Bulletstorm VR Review – Bold and Brash, But Buggy

Bulletstorm VR Review

Bulletstorm VR from Game Developer Incuvo has landed on multiple platforms – PC, Quest, and PSVR 2. It is a port of the 2013 flat game and embodies the 1980s era of pop culture. It’s big, brash, and laced with testosterone expletive deleted software. The flat game is an on-rails shooter that rewards players for coming up with creative and gory kills.

It is a perfect vehicle for converting a flat game to VR. Unfortunately, said conversion leaves a more than a little bit to be desired on the non-PC platforms. This is a tough review to write because I’ve been an advocate for hybrid games where a VR Mode for Triple A games is the best path to pushing VR Gaming into mass adoption.

The PC version of Bulletstorm VR has been better received than the Quest and PSVR 2 releases. The situation mirrors the same reception that another VR Game from Incuvo, Green Hell, also received. It seems that there are different development teams for the various platforms and this is the reason proposed for the quality disparity.

Ugly Visuals

Whatever the reason for the quality differences, the version reviewed here is the PSVR 2 one, and it is disappointing. Ugly visuals and low-level textures saddle the game, which give it a blurry and jagged appearance. The game is also not properly optimized for PSVR 2. This results in dropped frames in larger areas. There are also constant loading screens within a stage that present themselves as immersion breaking black screens.

I have also experienced game crashes under different circumstances. One time it happened during a busy combat moment while the other crash came when the game displayed an in-game video clip.

Something to note about the video clips, Bulletstorm offers a great option to view the cutscenes in 3D. That is outstanding and should become a standard option for all flat games converted to VR. Sadly, the implementation of the 3D clips is subpar. They are low detail and blurry. Even worse, they are often blown out with blinding white levels.

There are other technical letdowns that affect the game’s personality. Another annoyance is the sound effects and music. They often do not synch to the game and they sound off in seemingly random matter. The disappointment doesn’t end there, though. Enemy AI is just plain terrible. They stand around or run up to you and do nothing. Oft times they also do not react to gunfire hits.

Unfinished Game

Finally, the game looks way worse than flat screen version and this is not only because of the low level textures. There has been no attempt made to employ dynamic lighting. All the shadows are static. These factors leave the environments flat and lifeless. This is really apparent if you compare the graphics of the flat version game to the VR version.

The game feels fundamentally unfinished and could use another six months of development and polish. Incuvo publicly acknowledged the myriad issues on Twitter. They pledged to document all the issues raised by gamers and promise to correct them in future patches.

We shall see. They made the same pledge about Green Hell and there has yet to be any significant corrections made on the non-PC versions.
All those issues aside, when things do work properly, the game can be fun to play. Remember, this is an over the top arcade shooter and the gameplay is fun but dated. You play as the protagonist, Grayson Hunt, in the first person. Hunt is a former elite mercenary who is now rogue. He is rogue because he learns his former commander, General Victor Sarrano, used him and his unit to kill innocent civilians instead of military targets.

Your ship crash lands on Stygia, which is described as a hell planet. The goal of the game is to make your way through hostile territory and confront the general. You’ll face multiple enemies and set pieces that are designed to allow you to wreak the most gruesome havoc possible.

Dual Wielding Damage

One of the new features of the VR version of the game is the ability to dual wield weapons, something not possible in the flat version. You’ll be able to tote a gun in one hand and an energy weapon called the Leash in the other. Using the two weapons in tandem allows for devastating destruction.

The weapons are the strongest part of the game, especially the Leash. Think of the Leash as a whip composed of energy. You can lasso enemies from quite a distance and fling them either towards you or into the environment. This allows you to impale enemies on spikes or barbed wire or electrical wire or throw them over the side of structures. You can also fling explosive barrels.

For close in combat, you can kick enemies either by stunning them or pushing them into environmental objects. The more inventive you are in dispatching enemies, the greater the reward. There is a Skill Kill Point List which you can reference as a guide for actions left for you to accomplish.

So there is a good basis from the flat game for having a lot of mindless fun. However, the issues mentioned above short-circuit any sustained enjoyment of playing the game. In its current state, on the PSVR 2, I cannot recommend this game. Your best bet if you want to play the game now is to get the PC version.

Fingers Crossed for Fixes

Hopefully, Incuvo will honor their pledge to fix the game and in short order. There are teasing moments of fun that shine through all the current issues with the game. If they ever get fixed, then Bulletstorm could still turn out to be a fun game.

***Bulletstorm VR PS5 code provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • 3D cut scenes
  • Voice Acting
  • Power Leash is fun

The Bad

  • Terrible Enemy AI
  • Poorly Optimized
  • Multiple Loading Screens