Bodycount Has the Guns, but Little Bang

By Ryan Winslett in Hands-on, Previews/Impressions
Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 10:00 am
Bodycount: "All about the guns"
Before introducing the small room of games journos to Codemasters' Bodycount during last week's E3 event, the developers stated that the game, set for an August release, is "all about the guns."


If this tagline sounds familiar, it's because it's the same one used for 2006's Black, which was pretty much built by the same group of guys.


After a brief demonstration and taking on two of the game's levels myself, I feel less inclined to agree with such a statement when it comes to Bodycount. Everything, from the guns to the story to the levels, felt a bit too generic.


For starters, your character in Bodycount works for an organization called "The Network." Your enemy is a rival faction called "The Target." As you move from location to location, a lady feeds you objectives and bits of story through a comms system, highlighting waypoints on your HUD.


The group was quick to highlight "environmental shredding," which basically means some cover and walls can be shot to pieces. This means you have to be a bit more strategic with your play, but when a wooden box can be blown to splinters and a flimsy door can't, it was sometimes difficult to tell which rules applied to which objects.


The environments being shown off were diverse, but not when compared to every other shooter on the market. The first level saw me fighting mercenaries in Africa while the second put me in a high tech facility lacking much character and firing a plasma rifle at cyber soldiers dressed head to toe in white armor. The enemy comes in several different classes (medic, soldier, etc), but it was hard to tell which was which. I relied on falling back and waiting to see which one tried to heal his fallen comrades, then took that guy out to prevent any additional returns from death's door.


You can lay down a variety of explosives depending on if you tap or double tap the button, but aiming these often proved difficult. To be fair, the controls are a bit different from your standard shooter fare, so these qualms could be negated simply by spending more time with the game.


As you lay waste to the bad guys, they're likely to drop three types of orbs. Red orbs equal ammo while blue or gold orbs provide "intel." Collect enough intel and you can unleash some super abilities, like speed, explosive bullets or calling in an airstrike.


While the levels I played were linear, the team promised most were big, open areas with multiple routes, allowing you to approach your objective from different angles. They also said they were "going for an 80s action movie vibe where you can shoot people through walls with a shotgun." Sadly, I did not experience such badassary in my time with the game.


I'm still holding out hope that Bodycount will come together in the end, but I can't deny the feeling of disappointment that followed me out of the Codemasters room at E3.

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