‘Bullet Run’ Preview: The Free-to-Play FPS Game Show [E3 2012]

Despite being picked up by Sony Online Entertainment, Acony Games’ Bullet Run – previously titled Hedone – retains its indie-ness, at least according to senior designer Iain Compton. The frantic free-to-play first-person shooter is a step up when it comes to F2P PC shooters, with superb graphics and gameplay that are touted to welcome casual and hardcore fans alike. The premise is that you’re on a multiplayer game show in which you have to look as stylish and badass as you can while taking your opponents out. Promising varied class loadouts and twitch shooter gameplay, Bullet Run was one of the many pleasant surprises on the E3 show floor. Fitting with the rising trend, Acony Games are adopting the free-to-play model with Bullet Run and are building up for a (apparent) July release.


In Bullet Run, your experience points are not really experience points so much as they are “fans” – kind of Super Monday Night Combat-esque. Each level you gain is basically another level of fame, leading you toward unlocks and kill skills such as berserker mode or heal, allowing you to strengthen your build and turn into a crowd favorite. It’s important to be a crowd favorite, too, because you’ll be playing against 10 players, or “contestants”, on the opposing team when the game is full. As you can imagine, there are thousands of customizations available to the player, so you can make it as much your experience as you want it to be. What makes Bullet Run incredibly fun is that the maps are not particularly difficult to traverse. So you’ll rarely be stuck looking for someone to kill as opponents will be everywhere!


Of the two modes that will be available at launch: Team Deathmatch and Dominion, I played the former. TDM in Bullet Run works pretty much the same way as any conventional first-person shooter. Dominion is also rather self-explanatory to those familiar with the formula: cap a point, move to another point, cap that point, and so on. In the 15 or so minutes I spent playing the game, I had what seemed to be a bit of a Scout-ish loadout that was definitely assault-oriented. It helped me get into the game. Bullet Run is indeed incredibly fast-paced and this is where fans of that type of gameplay will derive a lot of pleasure.


The Acony team includes developers who have worked on other F2P shooters like APB and BattleForge, but it seems they have learned from past mistakes and polished a very presentable experience. It’s the little things in Bullet Run: like the commentary in the background as you blast your way through the other team; like the active reload mini-game that keeps your fingers attentive even during a breather; and definitely the celebrations and taunts you can perform after humiliating your opponent, leaving you open to get killed just for that extra bit of fame.


Bullet Run is an amalgam of great ideas in first-person shooters and I have no doubt that as a free-to-play title backed by (in terms of marketing but not development) Sony Online Entertainment, the game will garner a strong community presence. While Bullet Run may not add all the freshest ideas of the genre, it does one thing exceptionally well: it fools you into believing you are playing a 60-dollar multiplayer AAA FPS… but in reality you haven’t paid a goddamn dime and are having the time of your life.


You can find more on Bullet Run on the official website. Sign up for a key to the beta!

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