Bulletstorm VR (PC) Review

A Rough Ride Through VR

Bulletstorm VR (PC) Review
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If there were a game that summed up the general look and feel of the 7th generation of video games and home consoles, I’d be hard-pressed not to give it to Bulletstorm. For the uninitiated, Bulletstorm, or rather, People Can Fly, crafted an FPS title that blended together elements of popular games of the time in an over-the-top and brash gore-fest that changed things up by introducing a fun grapple mechanic.

With its virtual reality debut, Bulletstorm VR, the game remains largely the same as it was when it launched in 2011, with some newer assets borrowed from Bulletstorm Full Clip edition, which saw release in 2017. At least, on PC, Bulletstorm VR looks the part, mostly matching the graphic fidelity of the remastered title. However, I did find it somewhat disappointing that, out of the box, Bulletstorm VR on Steam did not seem to have any meaningful graphical settings or options to toggle to see how far the game could be pushed.

Bulletstorm Vr (Pc) Review

As it stands, I’d place Bulletstorm VR somewhere between its 2011 release and Bulletstorm Full Clip edition’s remastered graphics. Unless you’re a diehard fan of the source material, Bulletstorm VR on a capable system looks quite good and feels like a game made up for virtual reality, despite being based on a game released over a decade ago.

“Despite its age, Bulletstorm VR feels fresh to play thanks to lending itself well to a VR experience, particularly regarding the Energry Leash mechanic.”

Despite its age, Bulletstorm VR feels fresh to play thanks to lending itself well to a VR experience, particularly regarding the Energry Leash mechanic. As mentioned above, the Energry Leash, or grapple, is the main draw of Bulletstorm VR. Unlike the original, however, the grapple is now more fun than ever, thanks to its being tied to your left hand, giving it a natural intuitiveness, allowing the player to quickly grab and easily pull enemies and objects in the environment.

The same can be said about the weapons in Bulletstorm VR, which now all feature unique reloading mechanics that require the player to use both hands. Certain weapons also require using both hands to operate, such as the sniper and chain machine gun, ultimately adding to the immersion and making the experience feel more like an actual virtual reality game rather than a port or quick cash grab. For those looking for a more straightforward experience or something closer to the original feel of Bulletstorm, Incuvo has included options to toggle and turn off VR-focused reloading aspects, something that should help with accessibility or those looking for a snappier gameplay loop.

Bulletstorm Vr (Pc) Review

If you’ve missed out on the original or the 2017 remaster, Bulletstorm VR feels like a love letter to games like Doom, Gears of War and Serious Sam, with a focus on environment-based kills that reward creativity. Using the grapple to spike enemies into literal spikes, explosive barrels, or pitfalls never gets old, but experimenting with kills also nets players points to purchase ammo and upgrades. In VR, this gameplay loop is expanded by allowing the player to dual-wield weapons, direct bullets using their head via the sniper and finally, use both hands for climbing during traversal.

“If you’ve missed out on the original or the 2017 remaster, Bulletstorm VR feels like a love letter to games like Doom, Gears of War and Serious Sam.”

As Bulletstorm VR is based on a flatscreen experience, all the cutscenes in the game have been presented in a cinema-style window, similar to games like Resident Evil 4 VR, with the added option to enable a 3D effect, which, although subtle, is a nice touch and works well enough.

New content, which takes the form of a new playable character, Trishka Novak, further helps separate and make Bulletstorm VR feel like its own distinct experience. Trishka’s levels occur during the main campaign and are sprinkled between the original narrative without feeling out of place. As Trishka, players now have access to her twin energy blades, which are tied to the left and right triggers and act and behave similarly to a lightsaber, making for some fun slicing and dicing action.

Bulletstorm Vr (Pc) Review

Unfortunately, these new levels highlight one of Bulletstorm VR’s biggest problems — the enemy AI in the virtual reality FPS feel rather braindead, to the point where using Trishka’s dual blades completely breaks the game, making it possible to forgo guns entirely and just run up and cut enemies in half with little to no pushback. The same can be true for Grayson Hunt’s levels, which, although better, still suffer from dumb enemy encounters.

Despite all these issues, I still had fun playing through Bulletstorm VR, or at least that would be the case if not for the numerous bugs I encountered with the game. Random crashes, levels prematurely loading into black voids, and, worst of all, enemies that failed to spawn, locking me into rooms until a restart, plagued my progress and overall enjoyment of the game.

Even still, I enjoyed my time with Bulletstorm VR. I can recommend it to those looking for a new VR experience, hoping the game will receive a few patches post-launch that help smooth the uneven but otherwise fun return to Stygia.

Final Thoughts

Zubi Khan
Zubi Khan

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