What More Do You Want From Shooter Games?

The best-selling games on consoles seem to come down to First Person Shooters every single year.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does drive me to wonder what else I really want from my FPS gaming experiences.  There seem to be three choices when it comes down to decision-making.

Arcade/Deathmatch Style – Call of Duty is the quintessential example of shooter games that revolve around picking up the controller and smacking other gamers in the face.  It is a fast-paced game with slight differences between weapons.  Not to mention a huge group of core gamers that are dedicated to the game they have come to love (or even sometimes, hate).

What More Do I Want?I have been hoping for years for the sniping in this game to be nerfed.  However, that is the ‘charm’ of Call of Duty games…  the weapons are subjectively rated and designed.  In many cases there isn’t much of a difference between using a magnum side-arm and a MK-14 as long as you ‘know how to handle them’.

I don’t want Call of Duty to change, primarily because I know that every time I turn it on I will be able to play it for an hour or two before I get so fed up with connectivity or quick-scoping spawn trappers that I turn it off and put in a different game.

Objective Based/Simulation – Battlefield 3 is designed with huge maps and team-play as the primary components.  While some of the interactions with vehicles is far from ‘simulation’ the weapons and handling of the game in-general present a much more ‘realistic’ feel to the game.  The recoil of the weapons makes for tough decisions to be made at times when you try to determine if you want more power or more control.  This is a primary difference between BF3 and COD games.

Also, objectives are the primary gametypes for Battlefield games.  This is something that tends to escape the common COD player than ventures into the land of Battlefield.  They will often try to come into a game of Rush or Conquest and try to turn it into some sort of Team Deathmatch.  While this is quite useful in Conquest, it is far from useful if you are the attacking team in Rush.

What More Do I Want? –A preventative measure to keep teams from spawn camping with vehicles like helicopters.  This is a great game, but people that are new to it will find that it is unforgiving when you play Conquest mode against seasoned teams of gamers.  It is one of the biggest downfalls in game design when you make it nearly impossible for a losing team to recover.

 

Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Halo, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series all fall into this category for the most part.  They are either based in a realm that doesn’t exist or in some sort of alternate universe.  Fallout is the only potential threat to this category, but in reality it still has ‘laser’ weapons.  Much like Fallout, Skyrim has magic and other spells that make it fantasy related.  Halo is based on other planets or regions of the universe and uses weapons that either don’t exist or close to that description.

What More Do I Want?–  This category is difficult because there isn’t a lot to base anything off of in ‘real life’.  The issue I have with Halo is recoil with weapons feeling non-existent.  In general, Halo has a feel to it that makes it seem like the gamer is playing the game with a lot less ‘motion’.  There is almost a floating sensation when playing Halo.

What’s the point?

When thinking about any of these things it leaves me thinking that any of the things I wish would happen in FPS games are subjective at best and pointless at worst.  Most of the games we choose to play revolve around what we have had time to find a love for over the years.  Chances are good that you have already pre-ordered a game this fall or at least plan on asking for one of them during the holiday season.

Take that as a sign that you really don’t have a lot more you want out of a shooter game.  Otherwise you wouldn’t pre-order something before you hear about, let alone see any real changes.

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To Prestige Or Not To Prestige?

When it comes to FPS games, ranking up is one of those things that seems to grab some people in the community by their joy stick and pull them around like parents with kids on a leash.  In Call of Duty it is referred to as ‘Prestiging’ and it also happens to be one of the most annoying bases you will find from verbally abusive gamers looking to put you down.

The only thing that changes might be egos…

Why do they choose to put people down in reference to prestige?  It is quite simple really.  They have theoretically mastered the game in such a way that they are actually better than you.  The funny thing is that this doesn’t usually become an issue until you start making them look bad in a game that they want to feel elite through some sort of icon.

How do we best come to a decision when it comes to the all-powerful action of ‘Prestiging’?

The decision to prestige often comes from wanting to add longevity and a sense of purpose to the multi-player aspect of Call of Duty.  You get a new icon each time you top out the leveling system (in Modern Warfare 3 it is 80) but in exchange, you lose all guns and other equipment you opened in your gaming process.  This is a steep penalty to pay in order to get an icon, but some people find it worthwhile.  Outside of the vanity of a new blinging icon and having to re-earn weapons… there isn’t any real practical reason to prestige.

Being one of the few that have chosen not to prestige, it is really quite simple.  I play the game to have fun, shoot opponents and make them angry for underestimating me based on my lack of prestige.  You get to keep every gun and piece of equipment you earn and in the process you will get a chance to earn camouflage for your favorite weapons.

In the end it really comes down to personal preference.  Prestiging in itself doesn’t make any gamer better than any other gamer.  In some cases, it does seem to make some gamers rather full of themselves if nothing else.  In which case, it is often rather fun to put these people in their place after you calmly show up and own them with your non-prestige Level 80 persona… and politely mute their angry voice.

 

Breaking The Trends – What’s Next For Shooter Games?

It seems that the entertainment industry has fallen into a rut over the past decade or so.

Whether it is gaming or movies – when something finds success the typical response isn’t “What will they do next?”… it is “When is the sequel coming out?!”

A recent article that features an interview with DICE suggests that the next movement is going away from Modern Conflicts and towards ‘Near Future’.  This brings a few things to mind and really presses for an honest answer that will only be given in sales numbers.

Are you getting tired of fighting the same war with different names?

What Is So Different Between Current Day and Near Future?

If you have paid any attention to the ‘new’ direction for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 you will see that it is now based in the Near Future.  The worst part about this concept is that it involves very little true innovation other than simply stating that it is based in a time period that has more flying robots and drones, etc. Modern Warfare 3 already saw places like New York City in ruins, now we get to go into new ‘future’ places and see them destroyed by war?… Yeah, really refreshing.

So… in the near future there will be guys dressed like Master Chief with Flying Drones like we already have in almost every game?…
So much for innovation.

Does Time Period Need To Be Stated?

Outside of historical reference, does it really matter ‘when’ a game is taking place?  If you have read any sort of fiction you will notice what happens in books that directly refer to technology or entertainment of the time.  It ages the story and often makes it difficult for future generations to relate to the ‘power’ of whatever is being referenced.  Try reading Jurassic Park or American Psycho without laughing about their references to CD-ROMs and Walkmans, or better yet – Huey Lewis and the News.

It isn’t as if time period should be cut out completely, but it should be merely hinted at in the presentation.  Bioshock did a great job of this when you see the character flying in an airplane that allowed smoking (even if it did make direct reference to the year “1960 – Mid-Atlantic”).  There is even the amazing presentation of NBA 2K12 that allows you to play with retro teams with a TV presentation style of the time period.

Where Is The F**CKING ORIGINAL STORY?!

There is something to be said for what Activision is doing with Call of Duty and that something is called ‘milking a concept until the game dies’.  Look at what they did with Guitar Hero and you will see what will eventually happen to Call of Duty.

If you take a look at the direction of Microsoft, they aren’t too dissimilar when it comes to milking games and game series such as Gears of War and Halo.  Speaking of which, new rumours have started creeping up about Halo 2 Anniversary Edition.  Not that anyone should be surprised… it is just upsetting for gamers that want to play something new… something fresh.

What type of time period or setting do you want to have a shooter game based in?  Leave comments below!

E3 Recap – Games To Keep An Eye On and Games To Give The Stink Eye

It was a great week for game fans of all ages last week, but that doesn’t mean that some announcements didn’t disappoint us.

There are some games that have great demos out there right now and there are also some games that shouldn’t have demos (because they are that terrible).

Keep and Eye On:

Spec Ops: The Line (Respawn Entertainment/2K) – This game plays smoothly and feels like a modern military version of Gears of War (executions and all).  In playing the demo there is something left to be desired from gameplay that seems slightly uninspired.  There isn’t a lot of holding your breath in worry that an army of baddies is coming to put you down.  However, the multiplayer gameplay looks like it could prove to be enjoyable, if not at least something different from Call of Duty’s first person syndication every year.

 

 

Madden 13 (EA Sports) – Finally, Madden has come out of the E3 gates with something to talk about other than their yearly subjective roster update.  Real-time physics, connected careers and a new XP system of progressing your players in career modes is a breath of fresh air that every football gaming fan will appreciate.  There are some tuning issues they are still working on for much of connected careers (which is to be expected); but hopefully they can use the next month or so before the game goes ‘gold’ to fix these things.  Don’t expect perfection off the bat, but you should expect some new joy in how Madden actually plays this year.

 

 

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami) – Finally, something playable was present at E3 and did it ever live up to the hopes and dreams of Metal Gear fans!  Raiden was a character that upset many of the Metal Gear ‘purists’ (elitists…myself included) but when Kojima decided to make Raiden into an awesome Cyborg Ninja from Hell in Metal Gear Solid 4?… I was convinced that Raiden was cool enough to be a desireable character.  At this point, MGSRR is looking more and more like Ninja Gaiden put into the shoes of Metal Gear and it looks amazing.

 

 

Hitman: Absolution (Square Enix) – One of the favorites to make people gush over the wonders of Agent 47’s ability to silently make enemies hunker down in fear.  This is proving to be a game that you should be very excited about.  The gameplay is solid and the story of Agent 47 is usually an intriguing one.  Let’s face it, Hitman is a game that really has its set of fanatics and then the rest of the gamers that want to get their fill of digital violence.  The beauty of Absolution is that it seems to have a better feel and look than Blood Money.  There is a fine line for the Hitman series to walk right now but it is avoiding our list of stink eye games… for now.

Give the Stink Eye To:

NCAA Football 13 (EA Sports) – Talk about giving a game a fresh coat of paint and sending it out for the user to beta test.  NCAA Football 12 was decent, but with major flaws on release day that weren’t patched for over a month and a half (player tendencies after re-naming rosters, etc.).  NCAA Football 13 changed throwing trajectories but didn’t implement real-time physics like Madden 13.  They have the same button schemes this year, but after that similarity NCAA falls to the field with a thud.  The menu interface hasn’t changed and the game doesn’t seem to look different at all.  The demo is out there for you to give it a try – but it could be a 1GB file you regret downloading in the first place.

 

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Treyarch/Activision) – This series has been played out.  The fact that they are going to the year 2025 isn’t as impressive as some people want to make it out to be.  Not to mention the fact that they are ‘bringing back’ zombie mode.  What is going to be different from Black Ops or even Modern Warfare 3?  Nothing really.

You already know what to expect if you are a COD fan and that can be a good thing if you love COD games.  Black Ops 2 is like the third Transformers movie at this point –

All of the explosions, the hot girl that replaces another hot girl (albeit, with an accent) and our typical schlubs ‘heroes’ to save the world from bad foreigners (Insert xenophobia here) and you have yourself a “Brand New” Call of Duty Game.

Halo 4 (343/Microsoft) – Did you know that another Halo game was coming out?  Of course you did.   What better way to milk this cash cow of a franchise than to continue the saga of Master Chief from a ‘whole new perspective’?

Much like Call of Duty and even Gears of War, Halo 4 is a game that has many people excited because they worship the Halo universe and think Master Chief is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Say what you want about the books and everything else… if you love Halo you will buy this game.  After that what is there?  One of the ‘features’ listed for this game on Amazon is telling –

The Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation. Humanity and the universe will never be the same again.”

If you pay attention to the last sentence of their description, it is one of the most hilarious marketing ploys ever.  Consider what has happened over the course of Halo, Halo 2 and then Halo 3.  Then consider what happened with Halo 3: ODST and then the prequel Halo: Reach.  It is something of a guess, but after 5 games that gave us a great trilogy a prequel and even the perspective of a different soldier (ODST) there isn’t much more to care about is there?

It is always a funny argument to hear when a Halo fanboy and a Call of Duty fanboy come into a game store or game department… or God forbid – forums.  Both sides love to present their game as being superior in some way shape or form.  However, in the end they are both arguing over something that they both share in… being duped into buying the same game every year or two.

Gears of War: Judgement (Epic/Microsoft) – Say what you want about the story of Gears of War, it was original and the voice acting was impressive all the way through.  However, the latest announcement is bringing up the same old argument we just made about Halo and Call of Duty.  The most insulting thing you can do to a gamer is try and squeeze out more money for a prequel.  George Lucas was able to fool some people into thinking the new Star Wars prequel trilogy would be worth the excitement.  However, in the end… people still prefer to go back and watch the movies that are now nearing 40 years in age.

This announcement of a new Gears of War game is exciting for people that enjoy the Gears story and gameplay.  Unfortunately, outside of that group of people there are many other gamers that would prefer to see something original come out and blow our minds.  Maybe this is the last Epic game that will grace the 360 before they move on and develop a new series for the XBox 720.  We can only hope that this game is a final conclusion… or pre-clusion?