#1 Edited by shivermetimbers (765 posts) -

I like the occasional budget shooter. You know the kind...The kind with brain dead AI, cheesy scripted sequences, fanfiction quality narrative, poor characterization, decent (albeit unremarkable) gunplay, short length, tacked on multiplayer, and a cool gimmick that make or may not be necessary and may or may not be completely functional.

I'm the scourge ruining the gaming industry, I know.

I have a few examples that range in quality: Wolfenstein (2009), TimeShift, Fracture, Singularity, Duke Nukem Forever, Bulletstorm, Fear 2....The list goes on.

Why do I like these games you may ask? They're pallet cleansers after a long day at work; something that gives me a little adrenaline boost without taking too much of my brain. They're also something that I can pick up and play without much to expect. And since these games are highly regarded as mediocre, not frustratingly awful, they have some endearing B-movie qualities that you and a friend can enjoy together. These games tell us that even a little effort can give us something modest. The gaming industry right now with its celebration of big budgets and everything has to be perfect mentality can learn a thing or two from these games.

What pisses me off is that these kinds of games are being marketed in such a way that suggests that they can stand up to the big boys of the industry. When in actuality, they're games where effort was little or disorganized. What also pisses me off to high end and is the kiss of death is when you charge full price retail for a game of this nature. You don't fucking do that. You just don't.

Today's punching bag is Aliens Colonial Marines, a (in my opinion) good example of a budget shooter that wants to stand up with the big boys and has a good license attached to it. Marketed with great enthusiasm claming love and reverence to its source material as a triple-A experience that's a must own for Aliens fans. *Spolier alert, it's not* It IS a nice little budget shooter with its own cheesy narrative and storyline, and an interesting little weapon customization system, decent gunplay, and some nice tacked on multiplayer for good measure. It's not a $60 worthy game, it's a $20-25 game. I get to shoot brain-dead Xenomorphs, cool, but if that's all the game has going for it, you don't charge higher than The Orange Box for it.

/rant off.

EDIT: I should note that I pulled the examples out of my ass and some may not 'exactly' apply as a budget shooter per-se. The real question I want to raise is video game pricing and marketing, which Colonial Marines seems to have problems with.

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Bulletstorm was dumb but it's a competent game with legitimately interesting mechanics that I feel was justified as coming out at full price.

Those other games? Maybe not so much.

#3 Posted by Jams (2960 posts) -

This looks like a, "What if Doom 3 got delayed until 2013" kind of game to me. That was the instant impression I got when I watched the QL and it only solidified it as the QL went on. At one point I even wondered if they used the Doom 3 engine.

#4 Posted by Aetheldod (3551 posts) -

Ho....hold on Wolfenstein was a good game ... right? D: Or I guess enjoyed it much more than I should? (lets be honest it presented a good gameplay variety and was NOT a COD clone .... so that is a billion + for me)

#5 Posted by Levius (1105 posts) -

I think Bulletstorm and FEAR 2 are a little better than mediocre but I get your point. I think the industry need variable pricing fast.

#6 Edited by razkazz (169 posts) -

Holy bad examples, Wolfenstein is a great game (it has an open-world central hub for chris'sakes), as is F.E.A.R. 2 and well all of the F.E.A.R.s. Bulletstorm is a big production and it's original and fun. Singularity is another fine product from Raven, most say better than their Wolfenstein but I disagree. The OP makes it sound like everything short of Halo, COD, & Gears is cheap and dumb.
A better term would be middle-class games, the category that most of my favorite games this gen fall under. And it sucks that the thinking of this thread isn't relegated to this thread because these games are disappearing.

From the footage I've seen, Colonial Marines looks way more messed up than most budget shooters. Yes, real budget shooters like Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, Legendary, and Rogue Warrior. At least in those games you don't walk through enemies.

I really want to believe A:CM is better than abysmal but this thread has done nothing to convince me.

#7 Posted by Alexander (1721 posts) -

I think Bulletstorm and FEAR 2 are a little better than mediocre but I get your point. I think the industry need variable pricing fast.

Games come down in price soon after release depending on sales, in that sense you can have your budget prices, provided the sales are slow.

#8 Posted by believer258 (11785 posts) -

Bulletstorm, Fear 2

Take it from someone who criticizes the hell out of the games he plays - these two are not "budget shooters" in the mediocre sense of the word. They're both really, really good games that deserve to be played.

#9 Posted by shivermetimbers (765 posts) -

Bulletstorm, Fear 2

Take it from someone who criticizes the hell out of the games he plays - these two are not "budget shooters" in the mediocre sense of the word. They're both really, really good games that deserve to be played.

I did mention that the games ranged in quality. I myself love Singularity and FEAR 2. Perhaps I shouldn't have added in the examples, as I admit, it was a little something I pulled out of my ass to try and show about what kinda game I was talking about. But they did fit the criteria of a game that was made with the brain-dead, short length, tacked on multiplayer set up I was talking about. They aren't mediocre, but they are samey with the exception of some nifty mechanic. Personally, I think Painkiller is a better Bulletstorm than Bulletstorm.

Mostly what I want people to get out of this is that video game pricing perhaps should be taken more into consideration than just automatically slapping $60 on something. Read between the lines a bit and you'll get there. :)

#10 Posted by MikkaQ (10283 posts) -

Yeah it's a little insane that they priced this at 60 dollars. Maybe they didn't have a choice after this much time and money spent, but they should have also recognized the lack of quality there.

#11 Posted by Morningstar (2150 posts) -

It's okay to like them, just not buy them at full price =)

#12 Posted by believer258 (11785 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Bulletstorm, Fear 2

Take it from someone who criticizes the hell out of the games he plays - these two are not "budget shooters" in the mediocre sense of the word. They're both really, really good games that deserve to be played.

I did mention that the games ranged in quality. I myself love Singularity and FEAR 2. Perhaps I shouldn't have added in the examples, as I admit, it was a little something I pulled out of my ass to try and show about what kinda game I was talking about. But they did fit the criteria of a game that was made with the brain-dead, short length, tacked on multiplayer set up I was talking about. They aren't mediocre, but they are samey with the exception of some nifty mechanic. Personally, I think Painkiller is a better Bulletstorm than Bulletstorm.

Mostly what I want people to get out of this is that video game pricing perhaps should be taken more into consideration than just automatically slapping $60 on something. Read between the lines a bit and you'll get there. :)

I never did like all the comparisons between Painkiller and Bulletstorm, they're two very different games as far as I'm concerned.

On the topic of properly pricing games, I definitely agree that there are a large number of games that absolutely shouldn't be priced at $60.

Have you played FEAR 3 yet? Now THAT's a mediocre budget shooter that I really enjoyed.

#13 Posted by Levius (1105 posts) -

@amatureidiot said:

I think Bulletstorm and FEAR 2 are a little better than mediocre but I get your point. I think the industry need variable pricing fast.

Games come down in price soon after release depending on sales, in that sense you can have your budget prices, provided the sales are slow.

By letting people wait for prices coming down publishers must be losing out on sales to pre-owned games. This makes B-Tier games even less profitable, and less likely to be made. It also means that games like Spec-Ops: The Line have unnecessary multiplayer modes wedged into the game as they try and justify $60 price points. I think being able to aim for $40 or lower would be allow for more interesting and focused games.

#14 Posted by Alexander (1721 posts) -

@alexander said:
@amatureidiot said:

I think Bulletstorm and FEAR 2 are a little better than mediocre but I get your point. I think the industry need variable pricing fast.

Games come down in price soon after release depending on sales, in that sense you can have your budget prices, provided the sales are slow.

By letting people wait for prices coming down publishers must be losing out on sales to pre-owned games. This makes B-Tier games even less profitable, and less likely to be made. It also means that games like Spec-Ops: The Line have unnecessary multiplayer modes wedged into the game as they try and justify $60 price points. I think being able to aim for $40 or lower would be allow for more interesting and focused games.

I guess there might be some loss as people lose interest, the initial sale period is the most important, but with something like Aliens, the investment, the cost of the IP and all of that, it was never going to be a budget title. It's just a game that had a lot of promise and in the end was mishandled horribly. I don't know what the budget was exactly, but in movie terms it clearly wasn't direct to video.

I wonder how in future as we go purely digital pricing will be handled. Looking at the prices set on Live versus what they are in store, certainly the prices don't seem to come down as fast as they do with physical media.

#15 Edited by Levius (1105 posts) -

@amatureidiot said:

@alexander said:
@amatureidiot said:

I think Bulletstorm and FEAR 2 are a little better than mediocre but I get your point. I think the industry need variable pricing fast.

Games come down in price soon after release depending on sales, in that sense you can have your budget prices, provided the sales are slow.

By letting people wait for prices coming down publishers must be losing out on sales to pre-owned games. This makes B-Tier games even less profitable, and less likely to be made. It also means that games like Spec-Ops: The Line have unnecessary multiplayer modes wedged into the game as they try and justify $60 price points. I think being able to aim for $40 or lower would be allow for more interesting and focused games.

I guess there might be some loss as people lose interest, the initial sale period is the most important, but with something like Aliens, the investment, the cost of the IP and all of that, it was never going to be a budget title. It's just a game that had a lot of promise and in the end was mishandled horribly. I don't know what the budget was exactly, but in movie terms it clearly wasn't direct to video.

I wonder how in future as we go purely digital pricing will be handled. Looking at the prices set on Live versus what they are in store, certainly the prices don't seem to come down as fast as they do with physical media.

Yeah, I don't think Aliens would ever be budget, the licence alone will get enough people to shell out the full price. In reality its more like an AAA title from 2008 horribly out of time. In the future you have got to hope the console manufactures, especially Microsoft, give publishers more free reign on pricing and DLC, as its kind of fucked on the xbox at least at the moment, but I doubt it.

#16 Posted by nutter (122 posts) -

I enjoyed Duke like I enjoyed some Domino's pizza. I know there are a dozen local places that make MUCH better pizza, but sometimes it's comforting to slum.

I paid for Duke with $3 in quarters, brand new, at Best Buy. There was an understanding there.

I've bought a number of bad games, and most are kinda okay. I enjoy them more than latter-day Call of Duty titles.

Aliens, though, constantly reminds you of what could have been. I've enjoyed the first few hours (in a Mystery Science Theatre sort of way), but they're heartbreaking, too.

Aliens is not a good game. But the beating it gives the license, and the glimpses into what could have been, make it the subject of such scorn. I think people are harping on it too much...there's some hyperbole out there. But it's still a title that's mediocre and heart-breaking at its best, and silly and busted at its worst.

I'll finish it and bring it back to Redbox...I'm glad I checked it out, even if it kinda hurts.

#17 Posted by maskedarcstrike (701 posts) -

@shivermetimbers said:

@believer258 said:

Bulletstorm, Fear 2

Take it from someone who criticizes the hell out of the games he plays - these two are not "budget shooters" in the mediocre sense of the word. They're both really, really good games that deserve to be played.

I did mention that the games ranged in quality. I myself love Singularity and FEAR 2. Perhaps I shouldn't have added in the examples, as I admit, it was a little something I pulled out of my ass to try and show about what kinda game I was talking about. But they did fit the criteria of a game that was made with the brain-dead, short length, tacked on multiplayer set up I was talking about. They aren't mediocre, but they are samey with the exception of some nifty mechanic. Personally, I think Painkiller is a better Bulletstorm than Bulletstorm.

Mostly what I want people to get out of this is that video game pricing perhaps should be taken more into consideration than just automatically slapping $60 on something. Read between the lines a bit and you'll get there. :)

I never did like all the comparisons between Painkiller and Bulletstorm, they're two very different games as far as I'm concerned.

On the topic of properly pricing games, I definitely agree that there are a large number of games that absolutely shouldn't be priced at $60.

Have you played FEAR 3 yet? Now THAT's a mediocre budget shooter that I really enjoyed.

I'm with ya on Bulletstorm but I don't really feel the same about FEAR2, I still loved the first one much more. That ending really ruined everything for me..

Can we put Condemned 2 in this category as well of being slightly above mediocre?

#18 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Its not a Budget shooter it is just a plain bad game.

The worst part being the demo game play they showed was not even in the game and was a full 180 from the true feeling of the game.

#19 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1726 posts) -


Can we put Condemned 2 in this category as well of being slightly above mediocre?

Hell no. Condemned 2 is goddamned incredible and calling it "slightly above mediocre" would be doing it a great disservice. Probably one of my favorite games of this generation.

#20 Edited by Gamer_152 (14070 posts) -

Well, I'm not sure games like Bulletstorm are really budget, and I don't think it's fair to say little effort goes into a game like this, but I don't think anyone's criticising Aliens: CM because it's a budget game, there are a bunch of games out there that didn't have a lot of money spent on them, but still get a lot of praise, the argument against CM is that it's just bad. I think there's a lot the bigger industry could learn from games done on smaller budgets, but a game like this isn't something I want them to take any lessons from that aren't about how to build a game that's not like CM. A B-Movie you can appreciate ironically or zone out during, but games are different. They require you to actively engage with them at almost all times, and bad games reward and punish you unfairly. This isn't just about the game being priced the way it is, I also wouldn't want to pay $25 for an experience which I'd find actively unpleasant.

Moderator
#21 Edited by SomeDeliCook (2291 posts) -

I really REALLY like low-budget and non-AAA shooters. I dislike FPS games like Halo and CoD but I find games like Legendary and Timeshift fun. I don't know why, I just always find FPS games by smaller studios more fascinating and fun.

I also really enjoy pure shooters like Fear over stuff like CoD where everything feels so scripted and almost like a shooting gallery

I go to Gamestop and buy really old FPS games for a few dollars all the time. Its a big stress relief

#22 Edited by Egge (446 posts) -

The excellent shooters Bulletstorm and Singularity do not belong in the same category as DNF, Fracture or Colonial Marines. That said, I'm currently having a lot more fun with ACM than I had anticipated - I guess going in with low expectations helps a lot - and on the wrongly labelled Ultimate Badass difficulty setting (which would be called "Normal" in any other shooter) the game provides just the right kind of challenge for the most part. The drab space ship environment early on was very forgettable but once the Marines go planetside the proper Aliens vibe ramps up considerably and the game gets at least as enjoyable as the venerable Doom Aliens total conversation (which of course was a much more revolutionary accomplishment in FPS design at the time of its release than ACM is now).

#24 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

Bulletstorm and FEAR 2 have unremarkable gunplay?

Ho....hold on Wolfenstein was a good game ... right? D: Or I guess enjoyed it much more than I should? (lets be honest it presented a good gameplay variety and was NOT a COD clone .... so that is a billion + for me)

You shouldn't need people's permission to like a game dude! You didn't enjoy it much more than you should have - there's no "should" here, no one put down rules for every game telling you how much you're allowed to enjoy them! You enjoyed it and that's all the matters :)