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What happened to first person shooters?


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I can't seem to find any that I like these days. I mean Half-Life was great, I always enjoyed playing Enemy Territory, Jedi Outcast, and I'm sure there were a few others that I liked, but for years now every one I've played just hasn't resonated with me (with the possible exception of HL2).

I've tried several of the recent CODs on rental and I don't think I finished any of them. Homefront I finished but wouldn't have if it had lasted any longer. I'm playing Spec Ops The Line at the moment and it's a little better, but I wouldn't buy it after renting. Sniper Elite V2 is just boring.

I still like a lot of third person shooters - MGS is my favourite series of all time, I had a lot of fun with Max Payne 3 recently etc. Is my enjoyment really swayed by a camera angle or have FPSs become lacking?

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you have Crysis that isnt bad COD and BF are more built to multi online gaming now as are allot of the First person shooters tbh , Crysis is pretty decent but if you playing on PC need a very good rig to play it . Other then that i have not really seen any good ones there is a few out there but not many good ones .

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On the Crysis note, I played the first Far Cry on PC and thought it was a good game, but I sort of stopped having fun with it after a while. Far Cry 2 on PS3 just didn't seem to be very good. Too much schlepping around with nothing to do, repetitive missions, AI with X-ray vision etc.

I can't see Crysis running on my laptop and Crysis 2 for PS3 doesn't look particularly special.

Far Cry 3 is on my lovefilm rental list for when it's released, though.

For some reason I never tried Bioshock or its sequel. I might rectify that when I get the chance.

I also realised when posting this that I haven't played HL2 Episode One or Two yet.

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The Half-Life 2 episodes should be the next on your list, for sure.

Another one you might try out is Red Orchestra 2. It is much more tactical and deliberate than the Call of Duty games, and I love it. I also really enjoyed Metro 2033 - it has a great atmosphere and story for a shooter.

Have you played the Dead Space franchise? As a bonus, they're 75% off on Steam today (if you play on PC).

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All FPS games I see now tend to be war based and it's lame. I'm not a massive fan of FPS anyway but it's still lame. Black ops is the only war FPS I can play and that's just online with friends.

I think the problem is story - a lot of the campaigns on these games are just dull. First person shooters need something more than just shooting and I think that's why games like Half Life and Bioshock are more appealing. I've also got a soft spot for L4D which I think is great because it has much more of a team element, even though it's lacking a real campaign story.

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I love the Bioshock games, definitely recommended.

All the HL2 games are great as well and in that vain the Portal games are also amazing (although not truly shooters I guess).

One I played recently that was a good bit of fun was Bulletstorm. Pretty simplistic on the story front but the gameplay is great fun (scoring points for stylised kills).

I think the problem I have with modern FPSs is the short play time. Thankfully a lot of them drop in price pretty quickly but I just can't see the justification of paying £40 for a game that lasts about 8 hours. Of course this is compounded by the prevelance of online multiplayer, a lot of games now focus on the multiplayer and its almost as if the single player is an afterthought. I'm the complete opposite, I'm all about the single player and don't really play much multiplayer, when I do play multiplayer I much prefer offline with some friends in the same room rather than online.

 

 

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Some of the points here are the major problem I had with Homefront. It had a lot of potential - it was written by the writer of Red Dawn, I mean come on. Wolverines! Yet the game lasted 4-5 hours and you were just a cog in the machine - you didn't even get to play as the hero, really.

Stories are seriously lacking in the modern war games. For starters, I find it difficult to root for the underdog protagonist when they have the latest weaponry and the might of the entire American military behind them, facing off against some villagers with AK47s (who are apparently flummoxed by all the chest high walls that are the staple of their architecture). Ie. the missions in several of them where you pick off people from above with either a helicopter or some high altitude aircraft that cannot possibly take any damage.

Compare to Half-Life where you are one scientist facing off against an invading alien force AND the military, you don't have someone shouting over a headset telling you exactly what to do at all times, and at times have nothing but a crowbar to defend yourself with.

Then there's the fact that it is always either: Russians are invading/planning to invade America, better kill them all; or terrorists are invading/planning to invade America, better kill them all; or even Russian terrorists are invading/planning to invade America...

At this point I'd welcome a return to the era where every other game was set in world war two. Then we can enjoy playing the same few battles over and over like we used to. Normany landings, invasion of Berlin, maybe a mention of the fact that stuff happened in Africa. That was all of WW2 right?

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well what do you like about the FPS genre? What sort of things are you looking for in a FPS game? story? mechanics? multiplayer? you say you can't connect with the protagonist of most FPS games, is this because most FPS games have a tabula rasa main character who you barely, if ever, see? Gordon freeman is no different than the characters of bioshock, doom, or CoD except for he is called Gordon Freeman and is referred to as a scientist. so this would suggest you want a more engaging plot; character motivations are important. i find it hard to believe you could like (or love) FPS games and not enjoy the latest CoD games, even at its worst the game features a distinct and developed plot.

personally, i find "why aren't there any good games anymore" arguments frustrating, because no one really explores what they enjoy about games, or why they play, or how the idea of a game might be more enticing then it's actual gameplay. wanting challenge, or wanting a proper story? spec ops: the line, which you said you are currently playing, is being praised from all corners as being somewhat revolutionary, blurring the 'mechanics as metaphor' line and delivering a unique and challenging experience. you can go check out yahtzee or extra credits if you're interested to read more on that. but one of the most poignant moments of that game happens in a "mission... where you pick off people from above with either a helicopter or some high altitude aircraft that cannot possibly take any damage". this mechanic is not without merit, and can't just be written off as worthless. why does a game include this sequence, what are they saying to the player, what don't you like about how this mechanic is used? These are the questions you need to ask, not "why don't they make this game not suck".

i get the feeling that the games have not become worse, but that you're tastes have changed. maybe you don't enjoy the same things you enjoyed years ago, and maybe you want to try something different, something not offered by the FPS genre. or maybe you're just bored of looking down gunsights for hours on end. you asked "Is my enjoyment really swayed by a camera angle" and the answer may very well be yes. not just because it changes the way you view the game, but because it changes the game at a fundamental level. its no longer YOU, you're playing a character. you're interacting with said character as a proxy to experience the narrative, it adds new layers to the game and the nature of play. it's not better or worse, it's simply different. a different view, a different set of controls, a different concept, a different experience.

maybe a few more of those wouldn't hurt.

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I got my 4 yr old trained to kill Nazi's using CoD; Brothers In Arms. I've even trained him that "the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi".

I hate Nazis!!!

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well what do you like about the FPS genre? What sort of things are you looking for in a FPS game? story? mechanics? multiplayer? you say you can't connect with the protagonist of most FPS games, is this because most FPS games have a tabula rasa main character who you barely, if ever, see? Gordon freeman is no different than the characters of bioshock, doom, or CoD except for he is called Gordon Freeman and is referred to as a scientist. so this would suggest you want a more engaging plot; character motivations are important. i find it hard to believe you could like (or love) FPS games and not enjoy the latest CoD games, even at its worst the game features a distinct and developed plot.

personally, i find "why aren't there any good games anymore" arguments frustrating, because no one really explores what they enjoy about games, or why they play, or how the idea of a game might be more enticing then it's actual gameplay. wanting challenge, or wanting a proper story? spec ops: the line, which you said you are currently playing, is being praised from all corners as being somewhat revolutionary, blurring the 'mechanics as metaphor' line and delivering a unique and challenging experience. you can go check out yahtzee or extra credits if you're interested to read more on that. but one of the most poignant moments of that game happens in a "mission... where you pick off people from above with either a helicopter or some high altitude aircraft that cannot possibly take any damage". this mechanic is not without merit, and can't just be written off as worthless. why does a game include this sequence, what are they saying to the player, what don't you like about how this mechanic is used? These are the questions you need to ask, not "why don't they make this game not suck".

i get the feeling that the games have not become worse, but that you're tastes have changed...

I would argue that the games have changed, but in a way that makes them more specialized. Borderlands is a first person shooter, but is entirely story-focused instead of being about PVP. The straight up PVP ones have tended to take a turn for the plain old war-based, which disappoints me, as well, because I enjoyed the frivolity of the original Unreal Tournament. However, part of the reason they do that is because it provides a framework for having team-based gameplay; another reason may be because many younger gamers won't play games unless they're trying to be photorealistic, and the context of war provides a good outlet for that. There are still games like Quake Live, though, which do the free for all fragfest thing.

Game developers are constantly trying to switch things up, to mix game elements in new ways, and because of that the landscape is always changing. In conflice with that, as development costs rise (and they are rising quickly for the graphics heavy games), developers rely on outside sources for funding, and those outside sources care about making a profit over anything else.

So I would say that yes, FPS games have definitely changed over time. But they always have been. The first FPS game I played with a deep story was Strife, and no one even remembers that game anymore.

The questions about what you consider good, however, still stand. There are so many flavors of FPS that you really need to decide what you like about FPS games and look for games with those qualities.

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I would argue that the games have changed

Most definitely, but it's impossible to say FPS games have become worse if you examine the history of the genre. Almost every feature that people look back fondly upon can still be found in modern games, but there's a disconnect between remembering an experience and the mechanic that enabled it.

Take goldeneye for example. It was one of those brilliant, oldschool FPS games that brought deathmatch to the console. Many FPS fans would have fond memories of epic games spanning hours, remembering all the great times spent with a few mates running around as oddjob trying to slap each other up. but you couldn't actually aim in that game, the controller didn't allow you to move the crosshair independently of the character. you also couldn't strafe. on a mechanics level, the game was very limited. what made that game great was the experience it fostered; local competitive play.

The take away here is that what made that game good was who you played it with. If you had no friends to play it with, there's a good chance you didn't think that much of it. If you heard about it now, and booted it up to play some single player, would you even make it past the dam before you got bored? This 'classic' no longer compares, it's mechanics simply too outdated to offer the same experience modern FPS games do. and if you've played any other form of deathmatch, then you won't understand why everyone loves the goldeneye version (beyond rulesets maybe, or if you have a high sense of anachronism/love for james bond).

On specialization, well this seems like it would be fairly obvious. Except, instead of 'specialized', i would say 'realized'. Modern FPS games, especially the good ones, have a strong understanding of the type of game they want to be. What experience they are looking to foster, how they want the player(s) to engage and interact, as well as the progression curve of play over a long period of time. which leads to this point:

development costs rise (and they are rising quickly for the graphics heavy games), developers rely on outside sources for funding, and those outside sources care about making a profit over anything else.

lets be absolutely clear that every professional in every business cares about making a profit. no profit means no business which means no job. selling games is the nature of the business, and they want people to buy their games. you know how they get more people to buy their games? by making them good. real freaking good. so good you want to play them more even after you rent it for the weekend. so yes, people want to make money "over anything else", but that's not the divide we should care about. the divide is between the shit developer/producer who makes a clone of whatever is currently popular (see CoD/battlefield clones), and the smart developer who makes a new, engaging, and realised experience (TF2, bioshock, borderlands, Spec Ops: The Line).

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AZSF - lvl 4 assassin

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Most definitely, but it's impossible to say FPS games have become worse if you examine the history of the genre.

Well, duh. What made you think I was trying to argue they've gotten worse? :P

lets be absolutely clear that every professional in every business cares about making a profit...

Well, yeah. But things I've read about the industry indicate that the publishers for the really big-budget games want a game to be good-but-not-risky, which means cloning and not trying new things. By contrast, if you look at some of the indie stuff that comes out, you get some very interesting games built around sometimes crazy gameplay ideas. Granted, not all of those would work in a big game, but I've definitely read stories about publishers nixing game developers' ideas or -- worse yet -- trying to get them to add things a game doesn't need just because it's a hot feature in some other game.

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Well, duh. What made you think I was trying to argue they've gotten worse? :P

Because i never said they hadn't changed, i said they hadn't gotten worse. Also this part: "which disappoints me". But it's neither here or there, i was just furthering my "games haven't gotten worse" argument, and tying it to your points on specialization and profits. ive also heard a few horror stories of publishers burying games, or forcing development funds away from mechanics and into gimmicky bullshit (like multiplayer modes in everything). but again, this is about good publisher vs shit publisher, not triple a vs indie development.

this kind of ties into the idea of games being more "realised", especially in the indie field. the budgets are smaller, so teams have to have clear vision of their product and what they want the player to get out of it if they want to succeed. the closest thing to an 'indie' fps is probably portal (which then released under valve for portal 2), tho whether or not you consider that a "shooter" is academic. valve is pretty much the gold-standard for "good publisher", especially with FPS games (CS, TF2), and portal 2s development was not hindered by being under a major publisher.

Horror stories or no, you can't just point at modern gaming being profit focused and say "thats why games suck". its tacitly untrue, and its the same as the OP whining that "everything now is terrorists want to invade america", in that it's a non-argument. talk about why you liked or disliked a game, not how you think the industry has lost its way.

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AZSF - lvl 4 assassin

STR - 9 | DEX - 12 | STA - 10.5 | CON - 7 | WIS - 8.5 | CHA - 1

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but one of the most poignant moments of that game happens in a "mission... where you pick off people from above with either a helicopter or some high altitude aircraft that cannot possibly take any damage". this mechanic is not without merit, and can't just be written off as worthless. why does a game include this sequence, what are they saying to the player, what don't you like about how this mechanic is used? These are the questions you need to ask, not "why don't they make this game not suck".

I have to say that after finishing Spec Ops: The Line, it was kind of what I was looking for in an FPS.

In Spec Ops, the mechanic we're talking about was used in a good way, as it served the plot. In some of the other shooters out there, you kill off people who can't possibly fight back in a God-like position of power and yet your status as the good guy is never questioned. The game cheers you on as if you're the underdog hero fighting oppression, yet it's the highly advanced weaponry of the richest military in the world against villagers with AK47s.

Also, I wasn't expected to pay £40-50 for a 4 hour campaign (thanks, Homefront) or being essentially sold a game on the back of its multiplayer (CoD, Battlefield, MoH). It wasn't perfect, but it was a lot better than any other recent offerings.

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Because i never said they hadn't changed, i said they hadn't gotten worse. Also this part: "which disappoints me".
Touche. I misread you. Being disappointed with the trend towards war based FPS games and thinking they suck are two different things, though. I just don't find them fun, but that doesn't make them bad games.
Horror stories or no, you can't just point at modern gaming being profit focused and say "thats why games suck".
I never said today's games suck. I think I'm not the only one misreading things, here. :P
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I don't like Battlefield or CoD very much single-player wise, although their multiplayer is really entertaining.

But for good single-player FPS games, I would recommend the Half-Life episodes which you're already playing, Metro 2033 (And eventually its sequel Metro 2034/Last Light when released), BioShock (Haven't played the second one so no idea if that one's good though), and right now I'm really enjoying the gameplay of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. And eh, I find the Halo franchise to be a pretty good FPS series as well!

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I never said today's games suck. I think I'm not the only one misreading things, here. :P

haha im definitely extrapolating out your points to make my argument, but i don't think we're really arguing so im okay with it xD i know what you mean about not finding games fun, i tend to get bored of games pretty quickly these days and want to spend most of my free time outside jumping over shit. but thats more of a shift in what i enjoy, not in the quality of the game industry. i think i mentioned that in a previous post, and its pretty common place.

I wasn't expected to pay £40-50 for a 4 hour campaign (thanks, Homefront) or being essentially sold a game on the back of its multiplayer (CoD, Battlefield, MoH).

This right here is probably the worst part of gaming right now. the cost doesn't match up to the experience. In australia, new XBOX360 and PS3 games sell for around 80-120$. To put down that kind of money for a game you may get bored of before coming even close to finishing, or for a game that was pushed out the door unpolished to meet deadline is borderline criminal. this is why i've almost completely switched to iOS gaming and buying old games on xbox live arcade, PSN or the Wiishop.

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AZSF - lvl 4 assassin

STR - 9 | DEX - 12 | STA - 10.5 | CON - 7 | WIS - 8.5 | CHA - 1

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so here's someone who has a lot to say on why COD:MW is a terrible game, and he says it very, very well.

Personally, i feel his arguments boil down to "its bad because it's for casuals", and not that its a game without tactics. Casual gaming in general or mechanics built with casual play in mind are not inherently bad or without tactics, they are simply easier to pick up, play, and put down. still, it's a thought provoking video, so im interested to hear what you guys all think.

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AZSF - lvl 4 assassin

STR - 9 | DEX - 12 | STA - 10.5 | CON - 7 | WIS - 8.5 | CHA - 1

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Yeah, it is more casual than other FPS, it does help "bad players" with death streaks, but I don't think the casual aspects break the multiplayer. Deathstreaks and regen health doesn't give such an advantage that an unskilled player can out play a more skilled player more times than not.

I don't think there should be a game mechanic that rewards bad or good players.

I play mostly Battlefield. Not a fan of Call of Duty any more.

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Personally, i feel his arguments boil down to "its bad because it's for casuals", and not that its a game without tactics.

Yeah, the comparison to party games for the Wii (which of course are for "old people and little girls") and the comments on the length of the segments certainly made it seem like that's his main objection. And given that the title is "Why Call of Duty isn't Good"...

I'm totally baffled by the casual=terrible thing - I'm not a fan of CoD myself, but for most of my friends who are, those things that he's mocking (that people play because "all my friends do" or that "each segment is 10 minutes long") are part of the appeal. I have a coworker who plays with his teenage son who doesn't live with him, I have friends who play in bits while their kid is napping, and yeah - the playerbase and the lack of time commitment are totally the point. Tearing down a game because of the fact that it appeals to those things is just mocking it because it appeals to people who have real life time commitments.

And the guy even points out that not all games of the same generation are like that, so it's not as though he's even making the "there are no good games/casual has totally conquered the market" argument, so it just leaves me thinking "Who cares?"

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I don't really play FPS any more. Last one I was involved with was Battlefield 3 (but that was generally playing with friends while I drove a tank). Mass Effect 3 has been the only game I've played all year that has a "shooter" aspect (I sure love mulitplayer on that). I have to get back into Alan Wake and then X-com comes out next month. If you find yourself bored with war games but want a FPS, I'd take Tocho's advice: Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I really enjoyed that one (because it wasn't JUST a FPS).

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This image sums it up pretty much for me.

fps-map-design.png

Most FPS tend to have action around every corner, with AI voice chatter and other things. You never get a calm moment to just explore either (there is nothing to explore when I think about it). I recently started playing Counter Strike : Global Offensive and it strikes me that the more simple a FPS is, in terms of design, the more fun it is. (for me at least)

I miss games like Thief, I really hope Dishonored is going to fill the gap.

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This image sums it up pretty much for me.

fps-map-design.png

Most FPS tend to have action around every corner, with AI voice chatter and other things. You never get a calm moment to just explore either (there is nothing to explore when I think about it). I recently started playing Counter Strike : Global Offensive and it strikes me that the more simple a FPS is, in terms of design, the more fun it is. (for me at least)

I miss games like Thief, I really hope Dishonored is going to fill the gap.

Counter Strike (all versions) to me is the FPS genre in its best form. Team based online play with no story line needed. It is just getting online and playing with a bunch of people. The one problem with it is that there are people like me that have played them since the original CS came out and are good so it has a steep learning curve to becoming a "good player".

Reach your limits and then surpass them.

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