There's certainly a place for back to basics arcade shooters, but the reality is games like Call of Duty already have that area of the genre covered - even successful attempts like Bulletstorm couldn't manage to eat into Call of Duty's audience. Codemasters' latest crack, Bodycount, is essentially you blasting guns and pretending to blow things up while the most basic of stories leads you from one area of combat to the next. This might have been okay had the combat been exciting, the destruction genre-leading and the visuals strong, but nothing on offer here is remarkable in any way - well, the title screen and music is pretty cool, but that's about it.
It's almost entirely pointless mentioning the storyline as it feels so insignificant, but some attempt is made to draw you into the world of The Network - a company whose slogan is "Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions." This translates to "kill as many people as possible while being able to use a number of not so great special abilities in a variety of dull environments before destroying Tron-like data centres - over and over again."
To be fair to Bodycount, firing guns is handled decently. You're only allowed to carry two at once, but weapon stations are dotted about that let you switch around your arsenal and equip guns previously unlocked. There's the usual array of machine guns, shotguns and pistols, although why you'd want to use a pistol is beyond me. Grenade throwing is also done well here, with standard timed explosives being joined by impact grenades (double tap the button instead of single tap) that are fired at enemies more directly than the traditional looping arcs and explode on impact.
Sadly, that's where the good stuff ends. While Bodycount's weapons are decent, the effect they have on enemies feels off. Foes don't react in a realistic way to being hit by bullets, often resulting in comical falls to their death or bizarre somersaults. What's more, the knife melee attack on offer is utter garbage, frequently failing to accurately connect and conveying no sense of impact - a huge flaw in a game as action-packed as this.
AI is also appalling, with the waves of enemies doing little more than head to your position or attempt to snipe you. At times they'll show no sense at all, simply standing with their back to you while you take your time to dispatch them, but for the most part the game causes trouble through a combination of sheer numbers and an awkward control scheme.
Bodycount attempts something a little different with its zoomed view mode by offering two options on one trigger. Hold the aiming trigger down fully and you'll get a zoomed view of the action but be rooted to the spot, only giving you the ability to lean and duck in and out of cover. However, if you half press the trigger you get a zoomed view and can move about. No doubt this sounded good on paper but in practice it makes for endless frustration when in the heat of a battle - especially as Bodycount's battles are some of the most explosive around. I didn't find the system at all practical and couldn't get to grips with the half-press mechanic.