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Bullet Run is a free-to-play 1st person shooter developed by Acony Games and published by Sony Online Entertainment. Players are on teams engaged in timed deathmatches in a ruined urban setting. The twist here is part Running Man and part Hunger Games, as the matches are televised for the entertainment of the public. There are commentators, and even giant holographic advertisements. But you can’t let yourself get distracted by all that, if you do, then you’ll end up getting shot.
Bullet Run’s setup is classic team FPS, there are four weapon packs to choose from at the beginning of each match or when you respawn. Each one is a bit different, though I never really used anything but the automatic weapon and the grenade. In this game, you’re better off shooting with the pistol than trying to sneak up behind someone and knife them. Controls are easy to learn like the ones for most shooters, though I had to switch movement out of the WDSA to the arrow keys. The aiming doesn’t always seem to work, and most times you only get off one burst of gunfire before the enemy kills you. It can be frustrating and leave you shouting “I totally shot you dude!” at opponents who can’t hear you. Reloading is automatic, but it’s best to keep a full clip at all times, because that reload time will probably get you killed. Anyone can join a game from the lobby, which means there’s no filter to keep a rank 23 played from coming in and dominating a board of noobs because of his better skill and equipment. It also took me a while to figure out how to leave a match that I wasn’t thrilled with, something I expected to be easier to do. There’s no penalty right now for leaving a match except that you miss the points you get for winning or losing, but I played in a couple matches where it seemed like there were no enemies at all. Winning a match gives you points towards the next rank and also fans so that your personal fame on the battleground doesn’t go unnoticed.
In the beginning, you should plan to die a lot, unless you’re an expert from another shooter game. Then you might only die a few times, but all of them will be fast. Some of the fast death issue seems to be related to the character’s rank. I died much less as a rank 2 than a rank one. One thing I learned was to use the environment to my advantage, which might seem obvious, but I’m not a ‘shoot from cover’ kind of player. The maps are full of hiding places like tunnels and high spots for sniping, though sometimes I wanted to call BS on a shot from a sniper. You gain achievement points as you go along, for instance, if you kill someone who’s killed you multiple times, then you get bonus points. Likewise for an assist with a kill. The best one I thought, was the From Beyond the Grave, which meant that you somehow killed an opponent who took you down. Mostly I got this when I was throwing grenades and my enemy shot me down anyway, only to die when my grenade went off. The announcers make little remarks when you die like ‘Oh the replay’s not going to be kind to her’ or ‘the crowd simply loved that shot.’ It helps to reinforce the televised angle, which is represented on the battleground by floating cameras and network flying machines overhead. There are also zone markers that come up when you bump into the boundaries of each zone. Most of the maps were sort of small, but that made sure players kept running into one another all the time. I liked the map design a lot. The maps, even if they used the same objects, always looked different enough to keep me interested in exploring them.
For the most part, this was a fun game. It depends on how much getting shot and dying, sometimes right after you respawn, bothers you. And then there’s the taunts. When you kill a player, you can perform an obnoxious ‘I pwned you’ action over their body. The first one, and the only one that comes for free, is a weird chin nod that just looks like strange body tic instead of a taunt. I didn’t run into anyone with the other taunts so I can’t say if they are better or worse. Bullet Run is a decent Free-to-play game. I might take a minute to figure out which match types work best for you as a player, but that just means getting to try them all at least once. One thing that bothered me, and which bothers me about most games built on the Unreal Engine is that the environment was indestructible (yes I know that’s coming in the next version.) There are gas cans and other explosive items spread around and it drives me nuts that I can’t explode them and take out a lot of the surrounding area.
I would love to see a level of this game where you escape the confines of the battleground and make your way to the television station, where you could battle guards and other players and maybe finally take out those commentators once and for all. But maybe that’s just me.