Gory and profane sci-fi shooter definitely not for kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game offers no positive messages. The objective is to kill as many enemies as possible to get off of a planet, and players are rewarded for doing this in a creative fashion. There are plenty of sexual and alcohol references, and strong profanity.

Positive role models

You play as a space pirate, Grayson Hunt, who steals and kills for a living. At the start of the game, we learn he was tricked by his employer into killing innocent people when he was told they were serial killers, mass murderers, and gun runners, and he seems upset by this realization. However, Hunt and his cyborg partner Ishi spend the game killing mutants and creatures in creative ways and seem to enjoy the gory action.


Ease of play

Bulletstorm is quite easy to pick up and play, especially if you've played other first-person shooters in the past. Movement is tied to the left analog stick; the left trigger is to aim and the right trigger is to shoot. Other moves can be learned, such as sliding, whipping, and kicking.


Extremely violent, bloody and gory, Bulletstorm is all about "killing with skill" (as it says on the back of the box). From a first-person perspective, you'll shoot, whip, and kick human enemies and creatures. This includes blowing their head off (resulting in an explosion of flesh and blood), impaling them onto sharp objects, and kicking them into the air and filling them with lead. These sequences are slowed down for dramatic effect. Players are rewarded for creative kills.


The game contains many sexual references, including having sex with someone's mother (to insult them), contracting venereal diseases, and extreme profanity that refers to sexual acts or body parts ("c--ksucker," "mother f--ker," "d--kless," "shake that sweet little can of yours" and "son of a whore"). You can also shoot at the exposed buttocks of some enemies for bonus points.


Bulletstorm contains extreme profanity, some of which is outlined in the "Sex" section. Other examples of its frequent and strong language includes "what the f--k?," "f--ked up," "I will f--k up your life," "shut the f--k up," "a--holes, "s--thead," "pile of s--t," "dogs--t," "a--maggot," "holy piss s--t," "hell," "damn," and many others.


Material in the box advertises other "Mature"-rated EA games, including Gears of War 3, Dead Space 2, and Dragon Age II.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character can consume alcohol from a bottle, causing his vision to become blurred. If he kills under this effect he receives an "Intoxicated Skillshot" bonus. Dialogue includes phrases such as "you're drunk again," and "any booze left on this ship?"

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bulletstorm is an extremely violent video game featuring gratuitous amounts of carnage. The core gameplay mechanic of this first-person shooter is a "skillshot" system that challenges players to be creative in his or her kills. For example, you can use your whip to pull an enemy toward you, kick him up into the air, and finish him off with a headshot. Bonus points are awarded for these moves. Enemies can also be beheaded, impaled, or blown to chunky bits. Blood spews everywhere. The game is also laced with very strong profanity, sexual references, alcohol consumption, and supports open communication in online play. Without question, this game is not for players under 17 years of age or those faint of heart.

What's it about?

If the name BULLETSTORM doesn't give it away, this is an extremely violent, futuristic shooter. It tells of a space pirate, Grayson Hunt, and his cyborg sidekick, Ishi Sato, who crash-land on the planet Stygia. Problem is, this once-peaceful vacation spot in the galaxy is now overrun by mutated criminals, flesh-eating plants, and larger-than-life boss characters. While trying to escape and exact revenge on their previous boss, the protagonists have to battle their way through hordes of enemies and navigate through dangerous environments. Played from a first-person perspective, the action is fast, gory, and over-the-top in presentation and gameplay.

Is it any good?


Bulletstorm can be fun, but only for those who enjoy violent and irreverent first-person shooters (think Duke Nukem and Serious Sam). At the heart of the action is a "skillshot" system that rewards players for performing kills in a creative function. By stringing your moves together -- kicking, shooting, whipping, sliding, and running -- you can create unique skillshots for bonus points. You can even pause the game to see which skillshots you've performed and which ones haven't been attempted yet. Along with the single-player campaign, the game has online modes and downloadable content. While not likely to win any "Best of the Year" game awards, this shooter will appeal to those looking for exaggerated action with gory visuals.

Online interaction: The game is playable online for all three versions of the game: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Up to four players can play at the same time over the Internet in a number of multiplayer modes. A headset microphone is supported, which means players can talk to each other while fighting online. That means players may be exposed to foul language and inappropriate topics of conversation, and that they can share personal information. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether players are desensitized to violence after playing these kinds of games. Do violent games breed violent behavior in real life? Can they make someone crave violence after the game is turned off? Could it possibly act as a safe way for mature players to de-stress and blow off steam?

  • Families can also discuss the game's carefree use of sexual insults and profanity. How do you react to this sort of language? Could the game have been as edgy or extreme without it?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:February 22, 2011
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol

This review of Bulletstorm was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written bygameaddictwn March 11, 2011

Kill with skill (and with blood and language of)

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byEbanski July 8, 2011


SICK. This game is extremely violent and has heaps of bad language. I didn't really like it anyway.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byPoopMagee November 20, 2013

Disable Gore and Language, it helps a lot!

Bulletstorm is game where you take the role of Grayson Hunt, a constantly drunken space pirate with and interesting plot. Players use a leash to fling enimies around and impale them into spikes, giant cacti, fans, explosives, etc. If you do not turn off blood and gore, enemies will constantly be dismembered or decapitated. The game is constantly centered around violence and the you way you execute it. You constantly earn skillshots, based on the way you kill your enemies, and sometimes represent alcohol use and sex(Drilldo, Gag reflex, fire in the hole, rear entry, etc.) One loading screen contains a Sexual Reference(Make sure you reload in the heat of battle, no one wants to get down to business half cocked) Players are allowed to drink alcohol throughout the levels, which results in a screen distortion effect, though the player gets more points for shooting the bottles than drinking them. The game constantly throws the words "Di*k" and "P**sy" at you, and swearing such as "Sh**", "F**k", Assh**e, "C**ksucker" are constantly used in the dialogue. The game does allow you to turn off this profanity, completely changing the word to something less offensive, this does not get rid off "Da**" "A*s" or "Hell" The characters dialogue also contains Tons of sexual references, which can not be altered.(Now I know how the old gal got that limp) (They just keep coming, it's like herpes.)Other sequences contain violence: an unarmed, crawling man, shot to death. Points are used as simulation currency to buy weapons and upgrades.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide