Codemasters has recently made their upcoming fully destructive first person shooter, BODYCOUNT available in demo fashion across Xbox Live and from the outset the game feels quite reminiscent of another over the top, explosive shooter known as BLACK from the glory days of the Playstation 2 and original Xbox.
The Bodycount demo places you directly behind enemy lines as a one-man wrecking crew set out to apprehend a merciless militia warlord by any means necessary. The compound containing your marked man is heavily guarded with militia henchmen who are well equipped with firepower along with a standard fare AI system that offers a promising glimpse into what seems to be a fun and wild ride.
Starting out, the controls feel similar to most AAA shooters on the market, Players can fire from the hip or quickly zoom in for a more accurate take down. In addition, sprinting, jumping and crouching all feel right at home ergonomically. Players are equipped with an assault rifle and standard shotgun as well as grenades and proximity mines for good measure. Quickly tap (X) to reload and you’re right back in the action. Not one for stiff or slow controls, I quickly upped my controls sensitivity and was good to go.
Playing BODYCOUNT and you quickly realize the experience has not been steeped in reality, nor is it trying to be. Fun, action-filled gunplay is at the heart of this title seeing as I couldn’t put down the controller after a short time in the action. Making everything around you go boom with enemies getting blown across the screen from environmental explosive devices and this demo starts to put a smile on your face.
Many first person shooters forgo a cover system with only a few effectively adopting the feature, ala Killzone 3. BODYCOUNT does offers a cover system which works quite effectively. Instead of sticking the player to the object for cover, the zoom option allows the player the ability to look left and right as well as look over cover by pushing forward with (LS). This cover function is most effective when the enemy decides to toss a grenade your way and you need to quickly move from your cover position.
Visually BODYCOUNT offers a decent package, yet your senses will most certainly be drawn to the games destructive nature. While ammo and other collectibles scattered throughout the battlefield make the game seem a bit arcadey, these small would be concerns blend well with the universe Codemasters has developed. For a game as punishing as BODYCOUNT I must say that I am a bit disappointed with the games choice of melee maneuvers. This demo makes a bold statement with it’s fun gameplay however, after experiencing bolder more visceral melee functions from the like of Killzone 3 and our Battlefield 3 hands-on preview, the quick swipe of the blade melee technique is outdated and needs an overhaul in a hurry but that’s just me.
Even though this is only a demo, enemy characters never really showed a distinction in their appearance either. If you’re fighting the militia, it appears they are all cloned from the same design as they all looked the same. The same goes for the soldiers you encounter after taking out the militia. There just seemed to be no real distinction among a particular faction. Again, this doesn’t in anyway take away from the pure fun to be had in the action, yet one could be concerned with just how far this good time would really last. Hopefully this is not the case with the full retail version where after awhile if you’ve seen one gun fight then you’re seen them all.
With confidence I can say, the BODYCOUNT demo is great fun though it is brief. Like the action-packed shooter which it heavily draws influence from, BLACK much like BODYCOUNT shared the same red flags, yet once we got our hands on it there was no turning back. Today the playing field is littered with great shooters, hopefully the games attention to the fun details can overshadow the concerns of enemy diversity and boring melees among others small concerns.