Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Journey into Modern First-Person Shooters

A Journey into Modern First-Person Shooters
by Ben Winterton

                The other day a rather good friend of mine asked me why I play so few first-person shooters, to which I indignantly replied that I am in fact an avid FPS player, and that indeed some of my favourite games are of that distinguished genre. He then examined my Microsoft Gamertag, which yielded rather different results.

                Apparently, I have played “Bioshock”, “Bioshock 2” (sigh…), “Halo 3” and, for my sins, “Brink”. That’s it. Hardly the raging plethora a hardcore shooter fan can where on his chest with pride. Especially since these games are, respectively, amazing, horribly disappointing, pretty good and infuriatingly shit (Okay, maybe a little harsh on “Brink”, but it was boring and unfair). I realised I was suddenly and unexpectedly ill-equipped to give my two penn’orth on the modern FPS scene. Yes. My two penn’orth.

Rareware! See Look! I'm cutting edge! Right? Right? RIGHT!?!!?

                Gone were the days where “Timesplitters” was a current franchise and reflecting on how underrated “Perfect Dark” was demonstrated a current gamer, rather than the ramblings of a man who covertly collects N64 games. Rather, I realised I needed to…“Blastcorps”, that’s another Rare game people overlook. Sorry. Ahem.

                I realised I needed to get back “into the scene”, as it were. So, I’ve set myself a goal. I’ve purchased a whole bunch of FPSs that have seemingly been pretty big, either in critical terms or as sales successes. So my next couple of gaming months will most likely consist of: “Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood”, “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”, “Halo: Reach”, “Borderlands” and “Crysis 2”. Yeah. I was starting to worry that there were not enough one-dimensional, gruff, stoic, male protagonists in my life. I guess I have Square-Enix (or, as I think everyone should call them, “Squenix”) to blame for that.
Borderlands? Don't you mean "Bored-of-la.." It's shit just play Fallout 3

                So, what do people think? Have I made the right call here? As part of this, I played through “Bulletstorm” and found it enormous fun. Regrettably, however, it was enormous fun in the “lasts a week and you never play it again” form, and I worry that’s what might happen. I think one of my big reasons for avoiding these games is the fear that they have left me behind. Multiplayer can now consist of hundreds of players, rather than up to four. My rivals’ skills are not just the level of my immediate gaming social circle. Also, when did inverting aim become the exception, and not the rule? I feel like I’ve turned up to military school with a pike and a musket, and the drill sergeant is laughing at me for not understanding how things work nowadays.

                I want to know what FPSs people think it is important I should play to get back into things. I should make it clear that possess “The Orange Box”, but that the 360 servers are dead for “Team Fortress 2”,that I’ve beaten “Portal” innumerable times and that “Half Life 2” makes me feel physically sick. No, seriously, it gives me massive motion sickness. I don’t know why. Yes, I am gutted I can’t play what is widely considered one of the best games of all time. Screw you body; looks like it’s another night of pizza and poor hygiene for you as a punishment…

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