Bodycount approaches the FPS genre a little differently to the real world shooters we've been bombarded with of late. In fact, says game director Andy Wilson, there's been a deliberate decision to move away from what has become a familiar formula.
"We want you to play this game with a smile on your face, like people used to when they played the old arcade-style side scrolling shooters," he explains. "The one thing we want to do better than everyone else is recreate the feeling of firing a gun and the effect the bullets have on the world, how they tear it apart.
"That's why we've built a world with the highest possible level of degradation. We want to give the player a lot of tactical options, especially once the areas of cover begin to get shredded and the world starts to open up, allowing you to shoot targets from all sorts of angles."
In many ways, Bodycount marks a throwback to the days when shooters were more about the joy of killing than the carefully scripted cinematic ride. Open, cleverly designed levels provide the opportunity to pick and choose your route to each destination, while the action is all about inflicting maximum carnage.
According to Wilson, each pathway and combat tactic leads to a different combat experience. In a bid to prove this claim he let me get to grips with a level set within the confines of an African mine.
Guided by the now obligatory chatter of my female handler sitting snug and warm back at HQ, I kicked of the mission with a yomp through some meandering mountainside patrolled by enemy henchmen. But it wasn't long before stealth gave way to the promised carnage - seconds later I was gunning down the first of many waves of enemies.
My opponents instantly fanned out and ensconced themselves behind cover before engaging me with bobbing, short, sharp bursts of automatic fire. Replaying the same section again, I discovered a back route that allowed me to flank the very same foes and catch them unawares.
One of Bodycount's more unique features is its first-person cover system. By holding down the left trigger you can freeze yourself to the spot and use the left stick to lean out of cover to let off salvos. While not quite as satisfying as the third-person equivalent, the system did seem robust enough to provide a level of tactical cover often lacking in many FPSes.
The game's most standout feature is the sheer level of destruction you can inflict on your surroundings; think Bad Company 2 on steroids. Any point of cover not made of metal or stone can and will be shredded by the maelstrom of bullets you exchange with your foes, while a well placed grenade can turn even the sturdiest hut into kindling.
Much of the environment is eminently destructible, forcing you to constantly move from one point of cover to the next. This results in some truly frenetic and surprisingly tactical shootouts.
Further ramping up the challenge levels is a variety of distinct enemy classes, each possessing its own skill-set. "We have a number of different classes which act uniquely," explains Wilson. "It's all about how you let a situation to play out. So for example, if you don't take out enemy medics, they'll run around reviving their comrades, making your life much more difficult."
Other enemy classes of note include Commanders, who orchestrate their henchmen by bellowing instructions. Swapping their eyeballs with a couple of lead nuggets seems to work a treat when it comes to shutting them up and throwing their men into disarray. As part of the drive to make Bodycount a more arcade-style shooting experience, Wilson and his team have injected a series of power-ups into the all out action mix. Kill an enemy and they drop Intel - the game's currency. These blue orbs pop out of cadavers and are then sucked up as you pass by.
Accumulate enough Intel and you can call upon one of four power-ups: airstrikes, armour bonuses, weapon upgrades and an enhanced mini-map that betrays the enemy's whereabouts. "This isn't a simulation it's a game, and we want Bodycount to have a defined reward system," explains Wilson.
"There are three ways you can accumulate Intel. Killing lots of enemies, killing them in skilful ways or killing a specialised unit while they're performing their tasks, like taking out a medic while they're healing someone.
"The power-ups can be upgraded over a number of stages. The enhanced mini map upgrade first lets you see enemy locations, then distinguish between classes and finally see enemies through walls. The level one airstrike involves just one bomber, but this increases to two then three as you upgrade the ability."
All of this carnage would feel pretty hollow without a satisfyingly developed backdrop and story. According to Wilson and art director Max Cant, Bodycount has the potential to take us on a global journey that's packed with just as much intrigue as destruction.
"You're an ex forces guy who's been recruited into an organisation called The Network which goes into conflict zones around the world and mops up the problems the United Nations can't be bothered with," begins Wilson.
"As you progress you find there's more to the civil conflicts that are erupting around the world than meets the eye and you slowly uncover an advanced and vicious organisation hell-bent on causing conflict throughout the world and imprinting its own ideology on it."
Cant picks up the thread. "The game is set in the near future against the backdrop of a world that's coming to the end of its natural life cycle. It's not post apocalyptic like Mad Max - rather it's a world that's coming to the end of strip-mining resources from third-world countries, and people are getting savvier to how governments operate.
"We're really trying to make the environment tell its own stories so that you feel totally immersed in it. So you may pass a bus that's been rammed through an industrial compound's gate, which suggests a riot or local uprising took place recently."
What Bodycount may lack in gritty realism and tightly scripted thrills, it seems to be making up for with intelligent level design, an impressively destructible environment and a clever blend of real world, near future intrigue and arcade-style action.
Granted, it may not possess the bells and whistles of a Black Ops. But if total obliteration of absolutely everything gets your trigger finger itching, then Bodycount is definitely a game you should keep in your crosshairs.