In recent years, though, the appeal of FPS games has waned with me greatly. I’m not a huge fan of Call of Duty, Homefront, or Killzone, and the more experimental games such as Bulletstorm didn’t really strike a chord with me.
After enjoying Crysis 2 far more than I thought I would, I started to think why, exactly, the FPS genre has become so hit and miss with me, but that game stood out. And then I realised: with the rare exception (such as Crysis 2), FPSers don’t actually exist any longer, at least compared to early classics in the genre – they’ve been largely replaced with what is better described as light gun shooters.
|So much has changed since these days|
The modern FPS typically uses the following formula – cut scene, travel down linear path, bullet ballet, cut scene. The corridors that you’re travelling down have limited scope for exploration, and little room for strategy – the duck behind objects mechanic is there to be sure, and you might even be able to cloak and heal allies, but for the most part you’re being led by the nose from encounter to encounter.
The light gun genre does exactly the same thing, just without the ability to move back and forth. You’re still ducking behind cover. You’re still moving from set piece to set piece.
But the comparisons run deeper. The single player mode of most modern FPSers is only a couple of hours long… exactly the same length as a light gun game. Three hours is somewhat acceptable when you’re paying by the dollar. For $110 (in
), that’s not so reasonable. Australia
In multiplayer, the genre has also experienced a fundamental shift that has left it almost unrecognisable. Although nominally from the FPS genre, modern shooters introduce a host of new features that have taken the genre far from the skills it originally required. Perks and unlocks introduces a kind of RPG grinding; the modern focus on team-based shooting requires a level of strategic thinking that the simple “retro” games lacked.
Early era FPSers were about twitch reflexes, understanding weapon balances and map layouts. It’s a different experience to the modern FPS which is about teamwork, killstreak rewards and ‘levelling up.’ It was a more simple time, to be sure, but the ‘sport’ of being good at a FPS game now requires different talents to what it once did. And for someone that happened to enjoy the early-era FPS, this has left me somewhat cold.
Of course, the modern “FPS” has a very large fanbase – that’s why we keep getting more new entrants into the genre. But it’s also a very different genre to what it used to be, and much more closely related to lightgun shooters to the FPS of old.