Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Hail of Bullets

Tuesday marked the release date of People Can Fly's new game, Bulletstorm. What an awesome day it was. With the exception of some necessary breaks from the game, I played it nearly all day. Here's the skinny so far for those of you who haven't played it much yet.

The campaign does a good job of mixing up the environments, keeping gameplay fresh, which is nice, as the "kill with skill" system can start to feel repetitive in places, so the change in scenery helps. The story is the definition of meh, but I highly doubt anyone plans to pick the game up for the story anyway. As much as the story underwhelms, I do enjoy the banter between characters. Bulletstorm may steal away Rogue Warrior's title for Most Profanities Ever in a game (it'll be close) but at least here they feel natural to the characters, and can be rather amusing.

In the evening, I had the opportunity to play some Anarchy mode with Xylofreak, Sabre, and Bishop. Since success in Anarchy depends so much on teamwork and communication, I'm glad I could play with 3 of the 6 people I game with most on Live (Silva, Bionik Kommanda, and DarkTharen being the other three). We're able to coordinate what we're doing, call out who will do what skill shot, and make sure we're setting things up as a team. Of course, if we're faced with setbacks, we're able to carry on without playing petty blame games or getting frustrated, which can ruin other teams. As a group, we were able to clear all 20 waves, though our 40,500 score on the final wave wasn't good enough for the "Anarchy Master" achievement. We'll get it.

In general, scoring for each wave went in the following order:
1. Bishop
2. Thrawn
3. Sabre
4. Xylo

I may have progressed farthest in the campaign, but Bishop had me beat on point scoring nearly every time, though we were often close. Xylo, despite regularly scoring near the bottom, was a strong team contributor. First off, he'd never played the game before we started Anarchy, nor had he tried the demo. So, he had to pick up everything on the fly, and successfully learned a lot of skill shots quickly. Xylo also had a role in the completion of many of the Team Challenges as we went, so scoring 4th isn't really significant.

I think most of the fun in Anarchy is in how if FORCES teams to communicate and cooperate to succeed. Firefight or Horde can be successfully achieved with much less communication, if everyone knows their roles. Not so in Anarchy. I might use my leash to fling an enemy closer to a man-eating plant, then call out Xlyo to kick or fling him the rest of the way there for the Team Feeder skill shot. We laughed or cheered virtually every time we set up the team Nom Nom Nom skillshot for feeding an enemy to our level's skull dinosaur. It's hard NOT to cheer or laugh when your team succeeds in executing over-the-top kills, and that's the heart of what makes Anarchy fun.

While I don't want leveling to 65 in Anarchy to take forever, I do hope the journey is long enough to provide us plenty of entertainment along the way, and possibly that we'll keep playing it even after we've gotten there. Bishop, Sabre, and Xylo, I had an absolute blast playing with you guys, and hope we're able to do that again soon.

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