We sample the name-sake mode in the upcoming shooter.
First-person shooters are constantly trying to introduce additional modes to prolong the experience, and the upcoming shooter Bodycount is no different. This futuristic action game includes a score-attack challenge mode that is also called Bodycount, and we had the opportunity to play three levels to see what it has to offer.
The Bodycount mode lets you replay any of the game's planned 17 missions. Rather than play through the story, you're objective in each is to rake in the largest possible score. To do so, you must be creative with your kills. Every enemy you dispose of earns you base points, but the larger the combo, the higher your final score will be. To get these combo multipliers, you need to defeat enemies outside of the traditional shots to the torso. Making headshots, killing foes from behind, and using grenades, mines or other environmental damages will help improve your combo multiplier.
The three available missions varied quite a lot. The first put us in the middle of firefight between an army and a rebel group in the heart of a fictional West African nation. In another, we were dropped in a small fishing village in Asia and had to make our way through the docks. The missions are taken directly from the game, so the context brought upon by the story didn't make much sense. But that wasn't the objective of the mode; it was just about killing foes as creatively as possible.
The three levels were not entirely long either. If you decide to just run and gun, each level can be completed in a handful of minutes. But if you want to achieve the highest possible score and combo, you will definitely want to take your time to line up your shots when applicable.
There is also a feature in Bodycount called "intel." The death of enemies causes them to spill these orb-like pickups that can be collected. The amount of intel you receive depends on the size of your combo, which is then used to improve your Operative Support Button, or OSB. As you progress through the game, you obtain the ability to use OSBs to gain the tactical advantage on the battlefield. These range from calling in airstrikes to getting a slight boost of adrenalin that allows you to take more damage from oncoming fire. These perks can be very helpful in key situations, so saving up and timing your use of them can make a huge difference.
While the mode itself is interesting, the way in which it played out wasn't exactly so. Early AI was extremely questionable, specifically in its poor decision choices. Considering you need to defeat foes yourself, enemies were too frequently inept at tossing grenades and killing each others. It's nice that they make it easier to trek though an area, but when trying to get the highest possible score, it may become a problem.
Another issue that needs to be addressed is the promise of destructible environments. Although many areas could be destroyed, there were still quite a few limitations. For example, the first mission we played took place in a shanty village and the structures should have been easily destroyed, but that just didn't happen. It makes sense that fortified areas are not capable of full destruction, but when a village is made of shingles and, in general, looks quite decrepit, a well-placed grenade or explosion should bring it down to the ground. This might be a bit a minor nitpick, though, because at the same time, areas did take enough damage for us to feel we couldn't stay in one spot and remain safe.
Lastly, the controls, weapon choices, and the OSB features were quite appealing. Most action fans should easily grab a controller and begin dominating the battlefield. On top of that, the scoring system offers plenty of incentive to replay missions a few times to get the highest possible score. Early issues aside, Bodycount's namesake mode is only a fraction of what is expected within the game when it launches later this month so expect to see more before its release.