Let the bodies hit the floor, a lot
Yeah, crank up the music and let the lead fly. I am not sure what it is about Bodycount that people don't like, but I can get the idea behind Codemaster's shooter more than it seems a lot of people did. It's OLD SKOOL, decidedly old skool in many ways and that's ok, it's not trying to be the next big cinematic BattleCallofGearsWar game. It's just offering you a chance to disengage your brain, put your trigger finger to good use and spray the enemy with more lead than is contained in an entire factory that makes pencils.
Yes, I like Bodycount, but that's not a crime. Sure, it has a few problems here and there and it's short, but it's fun. That's what always counts for me. I have Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 for cinematic epic campaigns; this is just a way to totally blow the crap out of anything that moves.
Lets boil it down shall we, it's not the best told story in the history of gaming, it's disjointed and really only exists to propel you into one bone shattering bullet splattering encounter after another. So really, there's no need to dwell on it is there...Old Skool shooters didn't really bother with story, we mostly all loved Black and look at that? That didn't really have much of a story per-se. Hmm, didn't someone who was involved with Black also have something to do with Bodycount?
Yes they did!
It's not rocket science and I'm writing in a different style for this one, because Bodycount demands that you think a little differently about the game than the previously mentioned EPIC action cinematic experiences that are the big titles. In Bodycount, you just blast the hell out of your enemies, running from cover to cover as though it's going out of fashion, digging in for a moment and then hoping no one blows your head clean off.
Its old skool gameplay and controls to the max, with a neat cover system. It also seems that hardly anyone gets the idea behind how it works. You're not confined to the one cover, where you press and stick to it like a magnet. You dig in literally; you're locked to the spot and can weave around to look left, right, up, down, diagonally left and right and so on. You also look down the iron sight of the weapon...
You half press the left trigger and you can move and shoot, just like your regular beloved iron-sights from other games. So it's not ditching one of the oldest mechanics in the book, it's actually refining it to allow you to use anything as cover and then get the hell out whilst acting like an A-Team/Expendables action hero. Bullets flying all around and bodies piling up...
Old skool fun, as I said.
You get a few weapons and toys to play with, grenades and the like. Your dead enemies drop various kinds of Intel that you can collect (glowing circles with various effects, and point costs) that let you drop things like airstrikes and other cool powers. It's got a Bulletstorm feel in that respect and rewards you with arcade style points for being cool with those kills, skilful headshots and chained explosions rack up the Intel like there's no tomorrow. There are different types of enemies too, and the heavy guys soak up lead as if it was going out of fashion.
It feels just like you're the star in one of the BIG DUMB action movies and that's fine. That's what the game sets out to do and that's what it does best. It just isn't enough to make it an awesome game.
They're bold and they're colourful, they eschew the normal mega brown palette that tends to roll across most first person games these days, for something a little more eye catching. They are functional too, they're not the best graphics that you're going to see, but they're not the worst on the planet either. The frame-rate holds solid and to be honest when you're slaughtering the bad guys by the bucket load, you're not really going to sit and watch a sunset or take in the gorgeous rust pattern on the nearest metal wall. Unless it was a really amazing rust pattern of course!
When the explosions start going off and cover gets shredded, there's a lot going on and everything remains stable.
They do what they set out to do, bad guys die and the weapons look pretty cool when you fire them and reload. There's not much in the way of stunning animation here, it's serviceable and it works. Death animations are pretty cool and the game doesn't skimp on the ways you put down your enemies.
There's some good physics, bodies fly nicely when a grenade goes off and cover doesn't remain intact for long. All in all, just what the doctor ordered, if the doctor were an insane madman with a gun. The explosions and heavier weapons all have a sense of power to them.
Enemy AI knows what cover is, it knows some tactics and it uses them to try and get the better of you. Of course, if you put enough lead down, they don't last long. The heavier enemies take a lot more punishment and are often surrounded by smaller foes that harry you whilst they lay down some serious firepower. It works, most of the time, sometimes though it just totally loses the plot and makes some serious tactical errors.
The sounds of battle are fairly well done, that's about it really, there's a lot of audio that's going on here and the weapon sounds are nicely realised. They don't sound like pop-guns. The gunfire is the star of the show, the rest of the audio often cuts out and that's a shame.
The music is bombastic and action orientated but to be honest the only music you're going to need is the screaming and dying of your enemies.
There's nothing here that really put me off, it's decent enough voice acting.
Yeah, the writing is a bit raw and it's a bit sketchy in places. Once again though, it's not the worst thing that's ever been written in a video game.
There's Team Deathmatch and Deathmatch as well as well, that's it. A little thin on the ground there and there are lobby problems...so we didn't really get much time with that part of the game. There are also only a few maps, not a good start. There wasn't much to do except try a few times and when we got in; we had a bit of fun, old skool style and that was it. The multiplayer community for Bodycount is already on severe decline, and the whole thing just really feels tacked on.
That's about it really for mp.
It has an odd appeal, but unlike Black, back in 2006 on the Xbox. It doesn't quite get there...and doesn't quite live up to that shooter at all. A real shame, because with some more thought and design it would have been a worthy successor. Still, an old skool game is just what it is and we can't fault it for that, well, I can't.
I found myself having fun with Bodycount, but I probably won't go back for another play.
A shame really.