Kill everything. Not just everyone, but everything. Kill the walls, the barrels and yes, the people too. Kill everything. This was the motto of the spiritual predecessor to Bodycount, a little game called Black. The game was light on engaging storylines and heavy on action-packed gameplay. There were lots of guns, lots of enemies and lots of shooting in this testosterone-fueled Rambo montage. The game did lots of stuff pretty well and was definitely fun. It released last console generation and had an appropriately placed cover image:
Well, Codemaster’s newest foray into the crowded FPS genre comes in the form of Bodycount. This game hopes to continue on the tradition established by Black in that you will kill everything, all the time. Rather than just offer this experience, they are hoping to improve upon it in many meaningful ways. First off: the title of the game is much more to the point. A game titled Black can be a little ambiguous, but when you see a game on a shelf and its called “Bodycount” you would probably be able to safely assume you kill a lot of people. Also, the graphical flair of the game looks pretty nice. It’s no Battlefield 3, and it’s not trying to be, but it definitely has a nice look going for it. The graphics are sharp and definitely have a gritty style similar to Black that came before it.
The game itself seems to be pretty basic so far: you kill enemies and progress through the levels. The main draw that this game has that others in this genre don’t, however, is the fact that basically everything in the game is destructible. Some games can boast something like this (I think of Bad Company 2 and the upcoming Battlefield 3 most specifically) but that’s a bit different. There is a difference between having destructible environments in your game, and building a game around destructible environments. Bodycount is leaning towards the latter. Blowing shit up and massacring everyone is basically the plot of the game, and it looks like fun. One interesting element is the fact that even all of the stuff you take cover behind can be destroyed by enemies. They have access to the same blowing up skills you do. The only lingering question, really, is if that fun will start to get stale as the game progresses or if they can continue to keep it fresh? The answer to that question can only be answered once the game comes out.
Next up is the issue of gameplay/why this game should be on anyone’s radar. Obviously the FPS genre these days is probably one of the most difficult to breakout and establish a new IP in, but I don’t think Bodycount is going to try and do that. They are trying to cater more towards an audience that plays an FPS to shoot stuff and likes to see a lot of over the top action. With Bulletstorm recently, and hopefully Duke Nukem Forever in the coming months, we will see a return to the arcadey experiences of shooters from yesteryear. Bodycount is looking to carve out its own niche in this subgenre, and from the looks of it, they might have a pretty good chance.
Specifics are pretty scarce at the moment, but some details have emerged. For enemy types in single player they have explained three distinct special types so far: the Medic that will rush in to revive guys you have killed, adding an extra dimension to gameplay. The Scavenger, who will steal orbs enemies drop upon death (these orbs are apparantly collected by the player and used for intel which can give you upgrades and abilities like calling in air strikes.) And lastly, the Psycho, who is basically a jacked up freak that can take lots of damage and rush in on you.
Not many details on multiplayer are known as of now, but it is confirmed to exist. So far, there is known to be some basic deathmatch modes as well as a separate cooperative mode. The coop mode will not take place in the normal campaign, but rather, you will control different characters and play different missions based around the same levels from the single player campaign. It could be interesting to see how something like that plays out, getting to see levels from a new point of view. Only time will tell if this game can truly garner a following and fire some loaded fun back into the FPS genre (as Bulletstorm did earlier this year) or if it will just be shooting off more blanks.
You can expect to be counting bodies sometime soon in 2011. It will release for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. And yeah, people are probably going to make lots of Youtube videos using that same Drowning Pool song: Bodies. At least it makes sense this time…