If you’re aware of the 2011 first-person-shooter Bulletstorm, then you know it got a pretty raw deal. Released in a landscape lousy with brown-and-grey military shooters, Bulletstorm dared to add a healthy dose of self-awareness to the world of macho gunplay. This, combined with its inventive system that rewards players with creative kills, comprised the necessary elements to start a bold, new franchise.
We haven’t seen a new installment in the intervening six years, so it’s safe to say Bulletstorm is dead on the table. But with their upcoming Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, publisher Gearbox Software plans on dusting off this older release for a brand-new generation. Coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on April 7, 2017, this remaster features upgraded graphics, both existing DLC packs, and one surprising new addition: Duke Nukem.
Return of the Duke
Granted, Duke Nukem has seen better days since Duke Nukem Forever, which spent a decade in development, only to see extremely negative reviews upon release. And while he’s more a relic of gaming’s past than a relevant character, Duke’s inclusion in Full Clip Edition makes more sense than you might think at first glance. For one, he plays well with the jokey take on machismo found in Bulletstorm: big, buff dudes firing impossibly powerful weapons while swearing and chugging hard liquor. But really, it’s how Duke interacts with the world that makes all the difference.
Fundamentally, playing as Duke in the lead role—instead of Bulletstorm protagonist Grayson Hunt—doesn’t change the gameplay one iota. How he fits into the narrative, though, amounts to a different story altogether. Duke simply takes the place of Grayson, while the plot flows as it normally would, with characters saying the exact same lines of dialogue found in the 2011 release.
This traps Duke in a story that isn’t his, and since no one really acknowledges his existence—in fact, they still refer to him by the former lead’s name—it gives him plenty of opportunities to comment on the unfolding insanity and ask plenty of important questions that go unanswered. For a character that hasn’t been used well in decades, seeing Duke play the semi-straight man to a bunch of screaming meatheads definitely makes for an entertaining experience.
A Modern Classic Given a Second Chance
Above all, it's great to see an underappreciated game like Bulletstorm receive the full remaster treatment, if only to expose more people to its more amazing qualities. And even if you played it back in 2011, odds are you haven't revisited since then—or even bothered looking into the DLC. Plus, Duke Nukem's presence acts as a delightful curveball, and one of the more inventive additions to a re-release in quite some time. Look for Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition when it launches for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on April 7, 2017.