First Person Shooters

I don’t talk about video games very often on my site because I don’t play them nearly as often as I used to. Part of the reason for this is a lack of new games that I find appealing. Once in a while I come across a gem like Red Dead Redemption or Bulletstorm but most games have little appeal to me (unless it’s a MegaMan title, I’ll play any game with that label on it at least once).

First person shooters are a genre I used to love but become disenfranchised with over time. Part of the reason for this is the games have become more “realistic” in some ways and far too easy in others. For the most part shooters that let you carry every damned gun in the game are gone and instead restrict the player to carrying a measly two weapons. Is this more realistic? Sure. Is it more fun? No. It almost broke my heart when I first played Duke Nukem Forever only find that since his previous adventure 12 years ago Duke somehow forgot the skill of storing 10 guns on his person.

The other trend in shooters that has created boredom for me is the concept of magically regenerating health. Like restricting the player to two weapons, regenerating health is part of what I call Halo syndrome. No matter how many bullets your body has been riddled by if you can manage to hide behind cover for 10 seconds all will be fine again. Two problems arise with such a system; first it removes 90% of the challenge once found in first person shooters and second it removes any consequences from using poor tactics. I like knowing if I did something overly stupid I’m going to be punished for it which will better ensure I’ll learn my lesson.

During the start of this dumbing down phase of first person shooters one title was released that I absolutely fell in love with, Serious Sam. Serious Sam can be best summed up as Doom with far larger battles and better graphics. It was not uncommon in Serious Sam to have single battles last for minutes on end with, literally, hundreds of monsters being tossed at you. Best of all you could carry every gun in the game at all times (which you needed as you started running out of ammo for any single gun during common battles) and your health didn’t magically regenerate after finding cover for ten seconds.

It should go without saying that I’m completely psyched for Serious Sam 3 which a writer at Ars Technica was able to play a pre-release copy of. His report on the game makes me realize I’ll probably have to upgrade my graphics card so I can play this when it’s released. The game seems to be nothing more than a clone of Serious Sam 2 which was a clone of Serious Sam which is exactly what I want (I’m a huge fan of the MegaMan series, needless to say I’m completely OK with games that are basically clones of previous titles).

If more shooters were like this I’d probably still find time to play video games more often than I currently do. I never enjoyed the titles like Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, and their ilk as they tried to be somewhat realistic (I said somewhat, I know they’re not realistic overall). I don’t play video games because I want a realistic portrayal of combat, I play video games because I want to pilot at 30 meter tall walking robot with fucking guns for arms. I can’t do that in real life because, sadly, our scientists fail to see the need for 30 meter tall walking robots. Likewise I can’t fly a spaceship, carry 10 guns, or deploy and orbital ion cannon on an enemies construction yard in real life so I have to relegate such desires to video games.

Here’s to titles like Serious Sam who give the finger to realism and focus instead on pure fun and enjoyment. I would love to see such titles flood the market but alas I’m doubting that will happen again anytime soon.