Giant Bomb Review

64 Comments

Bodycount Review

2
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  • PS3

Bodycount has a few solid ideas buried underneath layers and layers of boring gameplay.

It's hard to tell how much of Bodycount was developed as intended and how much of it was cut or simplified out of necessity. It feels stripped down in an almost accidental way, like someone, somewhere had grand plans about how to make a shooter that doesn't feel at all like the popular games of the day, but they were cut short before they got to put in anything to make this game stand out on its own. What's left is a twitchy, mindless experience filled with weak firearms, poor enemy behavior, bland environments, and multiplayer combat that you wouldn't find acceptable in a $15 downloadable shooter.

Codemasters, however, is attempting to sell Bodycount at full price.The game opens without much fanfare, dropping you into the middle of a war between two nondescript factions in West Africa. Both sides will open fire on you when they see you, so it's in your best interest to just shoot everyone on sight. The game gives you a waypoint, and it's up to you to shoot your way over there in order to get another waypoint. Sometimes you'll find things that must be hacked or disarmed at these points of interest, but you're really just walking up to objects, pushing an interact button, and moving on. The one interesting thing about the structure of the game is that most levels are set up as a large, open zone--it's essentially like playing a campaign out on a game's multiplayer maps. This gives you multiple routes to take, which is at least a nice change of pace from the corridor runs found in just about every other shooter on the market.

That doesn't exactly save Bodycount, though. The core structure of the game is setup around combining together skillful kills. There's no timer on stringing these together, so as long as you never kill anyone in a "normal" way, you can extend your streak across an entire level. But the skillshots themselves are mostly basic, including headshots, killing someone with a grenade, environmental kills, shooting someone through cover, stabbing someone in the back with the game's laughably slow melee attacks, shooting someone in the head while you're almost dead, and so on. Headshots, as you might expect, are the easiest ones to rack up, and the game's default auto-aim snaps right to targets. Also, the bullets seem to almost want to hit people in the head. I found myself aiming squarely at a guy's shoulder only to get a headshot after pulling the trigger. Unless someone's right up in your face, it's almost easier to shoot someone in the head than it is to shoot them in the torso. It's kind of silly.

That said, you don't really get much for working up a big combo of skilled kills. At the end of each area, you'll get a score and a letter grade based on your performance. There's also a separate mode that lets you replay campaign levels in order to grind out a higher score. But since none of the skillshots are that exciting, and there isn't much of an in-game benefit to playing that way, the core conceit of the game comes across as almost totally meaningless.

You can carry two weapons at a time, and most of the weapons are fairly standard, with a few pistols, some assault rifles, a shotgun, and so on. The game uses a variant of the standard "left trigger aims, right trigger shoots" mechanic a little bit by causing you to plant your feet completely when you pull the aim trigger all the way in. Once you do this, the left analog stick is used for leaning and ducking, which might be handy if the AI was able to put up a competent fight. Pulling in the trigger partially lets you aim while continuing to move, an act that just feels weird and, given the design of the game it's found in, is a completely superfluous option. The game's power-ups are a little more useful. As you kill enemies, Crackdown-like orbs pop out of them, giving you ammo, grenades, and "intel." You'll never read this intel or get any useful story information out of them, but it fills up a meter that powers your abilities, like one that gives you bullet-stopping armor. The meter drains quickly, so you'll have to act quickly, but it's useful when things get hectic. You can also use that intel to fire some exploding bullets (not that useful), mark targets (ditto), and call in an airstrike that has its uses, but you're almost better off popping your armor and shooting everyone yourself.

It has some interesting ideas that, if placed into a better game, would help set Bodycount apart from the pack. But instead the abilities, quick reloads after deaths, and other little things that the game does right only serve to remind you that the complete package is an utter mess that has no business releasing as a full-priced retail product.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
64 Comments
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Posted by DarkFury

Proper shame, but looks so similar to other recent shooters.

Posted by groin

I was expecting 1 star.

Posted by BeachThunder

Not a one star game? 
The QL seemed very negative :o

Posted by JoeyRavn

@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Same here. The game looks dreadful, despite the good ideas it may have tried to build upon.

Posted by DougQuaid

Based off of the demo I played and the Quick Look, 2 stars seems generous to say the least..

Posted by Ventilaator

How is this not a 1 star game.

Posted by Doctorchimp
@JoeyRavn said:

@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Same here. The game looks dreadful, despite the good ideas it may have tried to build upon.

@Ventilaator said:
How is this not a 1 star game.
You guys wonder that. Wait until the forum posts about how this game is still awesome and people are too spoiled on "good" games.
Posted by RampageAssassin

I called it !

Posted by Video_Game_King

Now that you've reviewed Bodycount, I want to see the review of Bodycount Review that I was promised.

Posted by Knigge

Sadface.

Posted by Sooty

Body Count is as good as Catherine.

Edited by MindOST

Well, it's only a matter of time until someone says the following: 
 
"So you're saying Bodycount is as good as Catherine?! Credibility = ruined forever" 
 
Don't let that person be you!

Posted by scarace360
@Doctorchimp said:
@JoeyRavn said:

@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Same here. The game looks dreadful, despite the good ideas it may have tried to build upon.

@Ventilaator said:
How is this not a 1 star game.
You guys wonder that. Wait until the forum posts about how this game is still awesome and people are too spoiled on "good" games.
YOU PEOPLE AND YOUR GOOD GAMES.
Posted by Sooty
@MindOST said:
Well, it's only a matter of time until someone says the following:  "So you're saying Bodycount is as good as Catherine?! Credibility = ruined forever"  Don't let that person be you!
I WAS HALFWAY THERE.
Posted by 234r2we232

2 stars? Great! So it qualifies for next weeks TNT...

Posted by TehFlan
@Ygg said:
Body Count is as good as Catherine.
@MindOST said:
Well, it's only a matter of time until someone says the following:  "So you're saying Bodycount is as good as Catherine?! Credibility = ruined forever"  Don't let that person be you!
Welp
Posted by Cold_Wolven

Will totally pass on this and keep my money in my pocket, thank you Jeff.

Posted by Yummylee

It looks like Jeff is still sticking by that ''no more picture captions'' thing, despite Ryan, Brad and even Alex seem to be content with doing the complete opposite. Honestly, Jeff and his damn non-conformist attitude; YOU'RE TEARING THIS SITE APART! MUTINY! 
 
Also Bodycount looks exceptionally ass. I too would of gathered this'd get a one star. Especially with the surprising admittance from Jeff that he'd rather play DNF :o

Posted by Sooty

I wasn't being serious but it's fair to say there's a difference between a game being bad and a game you just didn't enjoy.
 
Body Count is just bad.

Posted by George_Hukas

@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Wow, I would have put money on it too. This game is really that bad.

Edited by DarkbeatDK

Would Jeff have given it an extra star if the soundtrack had been by Bodycount? I feel this is wasted potential.

Lyrics:

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count. (YEAH MUTHA FUCKAAAAAA!)

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count, nigga!

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Body Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count, Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Body Count.

Awwwwwwwwww shit

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

On the bass I got my main muthafucka called Mooseman.

Layin the rhythm tracks I got the one and only infamous D-Roc.

On the drums I got the one and only Beatmaster V muthafucka.

On lead guitars I got my nigga Ernie C.

And Im Ice Mother Fuckin T, bitch.

Come on come on, make some noise.

Yeah, goddamn it.

Come on, come on, come on, come on.

Come on.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Uh!

Yeah!

Uh!

Come on!

Yeah!

Make some noise!

BC, BC BC.

Body Count, muthafuckas!

Body Counts in the house, Body Count.

Posted by Enigma777

2 stars seems a bit generous based on the demo I played. Was anyone excited for this game at all?

Posted by Grissefar

2 stars? It seems like Giant Bomb is giving them out like candy nowadays.

Posted by ghostNPC

What a surprise, a Codemasters game that sucks.
 
Joking aside, great review Jeff.

Posted by The_Nubster
@cide said:

@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Wow, I would have put money on it too. This game is really that bad.

I think the solid ideas and small flashes of brilliance (wide-open levels, quick loading times, those awesome explode-on-impact grenades, attempting something different) count towards that extra star.
Posted by mcnorhymes

good review man , very exact.
Posted by Sil3n7

This game is an abomination.

Posted by Aetheldod

@DarkbeatDK: :´(

Posted by Landon
@Doctorchimp said:
@JoeyRavn said:

@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Same here. The game looks dreadful, despite the good ideas it may have tried to build upon.

@Ventilaator said:
How is this not a 1 star game.
You guys wonder that. Wait until the forum posts about how this game is still awesome and people are too spoiled on "good" games.
I went to the GameSpot forums to see what people thought of this, and that EXACT thing has already happened.
Posted by LiQuid3600

Watching the quick look for this I was kind of embarrassed that it existed.  I thought it was a $15 downloadable title...  After learning it's a full priced, retail disc the sadness compounded exponentially.  What a shame.

Posted by Nurve

Shit, this game got a review?

Posted by JohnPaulVann

I really enjoyed the demo for this game; hence, I am going t buy the full version. What do you think about that, Jeff?

Posted by GrandMarshal

sure its not a 1 star?

Posted by Pop

what about the aliens Jeff? aren't there aliens in the game? doesn't this game have any car chases or anything over the top? just run and shoot guys? that sounds pretty boring.

Posted by ThePaleKing

I think the reason it got 2 stars instead of 1 is that the game is not mechanically broken; everything works, it's just that most everything is incredibly uninspired and dull. 

Posted by SleepyDoughnut

Is it a rule that Jeff must review one or two mediocre shooters per year? Would much rather have liked to see a review of El Shaddai.

Posted by onarum
@JohnPaulVann said:
I really enjoyed the demo for this game; hence, I am going t buy the full version. What do you think about that, Jeff?
I'm pretty sure he doesn't give a flying fuck.
Posted by Shady
@JohnPaulVann said:
I really enjoyed the demo for this game; hence, I am going t buy the full version. What do you think about that, Jeff?
You probably played a completely different demo since the one I played was garbage.
Posted by Napalm

This isn't the Black II I wanted. I NEVER ASKED FOR THIS.

Posted by bybeach

game didn't look like much in the ql.

Edited by JerichoBlyth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97tAk0zebhE&feature=feedu
 
Pretty much sums it up as far as the multiplayer goes.
 
Terrible matchmaking system. In the dark ages.
Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG
@groin said:

I was expecting 1 star.

Posted by Little_Socrates

I find it interesting he has NOTHING to say about sound and graphics. I thought the game might have some decent art assets and there were some good sound effects in that QL (one technological "bloop" sound was actually pretty memorable, sort of a pitched-down Pac-Man start button noise.)

Of course, no one should buy this game all the same, and that's still the important part. Also, that first paragraph is almost definitely what happened to the game; Stuart Black, director of the project and looking to make a game different than the other shooters of today, left in 2010. I assume the studio just picked up the pieces. Also, it's unknown why Black left, but it's rumored to be the game's poor E3 showing. I'm inclined to say he might be a bit of an asshole for that.

Edited by Roger778

Why would anyone want to play a game where it's title is called Bodycount?.  That is the stupidest title, that I've ever heard. 
 
My suspicions about this game were confirmed when I read Jeff's review.  It sounds like a very uninspired and mediocre game.  If you're going to make a shooter game, at least put some imagination in it, for god's sake.
Edited by Brendan

@JohnPaulVann said:

I really enjoyed the demo for this game; hence, I am going t buy the full version. What do you think about that, Jeff?

Is there a reason for your odd aggression at Jeff's review? Are you mad that he didn't like it when you did? Are you 8 years old?

Posted by HydraHam

@Roger778 said:

Why would anyone want to play a game where it's title is called Bodycount?. That is the stupidest title, that I've ever heard. My suspicions about this game were confirmed when I read Jeff's review. It sounds like a very uninspired and mediocre game. If you're going to make a shooter game, at least put some imagination in it, for god's sake.

Black is a pretty stupid title as well, and what's funny about both of these are they are almost identical, the only reason this gets less "respect" is because gamers are jaded and demand more, more, more of everything, must have amazing graphics! innovative gameplay! if black was released today right now instead of on the PS2/XBOX it would get a 5/10, this game has it's problems but it's fun, its a great "spiritual sequel" to black.

But as for titles, anyone who skips a name based on a title is stupid, just like people who judge a book by it's cover.

You think Mario Brothers is a good name? it's one of the most unoriginal names in gaming history.

Posted by Seamus_Dobbin

This game did seem to shoot itself in the foot by claiming to be some sort of a grand step forward in the evolution of the first person shooter on consoles. I was instantly skeptical upon seeing that, at least. Playing the demo did not help its case.

Posted by foggel

The demo was dreadful.

Posted by dropabombonit

Shame because this game could have been something good but I guess that is what happens when a creative director leaves, just look at force unleashed 2

Posted by oldskooldeano

what a freakin' shame

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