E3 2010: Bodycount Hands-On PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 15, 2010
What We Already Know:
Codemasters’ high-octane explosion-fest Bodycount is very much the spiritual successor to Criterion Games’ last-gen shooter Black (Fun fact: Bodycount creative director Stuart Black worked on that game as well). “Fun, fun, fun with guns” is how Black describes Bodycount, and this mantra is instantly recognizable when the first bullets start flying. As a newly-minted member of the Network, players find themselves thrown into the middle of an almost fully destructible world where they must track down and eliminate “Targets” as they are assigned. Oh, and you’ll be shooting stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.
What We’re Seeing Now:
Before the soothing yet creepy female voice in my ear is able to finish giving me my first assignment, I had already reduced a highway underpass to a twisted and bullet-riddled pile of rubble, bodies and debris. Luckily, I had done exactly what I was expected to do: engage in a big, loud firefight complete with massive explosions and tons of destruction and death. And it was quite joyous.
Bodycount’s story is still very much a mystery, but given that the primary focus of the game is to deliver one visceral and bone-rattling shootout after another, I can understand why little attention has been given to the story at this point. However, the little bit that was present definitely has me wanting to know more. After all, strange agencies with chipper attitudes towards untold levels of violence is always intriguing.
Speaking of untold levels of violence, boy does Bodycount revel in it. And not just violence towards enemies either. The environments themselves serve as bullet canvases and can be torn apart in all manner of satisfying ways. Find yourself pinned down in a tight spot? No problem! Simply unload a clip into a nearby shack wall, and bust through the newly formed hole. It’s similar to Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s destruction system, only on a much larger, more dynamic scale. This means that the level designs are simultaneously focused yet open to interpretation since you can create your own path through the map at pretty much any time.
The controls are tight, and the ability to use the left thumbstick to smoothly peek around cover is a nice addition. A lot of attention has been given to capturing and replicating the experience of firing devastating weaponry, and every time you pull the trigger, you definitely feel it. And hear it. The sound design is top notch, which, if you ever played Black, should come as no surprise. Everything from bullets ripping through concrete to ammo crates going kaboom are appropriately jarring and satisfying.
We have yet to see multiplayer or the game’s non-campaign-based co-op, but that will hopefully change soon, because from what I’ve seen, Bodycount has the whole visceral shooter thing down, and the more people who can contribute to the lead festival at once the better. Throw in a slick, modern style and operatic action, and you have one compelling (and loud) shooter.