In my personal opinion, Bulletstorm was one of the most under-appreciated games of last gen. Its unique, over-the-top take on the first-person shooter genre made it a standout game in my book. Sadly, the game never seemed to catch on with the mainstream gaming audience, and it remained a somewhat hidden gem. Years later, thankfully, Gearbox saw the potential of the game and released a remastered version on current gen hardware. Now, 2 years later, we arrive at a port of that remaster for Nintendo Switch. In terms of porting jobs, Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition may be one of the best ports to make it to Nintendo Switch, period.
In Bulletstorm you assume control of Grayson Hunt, the leader of Dead Echo, a group of foul-mouthed 26th century bounty hunters who find themselves marooned as they fight for survival on the planet of Stygia. It’s a story filled with cheesy banter, childish humor and, oh yeah, absolutely terrific gameplay. This is a shooter whose central strength lies in the combination of a Skillshot system, great gunplay and cleverly pacing the expansion of your weapons and abilities to keep the game feeling fresh throughout the whole campaign.
The game’s Skillshot system is perhaps its most unique yet addictive element. The Skillshot system sees you earn XP for being inventive in the ways in which you kill enemies. Combine your lethal weapons with all sorts of deadly background scenery to chain together stylish kills as quickly as you can for maximum XP gains, which can then be traded for power upgrades and powerful alternate fire modes. There are 131 combinations of comical deaths in the game, giving you a reason beyond just campaign progression to bust out the big guns and get creative. This is the addictive element of Bulletstorm. While most first-person shooters simply have you progress through the story, Bulletstorm tells you to get creative. The more creative the kill, the better the reward. In my playthrough of the game, I hadn’t unlocked all the different kill combinations. It makes going back to the game a must.
The cherry on top has to be how well of a job was done to bring this port to Switch. What you get here is the 2017 remastered version of Bulletstorm, which updates the graphical side of things nicely from the original 2011 offering. Additionally, this version comes with the Duke Nukem campaign mode, which adds in more than just a character swap with Duke. The game itself runs at what seems to be a solid 1080p in docked mode (a number I checked with a few other people also playing the game). Even more impressive is how well the game looks in handheld mode. The devs state that the game is capped at 30fps (like the original 360/PS3 release), and surprisingly the game didn’t drop a single frame in either docked or handheld mode, which is impressive considering all the crazy action happening on-screen most of the time.
There is one downside to Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition: the lack of multiplayer. The multiplayer portion of the game, including co-op Anarchy mode, isn’t the strongest part of the game (I wasn’t a huge fan of it in the original release either). However, it is something you would have expected to see kept in the Switch release, especially considering the other consoles have that portion of the game included. The game is also missing Gyro Controls, which isn’t a big deal to me but has been pointed out by many Switch owners. Perhaps this is something that can be patched in, but again, this doesn’t really hurt the experience. The only other oddity to mention in this case that doesn’t affect the review score is that this is a digital only release. That’s a real shame because this is an absolutely excellent port for Nintendo Switch. It totally deserves its place on store shelves for Switch owners to discover.
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 30th August 2019
Do you agree with our review of Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.