darth2d2's Bodycount (PlayStation 3) review

Bodycount's where it counts.

Bodycount is not perfect, but the game has a focus that is missing in the rest of the genre, First person shooting mechanics. This is a skill game, short and simple. There are few cheap kills in Bodycount. I have played both COD and Battlefield and I was surprised to see that Bodycount uses a simple feature that the other two games are desperately missing, but that will be addressed soon enough.

Per Jeff Gersmann's review, the single player campaign has a 6 hour playtime. I just finished Resistance 3's single player campaign in 10 on normal difficulty. I have not finished Bodycount's single player campaign on normal difficulty and I have invested at least 10 hours. The AI is far from awful, it will flank you, it will rush you, and it hates you. It may make the odd decision of standing outside the door waiting for a 6 inch punch from your automatic, but it will not give you the leisure of advancing your position one by one through the door either. The game in some places is merciless and would induce roid rage in a Mormon. The hardcore aspect retracts from its casual player accessibility, but brings a badge of prestige for those that tame it. If you complete the game, you can use Bodycount mode to post your scores against your friends so you can gloat, or tweet, about your superior AI kills skills. So if you are used to cheap kills and a no death campaign, you should holster your weapon and your pride at the menu screen Sparky.

The Multiplayer would shine, if it had a player base. As the game stands right now, you are lucky to find a game on the weekend. It is a shame because the levels are well made to provide useful areas for most of the guns. The development team's focus really shines in their choice to only include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and a Co-operative based game. Honestly, when I sit down to play a First-Person Shooter I want to shoot things, I do not have any desire to play football (the Grid Iron as the Brit's call it) with a flag, a bag, or any other stupid object. Bodycount's multiplayer is built to be a shooter. The focus is on shooting bullets out of guns into your enemies, imagine that.

Now for the features. Bodycount is all about skill and loves to remind you. Single Player gives you skill shot reminders to let you know how awesome you are. Keep it going and it will build combos that give you a better grade at the end of the level. Think of it as the Ivy league of Shooting Universities. While real Universities like Princeton are dabbling in experience points (seriously, look it up,) Bodycount gives the same slap in the face you received in school when you goofed around. Better grades give you better things to use in the game. Better guns, better OSBs, better options. Operative Support Buttons, or OSBs, are abilities charged by orbs you receive from kills. They reduce incoming damage, improve radar, increase the damage you deal, or call in airstrikes. It is one of the unfortunately less focused decisions the design team made. It is simple and is used in gameplay, both by choice and necessity, but OSBs will quickly become a side note to the most important feature, The Lean and Peek cover system.

The Lean and Peek cover system is so much more than a cover system. It is a total overhaul of the traditional aiming design of FPS games. The Lean and Peek system tweaks the skill curve of the game and culls those resistance to change. When running at full boar, your reticle is large and your tactic is spray and pray. You are quick and hard to hit, but you need to be close to make your shots count. Hold the lean trigger down partially and you slow into a controlled walk. You can almost imagine the rifle stock against your body as you stalk your prey with a smaller reticle and an accurate shot while moving. Hold that lean button down completely and you have entered the Lean and Peek mode. While in Lean and Peek mode you have total control of your virtual body. Your face is right up to your gun and every click and clank can be heard as your peripheral vision blurs with the adrenaline of a sustained fire. This isn't the walk, crouch, prone cover system of generations past, this is a total control cover system that pins you to your spot and shrinks your reticle for precision shots. You can peek around walls and corners and take complete cover behind all kinds of walls, barriers, and burned out Pintos. Mastering the Lean and Peek cover system is as much of an award in itself as a whole 99 bars of experience.

Bodycount is a hardcore shooter game that will make a niche in the true gamer's heart for it's focus on the overall shooting mechanic. It has it's flaws and will alienate the player that expects a big game full of extra features. If you expect your shooting game to play like an RPG, Bodycount is not for you. If you expect your shooting game to play like a shooting game and reward you for your skill, Bodycount will provide you with plenty of play time.

Great gaming awaits.

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