Thursday, June 30, 2011

Killzone 2, the Call of Duty series, and FPS's in general

I've never been a huge fan of FPS's. My general attitude towards FPS's is that all I really need is to find the best one and pop that in once in awhile for some cathartic murder of strangers.

And Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare pretty much nailed it. I put many, many more hours into that game than I would have expected, and didn't even mind so much that my skills made me like a child playing in a grown-ups world (ie, I died... a lot). World at War and Modern Warfare 2 followed so quickly that I pretty much skipped those two, as I often do when i feel a game company is trying too hard to part me from my money. I did borrow a friends copy a few months back to play the single-player campaign for Modern Warfare 2....I have a hard time imagining how anything could top it at this point. Shortly after Black Ops came out, I knew I was going to have a lot of time on my hands, so I bit the bullet and bought it. Haven't played the single player yet, but the multi-player was a blast until the PS3 outage killed the joy. But the Call of Duty series is just about everything I could ask for. The three I've mentioned are all hands-down five star games in my opinion.

Now, about ten years ago... between Starship Troopers and Halo and Stargate Universe, I thought "space marines" (in this case, I'm using it as a generic term for any military-sci-fi fiction, regardless of whether it takes place in space or whether the military branch in question are marines) was one of the coolest concepts around and would never get old. When I popped in Killzone 2 last week I said, "Oh, no... not Space Marines again."

At this point, a new FPS has to give me something different... a good story would be sufficient. But another half-assed space marine story isn't going to cut it. Or something different in terms of gameplay, such as the over-the-top kills that Bulletstorm is promising me if I give it my time.

To be fair, this is part two... maybe part one on the PS1 felt a little more original in terms of both story and gameplay, and the sequel. I also started playing Halo 3 recently on my roommates X-box. I'm not blown away, but I'm definitely more entertained than with Killzone 2. Is Halo that much better, or is it lingering fan appreciation from the second game?

And to be even more fair, under different circumstances I might have seen this game through... there's nothing really bad. But it all comes down to this: whenever I play this, I'd rather be playing Black Ops. Or Halo 3 on my roommate's Xbox. I have such a backlog of interesting games that a game this average isn't going to hold my attention long enough to give it a fair review.

With the recent release of Duke Nukem, I remembered my multiplayer experiences on FPS's of the old, and realized that I'm missing something: the chase. Back in the day, it wasn't one-shot kills unless you managed to find a pretty badass weapon. It would take a few shots with our pistols.. time to run away, regroup, maybe catch that guy chasing you by surprise. Then the health bar died and 'realism' came in, and so it's become a game of who can get the shot first.

But the flip side of the chase that I don't miss is strafing. I don't even hear the term anymore, so younger gamers may not even know what that means. If you are one of those gamers, strafing technically refers to moving left or right without actually turning the direction you're facing... but in FPS terms you would be moving sideways in a circular motion to get in a position where you can fire shots at your opponent from the sides or behind where he can't fire at you. Of course, he's trying to do the same thing, and so you're both doing donuts around each other while wildly firing your weapons at the same time. Well, for me it was wildly, because I was never that good. Maybe it was child's play for the FPS surgeons.

This picture came up while I was seeing if there was a good google search image for strafing. I felt morally obligated to post this because this is a beat, uh, I can't touch.

Since I can't have one without the other, maybe that type of gameplay is better left in the past. But since 'throwback' is the word that keeps getting used with Duke Nukem, and since story-wise it will give me an entertaining story at best or at worst, a brief bit of nostalgia before I get bored and go back to stabbing people in AC Brotherhood again, I've got to give Duke a shot. Hail to the king, baby.

But I think I'll really scratch that itch when Twisted Metal comes out in October.


  1. im not rich, i cant afford it :<

  2. Epic strafe.

    As for the other games, there's honestly too many FPS out there. At some point, company's are going to realize that there's only so much room for online multiplayer and to just focus on the single player story, ala Dead Space and Bioshock.

    I'd rather have 10 epic single player games with no multi than 50 with terrible single player and mediocre online since nobody plays anything not named Gears, Halo or COD (on 360 of course).

  3. yea, it's hard to have a unique twist on FPS games.

  4. perfect dark is the best fps.

  5. Good info, I don't know much about FPS games.