I’ve been waiting for Bodycount to release since trying it out at E3 2010. I don’t play a lot of arcade shooters any more. Bodycount is not the best shooter of the year or anything but I did enjoy it quite a bit. It is a shame that the Codemaster closed the studio behind the game because it looks great visually. The controls are not perfect but it was still playable. I’ll get to those later. First, though, back to the game’s visuals. There are a three main areas you get to play through. You have a section in Africa with dirty, shanty town styled complex. Then you go to Asia, mostly at night, where you work through a section of city. Finally, the other portions take place inside enemy the different enemy complexes which are sparse white and black corridors. I like that the setting changes pretty frequently so you don’t get stuck in one area with the same visual style the whole time.
I found the game’s story a little hard to follow, but that is probably because I skipped the mission briefings at the start of each level. I always had enough info to complete any given mission, but it took me a while to catch on to the over-arching story. However, I did not really mind not knowing why I was taking the various missions. For me Bodycount was not about the narrative, but just going in and killing anything that moves.
The game got more fun for me as I got further into it. Mostly because the weapons and abilities you unlock later on are just more fun to use. The very last light machine gun I unlocked became my preferred weapon as soon as I started using it. You have 4 abilities hat unlock during the first missions. One gives you an adrenaline boost that I only ever used to escape form the end of the few levels that have a timer. The second one makes your shots into explosive rounds. I tried to save that one for when there were boss fights and the larger heavy enemies that take a lot of damage to drop. The other two were my go to abilities. Most commonly I would save up enough intel to use the area of effect ability that killed all enemies near me. The last ability calls in a massive air strike which is great in the outdoor levels for clearing out groups of enemies.
As an arcade shooter my expectations are not as high as they would be for a AAA title like Gears of War or Battlefield. However, I do still expect the controls to be smooth. Unfortunately, for me, this is the one area that Bodycount has issues. The options for controls are limited the basic things like inverting the thumb stick. So, you are stuck with their default setup. This puts both the cover mechanic and looking down the iron sites/zooming in the Left Trigger. You pull the trigger half way to zoom and then all the way to also go into cover. While in cover your feet are planted but you can still move your upper body to look around or over cover. This got me killed quite a few times early on as I just wanted to zoom in but not go into cover. I would find myself a sitting duck out in the open as I naturally pull the left trigger all the way to zoom (like Battlefield’s iron site’s control). The other control issue I had was with the sensitivity. When I had it set for a good turn speed for running around it was way too touchy when I has it zoomed in. So, I routinely would be spraying bullets back and forth across an enemy trying to get it centered.
Overall I found Bodycount to be a fun rental. It got better as I played more since I got use to not pulling the left trigger all the way and the better weapons unlocked. With Gears of War 3 releasing in 2 days I doubt many people will go back to play Bordycount but if you have a free weekend sometime it is worth checking out.