“Fall in love with firepower as Bodycount blasts intense arcade firefights from both barrels. Shred enemies and cover, perform skill kills and chain combos as you hunt the mysterious ‘Target’ who operate under the cover of civil warzones. With co-op modes and competitive online modes available, carve your own wave of destruction through open-ended levels.”
On first inspection, the graphics appear satisfying and satisfactory enough, but the façade soon disperses in favour of low-quality textures, laughable character models and repetition. The game takes place in two locations, Africa and China, so there’s not much in the way of variety, but PLENTY of stereotypes to get infuriated over. It feels like you’re playing through two really long and shite levels in the way it’s all structured. Outside of shifts between the stereotypical slapdash shanty towns of Africa to a sterile high-tech underground facility to China, which is full of Chinatown-esque streets and, oh, another sterile underground facility that’s exactly the same as its African equivalent, the variety runs completely dry. There’s a Chinese train station too, but it’s pretty much a modified African shanty town with trains. Great, eh? Speaking of laughable character models – they’re more than that; they’re damn right embarrassing too. There’s a mix between shirtless face paint-wearing militia members and bandanna-toting gangstarrrz inhabiting the African levels; tattooed-and-shirtless and hooded dudes in Chinatown, and black and red-clad cyborg ninja things going nuts in the underground facilities. There are the roided sub-bosses dotted around the levels too, but they’re just exaggerated versions of their boring counterparts, all of which don’t drum up any particular enthusiasm or interest. Cutscene lip-sync is also a problem, and an atrocious one at that. The thing is, if there were hundreds of different characters all with their own lip-sync animations and whatnot for the cutscenes, then yeah, I guess I could be a bit more lenient, but there’s only one person you’ll ever see talking during the cutscenes… AND IT’S BLOODY FULL MOTION VIDEO!!! They couldn’t even get that right without the audio and lip movement being literally seconds out of sync. Pathetic.
Since when the heck did door control panels start saying “Security door… HACKED!” out loud?! Never, that’s when! There’s a wide array of gun sounds and explosions, but, unlike the more original titles that actually feel as if some effort has been put into their development and audio work, the guns and explosion sounds in Bodycount feel like nothing more than rips from a cheap sound effects CD. There’s no distinguishing or recognisable sounds that someone would hear and be able to pick out in a “Hey, that’s from Bodycount!” way. It’s just a selection of KABOOM (!!!) and pap-pap-paps that fall flat on their bums. Then there’s the voice acting, which, although in short supply, most certainly isn’t a case of quality over quantity. It’s a messy mix of cheap action movie villains telling you how much of a failure you are and what gruesome things they’re going to do to you, etc., and an annoying woman on your support team giving you orders and updates, but the voice you’ll come into contact with most throughout the game is that of ‘the Nemesis’, the game’s stupidly dressed antagonist. (You know… the one with the atrocious lip-sync.) Crap lip-sync and voice acting combined? That’s a recipe for a grisly disaster, man. The only redeeming element of sound in the game is the soundtrack, which helps add something of a bounce to the otherwise flat proceedings, but that’s only when you can actually hear it over the almost never-ceasing sounds of boring gunfire and enemies shouting.
Much like Brink and its utterly pointless and excusable parkour gameplay, Bodycount’s once-highly-emphasised destructible environments are nothing more than a couple of planks and bricks flying around. I’ve seen a moth cause more destruction. Completely underwhelming. And then there’s the awfully horrid aim-and-lean thing that we have no choice but to play with ‘cos there’s no alternative. When I’m holding LT to aim, I want to be able to walk around freely with the left thumbstick whilst doing so and not awkwardly leaning to the left or right in a stationary position. The right thumbstick is there for a reason, y’know, Codemasters! And to top it all off, you’re tasked with retarded and redundant objectives like ‘Eliminate all Resistance’, with a number tracker beside it, despite the fact that even if you kill twelve of them, there’s still twenty or so more there to fuck you up. What gives?! Y’know, a deployable forcefield or shield à la Halo 3’s bubble shield would have been nice. So where the hell is it? During a certain boss battle, the game glitched and made it impossible for me to collect the intel pick-ups; they’re needed in order to progress to the next section of the battle, but they simply wouldn’t pick up when I walked over them. I decided to quit the game and resume, which seemed to do the trick. It didn’t sort the whole problem out, however, as it allowed me to pick up the intel for this section alone, but then it screwed up again. I tried working around the glitch by quitting and resuming after using the obligatory SAM turret, but, alas, it didn’t work, so I decided to quit to the Dashboard, clear the cache, disconnect from LIVE and – without the LIVE update – resume play. Even after resorting to these measures, I still encountered problems, but I was finally able to beat said boss by quitting and resuming the game every time it fudged up until I reached the final part of the battle and smacked the stupid bitch in the face. How about another glitch of laughable proportions? Y’all asked for it! This time, I was tasked with killing a General. The first time I attempted it, I died. Second time, the cutscene initiated… and guess what. The General got caught between his own men, who were firing at me, during the cutscene and ended up getting killed by them! It made things easier, sure, but it’s undeniably scummy nonetheless. Urgh… hate it… Saying that, the majority of the game is definitely playable past the glitches and generally shite nature of the game itself, but it’s a very boring experience and becomes so very early on. You won’t want to play it. The checkpoints are absolutely beautiful, though – instantly bringing you back into the action close to where you were felled – so there’s at least some redemption for all of the cruddiness.
It’s awful. Utterly, utterly awful in every sense of the word. Give me a colonoscopy with a rusty needle any day over this. The fact that EVERY player has to ready-up in the lobby means that if just one player doesn’t do so, the match won’t start. I finally managed to get into a match – me and another guy versus another two – and the execution of the matches was terrible. There was unbearable lag like no other I’d ever experienced in my life, and the levels – based and built heavily on single-player counterparts – simply aren’t designed for the purpose. They’re bad enough against A.I. in single-player, but when you throw in lag and real players, it all comes crashing down.
No subtitles – are you friggin’ kidding me?! That was enough to hinder my enjoyment, but I let it go. It’s accessible in the sense that, much like your typical first-person shooter, you can simply pick up the controller and pick up from where you left off with no trouble at all. What makes it inaccessible, however, is that it’s a bog-standard first-person shooter with a very dodgy lean-and-aim mechanic that hinders the gameplay to huge degrees. The intel-powered power-up timer is a nice feature and helps add some variety and poise to the otherwise stagnant gameplay, but that’s just one drop of gold in a pool of crap. Something that really bugged me about the way the game played out was the complete and utter lack of an exploration of adventure element whatsoever. It’s literally like playing a shopping list; no substance or even remotely redeeming features at all. It’s all about go here>kill enemies>find object of importance>go to another location>active computer>hold off area; repeat. That’s it. Sure, it’s a first-person shooter and they’re typically linear, but so is BioShock and Half-Life and they captured it flawlessly. Then again, I doubt 2K or Valve would have wanted even a smidgen to do with this game, so boo-hoo to you, Codemasters. Even the cross-hair zoom is horrid; it doesn’t zoom in Call of Duty or Battlefield style, but, rather, brings the weapon slightly closer to you, leaving you with both the reticle and the iron sight next to each other, so it’s bollocks and really throws you off. It’s as if they’re forcing you to shoot from the hip. That, or prepare to be annoyed!
If you’re even able to stomach the game itself, there’s nothing to return to for a second go in Bodycount. The campaign most certainly doesn’t do anything noteworthy and the multiplayer is useless and infuriating. There happens to be a co-op mode called Siege Mode where you’re pitted against waves and waves of increasingly difficult enemies across four different maps, but it’s crap and does nothing to give the replayability any more credibility. In essence, a loosely cobbled-together mess of poor level design, crap skillshots (if you can even call them that) and a complete lack of tightness and clarity most certainly won’t have you coming back for more.
– Brilliant checkpoints
– The much-anticipated destructible environments are an embarrassment
– Glitchier than Windows Vista on a bad day
– Looks and plays as ugly as sin
– Terrible level design
– Mentally ill A.I.
Pathetic from beginning to end. Much like the equally terrible Brink and its utterly pointless and excusable parkour gameplay, Bodycount’s once-highly-emphasised destructible environments are nothing more than a couple of planks and bricks flying around, and do nothing more than bring on sniggers of patheticness instead of introducing something credible and interesting. Luckily, the campaign only lasts around five hours (or eight to ten if you get stuck at some of the inevitable screw ups), which sucks in terms of the campaign itself, but great in the sense that it’s over so quickly. The sour taste won’t leave you for a while, and I honestly don’t think anything could have been done to this game to save it other than wiping the thing from the face of the earth. You have no idea how much I wanted to scratch up the disc with a key and label the disc as ‘faulty’ on the LOVEFiLM envelope, along with an enclosed note saying “You finish off the job. It’s shit.” That’s below me, however, ‘cos I would never allow such an embarrassment to bring me to the extremes of doing something like that. You’ll make better use of this game glueing a piece of string to it and tying it to a tree to scare away the crows. That or the charity shop. Screw you, Codemasters!
Buy, rent or avoid?
This is definitely one to avoid if you’re looking for something enjoyable and worthwhile, my dears. By all means, rent it for the somewhat easy Achievements, but in terms of enjoying the game, it’s a no-no. You know how some people get erections when they’re really angry? Well, this game would cheer a person with impotence right up!
Final score: 3/10