Esprit de corpse
Review In the ever deepening reservoir that is the FPS genre, most games ultimately fall into one of two categories. There are those which encourage thought, exploration, tactical nous, micro-management of resources and, of course, a good shot. We’re talking the likes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Half-Life 2, BioShock and even Modern Warfare to an extent.
Then there are those which encourage charging your foes, guns blazing, emptying clip after clip into your hapless victims and vacating the area while muttering an Arnie-style quip. Duke Nukem 3D, Serious Sam and Bulletstorm all belong in this latter category and now, so too, does Bodycount.
Here, ammo is plentiful – seemingly spewing out of fallen hostiles before magically rushing toward the player. The guns are big, the enemies angry, while shacks, fences and most other kinds of cover have the nasty habit of disintegrating before your eyes when under sustained gunfire.
Meanwhile, a counter in the upper-right portion of the screen continuously counts your rapid skills – rewarding trick shots, multiple grenade kills and so on, and confirming once and for all that this is a game of action rather than thought.
Bodycount’s plot deals with a civil war in a war-torn part of Africa; neither side giving ground and both sides baying for blood. It’s a situation a little too close to current world events to make proceedings particularly humorous. The game’s solution too – to have the player dealing death to both sides – is a bad fit for a gameplay setup and more akin to the ‘space cowboy’ approach, as seen in the likes of Duke Nukem 3D and the recent Bulletstorm; where bullets are fired and questions not even considered.
To fill in the blanks as regards the plot, the player takes the part of Jackson, an operative working for ‘The Network’, an underground security force with interests in military activity throughout the world. Operatives are expected to follow the orders dished out by their superiors – expect to have objectives constantly relayed by your demanding commander – who will all too frequently tell you to “talk to the Militia commander,” before changing their minds and simply having you shoot him instead.
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