What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Bodycount is a very violent and bloody action game played from an immersive first-person perspective. Even the game's marketing materials talk up the arcade-like violence with phrases such as a "cinematic orgy of shooting and wanton destruction" and "mouth-watering arsenal of weapons, grenades, mines, and airstrikes." It also supports voice chat when played over the Internet, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.
What's it about?
As you'd expect from a game called BODYCOUNT, this is a frenetic first-person shooter. You serve as a seasoned gun-for-hire at an organization called The Network, tasked with eliminating a malevolent, relentless organization only referred to as The Target. Dropped into numerous hotspots like Africa and Asia, you'll take part in a global power struggle and use a number of weapons -- primarily pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, mines, and grenades -- to take down as many enemies as possible. Even though it feels like a non-realistic arcade shooter, cover plays a major part in this game, so you'll need to find places to hide before peeking out and shooting. Beware, though: Incoming fire can shred certain kinds of cover. This spiritual successor to 2006's Black is an over-the-top action game meant to give players an adrenaline-filled adventure full of thrills and spills.
Is it any good?
On one hand, this is a fun, attractive, and somewhat challenging game with a couple of interesting mechanics: deformable environments (which means you can blow open walls to create escape routes) and the ability to earn "intel bonuses" for accurate or explosive shots, which can be chained together for additional rewards. Along with the single-player game there are a few multiplayer modes, such as co-op (two Network operatives working together), Deathmatch (every player for himself) and Team Deathmatch (choose a side and the first team to reach the predetermined kill limit wins).
On the flipside, the storytelling fells like a poor excuse to kill virtual people, missions are repetitive and bland, and the artificial intelligence doesn't seem very...intelligent (computer-controlled soldiers will just stand beside a grenade that's about to blow up). It's a $60 game that feels like it ought to have been a budget title. Shooter fans who like over-the-top action might still enjoy it, but they should rent it for a day or two before buying. Note: the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game are the same.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether this sort of over-the-top action game is more tolerable when rooted in science fiction rather than more realistic scenarios populated by humans.
Families can also talk about why some players tend to gravitate toward violent games. Can you think of alternatives for older players that focus less on violence and more on tactics, problem solving, or creativity?