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Bombshell review: More "bad" than "badass"

Hayden Dingman | Feb. 1, 2016
Alternatively: Don't shell out cash for this bomb.

Bombshell

I am probably not going to complete Bombshell.

This is not something I do often, nor is it a decision I make lightly. Growing up I read a lot of Electronic Gaming Monthly, and was impressed that their reviewers finished (or made their best effort to finish) every game they reviewed. When I started doing game reviews at PCWorld, it was a policy I decided to adopt.

And it’s a policy I’ve stuck to, with the exception of one or two games. For instance, I loved Dark Souls II but didn’t complete it because it was kicking my ass.

This is different. I am not finishing Bombshell because it is busted.

The good

There are two ways you could describe Bombshell, and on paper they sound equally appealing. 1) It’s a twin-stick shooter version of a 90’s FPS—wailing guitars, big guns with dumb names, ludicrous gibs, and a smack-talking protagonist who’s a borderline sociopath. 2) It’s sort of like Diablo-with-guns.

Not too bad, right?

Bombshell

So despite starting life as an ill-planned trailer—or, in truth, starting like as an unofficial Duke Nukem game before some legal squabbling shut that down—I was willing to conceptually give Bombshell the benefit of the doubt. Aliens come to Earth. Aliens kidnap the president. Murder-loving lady goes after them and shoots a lot of enemies. It seemed like silly, mindless fun.

And some 3D Realms DNA made it into Bombshell. By that I mean “The guns are somewhat creative.” You pick up weapons over the course of the game and then eventually upgrade them with crazier alt-fire modes. I only made it maybe halfway, but there’s a bomb that you roll out like a bowling ball, a beam that splinters into a dozen other directions on contact, a shotgun that lights enemies on fire, et cetera.

The mediocre

Despite the creative concepts behind the guns, none I’ve used so far is particularly interesting or effective. Enemies, and especially bosses, are armored to hell and back, so you just shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot a dozen times until they finally keel over.

Bombshell

Hopefully the enemies fire back. It’s rarer than you think. About one in five enemies will just stand there mindlessly while you shoot. Perhaps when they went to Scary Alien Military School the instructor forgot to tell them how to pull the trigger. Or maybe they’re like John Boyega’s Stormtrooper in the latest Star Wars and their heart’s just not really in this whole evil empire thing.

Regardless, it means the most dangerous enemies are these floating bug things that hang out off-screen until you run around a corner, then detonate and cover you in acid. Any ol’ grunt with a gun is easy by comparison.

 

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