I took a week off from the Metal Gear Solid series this week to play some Rayman Origins on my vita and play Battlefield 3 on the PC. Rayman is still as good looking as it was last year and it a blast to play on the Vita. The controls are also really tight and satisfyingly floaty at the same time, and that along with the animations make you feel like you a badass at games. That game can get really challenging by the end especially if you are trying to collect every thing you can and when you finally nail a whole level flawlessly after you have been trying for a half hour you you feel like you accomplished something. The S rank I got in Origins is high on my list of S ranks I am most proud of.
However the main game I want to talk about is Battlefield 3 and its less so because of the game and more of my experience with it. Battlefield 3 is a perfectly competent game and if you're a fan of good shooters Battlefield 3 is definitely an excellent shooter but it does nothing to really innovate and bring in people who might have grown tired of the genre. What made it so interesting to me was that it is the first shooter I have seriously tried to play on the PC. I used to be above average in Call of Duty and Battlefield Bad Company on consoles and have been using a controller for games for the better part of 12 years, a controller is like a part of my body at this point. Long gone are the days of having to look at my hands to figure out where the button I need to press is. On top of that the shooter genre has become accustomed to standards control wise. So much so that if placed in front of most any shooter I, like most any gaming enthusiast, would be able to pick it up and be decent in very little time.
The main reason why I don’t play shooters on the PC is because of this change in control mechanism away from my comfort zone. It’s like someone who all of a sudden is forced to brush their teeth with their foot. It’s probably possible but they’re not gonna be very efficient or comfortable while doing it. At the same time, though I feel like it is important somehow to learn how a large segment of shooter fans prefer to play them instead of just writing the PC off as inferior. And I tell you it is an extremely humbling experience. I started off playing some of the campaign just to get a sense for how bad I was going to be and wow am I bad. Those days of having to look at my fingers are back even though I use a keyboard more than I use a controller using it to control a virtual set of hands is completely different than writing an article or typing in a web address.
I then tried some multiplayer and it took me 30 minutes to even get one kill and the only thing I could really do was laugh. On a console when I was good if I were to ever even go close to a negative K/D ratio I’d just quit and even now a days since I play to many different games to devote the time to continuing to stay that good if I have a string of like 5 matches where I go negative I’ll take a break but even then forcing myself to play almost 3 full matches without even killing one person is not something I ever thought I would be able to handle temper wise. The strange thing is I never really got mad the first kill was more of a goal or an accomplishment for me that evening.
But as I played more this week I started to get the hang of it. I quickly realised that a lot of the fundamentals from shooters on consoles carry over onto the PC, it is just how you perform those fundamentals that is the difference. You still need to check your corners, understanding the flow of a map is crucial. then understanding what you can see and what is able to see you at any given time, then training your fingers to just instinctively move properly is then just about repetition. At this point I am better than I was a week ago but I still have a long ways to go and I look forward to being able to hold my own and being able to play anything well regardless of platform. Its almost like learning how to drive a manual transmission. It may not be as easy and an automatic may or may not be a better choice in any given situation but being able to make the decision based off of personal experience and being able to drive any car is a nice skill to have if it is necessary.