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Op Ed

The Tech Report - Modern shooters and the atrophy of fun.
Since the days of Doom and Quake, we've seen shooters take quantum leaps in graphics, writing, voice acting, and just about everything else—except for gameplay. Somehow, gameplay hasn't evolved. It hasn't gotten more fun or more engaging or more interesting. Instead, it's atrophied into a bland rut, to the point where big-budget shooters feel just like old light-gun arcade games (Virtua Cop, House of the Dead, and so on). Players are still stuck on rails, still made to gun down easy target after easy target, pausing only to reload and to watch cut scenes. Today's visuals and stories might be Oscar-worthy, but the interactivity still feels like tasteless filler.

Shooters could be so much more. Instead of trivializing combat, they could make fights less frequent, longer, and more memorable. They could reward players for acting rationally when outnumbered—hide, flee, or die. Shooters could, when appropriate, encourage problem-solving and exploration over brute force. Hell, why couldn't they have players decide how the story plays out? But no, that's all too much to ask. Studios and publishers seem to have forgotten that games are supposed to be games, not CG films with playable action scenes.

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9. Re: Op Ed Apr 6, 2013, 11:08 KS
 
They could reward players for acting rationally when outnumbered—hide, flee, or die. Shooters could, when appropriate, encourage problem-solving and exploration over brute force

Then why are games that did this, like Tomb Raider, moving in the opposite direction by dropping that and becoming ever-more button-mash shootfests? And console-stye ones at that?
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Apr 6, 2013, 04:29 eRe4s3r
 
entr0py wrote on Apr 6, 2013, 00:58:
I'd be willing to bet the writer is complaining that the game isn't challenging, while playing the entire thing on normal mode. Normal is the new easy. With any modern game, if you don't want a cakewalk, you need to start out on hard and see where it goes from there. (you can also edit an ini file to unlock insane right away)

On hard, I died plenty of times, had to use cover and retreat occasionally, ran out of ammo frequently, and needed to select appropriate vigors for the situation.

It definitely could have done with more battles in large open areas. But the ones that were there were great fun while they lasted.

Yeah, the end battle was really really fun, right, RIGHT?

The game wasn't challenging because of "difficulty" it was challenging because certain battles (Bossbattle after Museum, the entire end "storm" and the battleship battle were horribly designed. And the game even FORGETS TO TELL YOU a boss battle is coming up (The Museum battle (which was MAJOR, 50+ enemies))

The 2 weapon system does the rest. I only won the "boss battle" at the Museum by cheesing it with Elizabeth's support. She threw me rocket launcher ammo 3 times Bless her.
 
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7. Re: Op Ed Apr 6, 2013, 01:52 Cutter
 
Ever listen to David Bowie's Modern Love? It's a good tune.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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6. Re: Op Ed Apr 6, 2013, 01:46 Optional Nickname!
 
killerpony wrote on Apr 5, 2013, 22:23:
I didn't think this opinion was particularly insightful.

You would expect something more substantive and sophisticated than that trivial pedestrian grumbling passing as a Tech Report Editorial.

Using System Shock 2 as an FPS benchmark is flat-out wrong. Bemoaning mass-appeal in FPS game mechanics is obvious and simple minded.

There are numerous buzz-kills in modern FPS shooters in the specific area of game-mechanics of which he doesn't even attempt to mention.

 
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5. Re: Op Ed Apr 6, 2013, 00:58 entr0py
 
I'd be willing to bet the writer is complaining that the game isn't challenging, while playing the entire thing on normal mode. Normal is the new easy. With any modern game, if you don't want a cakewalk, you need to start out on hard and see where it goes from there. (you can also edit an ini file to unlock insane right away)

On hard, I died plenty of times, had to use cover and retreat occasionally, ran out of ammo frequently, and needed to select appropriate vigors for the situation.

It definitely could have done with more battles in large open areas. But the ones that were there were great fun while they lasted.
 
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4. Re: Op Ed Apr 6, 2013, 00:16 Beamer
 
Probably a good time to point out that, having finished BioShock Infinite, I decided to finally take the shrink wrap off Homefront.

Oh man, what a harsh transition.

Homefront is so unpolished it's painful. The icon for autosaving is a CD. Seriously? Not only is it unoriginal, but the CD isn't even involved in that process. Subtitles are often several seconds ahead of dialogue, making "look out over there!" pointless. And they often disappear far too quickly to read. Plus they're in the middle of the screen, not towards the bottom (virtually everything is floating kind of towards the middle instead of anchored to an edge.) One point in the game I died about 20 straight times because, while there's a grenade indicator, it gives you no clue of distance, nor do you have much room to run in. Will it not hurt me or will it kill me? Only one way to find out! Tons of guns, without any way to know the difference. Towards the end of the first mission you're told to take control of... something. I think it's supposed to be a big reveal, but it's done so poorly, and totally confusingly, as I thought it was an enemy at first.

Wow. The firing feels ok, but nothing else is done at all well.
 
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3. Re: Op Ed Apr 5, 2013, 23:55 Creston
 
There was a time when I bought basically every FPS that came out for the PC, unless it was already known to be an absolute piece of shit.

Now, I buy MAYBE one a year, and it has to be something special, like Borderlands 2 or Far Cry 3 for me to be even interested.

In single player, shooters have become absolutely crap.

Creston
 
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2. Re: Op Ed Apr 5, 2013, 22:23 killerpony
 
How can you condem shooter gameplay in general but only talk about single player?

There are some points in this article, but overall it shows a shallow understanding of shooters. I didn't think this opinion was particularly insightful.
 
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1. Re: Op Ed Apr 5, 2013, 21:57 PropheT
 
But...they don't put in hide, flee, or die because while that might be more realistic it's not much fun as a game. So, because the game is being a game and not a CG film, that's exactly why you spend a lot of time fighting what often winds up being trivial combat....otherwise it'd just turn into cutscene after scene with a trivial amount of actual gameplay in between.

Players don't decide how the story plays out because every if/then variable entered into the mix requires development of a separate game path to house it. Even games that do offer choice offer a muted one, or are old enough that most of the effect on it was just a variation on a text box.

I can't help but feel he's talking about Bioshock Infinite here anyway, in which case it's sort of a moot argument. It's pretty well loved, very well received, and while the gunplay in it might be average the game as a whole isn't. I wish I'd had more effect on the story, too, but that's a gripe about gaming in general and not about shooters.
 
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