The first person shooter is a classic genre. One that holds a special place in my heart.
The reason for this is simple. They feel more realistic than most other genres. After all, if you’re supposed to be the player-character, why are you constantly looking at yourself in profile, or at the back of your own head? We see things in first person in the real world, we should see things the same way in games.
Okay, some may argue that your field of vision in real life is a lot bigger than it is in the average FPS. But I really don’t give a shit.
This love goes back quite a bit. I remember playing the original Doom when I was a little kid. Only the first episode though because paying for that stuff was not easy. We didn’t have gaming stores back in the day. We had the shareware bin at Zellers, which had dozens of different games for a dollar each, but that was it. They actually should have been free, but you still had to pay for the media and distribution costs. Remember, this was the pre-internet days. Higgs, I’m old!
There was also the small computer stores which did repairs and sold accessories and software. But not a lot of games.
Anyway, back then first person shooters were simple. There really was no up or down, according to the game engine, and the entire game could be controlled through the keyboard using only six or seven buttons. At least until Quake, which introduced the Z-axis and revolutionized gaming. Now we needed the ability to easily look up or down. Enter mouselook, which allowed us to seamlessly aim and shoot with one hand, while controlling movement with the other.
Since then, controls for these games have evolved even further. Now, first-person shooters are ubiquitous on gaming consoles, which required a simplification of controls, and in my mind, has made them unplayable.
Recently, I was at a friend’s house with my fellow local bronies. We watched the (at the time) recently released brony documentary, during which I screamed “FUCK YOU!” at the Fox News cunts. Then we watched a few episodes of our favourite show, before switching on the Playstation 3 to play some PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a game which I found to be incredibly broken.
After most of the gang left, the rest of us played some Call of Duty 9: Black Ops II, and I quickly found that I couldn’t play it. I’m pretty good at first person shooters, but here, I couldn’t aim at all. I don’t just mean, I couldn’t aim accurately, I mean I literally could not control the camera. I just couldn’t. I would overshoot my target way too easily and end up spinning in a circle. I even had some directional confusion. Sometimes I got the target on screen, but then accuracy became the obvious issue and my friends are sadistic. But I love them.
Glad to get that off my chest. So yeah, console controls for FPSes suck. But on the PC, thanks to the mouse, they still work like a clock. Even a touchpad works wonders, which is why I’m sure many people will find great use for the touchpad on the upcoming PS4 controller. Though it’s not exactly ideally positioned.
Anyway, there’s one thing I’ve noticed about a lot of first person shooters. If they are not dealing with an international war, either World War II or something modern, they’re dealing with an alien invasion.
I guess it’s an easy plot-device. You can use it as an excuse to introduce really cool and exotic weapons, and have your player-characters slaughter thousands of bad guys without making them feel guilty afterwards.
But still, it’s overused. Can’t we change it up? What if our player-character had hitherto unknown superpowers that one can use in combat, and for puzzle solving? And what if these superpowers originated from some real-world mythology, and played into the game’s overall backstory!?
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to a grossly underrated game: Prey. Continue reading →