We get it – you’re busy, and don’t have time to read a lengthy review. So we’re trying something new – instead of one lengthy review of a relatively old game that’s dropped below $25, we’ll post a couple, with some quick quips on why we think they’re great.
In this month’s edition, I’ll talk about a few off-the-wall action-oriented gems that you can nab for pretty cheap. As a bonus, the developers for each of these games are also responsible for some of the bigger gaming releases this quarter.
Stop me if you’ve ever heard the term “Dicktits” before. No? Well People Can Fly’s opus, BulletStorm, is looking to change that. If this game were a guy with a mental illness, it would have Tourette’s Syndrome, and he would be the most creatively awesome dude with Tourette’s out there. Kinda like Robin Williams without the fur.
You play interstellar space pirate and former special ops badass Grayson Hunt, who crash lands on a resort-planet-turned-prison and must fight to get off the planet and get revenge on his former boss, General Serrano.
The game is played from a first person view, but don’t expect your typical space shooter fare here. Early on in the game, your character receives an energy leash, which allows you to pull enemies towards you in slow motion. This leash, coupled with your character’s ability to kick enemies and objects, the many weapons and their alt-fire at your disposal, and the numerous environmental traps and features give you a variety of ways to dispatch your foes. For each kill you make, you’re awarded skill points, which are then used to purchase weapons, upgrades and ammo. It’s not uncommon to leash an enemy towards you, alt fire a proximity grenade into him when he’s close, kick him back towards a group of explosive red barrels, and watch as the resulting explosions kill the surrounding enemies while the skill points rain down in a display of chaos and awesomeness.
Why you should get this game
BulletStorm challenges both your imagination and creativity as you find more convoluted ways to kill your enemies, while also learning new uses for the word “dick”. If you were the kind of kid who liked playing The Incredible Machine game, but thought it could use more meatheads, swearing and violence, then BulletStorm is right up your alley.
Play Time: Roughly 8 hours
Over the years, the third-person cover shooter genre has been defined by games like Gears of War, Uncharted, Ghost Recon and Army of Two, to name but a few. With a focus on staying in cover and strategically flanking opponents, these games generally set a methodical, deliberate pace allowing you to plan out your attack. And then there’s Vanquish – a game that takes that formula, injects it with steroids, throws in a liberal dash of anime-inspired mecha meyhem, and amps up the speed to Sonic the Hedgehog levels.
In the near future, Earth’s population has drastically increased, forcing humanity to take to the stars… or at least in orbit above Earth. You play Sam Gideon, a chain-smoking American super soldier tasked with leading a strikeforce to regain control of the space station after its capture by the Russians. Armed with an Augmented Reaction Suit that allows you to boost across the battlefield at blistering speeds, slow down time, and wield a wide range of weapons, it’s up to you to take down the red threat.
To say that it plays like Gears of War or Uncharted is entirely incorrect. The ARS armor allows Sam to slide around levels like a demented kart racer in human form, dodging and inordinate amount of missles only seen in anime or bullet hell games. In fact, the game probably has more in common with a top-down action shooter that’s been realized in three-dimensions. Powerful melee attacks are available, but their usage leaves your character powerless and vulnerable for a few seconds, which ensures that it’s not abused by players. The enemies are boring robot-types, but the game really shines whenever you encounter one of the massive bosses, who have no regard for ammo conservation and shoot off dazzling displays of death for you to dodge.
If you have any recollection of the 90’s “Xtreme” culture that popularized skateboarding ninja turtles, the use of the words “gnarly” and “tubular”, and spawned movies such as Point Break, then Vanquish would be its poster child.
Why you should get this game
I admit, this game freaked me out at first. I remember trying out the demo only to be intimidated by the sheer speed of the game. I held off on buying it because I felt like my reflexes just wouldn’t be up to speed, but something about the title drew me back in. I finally took the plunge and had an amazing time playing it. The game is as fast as you want to play it. Ammo conservationists can sit back and play it like a typical cover-based shooter, but to fully appreciate this game means to play it at one speed: full throttle.
Play Time: Roughly 7-8 hours