Killzone 3 and the FPS

For this entry, there may or may not be spoilers about Killzone 3.

After learning more about the Xbox One and how it always comes with a Kinect, I decided my initial console will be a PS4 (I've had each of the 3 consoles the last two generations, so I wouldn't be surprised if I end up with all of them again). More importantly, I don't want to risk missing out on whatever Naughty Dog's next game is.

I realized, however, that I had never played a Killzone game before, so I set out to correct that by purchasing that Killzone collection that came out recently. I also wanted to see if the new Killzone for PS4 will be worth purchasing based on their past games. I played a little bit of the original Killzone, decided I wanted no part of playing something that looked and felt so archaic, so I skipped to 2. I didn't have much of a problem with it, but I decided I should just go with the most recent one because it would ostensibly hold up the best (not that Killzone 2 doesn't hold up, mind you, but I was trying to create some sort of justification in my head).

So I just beat Killzone 3, and I've come to several realizations. I don't yet know how to best structure my thoughts and have this not be some awful rambling piece, but I'll do my best.

First of all, I'm starting to realize more and more that I'm sort of done with FPS games. It's good for multiplayer (more on that below), but I don't think it's particularly good for single-player experiences, and that's typically what I'm after. I can't quite put my finger on what I look for in games, but if I had to start making a list, I'd include these things:

1) Something new/unique (at least to me). Killzone didn't have this at all. I sat down to figure out how many FPS games I've played over the past couple of years (specifically, since the beginning of 2011 - I've been keeping track), and it's around 16 or 17. This doesn't leave a lot of room for any one FPS to stand out as unique. Maybe Killzone 3 has the unfortunate distinction of being the most recent in that large group, but I can't help not seeing anything in there that I thought was cool.

2) Some sort of crafting/leveling system. I'm not proud of myself for this, but I have to admit it - if the game is good and it implements one or both of these systems well, there's a good chance I can get hooked for a while. I can't tell you how much time I wasted in both Skyrim and Oblivion with the crafting systems. I can't even explain how I spent so much time with them, but I did.

3) Extremely tight gameplay. This might not even be the best way to describe it, and it might not even be a thing that hooks me, but it's the only way I can describe why I've spent so much time playing Super Meat Boy. I've gotten 100% on the game twice (according to the achievements, anyway - I know there's still more to do in the PC version). Killzone's gameplay isn't not tight, but I think Halo's gameplay feels better, and those games are definitely starting to wear out their welcome. So Killzone isn't hooking me this way.

4) A vivid and well-realized world. The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite did this well, which is why I enjoyed both of those. Killzone 3's world was pretty good, but not more than any other FPS I've played. I thought Bulletstorm's world was more interesting than Killzone 3, and that game was super unforgettable.

Which brings me to my thoughts about multiplayer, and what I thought might be the main gist of this blog entry (but I see now that I've already written a fair amount, so maybe it isn't). I don't typically play multiplayer in games. I can't explain why, because it isn't as though I don't find it fun. I think it's more that I'm looking for a new experience when I play a game, and grinding out levels in Halo 4 doesn't provide that. Also, I feel like I want to play more different games rather than spend a lot of time on one game, so there isn't much room for multiplayer. I spent a LOT of time playing World of Warcraft, and I missed a lot of good games during that time, so I don't want to risk missing something really cool because I'm spending my time shooting people in the same handful of maps over and over again.

Since I don't much care for multiplayer, how much of a chance does Killzone 3 have to stand out to me? I haven't read a lot of reviews of it, but most of them I glanced through talked about how multiplayer is where it's at. So, my main takeaway from this game and my thoughts surrounding it are that I need to be wary of games where multiplayer is the main draw or a significant part of the draw. Related to that, I think I need to start avoiding most first person shooters. They're generally pretty short and relatively fun, but I think most of them aren't designed to appeal to someone looking for a tight single player experience. I don't think Killzone 3 is a bad game by any means, but it isn't a game for me. I sort of wish I gave a crap about multiplayer so I could give that a go, but I've long since moved on to other games.

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Killzone 3 and the FPS

For this entry, there may or may not be spoilers about Killzone 3.

After learning more about the Xbox One and how it always comes with a Kinect, I decided my initial console will be a PS4 (I've had each of the 3 consoles the last two generations, so I wouldn't be surprised if I end up with all of them again). More importantly, I don't want to risk missing out on whatever Naughty Dog's next game is.

I realized, however, that I had never played a Killzone game before, so I set out to correct that by purchasing that Killzone collection that came out recently. I also wanted to see if the new Killzone for PS4 will be worth purchasing based on their past games. I played a little bit of the original Killzone, decided I wanted no part of playing something that looked and felt so archaic, so I skipped to 2. I didn't have much of a problem with it, but I decided I should just go with the most recent one because it would ostensibly hold up the best (not that Killzone 2 doesn't hold up, mind you, but I was trying to create some sort of justification in my head).

So I just beat Killzone 3, and I've come to several realizations. I don't yet know how to best structure my thoughts and have this not be some awful rambling piece, but I'll do my best.

First of all, I'm starting to realize more and more that I'm sort of done with FPS games. It's good for multiplayer (more on that below), but I don't think it's particularly good for single-player experiences, and that's typically what I'm after. I can't quite put my finger on what I look for in games, but if I had to start making a list, I'd include these things:

1) Something new/unique (at least to me). Killzone didn't have this at all. I sat down to figure out how many FPS games I've played over the past couple of years (specifically, since the beginning of 2011 - I've been keeping track), and it's around 16 or 17. This doesn't leave a lot of room for any one FPS to stand out as unique. Maybe Killzone 3 has the unfortunate distinction of being the most recent in that large group, but I can't help not seeing anything in there that I thought was cool.

2) Some sort of crafting/leveling system. I'm not proud of myself for this, but I have to admit it - if the game is good and it implements one or both of these systems well, there's a good chance I can get hooked for a while. I can't tell you how much time I wasted in both Skyrim and Oblivion with the crafting systems. I can't even explain how I spent so much time with them, but I did.

3) Extremely tight gameplay. This might not even be the best way to describe it, and it might not even be a thing that hooks me, but it's the only way I can describe why I've spent so much time playing Super Meat Boy. I've gotten 100% on the game twice (according to the achievements, anyway - I know there's still more to do in the PC version). Killzone's gameplay isn't not tight, but I think Halo's gameplay feels better, and those games are definitely starting to wear out their welcome. So Killzone isn't hooking me this way.

4) A vivid and well-realized world. The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite did this well, which is why I enjoyed both of those. Killzone 3's world was pretty good, but not more than any other FPS I've played. I thought Bulletstorm's world was more interesting than Killzone 3, and that game was super unforgettable.

Which brings me to my thoughts about multiplayer, and what I thought might be the main gist of this blog entry (but I see now that I've already written a fair amount, so maybe it isn't). I don't typically play multiplayer in games. I can't explain why, because it isn't as though I don't find it fun. I think it's more that I'm looking for a new experience when I play a game, and grinding out levels in Halo 4 doesn't provide that. Also, I feel like I want to play more different games rather than spend a lot of time on one game, so there isn't much room for multiplayer. I spent a LOT of time playing World of Warcraft, and I missed a lot of good games during that time, so I don't want to risk missing something really cool because I'm spending my time shooting people in the same handful of maps over and over again.

Since I don't much care for multiplayer, how much of a chance does Killzone 3 have to stand out to me? I haven't read a lot of reviews of it, but most of them I glanced through talked about how multiplayer is where it's at. So, my main takeaway from this game and my thoughts surrounding it are that I need to be wary of games where multiplayer is the main draw or a significant part of the draw. Related to that, I think I need to start avoiding most first person shooters. They're generally pretty short and relatively fun, but I think most of them aren't designed to appeal to someone looking for a tight single player experience. I don't think Killzone 3 is a bad game by any means, but it isn't a game for me. I sort of wish I gave a crap about multiplayer so I could give that a go, but I've long since moved on to other games.

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Introduction and The Last of Us

Every once in a while I start thinking I should write some blog entries about video games. I don't know why I feel this way - I don't expect anyone to read what I have to say, and I don't think what I have to say is particularly novel or unique.

That being said, I feel like writing about something lets my thoughts about the subject flow differently, and I like having a (relatively) succinct collection of thoughts on a matter.

I plan to do this once a week, and I'll focus on one of the games I'm playing at that time, assuming I feel the game is worth talking about and I have something specific to save about it. Because I don't want to limit what I'm going to say by attempting to talk around spoilers, there will be spoilers. I'm thinking about the game for this entry - The Last of Us - and while I don't foresee any need to talk specifically about how the game ends, I will be mentioning specific scenarios, possibly including the scenario that leads up to the end.

I liked The Last of Us. Quite a lot, actually. Probably more than I liked Uncharted 2 or 3 (I never played the first). My problem with it, though, is the same problem I had with the Uncharted games, and it's a problem I have with some other games. I can't think of an easy way to describe it - I could say the enemies don't behave realistically, but that's not quite right. They do and they don't. I think I could describe it as enemy behavior not being realistic on a macro level, or even better, to say enemies don't have realistic reactionary behavior.

For whatever reason, I don't feel this way with a game such as, say, Call of Duty 4. Everyone seems to think that game was swell, but I thought the campaign was pretty forgettable. I don't remember anything about it - to me it was a bunch of faceless military dudes shooting other faceless military dudes, and I had no connection to them. Since I had no connection, I didn't really think of anyone as a believable person. Of course enemies would stupidly pour out of wherever and try to kill you, because those characters aren't real and couldn't be real. You're a military guy and you need people to shoot. Whatever.

Naughty Dog games, in contrast, create very believable main characters and believable worlds - so much so that I expect everything about the games to be realistic. I thought The Last of Us was going to be better than the Uncharted games with regards to how enemies behave, but unfortunately, they were mostly the same. No matter how many enemies you kill, they keep coming after you.

Maybe this is a silly thing for me to get stuck on, but I always do, and I always try to look past it, but I can't. When you're playing as Ellie and are trying to escape from the town where she was held, and then playing as Joel and trying to get to town to find her, I keep expecting enemies to spot either one of them and say "fuck this, these two have killed at least 50 of our men, I'm getting the fuck out of here." Also, how do these groups of bandits have so many people, and how are they so disposable?

Again, maybe it's a petty complaint, and I don't level it at many games. I almost feel like it's unfair for me to feel this way about The Last of Us but not about Halo 4. In both games, you're mowing down absurd numbers of enemy troops. Halo 4's story is mostly nonsense, though, and the world looks nice, but is hardly believable.

I don't want this to come across as me not enjoying The Last of Us. Like I said, I enjoyed it a lot. When I start feeling this way about a game, I think it's a testament to the game's world-creation that I feel it should be a more realistic place. And in the end, I completely understand that you have to have gameplay, and unfortunately, that oftentimes means shooting. In the last level of this game, where you're fighting through the hospital and the myriad of guards who apparently have no concern for their own lives, what would you be doing as you're trying to get to Ellie? I'd be happy with puzzles, or maybe stealth, or maybe trying to talk your way to her, but I don't know how well that would go over with people in general.

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