User Opinion: The allure of the FPS genre

I frequently send emails to my friends updating them on all the upcoming games hooblah. This usually entails a quick, short, undeniably sweet account from me of why I am excited about the upcoming title, when it is coming out as well as a five-word synopsis of what I understand the game to be about: ‘OMC shooting people in history ZOMG’.

The other day I did my usual. I wrote about five upcoming titles which had me excited and which would normally provoke some sort of excited chatter from my cadre of geeks, gladly filling my afternoon with useless, frivolous entertainment relating to our uninformed predictions as to the games ultimate merits. This time, however, I was accosted by one of my friends saying “OMG Tom, there is more to the world than FPSs!”

I was shocked for two reasons. The first is that he knows that I know that there is far more to the world than FPSs (women, for instance, take up a disproportionate amount of mental space for me, as well as sports, parties and other types of game). The second was that I hadn’t even noticed that every game I had posted to my mates was an FPS. It simply had not occurred to me to break them up into genres: RPG, FPS, RTS… sports games.

This was something of a revelation for me. I started thinking about it. After the initial shock and personal affront wore off I realised that it was a very interesting shift in my thinking. I no longer view games as FPS or RTS. Sure, I acknowledge the difference in styles (it’s pretty hard to miss whether you have a gun up centre or are looking at a top-down view of an army), but it is no longer the same as saying “I am an FPS player” for me. I am a gamer and will play any quality title that gives me what I want.

This moved me onto another question: what is it that I want? Always, before, it was a quality game, something I could smash out with some mates, preferably in co-op, with a decent storyline but, above all else great, gameplay. Now I think my tastes have matured. Now I look for a fantastic storyline, something which really drives me to feel something. I look for great graphics, not because I like shiny things (don’t get me wrong, I love shiny things.) but because this will allow me to more easily lose myself in the fantasy. I look for good writing, because a plot is nothing without characters. I look for new, interesting game mechanics which allow me to flow from reality to escapism without even noticing. Lastly I look at how the game is played.

This allowed me to explore my recent purchases in an objective light. What games had recently stirred me? Which games had provoked me, had stimulated me, had railroaded me down a story to my due delight. The answer was a list of recent games which consisted of some fairly epic titles. I nodded; it was good. Then I looked again and I noticed they were all FPSs!

I was mildly appalled. Was I really that shallow? Was I somehow phasing out my RTS days in favour of the hack-slash, jump-shoot of the FPS gamer? Where was my subtlety now? Where was the boy with the 30-1 StarCraft ratio?

Wracking my brain I managed to add Dirt 2, which was a spectacular time sink, and Mass Effect 2 which, let’s face it, is one of the best games of all time. Re-adjusting my thinking a little I also added a couple of other RPG titles which I quite liked. However, even with their brilliant writing, direction, gameplay, etc., these titles just didn’t leave me feeling quite like I do every time I play Modern Warfare 2.

Over the top it may be, but when the bullets are binging off the cars all around you and you are being shelled and you have to move the ball up despite the high chance you will cop it, it’s a great feeling. Likewise Bad Company 2 gives me an adrenaline rush: when you hear the sniper bullets, you can see the tank ahead, you know that there is a Carl Gustav just waiting to take out the wall but you have to lay that mortar down… I need a moment.

FPSs can tell a story without even telling a story nowadays. With better physics, better graphics and better sound than I would have thought possible as a 15-year old StarCraft fanatic, you get a small story every time you spawn. Not to mention the epic sagas that can be told through the single-player medium.

I don’t think it’s a sad thing. I don’t think that it will stop me playing other genres (SC2 COME ON!!!! Anyone…?), but if I am going to be real with myself I have to acknowledge that without actually trying I have become an FPS gamer.

I think the reason is that where other genres are progressing at a good pace, the FPS genre has jumped on the TGV and has gone express to where my dreams live. I hope the others catch up but until they do I will continue to play, continue to feel and continue to experience the revolution that has become FPS gaming.

QuesterX’s opinions are not necessarily shared by DLC, but he wrote a killer piece that we felt should be shared with you all!

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  • Bagmup

    I'm defintely a FPS gamer, even worse, i'm a twitch FPS fanatic, sure i love Battlefield Bad Company 2 and all that but i still reach for CoD4 for my FPS fix.
    But i dont play them for the story (lol), i play them for the multiplayer and all the social aspects it gives me. Nothing better than having some laughs with your friends on Saturday night with a controller in hand with beer/bourbon close by… love it.

  • QuesterX

    I a thousand percent agree

  • PSIress

    I live for this shit lol

  • Joah

    What the fuck did I just read.

  • thomasantony

    Thats so damn true ! About gameplay, Mass Effect 2 .. everything!

    But I also like Point and click adventures .. due to their storylines. The Longest Journey was one I really enjoyed.

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