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Plugged In

Critics love violent, crude Bulletstorm

Plugged In

Bulletstorm

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

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Bulletstorm

Potty-mouthed and rampantly violent, could EA's new shooter Bulletstorm be
2011's most controversial game? Fox News certainly seems to think so:
the network ran a story earlier this month headlined "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?"
which accused Bulletstorm (and other violent video games) of including gratuitous violence and sexual references in order to drum up media attention, among other more lurid claims.

Launching this week, Bulletstorm is already in the hands of the gaming press, but will they agree?

Racking up an aggregate score of 86% so far, the answer's a solid "no," and there's a broad consensus that Bulletstorm's over-the-top violence and crude humor hide a deep and
engaging shooter that's a real gem.

In fact, one critic -- Games Radar's David Houghton, in a glowing 10/10 review -- dubbed it better than last year's smash Call of Duty: Black Ops, and calling it "the first real evolutionary landmark in the genre for a good long time."

And while it might be lowbrow and violent, it's played entirely for laughs, says Eurogamer.

"This is a game that wants you to laugh so hard that you sneeze on
yourself, but it's also a game that wants you to experiment as much as
possible with the tools you've been given," said Christian Donlan,
calling Bulletstorm "an astonishingly clever game folded up inside an
exquisitely stupid one." A stellar 9/10 is his verdict.

1UP's Taylor Cocke isn't quite so pleased, handing out a B- -- one of the
game's lowest marks so far. Bulletstorm's surprising strategic depth
earned it accolades with some critics, but for 1UP they just seemed to
get in the way. It's a game "unsure of what it wants to achieve," they say. "When it lets itself, it's a fantastic adrenaline rush through well-constructed set-pieces and
gloriously fun-to-watch violence. But it too often drags itself down
with overly structured situations and restrictive, strategy-heavy
gameplay."

But we'll leave the final word to the video game ratings authority, the
ESRB. Slapping the game with an "M" (for Mature) recommendation, the
organization's highest commonly used rating, it had the unenviable task
of summing up, in family-friendly language, just why concerned parents
should, well, be concerned about Bulletstorm. We'd give you an excerpt,
but it's nowhere near family-friendly enough for us. Those not of
nervous dispositions can read the whole thing at the ESRB's web site here.


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