I honestly don’t think Bodycount ever stood a chance. First, the man who created this game as a spiritual successor to the well-received shooter Black left the team about halfway through development. Then, I started this game the day after I finished the modern day classic Deus Ex: Human Revolution. What were they thinking releasing this game a mere week after such a big title anyhow? Maybe this isn’t my game, maybe I’m being too harsh, but either way, I find it to be generic in the most awful way possible.
Bodycount’s entire existence is a contradiction. It wants to be fast paced, but the clunky controls and mind-blowingly clumsy aiming slow things to a crawl. It wants to be a score oriented shooter, but the boring environments and general lack of any creativity whatsoever pretty much narrow the skill shot options down to “headshot” and “grenade,” among a few others. This is also hampered by the aforementioned clunky aiming and awkward controls.
The game also wants to be one where the environment is destructible. The much spoken of “shredding” mechanic should let you shoot through walls, doors, cover and the like. As it turns out, about 80 percent of the destruction is the game is cosmetic and about 20 percent is actually meaningful, meaning you can shoot enemies through walls and cover. And the amount of the overall environment that these destructible objects make up? Maybe 40 percent.
I’ll assume the game wants to be immersive as well (what game doesn’t?), but there are a meager three environment types, all cobbled together in a convoluted fashion and represented by muddy visuals. Navigating each level was a pain and enemies would often spawn out of nowhere, resulting in deaths from places I could have sworn I cleared.
There is also a host of nameless, rote-of-personality, wouldn’t-stick-out-if-they-were-the-only-people-on-the-face-of-this-planet characters. Not that it matters anyhow, the paper thin and practically nonexistent plot couldn’t even be made interesting with the most colorful cast of characters. Hell, the voiceless protagonist and the random chick at the other end of your communicator never even get names.
Oh and your enemies? You will have seen pretty much every type about five minutes in to the meager five hour campaign and be bored with all of them in about five seconds. Not to mention the fact that they’re brain dead morons that run straight at you then stand still to open fire and reload. Yet somehow, these enemies that don’t have the brains to execute a basic flanking maneuver can land shots with deadly accuracy and throw grenades hundreds of yards with the precision of an NFL quarterback. They’re also bullet-sponges, so it’s head shot or nothing, something the bad aiming makes a pain. When you groan every time you run into a batch of enemies you have to shoot in a shooter game, you know there’s something wrong.
Speaking of the campaign, here is an outline of the way the average mission unfolds: run the waypoint, shoot things and move to next waypoint. The game acts like it has objectives in the form of pressing the x or square button in front of some nondescript computer terminal or piece of explosive, but its a poor act put on by an inept actor. The game actually had the nerve to tell me “go find the key” at one point. That gameplay trope died as it was born decades ago. Maybe Codemasters was going for a “dumb fun” approach, but they failed at it.
There are a few interesting things to be seen. Not enough to validate a purchase or a rental, but enough to perhaps scab over any wounds opened on any poor saps that accidentally paid money for this game. There are a few powers to toy around with that are fueled by “intel” that enemies drop. They can turn the tide of battle no doubt, but I never really felt like I had to use them to survive. It’s just another inconsequential part of the game, despite its interesting nature.
Then there are the guns. Bodycount was being created by the guy behind Black, a game that made gunplay the primary focus, and that shows. Each gun handles differently and has personality. They all handle great and have a heavy, hard hitting and chunky feel to them. Too bad aiming them is a pain thanks to the controls.
One more thing I liked which a lot of people seem to hate is the aiming mechanic. Squeezing the aim trigger down all the way roots you to the spot and allows you to lean using the joystick. Squeezing the aim trigger halfway down allows you to move freely while aiming. This made the often frustrating gun battles more manageable.
Then there’s the multiplayer, which provided equal levels of who-gives-a-fuck gameplay and “entertainment.” There are four levels, all simply recycled from the already boring and muddy looking single player levels. There are a few inconsequential game types that have been done million times over trillions of times better. There’s a coop mode and a horde-like mode available as well, but they’re held together by the already boring gameplay.
I didn’t come into this game expecting Call of Duty, I wouldn’t want that because let’s face it: the formula for those games is bordering on narcoleptic levels of tired. I did not expect the game to have an auto aim to assist every shot I took either; I usually play with it off in most shooters. I do, however, expect a game to show some levels of creativity, character and passion. This game has none of those. If it were a soda, it would be Dr. Thunder. If it were a cereal, it would be Crispy Rice. It is the store brand equivalent of a video game. It has all the creativity of a brown cardboard box and does so little to hold your attention that I swear I got distracted by more interesting dust particles floating around the room while I was playing. Minus the poor controls, Bodycount is by no means broken, it is simply not in any way, shape or from interesting or worthy of your attention when there are so many better examples of the first-person-shooter genre out there.