Previews

Best games of 2011: Bulletstorm - The most fun you can have in an FPS?

All hail the King...

Weapon reveal time: Bulletstorm's newest manglement device is the Bouncer, a portable cannon that fires bouncing, football-sized spheres of extreme death.

It's the latest device in a long list of never-seen-before guns to emerge from the Painkiller development studio People Can Fly, a team with a knack for looking beyond the staple pistol/shotgun/assault rifle/rocket launcher arsenals holding up every other first-person shooter under the sun.

The Bouncer - besides giving us hours of potential breast-related innuendo amusement - is a meaty weapon, and one that you'll have to wrestle away from an armoured sub-boss called the Cannoneer - an enemy which, when fired upon, forces lead character Grayson to yell, "Bullets aren't doing shit!" in fear.

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We've only seen the bruiser briefly, but we reckon we already know how to take him down. Provided our assumptions are correct you need to use Gray's Leash to 'tame' the cannonballs the Cannoneer fires and then, once they're under control, kick them back at the meatsack until he's dead and you can walk away with his kit. It's a wild assumption but, well, we're confident...

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
Why? Because while we've not seen the fight, we have seen what happens when Grayson's armed with the gun and the solution just makes sense.

The weapon's standard firing mode is precisely what you'd expect: shoot a cannonball, watch it take out those it touches, see it ricochet off the walls and floors a few times... boom, boom, boom and it's gone.

Use the alternate fire, however, and things are quite different. The ball bounces on the spot like it's trapped inside a glass tube, defying physics by maintaining its height.

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If enemies stroll carelessly into that space they'll be squished and left for dead, but Grayson can then walk up to the ball and kick it into rushing foes, or he can Leash it from afar and guide it into a new trajectory.

It stands to reason, then, that the deadly Leashing-and-kicking combo is the way to target the Cannoneer in the first place.

Elsewhere in the latest Bulletstorm fact splurge People Can Fly showcased a new area in the form of a toppled skyscraper bridging a giant chasm.

The crumbling superstructure's floor - formerly the walls, of course - is brittle and broken, handing you multiple opportunities to grab and boot foes off the provisional bridge and down, screaming, into the void beneath.

We're not sure yet whether you can suffer the same fate but it'll be wise to shun the fast rocket-sliding manoeuvre until you reach safer ground.

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GOING DOWN
The level's highlight comes in the form of an elevator shaft, a structure almost horizontal now that the building is belly-up. Grabbing a chaingun and mowing down the stream of bad guys trapped in the shaft is academic.

There is a better way, however, to deal with the PMC threat. Ditch the gun and run in close and it's possible to punch the call button for a lift.

Miraculously the building's collapse didn't cut all the power cables, and when the button's pressed the lift comes hurtling down the tube and into the floor, making mush of the mopes standing in its path.

This bone-crunching bloodbath is a fairly common sight in Bulletstorm. If the screen isn't caked in claret as a result of a crashing lift it'll be drenched in blood because of a nearby carnivorous plant with poor table manners or a giant 'Hekaton' behemoth who's swatted a few fresh corpses straight into your face.

There's no poo-flinging in Bulletstorm's world (well, not that we've seen as yet), but there's more than enough blood to rival fellow macho shooter shocker Duke Nukem Forever, ensuring those with a taste for torture are going to be very well catered for once we welcome 2011.

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