So something a little different form CodeMasters, they’ve made a first person shooter. Bodycount is a game where the emphasis is on precise and clever shooting, or skill shots. A few games have taken this approach before, but this is a little bit different.
As far as story goes here it’s a pretty standard affair really. You’re a lone agent sent into the middle of a warzone to discover why the fighting has started and to hopefully find a way to end the feud. With a few twists, it’s quite interesting, but not really what the game is about. Bodycount is all about the gun play, so its great the shooting feels pretty good. Each gun has plenty of kick, but still remains manageable, maybe sometimes being overly loud (not really a bad thing), but generally quite fun.
Presentation wise the visuals are pretty good most of the time, the guns look amazing and the explosions are all very satisfying. It can looks really amazing when inside the bunkers, but they are a lot of generic textures and it’s all very brown when in the streets. Audio is pretty good here too, gun sounds are very satisfying (this game is all about the shooting), but some of the dialogue is a bit poor.
The skill shooting system does work slightly differently here. Whereas most games that have a skill-shot feature take time into consideration, the primary factor here is keeping your combo going. As soon as you perform a kill that is not a skill shot, you lose your current combo and need to start again. This has the effect of slowing down game-play a little bit, you want to get a head shot or back stab kill instead of ruining your combo and effectively your end of level grade. Grenade kills and environment kills also add to your combo, so fantastic that there are tons of red explosive barrels littered around the streets.
As you progress through the game you start to find these bunkers, which give you a completely different environment to play with. It goes from what can only be described as very open run down shanty towns into enclosed metallic corridors. It mixes it up nicely and provides quite an interesting change, even if it does look a bit tron like. The environments react differently to gunfire too. In the shanty towns you can use an SMG to shred through the wall of a house to get to your enemy. Inside these bunkers the metallic walls are great cover, there’s also plenty of glass flying all over the place, that doesn’t really affect game play, but it does look great. Generally speaking the part of the game that is above ground takes place inside a rather huge area, which is all completely open, so you can easily mix up your approach, climb up and attack from a building etc. You’re tasked with completing objectives all over the map so you generally get quite familiar with the area. When you do find a bunker the game becomes very linear, you only have the one path so you have no choice other than a front on attack. It turns into more of a traditional shooter and becomes less strategic.
The fact that there seems to be two different games here creates a problem. The difficulty gap between sections of the game can be rather extreme. I found the first couple of levels pretty easy even on impossible difficulty, but when you find your first bunker the difficulty just sky rockets and I just wasn’t able to progress. This inconsistency is a bit of a problem, at one point you think you’ve mastered the game then it just becomes ridiculously hard for a period.
There’s not too much re-playability here, you have the standard campaign with the four difficulty levels and you have bodycount mode, which just seems to allow you to play each mission individually while trying to improve your grade. And then you just have the online multiplayer which has your standard modes in there. It’s a shame there aren’t any other modes here really, they could have taken advantage of some of these huge open areas.
Bodycount is a fun game, with some good ideas, but it’s not one you’ll keep coming back to unfortunately.