Which actions in video games deserve points? Walking? Looking? Kicking a man off a ledge? Early 2011 first-person shooter Bulletstorm answers these questions.
I tried a demo of the game at a showcase for upcoming EA games last week at a nightclub in New York. My findings:
You get points for shooting bad guys.
You don't get points (nor do you lose points) for shooting your invincible allies.
You get points for impaling a bad guy on a cactus.
You get points for kicking a guy off a ledge. (Vertigo! +100)
You don't get points for shooting a bad guy, who you've kicked off a ledge, so forcefully that his corpse flies across a chasm and lands on the opposite ledge.
You get points for looking in the right direction. (+200 for pressing a button when prompted by the game, a camera-focusing action that earned zero points in Gears of War)
You don't get points for crouching.
You get points for kicking to death the big hulking enemy who you were supposed to shoot to death. (Kick of doom! +250)
You get points for fatally launching into a crowd of enemies a bouncing cannon ball that caroms from floor to ceiling, and more points when you kick it forward to obliterate the next batch of bad guys.
You don't get points for diplomacy, because in Bulletstorm, like in most first-person shooters, there is none.
As our Mike McWhertor wrote in September, playing Bulletstorm feels like playing a Tony Hawk skateboarding game. It's all about doing things for points, chaining those points together and trying for a big total. But even Tony Hawk gamers didn't reward players with a couple hundred points for looking. Next thing you know, we'll be getting points for brushing our teeth.