I’ll confess… I love the first-person shooter (abbreviated with FPS) games a little more than RPG’s some days because of the fact that when I score a kill, I feel great from hunting my opponent down in game. I was schooled a little with Doom 2 and LAN games on the middle school’s networks… But my “formal” training was during the days of Quake (1996) when my friends would hijack my junior high (9th and 10th) school’s LAN just for us to play when we blazed through our school work faster than our inept peers in computer classes. This would even continue through my senior high (11th and 12th) years when I was in AP Computer Science class as well.
Through out the “training” I’d still get into the games that were coming out for home consumption. I know soon after Quake came out, I’d venture onwards. Quake 2, Blood, Hexen, Hexen 2, and then the Half Life series. When people began to modify the Half Life engine and came up with Counter-Strike, it got my attention. A game that was tactical and challenging in the FPS genre. For once, I couldn’t take the same tactics like I did with Quake and Quake 2 of going bat-shit insane. It make me a more tactful shooter fan… Then Unreal Tournament (1999) entered my world and made arcade shooters refreshing. It wouldn’t be until about late 2002 that my PC couldn’t keep up with PC gaming anymore. I lamented that day… I would then have my many years of Guild Wars to keep my sanity around, but that’s another story.
Then April 2009 hit and I built my gaming machine, Byakko. I would finally have a machine that was strong enough to play my Source powered games without choking on itself. From there… I began exploring what the new era of gaming had to offer me. The funny thing is… Nowadays, shooters have more cooperative modes than they did in the past. However… the fight over arcade style and realism style have still remained with even some blending. I know my initial dive would be Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead. Eventually… My dear friend Ivy (not my staff/guest editor, oddly) had said I needed to give Call of Duty a try, cause she’s rather fanatical about the franchise… So Ebongrey had surprised me one day with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and I admit… I was rather charmed by the tactical, yet arcade-style game play. Granted, military war simulations should be a little more tighter with tactics… but sometimes the casual part makes it nice for days you don’t want to get too involved in. While the Left 4 Dead franchise focuses on tactical gameplay with cooperative tactics (be you human or zombie team) and Team Fortress more on the arcade side. I sought for more. Borderlands caught my eye as a fun from merging the great part of an MMO (“phat lewtzing” or items) with a FPS game… Which brings to the main point: Where do I, Zero, stand on shooter games?
My dear friend Ersatz a while back had got me into Bioshock as he realized I do appreciate a good story. I spent close to probably 20 – 30 hours in Bioshock just absorbing story and finding secret weapon upgrade stations via the Fontaine Futuristics “Power to the People” machines. When Bioshock 2 came out this past February 9th, I played the ever living hell out of it. Sure, it took me 28 hours to complete the story, but probably one of the best stories I have ever played. The multiplayer is interesting, but as 2K had made a big disclaimer of that portion of the game was more bonus material than their primary directive. The short-comings of the multiplayer are (in my opinion) the flawed controls for PC. The story modes control set-up is great! It all makes sense… yet on the multiplayer one, they didn’t let you use those, it’s completely messed up. If you have a gaming mouse that has side buttons for your thumb and loved assigning commands in Bioshock 2’s story mode, the rude wake up call… Not usable in multiplayer. The mouse wheel is also not assigned by default to the duty of cycling through weapons like in story mode, but it’s designated to a key. The final issue is that servers and matchmaking are peer to peer while using the Games for Windows Live system to “match” you to appropriate players. For the fun moments I have had in it… It’s a refreshing arcade style shooter on the multiplayer side of the coin.
On the tactical side… Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has really wet my whistle on that front. The Frostbite Engine that powers the game’s environments is really something. The big thing that has really sold me on the series is the destructible environments as well as being able to try everything in the PC Beta as an incentive to pre-ordering. The ability to use vehicles and perimeter defense weapons are there much like many of the other Battlefield games. However, for a modern combat FPS simulation, I have reason to believe that it may possibly usurp the throne from Call of Duty (6): Modern Warfare 2 on the PC from the fact that there is a dedicated development team for PC. Rather than running the game from the xbox 360 version through an XNA translator and coming back out as a regurgitated console port for PC… The PC version of BC2 is its own animal compared to its console cousin. I like the 4 classes and how there are proper ways to use them. The whole ideal that kills don’t make a player and even tactical assists (healing, spotting, repairing) still score you points is great! Should EA and DICE really work hard to keep BC2 tight and clean, this may be the game that upsets Activision’s hold on the PC gaming realm with Modern Warfare 2. I think Hip Hop Gamer’s show (episode here) said it best…
I will say that Alien vs Predator gets an honorable mention, but I will shoot the technicality that you must have some aptitude for the movie realms to love it.
For my official stance on shooters… I do enjoy arcade style “twitch shooters” as well as the tactical side. I will say that the future of shooter games will really depend on how publishers market the games and as well as remix gaming mechanics.
Current Active Shooter Game Cycle: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 beta, Bioshock 2, Call of Duty: World at War, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2