Bulletstorm Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

By Darryl Kaye on December 8, 2010, 12:07PM EDT
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There has been quite a lot of hype surrounding Bulletstorm. After all, it has Epic Games' charismatic ambassador CliffyB fully behind the project. People Can Fly are the primary developer though and they have been set the task of making a first-person shooter that is so badass and manly that you'll gain respect points just for playing it. You can find out more about that in our GamesCom preview though as this time it's all about the multiplayer, where looking awesome as a collective is the main focus.

As I mentioned, Bulletstorm is all about 'cool'. You can shoot enemies in generic ways if you want, but the game won't reward you for doing so and this is very apparent in Anarchy Mode, a four player co-op experience. And the mode is just that, anarchy.

Before the action even starts you'll be treated to a look at your playground... I mean, the level. Ours was called Dead Rock, although ironically it couldn't have been more alive. In fact, the amount of ways to cause carnage to our poor unsuspecting foes was initially overwhelming. The obvious options were to send enemies plummeting to their doom off a cliff, or to send them flying into a bed of spikes, but these are all moves that can be performed in the single player experience anyway. What makes Anarchy different is that it promotes teamwork.

Before each round starts you'll be given a score target that as a team, you need to achieve. In the earlier rounds you might be able to get away with playing as four teams of one, but sooner or later the score target will force you to play as a collective. And this is where the fun starts.

If you perform actions together your score will be multiplied and figuring out different ways to team kill is buckets of fun. Initially performing the solo-style kills as a team is the obvious choice; team bullet kick would be a prime example. To perform this one of you need to perform a slide to knock the opponent in the air, the rest of the team can then proceed to pummel him with lead. However, it's the more original ones that promote the most satisfaction. Like the ability to pull people apart by combining each member's lasso.

Initially things might seem a little bit disjointed, but once you get into the swing of things you'll find that these things start to happen naturally - you start to set things up for your team mates and finish off those that have been left for you. To use a weird and probably inappropriate analogy, it's like spiking the ball for a teammate in volleyball.

What helps to give the mode some calm is the finite amount of enemies per round. It's not a problem initially, but as things progress you'll have to be a lot more strategic with your kills. But should you get to the end without meeting the target, all is not lost, there's a last chance saloon.

The game will send out a single enemy which must be team killed in a specific way. If this is achieved, the round is completed. If not, the round must be played again.

Upon completion of the round it's time to beef yourself up. You can purchase a few extra weapons and upgrade their effectiveness or you can improve other things like, the recharge rate of your lasso. It works well if each of the team members adopts a slight different approach too, as it makes for different kill opportunities - certain weapons have to be used to get certain types of kills.

Playing through Anarchy Mode often was anarchic. At times there is so much going on it's hard to think. However, when the team starts to work together the score really rakes up and it can be very satisfying. It's still good to see the round summary with your name having the best individual score though.

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