I know this guy who I swear is the crudest, most obnoxious person on the planet. While I wouldn't call him a friend, I'm always interested to hear what he'll say when he first arrives (uninvited) to a gathering if just for the sheer shock value. Of course, the novelty always wears thin in just a few minutes. So, when Bulletstorm hero Grayson Hunt calls me "dicktits" while introducing the game's demo, I get the feeling the final product will get old fast no matter how much fun this small taste will be.
It doesn't help that his detailed description of how to stylishly murder people for points reminds me of MadWorld, another testosterone-fueled bloodbath that quickly loses its violent appeal.
The two games share a lot in common. Both treat enemies as fodder. They don't present a threat to the player as much as they offer a challenge. Each blundering baddie exists for you to destroy in glorious fashion.
In MadWorld, players earn more points for causing as much pain as possible prior to executing foes. You can easily cut your way through thugs with protagonist Jack's wrist-mounted chainsaw, but you'll win way more points if you wrap an enemy in a tire, skewer his skull with a road sign, sever his limbs in a meat grinder, then ram him repeatedly into a bed of spikes.
Likewise, players can easily shoot down mutants in Bulletstorm with one of the game's varied implements of destruction, but it also features more rewarding ways to slay baddies. Most begin with the leash, a chain of energy that violently drags enemies toward you.Blow off their heads, shove them into a patch of exposed rebar, render them into a pile of bone with an energy blast, turn them into fireworks…. You'll find plenty of effective finishing moves in no time.
The variety of ways to kill enemies in MadWorld and Bulletstorm sound endless, but you'll quickly notice they're anything but creative (at least not on your part). You're not inventing new methods of murder, just reenacting kills the developers intended for you to perform. MadWorld at least partially disguises this fact by presenting its levels as playgrounds for you to maim and kill in as you please. Instead of progressing from point A to B, you roam around an open area finding new death machines to play with.
Bulletstorm, however, seems to follow the typical first-person shooter corridor approach to levels.
Both level types have their advantages, but when you get tired of delivering extravagant death, you'll probably find yourself performing the same moves over and over. MadWorld's chainsaw and Bulletstorm's efficient Bullet-Kick make it all too easy to mindlessly slaughter incompetent enemies when you grow bored, undermining the point of both games.
I can't say whether or not Bulletstorm will surpass MadWorld based solely on a short demo that only features an exceprt of the game's time-trial Echo mode, but I'll probably never give myself the chance to find out for sure with the retail version. MadWorld's short campaign and quickly fading novelty left me with buyer's remorse. Downloadable content (like new kills, weapons, levels, etc.) and competitive leader boards could keep the shock value alive, but over-the-top violence can only make me smile for so long.