Bulletstorm VR

Review: Bulletstorm VR

I had a lot of fun when Bulletstorm launched over a decade ago on consoles and PCs. It was a fun and memorable campaign with a wacky cast of characters that felt like a product of its time. People Can Fly has since moved on to bigger things, but Bulletstorm was quickly one of their best games because it wove sci-fi and impressive shooting mechanics into one fun experience.

The over-the-top gore and violence blended with comedy were significant factors in why I had a lot of fun with Bulletstorm. In 2017, Gearbox published the Full Clip edition of Bulletstorm, featuring updated graphics and all content included in the remaster. I once again decided to pick a copy for my collection and experience the campaign. After a third campaign run, I was content that I was ready to move on from the series and would only return if a new game was out.

Call In Dead Echo

It is officially 2024, and while no new Bulletstorm is out, a recent version is out, this time using VR to draw players in. In theory, this should pull new players in, especially as VR has taken off thanks to Steam, Meta, and PlayStation headsets. Bulletstorm VR would be a device seller in another world, and many people would be playing it. Instead, what I’ve plI’ve for the last week is a game that is a game of its time, and it struggles to offer something new in VR.

The storyline is BulletsBulletstorm’st aspect, but it features a great cast, including Grayson Hunt and Trishka. The show’s show’star is the combat. The action set pieces were always memorable, and when paired with many ways to engage enemies and be violent while doing so, Bulletstorm worked so well.

Converting games to playable VR experiences has worked, as Resident Evil 4/Resident Evil Village are perfect examples of a thriving port. It makes sense to assume that Bulletstorm would fare equally well. Sadly, there is a lot left to be desired, and it isn’t the first worst port I’ve experienced, not by a long shot. But it also leaves a lot to be desired. The mechanics translate to VR but leave much to be selected as a port.

The main draw of Bulletstorm is the combat system where stylish kills matter. You have many opportunities to draw enemies in and use some entertaining weapons to take on and earn skillshot points by being excessive. Throwing enemies into spikes, using the environments, kicking them into the fire, the opportunities are endless in how you engage the cannon fodder. And a decade ago, this was a great premise. Sadly, the transition to VR has disappointed me, and I feel like there is a missed opportunity.

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Bulletstorm works better on consoles

A lot of work has been done to bring Bulletstorm to VR, and in the early hours, you can see a lot of that work on display. The UI, how weapons reload, and movement are pretty good and seem natural for the most part. However, I quickly found issues flaring up, including graphical glitches and visual issues that ruined cutscenes. I’m playing Quest 2, so it could be limited to my device over the Quest 3 or PlayStation VR2.

With your left hand, you use your energy leash to pull enemies in or fling them into the environment. You can dually wield guns, too, but primarily, you use your right hand to fire at enemies and then upgrade various abilities. You can also steady your aim with both hands to get the best experience, but the premise is about stylish kills, so you’re constantly working to make every kill count for points. All of these fun mechanics should come together, and they do, but not for VR, as it lacks the same fluidity as its console counterpart.

We’re still in the early VR stages, and it will take some time before we’re in the thick of it with more expansive games available. The graphics take a hit to get the experience onto the Quest, and even the textures feel a bit dated compared to the Full Clip edition. Many of the effects are also pared down and feel much simpler, so it feels like an incomplete experience.

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Including snap angle turning, smooth motion, and teleportation are good but won’t help everyone enjoy Bulletstorm VR. Some players experience nausea from the motions, but thankfully, I didn’t find any issues with the locomotive settings.

Not everything is old in Bulletstorm VR. A new playable character in Trishka Novak comes for blood as she uses her energy blades to take on fodder. Her levels are interspersed throughout the campaign and slot right into the campaign as if they were there from the start, helping to break up the pace.

Verdict

Bulletstorm VR isn’t the experience you want in VR. Plus, it has a ton of wars, and there isn’t enough here to warrant its existence.  I would rather see a sequel than a Frankenstein port in VR over anything. If you’ve never played the original, you’re fine and aren’t missing anything exciting – I’d stick with Full Clip to get the best experience.

Not Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Quest 2

Review: Bulletstorm VR
Summary
Bulletstorm VR isn’t the experience I wanted and it has a lot of warts but there isn’t enough here to warrant its existence.
Liked
It's got some fun moments
Skillshots are fun
Didn't like
Console is the best version
Crashes, glitches, and resets