28 March 2011

Morning Vent, 28 March 2011 (My Ideal FPS)

 Shiny Vinyl GungalTM has really nice tats. Tats, I said.

[Blog's on semi-hiatus today as I'm away for the weekend. Be back in the swing on Monday or Tuesday, hopefully.]

    I'm on a life-long quest for perfection in a lot of things. (God brought me together with the perfect woman, my darling Effie, so I've got that covered for the rest of my life!) I'm always on the lookout for the perfect sidearm, the perfect cigar, the perfect single malt whisky, and the perfect FPS. I've settled on what I think is near perfection on the first three, but I'm still looking for that perfect shooter. What's important to me in a shooter?

    Gameplay: Whether single player or multiplayer, gameplay - the mechanics of how you get from here to there in the game - is paramount. The speed of the game has to be just right. Some games have variable speeds; the awesome Unreal Tournament 1999 had variable avatar speed. You could play the game at any movement speed you wanted. (Typically, I played at 150% of the default speed.) The Halo series, frankly, is too slow for me. I once read the MasterChief's movement speed compared to a 'cow knee deep in chocolate pudding'. Halo's movement speed is, no doubt, set at that leisurely pace for good reason. And I suspect the Halo 'Holy Trinity' of grenade, weapon fire, and melee strike are big parts of that reason.
    For me, the Call of Duty franchise is about right. A relatively quick movement speed, augmented by a limited sprint function, feels realistic to me. The Half-life series got it right, too, but it lacks one fundamental that CoD and MoH have: aiming down the sights. I simply don't like a game without ADS any more. I pretty much stopped playing the otherwise excellent Half-life spin-offs due to this.
    In any FPS, balance is the key: For single player, not too hard, not too easy. For multiplayer, weapons, skill modifiers, and maps have to be balanced for the game type being played. In both flavors of gameplay, the thing that has to be avoided at all costs is the feeling of being cheated. The two primary contributors to that feeling in single player are bad level design and incorrect difficulty levels. A lot of games cause needless frustration for players by being too obscure in clues on how to proceed in a level.

   Game Trailers Black preview from 2006

    In Black, (whose GameTrailers preview is above) for example, I spent a couple of days fruitlessly running around one map looking for an exit, retrying doors, replaying the level a few times. Finally, I relented and went on the internet to ask in a forum. The exit was in an air duct I'd run through a bajillion times, but it was up, above my head, where you had no hope of seeing it if you went through looking straight ahead. Whatever cues the level designers had put in were, no pun intended, over my head. On another level, I lost track of a stairway and ran back and forth for a while searching for the way back up to the next floor... Possibly all just cluelessness on my part.

Classic Game Room - Black for PS2 Review

Uploaded 27 March 2010 on InecomCompany

    Similarly, a game can cause enough grief for you to give up if a level is too difficult. I made it to nearly the last level of Black, but quit after repeated attempts to clear the level of powerful, armored enemies. My health, armor, and ammo were all too low to put up enough of a fight to finish them off. And the payoff value for starting over from scratch on the level just wasn't enough for me. I put the game down and never picked it up again. 

Black Gameplay (Xbox)

Uploaded 29 April 2008 by PickHutHG

    For multiplayer, the cheated feeling is more about perceived fairness. Although I was a pretty avid Halo 2 player, Halo 3 was a major turnoff largely because of one thing: The change to the game mechanics of the melee strike. Bungie changed how the lethal strike was determined, and the result was that you would seem to get in a good melee before your attacker, but would end up dead anyway. To add insult to injury, you'd often see a 3rd person camera view of your bitchslapped corpse flying into the lower stratosphere afterward.
    No doubt there were good and sound reasons for whatever changes Bungie made. But, to me, after dealing endless numbers of bitchslaps in 2239 Halo 2 games, the Halo 3 melee just felt like a ripoff. It wasn't long after Halo 3's rebut that I rediscovered Call of Duty on the consoles and never looked back.

    Teamwork: Likewise, except for Free-for-All, teamwork is a critical multiplayer feature. It's largely ignored by players who engage in Team Free-for-AllTM, instead of whatever game type they're actually supposed to be playing. But, for players who like the give and take of a team-based game, promoting and rewarding teamwork is essential. Valve's Team Fortress series, through its class-based system, did a fantastic job on this. The variety of player classes gave everyone something to do to contribute to the win. Even someone lagged out on a lousy connection on the PC's Team Fortress Classic could contribute by being an engineer and repairing armor, dispensing ammo, and building sentry guns.

    Community: A game franchise benefits from having a thriving community. Bungie, of course, has developed this to an art form. Online stats give you a continuing sense of accomplishment, new challenges to take on, and whatever bragging rights you want to take away. Bungie also has a track record for giving back and being generous. They recognize when gamers do something extraordinary with a Bungie property. They listen well, tho cannot always act on what players are bitching about... Other games - CoD comes to mind - have a sort of community - but, IMO, it hardly merits the name compared to the sort of community fostered by Bungie. Moving on...

No comments:

eXTReMe Tracker