For the last several years, the first-person shooter (FPS) has been a dominant genre in the video games market. Whereas some developers and publishers seek to cash in on the craze with an inferior product (*cough*Hour of Victory
*cough*, some series such as Call of Duty (CoD)
, Medal of Honor (MoH)
, and few others that I refer to as the “usual suspects,” have typically been on top (both critically and financially). There are also some games that fun to play, but don’t share the type of notoriety of said prior series of games amongst the average gamer, such as TimeSplitters
(known for its smooth, buttery controls) and Black
(known for its heavily stylized cinema-inspired action and destructibility, mostly with explosive barrels that just happen to be everywhere), among some others.
What we have here is Bodycount, developed by Guildford Studios and published by Codemasters. The story involves a former American soldier, named Jackson, who is recruited by an mysterious organization referred to as “The Network”, who has regularly resolved conflicts between the States where even the United Nations itself were unable to handle. At a later time, Jackson arrives at the conclusion that the wars were actually caused by some enigmatic group of individuals.
|We like BIG BOOM!
Bodycount is an science-fiction/action FPS that features a destructible environment. This means that nearly everything within the maps (or levels) in the game can be destroyed in a realistic fashion. Since the player has the option and ability to create a dynamically-changing playing environment, this opens up new paths to completing mission objectives. By scoring kills against the enemies (who have a fairly difficult, yet manageable A.I.), the player can start multipliers to obtain more points (i.e., The Club and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand; not FPS’s but third-person shooters, or TPS’s) and unlock power-ups, like air strikes, that would further decimate the map’s environment.
|Peek-a-boo, I see you!!!
From the moment I started playing, I noticed that the controls are buttery-smooth (a’la TimeSplitters and the CoD: Modern Warfare series) and the buttons are mapped well for easy finger-maneuvering with the 360 controller. As I kept playing, I noticed that at times the screen got pretty busy with enemies, HUD graphics/notifications, and just the action in general. Just be sure to stay focused on the objectives and checkpoints that lie ahead (if you can find and keep track of them during all of the action). It’s easier to keep track of your objective markers once the action slows down. Speaking of the oft-cluttered screen, make sure to pay attention to the tip prompts that appear on the screen at certain points during the demo, as they provide some strategies on how to use the variety of weapons and other options at your disposal. Also, remember this golden rule in Bodycount: cover is you best friend. Don’t go all in with guns blazing (to borrow a quote commonly used — as well as a phrase seen on the back of the box for Black; also, the team that made Bodycount is the same studio that made Black). There is plenty of cover available, from the dilapidated and makeshift buildings, vehicles, barricades, etc., and there’s always a place to use for cover; plus, the player will have near complete freedom while in cover. Be warned though, most of the cover areas are useful for only so long because enemies can destroy it should they find you; remember the environmental destructibility I mentioned earlier?
|See, I told ya’!
Bottom line, the demo played very well and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with it. I’m not sure that I’d personally purchase Bodycount upon release (as other gaming related things have caught my eye; I’m looking at you Uncharted 3 and PlayStation Vita), but based on the demo, this game may be a good soon-to-purchase for FPS fans looking for a change from the “usual suspects.” Check out the demo on Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network and see for yourself!