Are Shooter Games Dead?

Now that the autumn rush for shooter games has come to a close and we are firmly in the doldrums of the gaming year there is a serious question that must be asked as we get closer to not only new consoles… but closer to the limit many gamers have for lacking creativity.

blops2

Whether you are playing Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield or even Gears of War.  You are most likely playing a game with a 2, 3 or 4 after the primary namesake.  This is a problem on many levels and the obvious issue stems from the idea of pumping out sequels more regularly than Hollywood can push out another Saw movie.  As for the other issues signifying the agonizingly slow death of shooter games – here are a few:

  1. Fans Are Getting Bored – The entertainment industry has one primary component to making money and that is paying customers who are actually interested in what is being offered.  Call of Duty was able to grab an entire generation of gamers with new styles of playing a shooter – primarily the online component.  Halo snagged the XBox crowd with a great story and then some of the most successful multiplayer experiences ever put on a console.  They still sell in the millions when release day comes, but gamers are slowly finding their way to other titles than the popular COD series especially.  This isn’t to say that the sales are bad for COD or Halo, but the idea that a cash cow will last forever does not make a lot of business sense.
  2. Desensitized – Killing people isn’t as fun or novel as it used to be.  We have witnessed so many tragedies on TV it is becoming rather difficult to surprise anyone.  Some thought that blood in Mortal Kombat was too much ‘violence’ but now, years later – MMA is being pumped up like the Roman gladiator battles.  We have had shootings at numerous schools over the last 14 years.  Why is it that within a few weeks… and sometimes days – we are already moving on to something else?  The answer is simple – we just aren’t shocked anymore. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had a section where you shot up an airport full of civilians.  Black Ops 2 lets you butcher enemies with a machete.  We have fatalities in Mortal Kombat and execution moves in Gears of War.  Violence is old hat… it is expected and desired like someone’s morning coffee fix.
  3. Poor Parenting and Little Kids – When I reached adulthood and started paying bills I started to notice a few things had changed in terms of my view of the world.  The first was that I had become crotchety and easily annoyed by nonsense (which I think had been in my persona long before adulthood, FYI).  The second was that I couldn’t stand what I viewed to be a sudden change in parenting and discipline of children.  I will save you the ‘back in my day’ comments and leave it at this – if a game is for ages 17 and up, otherwise known as being rated M for ‘Mature’… your CHILD should not be playing it.  Not to mention, if they are on a microphone talking to other gamers around the world – you might want to listen to the language they are hearing and using outside of the game sounds and in their headset.

Are Shooter Games Starting To Lose Their Appeal?

You can only re-hash the same thing so many times before it is no longer desired.  This goes for movies (see – Saw, Rocky, Rambo, Star Wars (the new crappy ones) as much as it goes for music and video games.  In gaming we are starting to experience something that isn’t too dissimilar.  Every November we expect a new Call of Duty game.  While COD is the most common direction people look when it comes to games being the same every year, it is also a trend that is getting (or has gotten) old very fast.

https://i1.wp.com/i.qkme.me/3pku0b.jpg

I am almost to my second prestige in Black Ops 2.  While this isn’t shocking to the many people that have already reached the 5th or 10th prestige it is something relatively new to me.  I didn’t prestige in Modern Warfare 3 and I thought I would give it a chance in Black Ops 2.  The problem with this is the fact that I am playing games and leveling up in their second and third iterations.  There have been some changes along the way, but the one thing that remains a constant is the move towards an almost exclusively multiplayer focused game that revolves around leveling, leaderboards and people trying to make it big on YouTube.

While there are other games that are being milked as a franchise (Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear, Angry Birds and let’s not forget sports games and their wonderful annual roster updates) – it seems that shooters are still the cash-cow that get most of the development attention.  There have been some reports/rumors that Call of Duty is starting to see a slight decline in sales.  Does this really surprise you?  Madden and NCAA have also both started to see a decline in sales over the last few years.  While there have been some fluctuations to these numbers in some cases, it should tell the gaming industry from production company to developer that gamers want new games with new ideas.

If you want to look for hope in gaming, take a look at what some of the indie game developers are putting out.  Support their cause, but please… demand creativity instead of sequels.  That is so… Michael Bay.

Medal of Honor Warfighter – Review and Impressions

At first glance you might look at Medal of Honor: Warfighter with a cynical mindset.  Afterall, the original ‘rehash’ of the series was lacking to say the least.  What you will notice right off the bat is recoil in your weapons from the gameplay perspective.  This game is a more arcade-like game from the run and gun perspective on multiplayer rather than the Battlefield 3 perspective of objective based gameplay and XP development.

Warfighter’s maps seem forced and cluttered for the most part.  While the Frostbite 2 engine is a nice addition and it gives the ability to destroy cover, etc. there doesn’t seem to be a lot of longevity to a game that isn’t based on larger maps with a lot of cover to destroy.  Once again, EA is finding a way to put out a game as a stop-gap measure rather than trying to really overtake Call of Duty.

Here is a quick run-down of what you should expect if you are on the fence about buying Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

Pros –

Fast Gameplay – This game plays more like Call of Duty or even the 2010 iteration of MOH, but it is a welcome direction for people that prefer EA shooters over Call of Duty but still want faster gameplay and an overall more ‘reflex driven’ game.  The recoil of the weapons makes for a less point and shoot feel, but the small maps and close quarters along with a more assault driven attitude of game-modes makes Warfighter a faster experience overall.

Full Weapon Customization – You can pretty much build up any of your weapons to your own specifications.  New barrels, new sights, optics, etc.  The best part of being able to do these things is that they give you a feeling of ownership and creativity that actually matters.  Call of Duty has accessories for guns, sure… but for the most part they are unnecessary ‘bling’.  The only thing is that with the maps and game-types in Warfighter, is it really that vital to have all these options?  Only time will tell.

A Somewhat Intriguing Story – It isn’t often that we can say a FPS title has a story worth paying attention to.  Medal of Honor feels more like the movie ‘Act of Valor’ than some sort of half-cocked terrorist fiction.  On the other hand, maybe that is exactly what it is… *shrug*.  Warfighter grabs the gamer by the heartstrings with a story that feels very real in today’s modern terrorist obsessed culture.  However, it is also a game about terrorists being chased around the world.

I think I have played this game before.

Cons –

Feels Like A Stop-Gap COD Wanna-be – The bad part of MOH: WF is that it feels like Call of Duty without the urgency.  Call of Duty is fast paced, run and gun, twitchy and an overall ADHD experience.  Warfighter is all of those things without the twitchy control feel.  This makes for a fast paced game with sluggish handling.  I appreciate the effort to speed up the feel but this game needs to make up its mind.

Too Little, Too Late – With the likes of Halo and Call of Duty coming out in the next three weeks MOH is looking like something to buy if you have $60 to throw away.  This feels a lot like the 2010 release of Medal of Honor where it had a toe-hold for a couple weeks before Call of Duty came out and made people forget about playing a game with a lumberjack on the cover.

A Possible DLC Money Pit – One of the most annoying aspects of this current generation (and future generations) of online console gaming is downloadable content.  Sure, DLC is something that is a must for games like Medal of Honor, but in reality you are starting to see a trend of games that come out with DLC already planned to take money out of your wallet. Purchasing Warfighter brand new comes with access to a couple new maps but in reality it isn’t much of a perk if you don’t plan on being completely devoted to this game for the next year.  I don’t foresee Medal of Honor being played by many people when Battlefield 3 is already successful enough with its community and Call of Duty gamers will get their annual re-hash and pour money into DLC and ‘Elite’.

Borderlands 2 Will Open Gun Season This Autumn

There are a lot of things that come with autumn – in gaming it is gun season. 

Over the next couple of months we will be covering some of the most anticipated titles of ‘gun season’.  The first game to grace us with its wonderful firearms is Borderlands 2.  Next week you will have the chance to continue the adventures on the planet of Pandora.  While you won’t be controlling the same characters during this story, you will have the ability to see even more amazing weapons and experience a new type of enemy intelligence. 

The best part of Borderlands is the weapons and we will give you a quick guide on some of the companies that make the weapons of Borderlands 2.

Dahl – These weapons tend to be some of the more solid performing guns in the game.  They often look like military surplus with their camouflage and firing modes.  Think of these as being go-to weapons when you need consistency.
Hyperion – These weapons are elemental in their damage (fire, electricity, poison, etc.) when they are fired for a long period of time they will develop better accuracy (especially as you hold down the trigger).
Jakobs – Jakobs weapons are like the MK14 in MW3 – they fire rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger.  This tends to mean that you should have steady aiming ability or just hope that recoil on your weapon isn’t too drastic.
Maliwan – These are also primarily developed around elemental damage.  It should be no surprise for you to find one of these guns late in the game as you level up and be impressed with some of the massive damage bonuses that come with their elemental powers.
Tediore – You should be careful when you use these weapons.  They will be rather unreliable and also have the ability to be discarded as active grenades (if you have ammunition in them) – this might be the only perk to using Tediore weapons.  I don’t see these being enjoyable to use early in the game but crappy weapons are often something you will start with in any game.
Torgue – this company’s weapons use Gyrojet ammunition – essentially giving the user an opportunity to have more damage-per-shot but in exchange you will have fewer rounds per clip.  This gives you a choice to make when you come across a Torgue weapon that can do massive damage but only has four rounds and perhaps using a weapon with less damage but more rounds to fire at a target.  *Reload speed is vital when using weapons with small capacity.
Vladof – Consider Vladof weapons to be speed focused.  These guns are often for the class of player that uses a Gunzerker or Commando character.  Think of Vladof guns as being really fast guns with little control.

Is Battlefield 3 The Swan Song for EA’s First Person Shooters?

If you ask someone to name a current first person shooter chances are good you will get one of three or four responses.

  1. Call of Duty
  2. Halo
  3. Battlefield
  4. Borderlands, etc.

A question that has been coming to mind ever sense the poorly planned and even more poorly executed Battlefield Premium was unleashed to the world…

Is EA Dying a Slow Death In FPS Titles?

Who is really playing this game or any EA First Person Shooter (FPS) regularly at this point?

There is always the contingent of Battlefield elitists out there that believe (sometimes correctly) that Battlefield is superior to Call of Duty or Halo.  However, numbers don’t lie… and that could be what ends up bringing down Battlefield and perhaps EA’s FPS credibility.  If you look at the ratings last released by Larry Hryb (Major Nelson) that show the most activity on XBox Live for specific games it should make you skeptical about the longevity of Battlefield and certainly the next Medal of Honor game.

It isn’t really a question of if Battlefield is a good game (it is a great game) but a question of where it is going to go from here for a game that hasn’t really found a place outside of their niche group of dedicated community members like one of our subscribers The Masked Guard.  Will we get to a point where EA can overtake the juggernaut that is Call of Duty?  If they hope to make any strides in their FPS marketability they should make an effort to develop a game that isn’t devoted strictly to some sort of engine that hinges on blowing up buildings or terrain – especially in multiplayer.

The downfall of multiplayer in Battlefield goes beyond the growing amount of gamers that are playing it more like some sort of Call of Duty game with larger maps.  The reason Battlefield struggles to gain any real ground in the FPS race is because it lacks any real depth outside of leaderboards that mean virtually nothing.  Call of Duty and Halo have become more focused on individual gamers with the ability to modify and customize weapons, armor, insignias, etc.  Battlefield has fallen into some sort of in-between where they push for clans and teams but doesn’t really allow much outside of that.

Also, there is a big problem with their broken system of spawn points and spawn camping.  Bad Company 2 was terrible for this and BF3 has made few strides in making it any better.  If you are new to this game it could be very disconcerting to jump into a game where you get killed within your first ten steps every time you spawn.

What are you playing right now?  If it is Battlefield 3, please let us know how you feel about what is happening to the game from your perspective.  Are you looking forward to any FPS Titles?… are any of them from EA?

MW3 – SitRep and SitRep Pro – Quick Tip

One of the most under-appreciated perks in MW3 is one of the most valuable for everyone to master!

Happy Valentines Day to All Our Blood Stained Valentines Out There!

So, Valentine’s Day is this coming Tuesday.  It is in that spirit that I give you all an early gift of digital carnage.

Happy Hunting!

PS – Don’t forget to support your local florist and chocolate shop.  Unless you are a Noob without a sig other… In which case you are welcome to show us some love and donate. 🙂