It's been a few years since a game has been as funny as BulletStorm. In the parlance of movie speak, this is a bromance (what used to be called a buddy film ). It s a first-person shooter with a script of dialogue between two manly soldiers fighting side-by-side on a violent Earth-like planet.
The part where I laughed the most is when my character Gray, a macho mercenary or space pirate, is riding an elevator with his best bud and says:
You wanna make out? Just two gruff, military-hardened dudes, sitting in an elevator, snuggling out their woes in a totally hetero way?
The other guy responds: Maybe? But he doesn't mean it, in the way two good guy friends talk.
If you've seen enough Will Farrell or Seth Rogen movies, these guys might sound like them. Although, I prefer to think of BulletStorm's constant dialogue (written by Rick Remender and delivered primarily by voice actor Steven Blum as Gray) as being more reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the classic from TV.
The overall story is a good one. The creators call it pulp sci-fi.
You spend almost the whole game on a planet packed with horrible meanies trying to shoot you (as Gray) in the 26th century.
Gray addresses one gun with the greeting, Hey, sexy! He calls his own rear old gal.
This game looks fantastic, from its jungles to city streets and beyond. It's a master class in moving illustrations; the big-boss weed monster is especially magnificent.
Most of all, the shooting is fluid and natural - and witty. The point of the shooting isn't just to kill. It's to kill with style.
Therefore, you earn many different kinds of points based on how you take out a baddie.
If you kick a jerk into a lake, to his death, you earn fish food points.
If you kick a bad guy into a cactus plant, you earn prick points.
There are also voodoo doll points (kicking a guy into barbed wire); topless points (shooting a guy in half); legless points (self-explanatory); breakdance points (shooting a guy so hard he spins to his death on the ground); and dozens of other achievements.
Those achievements generated a lot of hype in the gaming industry before BulletStorm even came out. The hype was worth it.
BulletStorm, produced by Tanya Jessen, is close to perfect, but a few flaws are considerable. Villainous helicopters aren't designed correctly to explode when you shoot their gas tanks.
Sometimes, action is jarring (akin to a handheld camera) and makes me dizzy (games never make me dizzy).
And I'm not sure how much replay value there is, since there's no competitive multiplayer, only a cooperative mode online.
But it looks great, plays smoothly, and makes me laugh. Expletives come fast and furious, but you'd expect that from a game in which you shoot bad guys in their caboose to earn rear entry points.
(BulletStorm by EA retails for $60 for PS 3, Xbox 360 and PC - Plays very fun, and funny. Looks superb. Challenging. Rated M for blood, gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language and use of alcohol. Four stars out of four.)
Doug Elfman is an award-winning entertainment columnist who lives in Las Vegas. He blogs at www.lvrj.com/columnists/Doug-Elfman.html.
Top Ten New Games
Here are the Top 10 best-selling video games, according to GameStop.com. Games are listed by title, company, gaming system, and rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Most games are priced $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for Wii; $40 for PSP; $30 for DS and PS 2.
1. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) for Wii; rated E
2. Killzone 3 With Move Bundle (Sony) for PS 3; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3, Wii, PC; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)
4. Killzone 3 Helghast Edition for PS 3
5. BulletStorm Epic Edition (EA) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language, use of alcohol.
6. NBA 2K11 (2K Sports) for Xbox 360; rated E 10+ (mild violence)
7. Pokemon White (Nintendo) March 6 release pre-order for DS; rated E
8. Pokemon Black (Nintendo) March 6 release pre-order for DS; rated E
9. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3; rated M (blood, sexual themes, strong language, violence)
10. Dead Space 2 (EA) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3 and PC; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)
(Ratings: E for Everyone ; T for Teen ; M for Mature 17+ )