A First-Person Shooter with Unique Ambitions - Bodycount Preview
Consoles are packed to the brim with first-person shooters. The quality of these titles partially depends on whether or not their gameplay is engaging and whether or not their multiplayer is enthralling. Guildford Studios is bringing a brand new shooter to consoles this year, and the ambitious nature of its conception certainly gives it plenty of potential. Bodycount is the spiritual successor to 2006’s cult shooter Black, and while this modern FPS may be the brainchild of Stuart Black, the man behind the PlayStation 2 and Xbox game, it is a completely new title.
Not Your Typical FPS Hero
You play as Jackson, member of a mysterious organization known only as the Network. Your main target in the game is, well, the Target, an even more mysterious group than the Network whose troops sport some heavy artillery and flashy armor. What makes Jackson stand out is that he doesn’t carry himself like most other heroes that you see in FPS games. Sure, he has a mean aim, he talks the talk, and he has a huge build, but he’s still very real. He doesn’t have the same badassery that a character such as Marcus Fenix has, but he’s not as goofy as Travis Touchdown. From what I’ve seen of the game so far, Jackson falls somewhere in the middle.
An interesting point about the game’s story is what appears to be the underlying plot fixed on Jackson and his female companion. Though gameplay footage has only shown Jackson communicating with her via headset, there seems to be more to this relationship than simply that of soldier and informative operative. Something’s up, and it is likely to be revealed toward the end of the game, or possibly in the sequel which is something the developers have already hinted at.
While Stuart Black may have left Guildford since the game was announced, the developers still maintain the same vision: to create a different kind of FPS. Bodycount doesn’t come close to realistic warfare; the whole thing has this arcade feel to it. Different elements of your environments can be destroyed, and shooting at things or throwing explosives at them will usually resort in some type of crumbling damage. And while not every building in the game can be destroyed, the developers have stated that certain set pieces will be destructible depending on the mission at hand.
Taking down enemies results in power-ups littering the floor. Gun down a group of enemies, and you will see a bevy of glowing orbs and ammo pick-ups adorn the ground in front of you. This is something that isn’t seen in shooters anymore, and it harks back to old-school FPS titles.
Bodycount is a shooter that allows you to craft your own experience. It never forces you to play slow and tactically, nor does it require you to rush into battle. If you want to take your time and pick enemies off strategically, you can do so. If you’d rather charge right through your foes, the choice is all yours. This gameplay style is definitely welcome, and it’s going to allow different types of gamers to play according to their own personal preference.
The one aspect where Bodycount isn’t trying to stray away from the competition is in its multiplayer implementation. The game comes fully featured with a couple of multiplayer modes for gamers who like shooting alongside others or shooting at others. Though details are scarce at the moment, deathmatch and co-op modes have been confirmed. Deathmatch is pretty much what you would expect from a free-for-all kill-fest, while co-op allows players to team up and take on missions across various levels from the single-player campaign. You won’t actually play through the story alongside a friend, though. Instead, Bodycount lets you go back to various locales from the solo mode as different characters to take on new missions.
Like the gameplay itself, the visuals in Bodycount are very arcade-like. Locales are colorful and bold, and hues are bright more often than they are dark. Guildford is clearly going for aesthetics over technical graphics, and this is a direction that certainly fits within the context of the game. Games like Borderlands and the upcoming Bulletstorm have proven that artsy visuals can go a long way in a shooter, and Bodycount looks to follow that same mantra.
Bodycount Preview - Different from Other Shooters
Publisher Codemasters and developer Guildford Studios have set out to create something special, something unique. First-person shooters are released frequently these days, so whenever a new IP launches, it is usually met with speculation. When the development team behind new IPs announces that the game is meant to be “different” from other titles of the same genre, even more fans become speculative. Bodycount poses a few new interesting ideas, and the game definitely shows potential, so it’s going to be very interesting seeing how this one turns out. Bodycount is expected to launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC during the first quarter of 2011.