“Bodycount”: A Dumb-Looking Game That Just Might Be My Next Guilty Pleasure
I’m still in New Mexico, and I still don’t have a TV. I don’t know what being in New Mexico has to do with not having a TV, but I think it makes the fact that I can’t play console games all summer that much more painful, and poignant.
I can only lust after new releases, from afar. I’ve been trying to put gaming out of my mind, to spare my aching heart, but one soon-to-be-released title has managed despite everything to grab my attention. And that game is Bodycount.
It’s no secret that I love first person shooters, and I don’t pretend to enjoy them for any sophisticated, high-minded reasons. Fuck that- I love shooting things with big guns and making things blow up. For me, it’s pretty simple. And in my defense I can always say that I’m a guy.
Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t been able to play Block Ops in a couple months, but I have the gaming equivalent of blueballs. I have reverted to caveman mode, full of pent-up aggression. As soon as I get back to my PS3, there will be no L.A. Noire for this fellow. I want dumb, unbridled, high-octane, testosterone-laden action. So when I heard about Bodycount, I fell in love.
In Bodycount, you play as Jackson, who…bla bla bla bla who cares, you get to run around and shoot a lot of inanimate objects and people who are foolish enough to get in your way. I think the name “Bodycount” basically sells the whole concept.
This is like the video game version of those mindless Reagan-era action movies like Commando or Universal Soldier where Schwarzenegger or some Schwarzenegger stand-in runs around some foreign country or foreign dimension with a bazooka and kills heaps of people, almost to the point of self-parody.
I love those movies and I hate those movies, but they do have a place in every man’s life. This game reminds me of that great scene in Hot Shots: Part Deux where badass Charlie Sheen starts shooting up a Middle Eastern town full of bad guys and the movie tallies the body count on screen, like a sports score. Bodycount looks like it took inspiration from that scene and stretched it out into a video game.
Bodycount seems like the kind of game that will give Roger Ebert plenty of ammo, pun intended, for his attack on video games as being beneath art, as this is probably how Ebert imagines all video games are like.
Somehow, though, the very ridiculousness and promise of empty, wanton violence in this game are what make me want to play it. I’ll admit that the tacked-on high-mindedness of some first person shooters (the “noble military” elements of games like Medal of Honor come to mind) can be a drag. I kind of hope that Bodycount does the opposite and embraces its amorality, or at least has a sense of humor about it.
The trailer I have to say does not make the game look that amazing. The graphics almost look like something from a PS2 game. Ouch, I know.
Check it out for yourself here:
One thing that looks legitimately cool is the near-total destructability that developer/publisher Codemasters (best known for last generation’s enjoyable Black) have promised.
This looks to go far beyond that of Bad Company- both the environments and everything inside of them are meant to be destructible, so gameplay in each setting will constantly change based on what you’ve chosen to shoot the crap out of. If done right, that could be terrific fun, with huge replay value.
The last time I bet against all odds that a crappy-but-crazy-looking game would be quality, I was dead wrong (see Haze, from 2008). So I’m not going to bet the farm that Bodycount will be good, or even solid.
But even if it’s stupid, I still think it could be stupid fun and a wonderful guilty pleasure, just like the movies Bloodsport or On Deadly Ground. And just like I only watch those movies when it’s 3 AM, I have insomnia and I don’t feel like watching infomercials, I’ll probably only get Bodycount in 2014 when it’s in the $15 bargain bin at Target.
I know this all sounds mean, but I truly do invite Codemasters to prove me wrong on this one.
If Bodycount ends up getting good reviews (at least an 8.5 average), I promise here and now that I will indeed buy it, and for full price.
…Just as soon as I have a TV again, that is.