By cstrang 18 Comments
After I finished playing through most of the fantastic releases that came out this fall, I decided to go into what I call "summer drought" mode in order to get myself through my Christmas vacation. "Summer drought" mode is what I call it when I go to New Egg or any retailer website and look for decent, cheap games that I may have missed. This behavior is more common in me during the summer, when the gaming releases tend to dry up, hence "summer drought".
In any case, in this round of frivolous spending I picked up F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, TimeShift, and Viking: Battle for Asgard. While I found Viking to be enjoyable over all (though not free from certain quirks of its own), I found myself a bit more bored with TimeShift and FEAR 2. I wondered to myself "What is it about these two games that I dislike? What makes them less good than Call Of Duty 4 or Modern Warfare 2 or Borderlands?". With that question in mind, I have found my list of FPS Commandments, a list of guidelines for FPS. It's acceptable to break one or two, but three or more and the game spends the rest of eternity in my gaming hell.
So, here we go:
1. Thou Shalt Not Make Regular Enemies Bullet Sponges This is one of the things that bothers me so much about so many FPSs lately. I should not be pumping whole clips of my assault rifle into guys before they go down. One to five bullet(s) from me, depending on point of contact, should mean death for whatever is on the other end. Increasing difficulty should not increase baddie health, it should decrease my health, and increase the number (and proficiency) of my enemies. This is not to say the game shouldn't have stronger enemies. I have no problem with a much harder enemy appearing a dozen or two times throughout the game.
2. Thou Shalt Respect the Headshot This goes hand-in-hand with Commandment One, but the two are not mutually exclusive. The commandment is simple: If a baddie takes a bullet in the brain, the baddie must die immediately.
3. Thou Shalt Have a Unique Visual Style I don't like bland games. Photorealism is one thing, but total lack of design and art direction is another. Make sure there is something that "Wow"s me visually. It could be nice looking explosions, special effects, or just the art direction in general.
4. Thou Shalt Have Variety, Variety, and More Variety I don't like crawling through the same corridors over and over again. I don't like using the same weapons over and over again. I as a stereotypical FPS fan, have a poor attention span. You need to be switching things up for me to stay interested. Change what I kill, what I kill with, where I kill, and how I'm killing.
5. Thou Shalt Not Be in World War 2 Seriously. Stop making World War 2 shooters.
6. Thou Shalt Have Perfect Hit Detection Sniper rifles are pretty accurate. Not 100%, but pretty fucking close at fair ranges. If a dude's head is in my sniper rifle crosshairs at a decent distance and I pull the trigger, I expect one more notch in my rifle butt, not the dude looking at me with huge anime eyes, as if he were saying to himself "Well, shit, that was a close one". I'm looking at you Medal of Honour: Airborne.
7. Thou Shalt Have an Appropriate and Thought Out Cover SystemThis one seems like kind of a no-brainer, and it's pretty easy to pull off. Either do the pure "hide behind wall, pop out and shoot" deal or go for something a bit more complex. But if you try to do something more, make sure you test it out. If you do the "stick to walls in 3rd person" thing, a la Rogue Warrior, make sure you can pop in and out of cover effectively and quickly. If you do the "hide behind boxes or whatever other object that isn't a wall, pop out and shoot" thing, I strongly recommend having a way to go prone, or cover that is taller than the player when the player is couched. EDIT: I feel as if people don't understand what I really mean when I say this. FEAR 2 had this thing where you could knock over tables and other objects for cover, but those objects were never really tall enough to offer real protection and there was no prone mechanic (to my knowledge). I don't need any additional cover mechanics in my FPSs. Give me the ability to go prone and I'll find cover. I'll hid behind walls without a "snap on" feature. But if developers decide to do the whole "snap to cover feature", they should test it out, make sure it works properly, and probably add a blind-fire.
8. Thou Shalt Have Be for Longer Than a Few HoursThe assumption by developers is that the player is paying $60 for the game. The game should be longer than a, say, 5 hours, or 3 movies, counting both multiplayer and campaign experiences. Anything less is bordering on a ripoff.
9. Thou Shalt Have Something Unique in Thy GameplayThere should be something that sets the game apart from other games in the genre. There are a lot of ways to do this, from special player abilities (which usually seems to be some sort of time slowing), an upgrade system, customizable weapons, set pieces, or [gigantic] bosses. Walking around and shooting just doesn't cut it anymore.
10. Thou Shalt Have a Swift and Powerful Melee AttackMelee attacks should be quick, strong, and have a decent vertical range. I use melee attacks when I find someone has invaded my personal bubble. I don't like people in my personal bubble. Melee attacks should be quick (meaning, the knife should be plunged into invader quickly), and they should mean instant death for the person on the receiving end, a la Call of Duty/Modern Warfare.
And these are my Ten Commandments of First Person Shooters. I also prefer my games (regardless of genre) to have at least an attempt at a story. Keep in mind, there are FPSs that have excepted themselves from this list, such as Borderlands, and these are my personal preferences for what I look for in Shooters, and I find that Shooters that violate more than a couple of these rules I never finish playing. TimeShift and FEAR 2 both violated commandments 1, 2, 7, and 10. I finished them, but only because I was bored, and I didn't want super low gamerscores in my log....