When you play a game called “Bodycount”, you should already know what to expect from the game. Bodycount lives up to its name; it is a fast-paced run-and-gun. It feels like a classic arcade shooter, and it stresses the player racking up a high kill count with stylized kills and combos.
The game puts you in the shoes of—well, I’m not sure who. I was never given a name. All I know is that the main character is an asset to the network. You play the person that can make a difference in the world and settle disputes with a quick trigger finger and massive firepower. The story puts you in Africa, where you are working to end a Civil War by, from what I understand, killing both sides. I guess if everyone is dead then there is no one left to fight.
Every level has you completing objectives, like assassinating a leader or disarming a bomb, while killing everyone along your path. The story is definitely the weak spot in the game, but let’s face it; you don’t play a game like this for the story. You won’t really care about the rich benefactor and the secret base you stumble upon. The story is interchangeable; it could not even have a story and still be fun, because the core of this game is the gun play.
The AI isn’t too bright. Sure, they duck behind cover at times, but usually they just come at you. Other times, they’ll stand still as you approach them and stare at you as you put a shotgun blast to their chest. It doesn’t break the game though, because the killing is still fast and fun. It can also get a little challenging at times when you are surrounded by enemies. Luckily, if you die, there isn’t much of a penalty. You start from the last checkpoint, which is usually a few seconds before your death. It really lends itself to the arcade feel and can feel a bit like Time Crisis at moments.
You’ll find yourself trying to kill enemies in more creative ways, trying to get a better score for that level, be it with building a headshot combo or blowing up multiple enemies with grenades. Each gun feels different and has pros and cons. The two things that stand out the most are the destructible environments and the cover system.
Almost everything in the game can be destroyed or shot through. Enemies are safe nowhere, but the same is true for you. The barricade that you take refuge behind won’t be there long, so you have to keep moving. Shooting and killing enemies through objects will add to your stylized kills, so not only is it fun to destroy things, but it’s beneficial too.
The cover system—coined the “Lean and Peek” system—is one of the best cover systems I’ve ever used in a first-person shooter. It takes a little bit to get used to it (you’re going to want to be able to walk while aiming--who pulls a trigger half-way?), but after a few levels, you’ll be using it how it’s intended. Holding the left trigger will put you in aim mode. You can then use the left joystick to maneuver while stationary. Down on the joystick will let you duck behind cover; left and right will let you peek around objects; up on the joystick, well, it keeps you standing.
The more people you kill in the game, the quicker you gain your upgrades. You can earn Intel rewards (combat enhancements) that do things like make you immune to damage for a short while. The game really does keep a bodycount. Anytime you pause the menu, scrolling will be your lifetime kills, kills by grenade, head shots, multiplayer kills, and more. It’s cool to be able to see your career achievements at all times.
They have a mode where you can replay certain levels, and it shows not only your highest bodycount for that level, but your friends’ highest bodycount. It adds a competitive element to single-player campaign. At the time of this review, multiplayer was unavailable, but boy, would I have liked to see the destruction to the environments in multiplayer. There are multiple modes—deathmatch, team deathmatch, and co-op among them—and they will be factored into the review at a later time.
As the game stands now, it’s a fresh, fast, fun fps. You can relieve some stress and have fun pumping your enemy full of bullets. The graphics are nothing to marvel at, the script is weak (at best), and the AI is subpar. However, the cover mode lends itself well to the combat and the environmental destruction is cool. If story and strategy is your thing, you might want to look elsewhere, but the game excels where it tries the most—racking up a Bodycount.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ