When you want to design the ideal FPS, what elements do you think gamers look for? Surely, they want a game with lots of bullets, fully destructible worlds, vibrant colorful environments, powerful abilities and a deep story. Bodycount is trying to be that game, has it done it? Er…
The story of Bodycount is somewhat familiar to the FPS genre. You are an agent of an agency called the Network, sent in to resolve conflict where other agencies have failed. Mostly the locations you visit are Third World countries (not a great job so far) and as the story progresses, you realize that there is a sinister force at work: another agency called the Target.
At the heart of Bodycount there is a frag-fest of a FPS, you get a variety of 10 guns and tons of bullets to rip through the enemies and the environment. In most FPSs, you are encouraged to take slow steps and scan the area then take the enemies out one by one. Bodycount almost dares you jump into the middle of a mass war and just shoot. Indeed, when you first begin the game you are thrown into a middle of a gun fight between two factions and it’s up to you to kill them all and locate your next objective.
The game screen shows your current score, your chosen weapon, grenade and ammo numbers, a map and your handy enhancements. You move and look with the analogue sticks and fire with R2, reloading is with the X button, L2 zooms and run is R3. These are simple controls and for me they worked well. I have had some players tell me that they found these odd but I had no issues.
For me, Bodycount’s action was instantly fun. I literally walked into the middle of areas and shot at anything and everything that moved. Codemasters and Guildford Studios have implemented a skillshot system into Bodycount, with accurate headshots, explosive kills, cover fire kills and general awesome shooting increase your multiplier and rewards you with more intel. Intel in the game is the currency you collect. It is represented by little blue or red circular symbols that are dropped by enemies as you kill them, and these intel pieces will unlock some nice enhancements as you move through the campaign. Accessed via the D-pad, these enhancements include temporary invulnerability, explosive bullets, and an airstrike. Now how cool does an airstrike sound on a load of bad guys? Exactly. And it’s not like it’s likely to miss either as the AI in Bodycount is terrible. The enemies just keep coming and shooting at you, some of them do hide, but most just run at you making them almost the dictionary definition of ‘cannon fodder’.
Graphically, Bodycount’s environments are a lush and colorful mixture. The shanty towns in Africa are very bold and bright, the habour is beautifully blue and the districts in China are dark and misty. There are not that many different environments, but the ones that exist have been textured and colored very well.
Bodycount gives you 10 different guns to play with, including assault rifles, shotguns, silenced pistols and a very slick futuristic SMG. I have to say that Guildford Studios have spent a lot of time of crafting these bad boys, they look stunning with amazing detail in both their shooting and reloading. Since this game is all about the art of shredding (destroying environments with bullets) it helps that the different guns have different shredding abilities. One of my favorite guns is the shotgun because you can shoot a guy and the force of the shot will push him through the wall and it’s always very nice to shred a wall and kill the guy behind it.
The music is very well done, adding to the sense of frantic action and chaos around you. The guns getting fired and the bullets flying have a pleasing sound and the voices of the enemies you down as they die is also very cool. Sadly, the voice acting is, at times, very bland and typically American (dare I say). It’s not inspiring and you don’t really connect with your character. If he dies you don’t mind that much; just press X and you’re away again. It’s very hard to form a bond with a character in a 6 hour campaign mode, and Bodycount suffers from the same problems as many other short FPSs.
There is the inclusion of a multiplayer as well. You can team up with a friend in a co-op mode that sees you handle wave after wave of ever increasing enemies. As the waves progress the number of guys increases and so does their intelligence. I was slightly disappointed, however, in Bodycount’s online multiplayer as it only had four maps with a death match and team death match modes. Yes, you can play with up to 12 players, but with a limited amount of maps you get the feeling that this was added for the sake of have a multiplayer bulletpoint to put on the back of the box.
Overall, I believe that Bodycount is a nice game that pays homage to old school shooters. Run in and just got nuts. There is no deep story and the multiplayer is lacking in most departments. This is, however, not a bad game, it wants to be better. Sometimes it succeeds with some fun bits in the campaign, which will be played a few times and then, I think, sadly put away. I like the idea of freely running and just shredding the crap out of everything, but I can see that most gamers, especially the new breed, will dismiss this and say it’s bland, boring and one dimensional. I enjoyed this game, now it’s time to make up your own mind.
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