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Bodycount: Blip on the FPS radar or destined for greatness?

Let the bodies hit the floor...

Bullet. Gun. World. If Codemasters wants you to walk away from their newest IP with just three words in your head, those are their picks.

Their aim is to deliver a shooter that worships its weapons, and one with combat more visceral than anything else you'll sample all year. You play a lone operative recruited by an outfit called the Network: a coalition of world powers, free from government ties, that intervenes in global matters at odds with their own agenda.

They're working against a shadowy group known only as the Target, and they've identified a civil war in West Africa as a dummy conflict set in motion by their enemies for the sole purpose of masking covert operations.


Subsequently you find yourself dropped into this hotspot and, as predicted, both warring factions soon turn their attentions to you. Target setup confirmed, multiple firefights ensue.

When we're dumped in an African Mine partway through the first of the game's three acts it becomes immediately clear that Bodycount is very much a shooter unto itself. It's a vibrant world, and Codies takes great pride in telling us the entire game is a journey through the colour wheel.

When Africa's left behind we'll visit a neon-lit Asian city with blues and magentas reflecting all over the screen thanks to puddly night time streets, after which it's on to the Target's base of operations, almost exclusively painted with deep oranges and lipstick reds. Very Mirror's Edge.

Each enemy type is distinguishable by colours alone - handy given their drastically different behaviour patterns - and when shot they bleed coloured orbs all over the floor.

Red orbs are ammo pick-ups and blue orbs are intel; the latter acting as a currency. Much like Homefront's Battle Points, you spend intel to purchase instant bonuses by tapping the D-Pad.

Gather 7,000 intel points to fetch yourself an airstrike, while upgrades to armour, bullet impact powers and mini-map details are also available.

Obviously airstrikes aren't much use underground, so there'll be different upgrades at different times. During the mine level we discover the option is greyed out until we collect some C4 explosives and use them to destroy an enemy surface-to-air missile encampment, freeing up the skies for friendly fly-overs.

Even ignoring the instant-upgrade gimmick, Bodycount doesn't play like a regular shooter. Mines are a surprising addition to your arsenal but a useful one: enemy medics and scavengers dart between corpses to revive foes and to recover dropped intel, so boobytrapping bodies with proximity mines is a great way of taking them down.


But it's the weapons department that really sets Bodycount apart. Codemasters' 'Bullet. Gun. World' preamble presentation makes sense when we wrap our hands around the M4 Super 90 shotgun and the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle.

The guns feel weightier than what we're used to. Each has a kickback measurable in horsepower, and each needs to be tamed to successfully drop the enemy. Some guns can even blow whacking great holes in the sides of shacks letting us stroll right through the smouldering holes.

In the build we played there are no iron sights. Instead, squeezing L roots you to the spot, and then pushing the left stick lets you lean your body around and over cover.

We're told iron sights are being considered, as is a snap-to aim system, but without either aid our senses were rocked. In its current form it's like playing CoD with a broken left trigger: undoubtedly a different experience from the norm, but one that takes a little too long to get used to.

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