Bodycount Hands-On Preview

By Darryl Kaye on August 15, 2011, 6:14PM EDT
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If you're a fan of first-person shooters, this console generation has you more than covered. Every year there have been blockbuster titles in almost every quarter and it doesn't look like the developers are going to quieten down either. There have already been numerous big-budget first-person shooters released this year, and with Bodycount, Codemasters are hoping they can add another one to that ever-growing list.

The story will take place over 17 different missions, which will take Jackson, the protagonist, to many different countries around the world. Codemasters expect levels to take around 30 minutes each and each one will have its own distinct look and feel. To emphasise this, most levels will have two different opposing factions present and your role with each faction will change.

Each faction will have different classes and there will be some common themes, like the big tank characters. However, your role with each faction will change from mission to mission. Sometimes they will be against each other, sometimes they will both be against you. It will give the game a slightly dynamic feel, as you won't always be the bad guy. With that being said, there will still be plenty of enemies wanting you dead.

The developers want the game to be about three different elements: guns, bullets and the world. We've already talked about the world, but Bodycount, like its spiritual successor Black, will also have a strong focus on your tools of destruction. There are numerous guns present in the game and there is a pretty extensive destruction model in place too. There's no set way to complete a mission and most of the levels are "open world" in their design. There are no dark, dank corridors here, instead, you'll find lots of space and buildings you can blow up to create your own paths to objectives.

It's also quite refreshing to see the developers adopt a more unique art style. It seems as though the easy thing to do these days is go with those musky colour palettes and it's a cliche Bodycount is looking to avoid. Instead of those "realistic" tones, you'll be experiencing very bright and vibrant colours, but also an "arcade"-styled user interface. Enemies will drop colourful pick-ups for both ammo and currency, which is available in the form of intel.

The currency system is also used to make the game a bit more interesting. Similar to Bulletstorm, you will be rewarded with more currency depending on how you kill your foes.

Despite everything that's been mentioned so far, Bodycount's biggest innovation comes with its scoping system. Most games don't give it much thought - you press the scope button and everything just carries on as normal. With Bodycount, this isn't the case. If you play like you normally would, you might very well get confused because scoping roots your guy to the spot. It's a bit disconcerting at first, but there is a method to the madness. The traditional way of scoping is still present, but it's toggled based on the pressure that's applied to the button. Full pressure results in maximum aim, which requires a steady position. However, while in this position, you will be able to duck and weave - it's a pretty dynamic cover system which can be used anywhere and everywhere.

Bodycount can be seen as a risk by some, but it's certainly a calculated risk. The guys behind the game know exactly what they're doing. They've done the gritty shooter already, now they want to try their hand at something a little less serious. An with a cool co-op mode and online multiplayer to boot, it may just pay off. Let's just hope it doesn't get drowned out by all the other first-person shooters on the market.

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