|Slipping the Crosshairs|
|Posted: 17.06.2008 15:09 by||Comments: 8|
When it comes to most things I am in the minority. I understand it perfectly well; my tastes tend to be of the oddball variety, even amongst hardcore gamers who are not exactly in the mainstream themselves. Imagine my surprise to learn that like myself, 80% of gamers do not play First Person Shooters. I suppose I can’t really include myself in that number. Skimming through my games, more than one shooter can be seen tucked between the various RPGs, Adventure and Strategy games that make up my collection. When I get a new magazine, or sift through the mounds of gaming news that floods the internet each day, I don’t skip over FPS games as I do with some other genres. I just wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the genre. A casual acquaintance perhaps, I dab in them, but for the most part, unless something special catches my eye, I maintain a disinterested distance from shooters.
How much has really changed since this?
There are just some things about them that don’t do it for me. I find the game play to be repetitive. It’s a charge that can be made of most any genre if you look at things in the most basic sense, but with other genres I usually have to devote some time to the intricacies of each individual game. I have never had much of a problem just jumping into most shooters. What really is there to learn? Even in most modern shooters, that are easily light years ahead of the games that spawned the genre, the core of the game play is always placing the crosshairs on whatever baddy might happen to cross your path and pumping them full of virtual lead. You can usually count on starting off with some basic weapon, shortly after that you’ll find a slightly better weapon (likely a shotgun), and so on and so forth until you find a rocket launcher and beat the game.
As much as some shooters have evolved, this constant mechanic tends to bore me. I feel that more has been done to diversify other genres than has been done with shooters, While I understand there is a limit to just how much can be done in each particular genre, sometimes I think that many shooters get by solely on good visuals and multiplayer.
The focus on multiplayer is easily my biggest gripe with FPS games. It is not that I think multiplayer is a bad thing. Most certainly, in most any style of gaming, good multiplayer options can greatly enhance the value of a game. The single player portion of a game might end, but as long as there is an active online community a game can remain interesting far longer than it would otherwise. The problem is that for beginners, multiplayer in FPS games can be particularly relentless and unforgiving. I have been playing games for years and am in no way a novice, but I don’t play online very regularly and on the occasions that I do, I tend to be beaten far more often than I win.
Maybe it’s just because I don’t put enough time in. Often I’m matched up against people who have played literally a hundred times longer than I have. Knowing that fact, however, doesn’t prevent the game from being any less frustrating, and I don’t have the time or the willingness to sit around consistently getting my butt kicked while I go through the seemingly necessary learning process. Maybe it’s because my reflexes are awful. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a grenade land at my feet, or an opponent appear right in front of me and it seems to take me three times as long to react as everyone else. Grenades don’t wait for you to run, and in two seconds it takes me to open fire I’m usually already dead.
Perhaps multiplayer just isn’t for me. The truth of the matter is that often, I am much more comfortable playing through the single player campaign, and genuinely enjoy that more. This preference brings with it a slew of frustrations. Anyone who has paid attention to FPS games as of late has noticed that while there is usually a single player mode they have become, and look to be, continually overshadowed in prominence by the multiplayer modes. Case in point, for all the massive praise Call of Duty 4 garnered from critics and players alike, the single player campaign, though quality was reported as being markedly brief. Knowing that that would likely be my favored part of the game, and not wanting to pay that much money for something as short as I had read it to be, I passed on the game.
There are just some things I prefer about a single player campaign. It is easier than online play obviously, a computer opponent, no matter how advanced can never really simulate the mannerisms of a human player, but even that is of minimal importance. I just tend to enjoy the feeling of playing with a purpose. I am the type who plays games for that sort of thing. Obviously, I take pleasure from the actual playing of the game, but generally speaking my experience is diluted when there is no purpose behind the grenade I just threw, beyond scoring some kill points. Super realistic physics and destructible environments, the seeming future of shooters are all great things on there own, but for me, they are insignificant when compared to the sort of innovation that shooter’s like Bioshock represent.
So I suppose I dislike shooters because as good as some of them can be in the story department, few tend to put enough effort into it to merit my time. And for that reason, the few FPS games I have are more than enough. If I want a game, with unique game play and an enthralling narrative I’m probably not going to be seeking out a First Person Shooter. For those moments when I feel the urge to mindlessly blast away at something, well, I have Resistance: Fall of Man and it serves the purpose well enough.