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Bodycount review

Shredding scenery is ace. Shooting things is ace. But what about the rest?

Score attack attacked

I could live with the repeated set-backs if you only had to do it once in the campaign mode, but Bodycount mode sees the exact same instances of repeat deaths happening all over again. Why's that? Because you're literally doing everything again in exactly the same way.

The idea is that you play through previously-cleared levels, trying to better your grade for the level, then you compare your Bodycount score with your friends via online leaderboards. A great idea in theory, but it's incredibly under-developed.

You don't get to keep your unlocked weapons from the campaign mode, instead travelling back in time to the unlocks you had when you started that level. They're the same for everyone as there's no weapon shop here, but the game is replaying everything like it's the first time you saw the level. The first mission even has the tutorial instructions again! That's not a bespoke score attack mode, it's a level select.

Above: Bodycount mode is a glorified level select, only with your mates' scores next to it

Then there's the scoring system. The combo idea is solid enough – skill shots like grenade kills, headshots, explosion deaths and 'backstabbing' attacks from behind earn you a point on your combo meter. I could argue that it's somewhat haphazard, but let's say for argument's sake that you can pull these things off deliberately every time.

It's not based at all on perfection or clever ways to keep your combo up. The time between kills can be really long and will stay active as long as the skill shot kills keep coming. And while dying does stop your combo, it doesn't seem to affect your overall score. I died about 20 times replaying the Pirate Bay (same bit with the damn general), yet my 16-strong combo at the start earned me an A-grade. I didn't deserve an A-grade – I was embarrassingly bad in the latter half.

Above: Sure, my 19 combo was decent, but I died so many times. I do not deserve that 'A'

As a result, this score-attack mode is unlikely to see friends competing in earnest for bragging rights, which is a shame. I mean, The Club's scoring system is brilliantly balanced, yet even that didn't take off – what chance does this have?

OMG OSB

It all comes back to the Operative Support Button, which is assigned to the D-pad and gives you access to four different boosts in all but the first few levels of the game, each of which using different amounts of your intel bar. At preview stage, this looked like being Bodycount's biggest asset, with the idea being you get more intel from enemies killed while using the OSB, thus souping up the action into a non-stop barrage of usage, reward and replenishment. However, after finishing the game, I'm not convinced it quite works like that.

The adrenaline shot works very well, giving you near-invincibility for a scant few seconds and really is your best friend in a tricky situation. However, the explosive rounds' effect wears off so quickly (and leaves you without that crucial adrenaline shot safety cushion), it's not really worth using in a firefight.

Likewise, the Radar upgrade is only really useful when it's become a sort of EMP-style weapon, sending out a lethal shockwave. However, this is only ever essential in the final boss battle (that's not a spoiler – the game comes up with a message explicitly telling you to use it so there can be no misunderstandings).

Above: Your OSB buttons get upgraded as you progress through the campaign, but are underplayed in single-player

And that leaves the airstrike, which is brilliant fun, but takes up so much intel (and only works outside), you only really get to use it when the game requires you to. I don't think I got to use it of my own volition once in regular combat during my entire play-through, which is probably better for game balance, but definitely not for player enjoyment.

More Info

GenreShooter
Description

Bodycount is a new first-person shooter in development at Codemaster's Guildford studio.

PlatformXbox 360, PS3
US censor ratingRating Pending
UK censor ratingRating Pending

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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