The lights are on
I got my hands on an early build of Codemasters' Bodycount, and two tent pole features of the game make the FPS stand out.
Part of the development team of Bodycount features members from Criterion, who gave us Black on the PS2 -- so you know that the people behind Bodycount love their guns. This comes through in the game's destructible environments. This isn't anything new, but what's cool about this gameplay feature in Bodycount is the way it gives the player freedom in how you tackle enemies and the level itself. I was in a shanty town level facing off against this particularly nasty boss-like dude who was chasing us all over the place. We don't know what his name was, but all that mattered was that he didn't want to be friends and that he was carrying a giant Gatling gun like it was nothing more than a toothbrush. Because you can blast your way through many of the walls and objects in the game, it's easy to create your own path through the level. Cornered in a building? No problem -- just create your own back door by shooting you way through a back wall. Want to get the drop on an enemy? Surprise and flank him by blowing a hole through a wall and getting your sights on him through the window you've just made.
Going hand-in-hand with the destructible environments is a really cool cover mechanic that lets you lean, shoot, and peer around any object fluidly using the left analog stick. So, if you come up against a bit of cover that is already half-destroyed, you can crouch down with the left trigger, and then move and peer around whatever gaps there are in the cover by moving the left analog stick. Its very useful in getting your sights on enemies from cover, and it contains way more possibilities than the standard and static lean left, lean right, or pop straight up from cover that most FPSs have. Because of it, you can retain your cover while still being in a good position to shoot someone's head clean off.
Look for Bodycount on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the spring of next year.
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