All About mastermetal777
Its no secret: the First-Person Shooter (FPS) is one of the most popular video game genres ever. With numerous AAA franchises like Battlefield, BioShock, Call of Duty, Halo, and Killzone, the genre doesnt seem like its going to go away any time soon. Now, Im not the biggest fan of the genre myself, by any means. Ive never really been able to pinpoint why, however. What about these types of games turns me off so much? To understand my issue with the genre, we have to look at every aspect of the FPS and figure out why I dont much care for shooting aliens, soldiers, or anything else that moves.
When it comes to the gameplay, you pretty much know what to expect. The gun youre holding is right in front of you. You can sprint, crouch, and toss grenades, all that good stuff. Taking cover is essential if the enemies arent completely brain-dead. There are cramped corridors that emphasize quick reflexes, and there are open areas that serve as arenas for giant set-piece battles. All of these things can be expected within the FPS. Some games like to mix it up a little though. Call of Dutys fast, frenetic pace allows for an increased level of intensity and reflex. Halo and Killzone play slower, but also have intelligent enemies that force you into hiding on more than one occasion, and force the player to plan out strategies on the fly.
Most titles like to add little bits of variation into the gameplay, like a cover system in Killzone, and elemental powers in BioShock. Most titles are copycats of each other, however, stemming from a well-known template. You know what to expect gameplay-wise, so it becomes mundane that players dont feel the same level of excitement that came from playing all the big-name titles. This is one of the reasons why the FPS genre doesnt interest me. If I find Im going to be playing another Halo clone or Call of Duty copycat, I know what Im getting into, and I dont bother with it at all. In turn, these clones make me see the shortcomings of the original titles, and turn me off from them completely, even after playing and somewhat enjoying them at first. But in all honesty, as long as the game is functional, Ill still give it a chance.
That being said, theres not really much developers can do to spice up the gameplay. Sure, recent titles like BioShock Infinite added little tricks like the skyline, and Far Cry 3 adds RPG elements that add perks to make the game easier, but they both still follow the same basic FPS formula. If anything, the formula has become dated as a whole. How else can developers depict shooting someone? I dont think theres a lot of new ways, to be honest, without attaching other genres onto it, which doesnt necessarily assist the evolution FPS part at all.
As much as I talk about the gameplay, what really immerses me in a game is the story. This is where most modern FPS games are severely lacking. Now, mind you, there are a lot of FPS titles that have outstanding stories with some impressive themes. BioShock is a social commentary on the human condition amidst the background of a Randian dystopia. Far Cry 3 challenges the player to understand the depths of ones inner demons and how far redemption can truly lie. Many other titles are included among these, but I wont list them all.
The rest of the pile, however, doesnt even bother with a good narrative. Battlefield tries to capture the brutality of war, but suffers from stiff voice acting and clichéd dialogue. The Call of Duty series, while impressive in relaying the war is a necessary evil message, suffers from uneven pacing and a few WTF moments that make no sense in relation to the gameplay. Halo is a sci-fi shooter that shows very good technological and philosophical depth, but lacks in the human department when it comes to the human characters, of all things (Cortana is the most human of any character, and shes an AI). Killzonebarely has a story to begin with. As impressive as the action and visuals are, the stories of most FPS games seem to always fall flat in some area or another of the typical narrative structure.
So then, why do I constantly find myself playing these games, in spite of their now dated overall gameplay and limited amount of truly epic stories? Well, not only are headshots immensely satisfying, but theres just a sense of gratification in clearing out a mass of fifty well-trained soldiers and aliens all on your own. Taking a shotgun and clearing a room is brutal, but awesome. Sniping an annoying rocket launcher just makes you clench your fist in a yes victory pose. The satisfaction from killing these usually competent enemies just keeps me going. Add in multiplayer, where taking down a skilled gamer amplifies that feeling, and you understand why I, as well as other doubters, continue to play these games.
This is the problem, as we know what we like and continue to buy games within the comfort zone of the FPS, and avoid those that attempt to chance the formula in general. If youre used to the way Call of Duty plays, youll avoid anything that plays like Halo or BioShock or whatever else feels different. The thing is, they all pretty much play the same at the core. Sure, the buttons are different, the pacing is changed, and the gun weight is varied, but each game is still powered by the same gameplay philosophy, with a few exceptions here and there. Once these problems can be addressed, only then can the shooter truly evolve into something better than itself. Until then, youll just have to settle for bland stories and gameplay you swear youve played before.
Been playing some Assassin's Creed III lately. And honestly...I feel I need to increase the review score I gave it from a 9 to a 9.25. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I've had friends tell me that the game doesn't feel like it was in development for almost 5 years. I can see where they're coming from, but I have to respectfully disagree. Think about the time it took to try and retell events from that period in history, to perfectly map out areas like Boston and New York and the frontier areas. Even the coastline areas where the naval missions take place had to at least resemble the coasts as they looked back then. This, along with the accurate representations of famous Revolutionary figures, makes me think they put more effort into this game than the initial impression gave off.
Also, I never felt that I was hindered from taking to the rooftops as many reviewers claimed (I've done a bunch of rooftop runs without the guards ever coming after me). All I do is just kill any guard I see with my arrows, just like I did with rooftop guards in the previous games. The graphics might not be that great, but graphics were never the series' strong suit to begin with. They never really did anything mind-blowing with the animations, textures, and lighting, it just stayed relatively solid.
People say there are too many glitches in this game. Okay, it bothers me how Skyrim got away with this while AC3 didn't, but that's another story. I found some of the previous titles to be just as glitchy before they got patched, and I never heard anybody complaining about them. Why is it that this game just barely escapes the free pass that the previous titles got? Makes no sense to me.
The side missions are fun, the busywork is rewarding once you know how it works, and the weapon variety is awesome. Some would argue you don't need many weapons aside from the first ones you get, but the blame there has to be put on Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. That was the first game that introduced chain-killing, which basically destroyed any need for extra weapons apart from your starting ones, in my experience.
Also, the Desmond part of the story. Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest: I didn't mind the ending. Yeah, it was disappointing to me, but not for the reason you might expect. I won't spoil it for those who haven't played, but the disappointment mostly stemmed from the game's apparent lack of decent pacing. The ending felt a little rushed. It should've been a whole other Desmond mission to get to that end part. Maybe then people wouldn't complain so much, I think (doubt it though). I felt it made a strong case for itself considering the backstory within the Desmond moments. I can think of very few loopholes that don't necessarily tie to the ending so much as the series as a whole. The ending was a solidly written one, and finished off Desmond's story without sacrificing who his character was, like so many games seem to do lately. It might not have been the absolute best ending, but I didn't feel as disappointed as most people claim.
In short, I enjoyed Assassin's Creed III very much. Maybe it's not the best in the series, but it's still very high up there. Yeah, I can see why people would be disappointed, but I view it in a different way. Everything made sense, the mechanics were smooth, the attention to detail was great, and the overall story was very solid and graceful, barring the awkward pacing of the whole ordeal.
A day at the fair is usually nothing special. There are tents with stuff to buy, games to play, and a few demonstrations from the town genius. For Crono, however, it would be the start of a new adventure. After bumping into a girl with a mysterious pendant, he and the girl run towards his best friend Lucca, whos showing off her latest invention: a teleporter. After the demonstration on Crono works without a hitch, the girl, whose name is Marle, quickly volunteers to test it out. However, her pendant flashes the moment the machine is turned on. A spark of light shoots out of it, tearing apart the space-time continuum and sending Marle off into God knows when. Crono takes it upon himself to save the girl he just met, and in doing so will uncover events that could potentially cause the end of the world.
The beginnings of Chrono Trigger are enough to keep anybody interested. The game starts off simple enough. By the time youve begun to understand the complexities of its time travel rules, however, the game opens up in both story and content, creating a game that keeps you at the edge of your seat with fingers firmly on the controller. Tragedy unfurls, characters are found and lost, and the seemingly irrelevant things that most video games take for granted are those that cause the most important changes. This is what Chrono Trigger offers, and its what makes it a terrific one.
The story offers time travel in a way that, though familiar, is easy to follow and never dives too far out into the paradoxes that time travel comes with. Its a game that uses the device for the adventure, not the implications, and its all the better for it. What drives the plot the most, however, is the cast. While Crono is a silent protagonist, the rest of the cast is very vocal. From Marle, the girl you find at the fair, Lucca your best friend, and a slew of other characters that become part of your main party, each character is well-written and have personalities that make them feel right at home in their respective timelines and the ones they encounter. They all develop well as the story progresses, and never feel like stereotypes or annoyances.
Chrono Trigger follows basic JRPG rules when it comes to gameplay, with a few noticeable differences from its cousin franchise, the Final Fantasy series. Gone are the random encounters, for one. Every enemy you fight is right there on the screen, along with a few ambushes. Youre never taken to a separate battlefield, making the combat flow much better than most Final Fantasy games of the time. This also allows for some battles to be avoided altogether, should the need arise.
If stuck in a fight, however, its still pretty simple to use. You have an attack command, an items list, and a tech command, which are basically special moves that use up MP (magic points) for magic spellsboth restorative and destructiveand specialty moves. You can even use two characters at once, combining two of their techniques to make harder hitting combos. This allows for dynamic combat flow, and really brings about some of the games great 16-bit visuals.
Speaking of which, the graphics of Chrono Trigger are really some of the best that the Super Nintendo had to offer. Using the color palette to its fullest, Chrono Trigger is one of the brightest, most colorful games Ive ever seen. It could even enter some dark and grim areas whenever it had to, but the awesome environmental detail was there to make up for it. Hell, even the character models are rendered beautifully and dont look the least bit off or frighteningly distorted. Even the animations are smooth for what they are, and the sprites used in combat are flashy, vibrant, and arent overdone to where theyre a strain on the eyes. Every area and level you go through is well detailed and designed, with nothing being too confusing or insultingly simple, even though it is an RPG.
The audio design is grand as well. I rarely feel the need to comment on audio in a game, since for the most part developers know what theyre doing in this department, I think. Chrono Trigger, however, deserves special mention. When an enemy gets hit, it feels like you hit them. Every attack has memorable sounds, and even the atmospheric stuff like water falling and wind blowing is done very well.
Even better is the musical score of the game, which has some of the best music tracks ever created in video game history. Its spiritual successor/sequel Chrono Crosss score may be a bit better in terms of quality, but Chrono Triggers score is marvelous. From the epic main theme, the jazzy ocean palace theme, and even the sinister theme of the antagonist, each tune in Chrono Trigger is expertly crafted and helps push the game to new emotional heights.
The best features about this game, however, are the dynamic qualities of the story. Events will change depending on certain tasks you complete or things that seemingly have no importance, like saving a little girls cat, helping a woman grow a seed in a dystopian universe, and even allowing one character to have their revenge. These things change Chrono Triggers story drastically, and can even give or take away some important items.
The real prize, however, is when you defeat the final boss. All your actions culminate into an ending that varies depending on whom you take to the fight and when you fight in context to the story. This allows for multiple endings. Even the new game plus feature, which allows you to play the game once again at the levels you ended at, gives more incentive to play this game multiple times through. Its these unique aspects that push Chrono Triggers story that much more into the emotional range.
In all, Chrono Trigger is a masterpiece. The dynamic story, the loveable characters, the simple yet awesome gameplay, and the amazing attention to detail in both graphics and audio/music all make this game a flat-out joy to play. Ive played through this game a few times, and admittedly havent gotten all the endings yet (still working on that). Even still, there are so many amazing and memorable moments that I dont care how often I see them happen. This is a game for the hardcore RPG fan, and Im proud to call it one of my all-time favorite video games.
My Recent Reviews
May 12, 2013 3:32 am GMTmastermetal777 reviewed Final Fantasy XII and gave it a score of 8.0
Apr 22, 2013 3:25 am GMTmastermetal777 gave Resident Evil 6 a score of 4.0
Apr 22, 2013 3:22 am GMTmastermetal777 gave Halo 4 a score of 8.0
Apr 22, 2013 3:21 am GMTmastermetal777 gave Halo 3 a score of 7.5
Apr 22, 2013 3:21 am GMTmastermetal777 gave Halo: Combat Evolved a score of 8.5
Apr 22, 2013 3:20 am GMTmastermetal777 gave Halo 2 a score of 6.0
Apr 22, 2013 3:08 am GMTmastermetal777 gave The Simpsons Game a score of 7.0
Apr 19, 2013 2:06 pm GMTmastermetal777 reviewed Dishonored and gave it a score of 8.5
Apr 16, 2013 3:37 pm GMTmastermetal777 gave SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom a score of 8.0
Apr 14, 2013 2:34 pm GMTmastermetal777 posted a new blog entry entitled The First-Person Shooter Problem