Although they weren’t developed by Codemasters themselves, Clive Barker’s Jericho, Damnation and Turning Point are often referred to as being amongst the worst games this generation. This suggests that Codemasters hasn’t quite got the knack of sniffing out decent first person shooters to publish. With their past in mind, we always feel sceptical when Codemasters announces a game which isn’t either racing or sports related. Were we right to be wary about Bodycount? Yes. And no.

Those looking for instant gratification are well catered for here. It moves at a fair old pace and looks good doing it, with a sheen present that was sorely lacking in the likes of Brink and Homefront. Pretty explosions are Bodycount’s forte and there are plenty of them too – explosive barrels are haphazardly placed every couple of yards and stocks of grenades and mines are replenished frequently. Fun can be had by placing mines in an enemy’s path as they run towards you, while calling in air-strikes is just as entertaining here as it is in any other of the big name military sims.

Where Bodycount stumbles the most, and proverbially falls, is that it’s utterly mindless. So much so that we were able to run through some of the levels and finish them only killing a handful of enemies. Puzzles? Deep storyline? Character development? You won’t find these things here. There is a combo meter to build up, which is filled by performing headshots and such, but Bulletstorm did this idea a whole lot better many months ago.

Art direction is schizophrenic – an uncomfortable mix of realism and sci-fi fantasy. The impressively large environments, which include an African shanty town and an Asian dockyard, look realistic but underneath these areas are hidden bases belonging to an evil corporation known as Target. These bases look like something out of Tron with enemies to match. Brightly coloured collectible icons pour out of enemies when vanquished too, which looks hideously out of place in this day and age

Online play is rudimentary with only the ability to use air-strikes and other power-ups from the main game being of note. It’s not hard to imagine the servers being close to empty once Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefront 3 arrive. In fact, we struggled to find somebody to play a standard death-match against even though barely a month from launch has passed.

Codemasters have been keen to tout Bodycount as the spiritual successor to Black. The guns have a meaty feel with sound effects to match, but that’s where the similarities end. If anything it plays like a modern day rendition of an old school ‘run and gunner’ and is just as shallow.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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