What do you get when you combine the control mechanics of Mirror’s Edge, the wacky weapons and stunning scenery of Borderlands and the goriness of Gears of War, then deep-fry it in a vat of testosterone?

You get Bulletstorm, the latest creation from game developer Epic (Gears of War 2, Unreal Tournament 3) that takes the first-person shooter genre to a whole new level.

If played like a typical shooter, you’ll easily miss the quirky fun that is the essence of Bulletstorm. Luckily, Epic has incorporated design elements that foster the best possible playing experience. At your disposal is the Leash, which can be used to pull both objects and enemies across the map towards you.  In addition, players have the ability to perform a melee kick and a physics-defying tackle.

You are rewarded for disposing of enemies in ways other than simply shooting them. These “skillshots” can range from simply kicking an enemy off a cliff, to steering a remote-controlled explosive sniper rifle bullet into a large group of enemies, to just about anything in between. The more creative or difficult a skillshot is, the more points are awarded to a player, which are then spent to buy ammo and weapons upgrades.

The campaign follows Grayson Hunt, a former elite military operative, on his quest for revenge against the corrupt General Sarrano, his former commander. The storyline unfolds with dialogue that is shouted rather than spoken. Don’t let the abundant vulgarity fool you, between the cheeky dialogue delivered by quality voice actors like Jennifer Hale (of Mass Effect) lies emotional character development.

The main campaign will take about eight hours to complete and while the ending is slightly lackluster compared to other gameplay sections, like getting to drive a gigantic robotic Godzilla look-a-like, if you play the whole way through, you’ll see why.

You’ll likely only play through Bulletstorm twice, once for the plot and once more on insane difficulty in order to really test your creative shooting skills. Afterward, the multiplayer competitive skillshot mode of “Anarchy” will have you coming back, but less often than some of Epic’s previous titles.

According to Bulletstorm’s design director Cliff Bleszinski, “We empower the player through the verbiage and the weapons so much that if you were in multiplayer on the receiving end of that, it would be the most agonizing, unpleasant experience.” In other words, Bulletstorm requires that a player be overpowered and that prevents the traditional deathmatch mode from being feasible.

If you are looking for the perfect way to kick your spring semester into high gear, look no further than Bulletstorm.

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