Simply put, Bodycount does nothing new and fails at everything it attempts to do.
- Worth The Time?No, I actually want a refund for precious hours of my life that I lost.
- Things LovedIt eventually ended, and it dies when the console is turned off.
- Things HatedBland, boring, repetitive shooting, utterly meaningless and uninspired story, not one character has a name, frame rate issues, objectives that don't change, only ten guns that you are able to use, you can't move while aiming down the sights, AI is embarrassingly retarded, cover breaks incredibly quickly, you can't pick up enemy weapons, uninspired and non-addictive scoring system, unnecessary abilities, bare bones multiplayer, horrid graphics, intense difficulty spikes, recycled environments, it feels like it takes forever to end.
- RecommendationBodycount may be around R100.00 cheaper than most titles, but under no circumstances should you be tempted to buy it. I don't even want to sell my copy, purely because I wouldn't wish this type of torture on anyone else.
- Name: Bodycount
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online, Co-op
- Platforms: Xbox 360 and PS3
- Developer: Guildford Studio
- Publisher: Codemasters
- Price: R450.00
- Reviewed On: PS3
Bodycount really didn’t have much going for it, even when first shown off to the public. Marketed as the spiritual successor to the highly regarded and hugely successful PS2 FPS, Black, Bodycount is a shallow attempt at cashing in on the biggest genre in videogaming today. Bodycount borrows and steals elements from highly successful shooters such as Bulletstorm, Battlefield and Call of Duty, and even manages to make these individual elements look horrible. You may have large areas to explore and plan attacks in, but the combination of brain dead AI and boring weapons will make you sprint past as many enemies as you can, in a hopeless attempt to reach the conclusion of this lacklustre excuse of a videogame.
Bodycount puts you in the shoes of a nameless soldier, though the name “Jackson” pops up once during dialogue. You are part of a shady organisation known only as “The Network”, whose sole purpose is to solve conflicts in nations that the world has turned their back on, nations that even the U.N doesn’t want to touch. After being deployed into war stricken states and shooting everything that moves in an attempt to do “a small good for the world”, you soon realise that there is a mysterious organisation that is behind all of the conflicts, silently pulling all the strings. This organisation is simply know as “The Target”, and they seem to know who you are and the people that employ you, though this connection is never fully explained.
The story is the first place where all of Bodycount’s blocks begin to fall down. Within moments of starting, you are flung into an intense conflict in Africa, not even knowing why you are there in the first place. Codemasters stated that their main objective with Bodycount was to put a gun in your hand, give you tons of enemies to shoot at and thus create hours of fun. If there was a box with fail next to it, I would check it with a big black marker. The lack of an interesting reason for you to go from region to region, mowing down countless rebels and militants in your path, does in no way make it fun. On top of that, your main enemies of the game never seem to differ from the rebels in Africa or drug dealers in Asia, so attempting to make them out as a highly sophisticated organisation with their fingers in all of the world’s major conflicts is hardly believable, and makes the seemingly dire mission of bringing them down even less compelling.
Your missions and objectives are delivered to you by a female voice, who claims to be with you every step of the way, while you single handedly try to restore peace to the world. The fact that there is no face to compliment this voice, never mind even a name, detaches you completely from what seems to be your only companion. This feeling is furthered still when it becomes hard to make out the exact purpose of The Network, especially when this female voice calls the bombing and murder of over 60 000 people in Africa “a little good”. There just seems to be no sense of logic at any point in the narrative, which makes me wonder exactly why Codemasters even bothered with one in the first place.
Thankfully, the story is only really a backdrop to what is clearly the most important part of the game: shooting everything in sight. Sadly, this portion of the game isn’t any better either. All your basic shooter elements are present, allowing you to sprint, melee and aim down the sights all with ease. However, aiming down the sights seems to have taken a massive backward step in Bodycount. While aiming, you aren’t able to move or strafe, with the left stick only allowing you to peak in and out of cover. So, while you aim, you are also expected to just suck up bullets like a sponge. You will also find yourself never using melee, mainly because it feels like the response time to your button press is on a dial-up connection, and more often than not the game doesn’t even recognise you knifing someone in the face. Well, at least sprint works the way it should.
Should you have a keen eye, you will be able to pull off some of the game’s many skillshots, a feature vamped directly from Bulletstorm, minus the gruesome and exciting ones. You’ll be awarded skillshots for things like headshots, grenade kills, shooting exploding barrels next to enemies, sneaking up on enemies, shredding through cover and even “OMG you just shot the shit out of someone through cover from a mile away”. Yeah, nothing really exciting here, especially when compared to the game they were so blatantly stolen from. Skillshots will cause enemies to drop glowing little orbs, granting you ammo, grenades, mines and, most importantly, Intel points. These points will grant you access to certain abilities, such as calling in an airstrike or increased bullet damage for brief periods of time.
The game is quite merciful when it comes to what registers as headshots, and gives you tons of barrels to chose from when aiming to take down a large group of enemies. This means you’ll never run short on ammo or grenades, and you’ll have many opportunities to use your Intel fuelled abilities. Unfortunately, the game rarely requires you to use any of these abilities, and I often found myself completely forgetting that I even had these tide turning options. This is mainly due to the major brain damage that seems to plague every single AI enemy. It seems as though many enemies were programmed with exact specific running paths, meaning that they often run straight past you, ignoring the countless bullets you are riddling them with. Enemies hardly react to grenade tosses, and never taking cover when being shot, preferring to rather take it in the forehead than duck and save their lives. Combat is a constant bore as a result, and the only difficulty comes when the game tosses an obscene amount of enemies at you all at once, appearing out of thin air from every direction, leading to extremely frustrating sections that take several deaths to slog through.
This frustration is further compounded when you realise just about everything around you is destructible. This may sound like a great feature, seeing as it works so well in games such as Battlefield, but even this is a botched attempt. Handguns will blow a massive chunk out of cement barriers, and SMG’s rip through most cover like it’s paper. Taking cover is a fruitless task, as you’ll normally take the exact same amount of damage as if you were out in the open. Speaking of weapons, there are only ten to choose from. That is a shockingly small number, considering the game revolves around shooting everything. Most of the guns are your standard SMG’s and Assault Rifles, with the exception of mildly entertaining weapons that the Target agents hold. Another odd design decision plagues this as well, as you are not able to pick up any weapons dropped by the enemy. You are only able to switch weapons at specific hubs at the beginning of each level, without even knowing what weapon will be suited to the upcoming encounter.
Visually, Bodycount is a complete let-down. Textures are bland and there really is no interesting art direction. Get close and personal with computer consoles and similar items, and you will notice that they are extremely pixelated, reminding me of a last gen game. Animations are stiff, and enemies often react to bullet hits in the wrong way. In some missions, your field of view is sometimes also extremely limited, with the distant background obscured by cheap looking visuals instead of actual buildings that you just traversed through. Target bases look a lot better than any of the other environments, mainly due to the Tron type of art style that they incorporate, but it is ridiculous how many times you encounter the same buildings and battlefields, with them being constantly recycled. There is not one area in the game that you do not visit at least twice, and Target bases become extremely boring to look at after walking down corridors that look damn near identical as the previous level, for the fifth or sixth time.
Since the single-player portion of the game only lasts around six hours (even though the torture felt like it went on forever), there is a online multiplayer to try and keep you playing Bodycount as long as possible. The broken AI is gone, so already the multiplayer was a lot more entertaining, for around 15 minutes or so. There are only two modes, namely Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, meaning that even the online offering of the game is bare and feels half complete. Intel points are still available, so this time around you will actually be able to utilize these power abilities against other human opponents. Apart from that, there is an online-only co-op mode, allowing you and one other online friend to take on waves and waves of AI controlled enemies in four different locations, though, again, the AI is lacking, meaning that you’ll probably end up dying purely due to the extreme number of enemies thrown at you, rather than your bad aiming.
In short, Bodycount is a lightweight competitor attempting to break into a heavyweight genre. All the elements of a standard, generic shooter are there, they are just implemented horribly and without any sort of unique flair. Anyone with fond memories of “Black” and expecting something on the same calibre will be sorely disappointed, and in general you should just stay very far away from this sad excuse of a full priced game. Even at a reduced price, which shouldn’t take long to come, I would find it extremely difficult to recommend, even to the most hardcore FPS fans. Wait for the real stars to enter the building later this year, and just pretend Bodycount never, ever happened.