Hands-On Impressions: Bodycount

Things Are Going to Get Very Explosive

Codemasters have released a demo of their upcoming first-person shooter, Bodycount, on Xbox Live, and if you haven’t had the chance yet, you should definitely give it a go.  That last sentence isn’t a statement in support of the game.  Rather, you really should try out the game before you buy it; you might be disappointed if you don’t.

The demo allows you to try out one of the single-player missions, and I have to admit, I had a bit of difficulty understanding what was going on.  Either way, my character (some sort of special operative) was dropped right into the middle of a conflict taking place in West Africa.  The game seems to draw some (but not very much) inspiration from Bulletstorm as it scores you on how you take out your enemies.

Explosive weaponry is the key focus of Bodycount’s gameplay – you’re kitted out with more grenades and mines than the US Army and your gun has an incendiary fire-mode if enough power-ups are collected.  This is just as well, as many of your enemies are usually found hiding inside a building or behind a wall.  Environments are destructible and it’s impressive how much debris was flying around the battlefield as I was gunning my way through the waves of enemy soldiers.  Bodycount clearly sets out to be the videogame equivalent of an over-the-top action movie and it succeeds in this area.  However, taking out enemy gun emplacements or guard towers requires nothing more than blind firing and it soon becomes clear that the game is more about the experience than it is skill.  Of course, I’ve only played a small snippet of the game, but I didn’t find myself needing to rely on strategy at all.  Furthermore, Bodycount would appear to take a few ideas from Half-Life 2, namely that practically every enemy chooses to stand next to an explosive barrel, leading to your over-reliance on these.

Speaking of the enemies in Bodycount, their AI is undoubtedly lacking.  Enemy soldiers, for the most part, rarely reacted or ran for different cover as I began to fire on them, and although they do make use of it when individually advancing on your position, there doesn’t seem to be any real team AI that coordinates a clever flanking maneuvre or provides cover fire.

Graphically-speaking, Bodycount isn’t the most beautiful game in terms of character models and polish, but the action on-screen does get very busy at times.  Multiple explosions, gunfire and a lot of units will be present at the same time and the framerate does hold up.  It creates a frenetic atmosphere that, despite some of my earlier criticisms, did draw me in.  I have high hopes for the rest of the game, especially if the later stages ramp up the action (and difficulty) even more.

Bodycount releases on 30 August, 2011 in North America and its European release date is only a few days later on 2 September, 2011.  If you haven’t had the chance to play the demo, or you still need more convincing before laying down the cash for this, then keep your eyes peeled for our review in a few weeks’ time.

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