Do you remember Black? It was a first-person shooter released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2006, and it attempted to do something different with the genre. The developers behind it were Criterion, known for developing the Burnout games, a series of racing games that emphasized crashing as much as racing. With Black, they put an emphasis on destruction and explosions. For instance, instead of just shooting your enemy, shoot the explosive barrel next to your enemy. Besides that, Criterion lovingly recreated real life guns, eventually labeling the game as gun-porn. Well Black 2 never materialized, but some of the former developers of Black are getting a second chance with Bodycount.
The demo for Bodycount opens up with a brief mission summary for my character. A militia has massacred some army soldiers in a West African city and I’m being sent in to find out why, and take them out if they use force. Naturally they attacked me and I was forced to take them out.
As I meandered through a slum, I occasionally noticed red barrels and other explosive containers, conveniently located next to militia members. I of course decided to shoot these instead of the bad guys and received points for doing so. I believe killing my enemies in special ways built a multiplier, implying that levels can be replayed for higher scores, although the demo wasn’t long enough for me to get a good sense of this.
There weren’t a lot of obvious opportunities for me to take out these militia members in creative ways though. Sure there were explosive barrels scattered around, but there weren’t really a ton of them, at least easily noticeable. I also increased my multiplier by getting headshots and killing enemies through cover, but if I want to play a first-person shooter with a score mechanic, Bulletstorm from earlier in the year seems like a better option.
The area I played in was very run down with debris and shoddy buildings all around. It looked very nice, but this area seemed like pretty much any other war torn ghetto from a first-person shooter. Same goes for the weapons I used. I had a machine gun and a shotgun and they operated as one would expect them too. However as I killed enemies they dropped pickups that would fill up special skills. The only one available in the demo was incendiary ammo, which I think was more powerful than normal ammo, but I couldn’t really tell.
While the premise of Bodycount is interesting: kill in creative ways and destroy your environment, it’s my belief that there are other games that do it better. I found the other aspects of the game pretty middling. The area I played in was terrible looking (in a good way) but it looks like many other first-person shooters. And it controls like them too, albeit, my character moved around rather slowly, and I just didn’t care for the overall feel of character movement. That said, it’s still seems like a pretty good game, but not a day one purchase for me. Bodycount is to be published by Codemasters and being developed by their Guildford Studio. It’s scheduled to come out on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on August 30, 2011.