn't think you could tag out. After about an hour though, I was spamming light attacks and rediscovering some old favourites. This is probably not the for the best, as I am well on my way to neglecting three quarters of the cast. Fuck it: who needs Dante and Thor, when Wolverine and Hulk are so damned effective? Come to think of it - if you haven't read World War Hulk, do me a favour and pick it up. It is just about the best Hulk story you will ever read.
My biggest problem with MVC3 has been the hangover from Street Fighter IV (and Super Street Fighter IV). I've only just cottoned-on to the ability to air block. I've spent the last two years thinking that jumping is tantamount to Russian Roulette. If you didn't catch your man in the air, odds are he had an ultra combo waiting for you upon your descent. I'll learn in time, and you shouldn't let my inability to adapt affect your purchase decision.
Also concerning has been my inability to find any challengers online. Granted, I am two weeks late to the party, but surely there must be someone in Australia desiring a duel? After creating my own lobby, I had no takers after ten minutes. Any attempts to find quick and/or custom matches were also met with abject failure.
Maybe it's early days, but I still can't help but feel that MVC3 isn't half as popular as it should be.
I've been asking a lot of questions. How are you guys? What are you playing this week? Also sorry for the coarse language, Bulletstorm must be rubbing off on me.
Sorry, one more question: Can someone please tell me how Mortal Kombat got banned in Australia, when Bulletstorm has been on sale for nearly one week now?