Headshots & Friendly Fire: Round 4

October 4, 2009 Written by Cameron Teague

psls-editorial

The gaming industry has gotten bigger and better with each passing year, but sometimes they just don’t do things right. Whether it’s gameplay, story, pricing, or business practice, sometimes the industry needs a little friendly fire from the gamers to keep it in line.

Other times, developers look down their sight and fire off a well placed bullet right into our unexpected head. This is Josh & Cameron, and this is Headshots & Friendly Fire.

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A Bit of Friendly Fire

Exploding enemies

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Now, I’m not talking about when you shoot an enemy in Fallout 3 and his limbs fly off like a blood & meat firework; I’m talking about when an enemy apparently shoves some C4 up his Rectum and suicide bombs you. Exploding enemies have been everywhere is videogames. They’ve been in Real-Time Strategies like Starcraft, First-Person Shooters like Serious Sam, and Third-Person action games like inFamous. It’s time for exploding enemies to just die already. Sure, back in the Doom days the exploding enemy provided a lot of variety between the enemy with gun, enemy with melee attack, and enemy with bigger gun, but we don’t need exploding enemies anymore. We have A.I., gravity guns, and creative environments. In fact, exploding enemies now seem like more of a punishment for good gameplay. In Jericho, an exploding enemy can take out you and your whole team in just one blast, so instead of sticking with your team, the smart thing to do is to leave them to die while you run away. In inFamous, I’ll be fighting a group of enemies, being very careful to not hit civilians, and then an exploding enemy will kill a bunch of people and I’ll receive negative karma for it. While playing multiplayer in Call of Duty, ill win a firefight with somebody only to be blown up because he had the Martyrdom perk. The only defense against an exploding enemy is to stay away, and at that point any game turns into just a deadly form of “tag.”

Lack of Custom Controls

There is nothing worse in a game than the developers forcing presite control schemes on the player.  Everyone plays games differently and are comfortable with certain control schemes so why force a player into 3 or 4 preset controls?  Two games that have recently been guilty of this have been Mirror’s Edge and Killzone 2.  Mirror’s Edge had one of the weirdest control schemes ever presented and none of the other preset combination’s really helped.  Killzone 2 was not as bad but still came across very different compared to most FPS’s on the market.  So please developers, let us set our on control scheme, it will make for a more enjoyable game for everyone.

Mandatory weak spots on enemies

You know, I spent 10 minutes shooting that bat from Resident Evil 5 in the face with a shotgun before I realized you have to shoot it’s underside to kill it. Mandatory weak spots make no sense; I don’t care how much armor you claim that bat has, a shotgun to the face is going to hurt. Now, that bat was a boss battle, and boss battles have almost exclusively been a “shoot the various weak points” kind of battle in games. I really have no idea why game developers take this approach for bosses. Bosses done in this way are not naturally harder than regular bosses; they are just more annoying. It also seems like a really uncreative way to make the boss distinct from regular enemies.  If you want to create a unique and fun boss battle, then give the boss unique and powerful attacks. The final boss in Dark Cloud, the chainsaw boss in RE4 & 5, the Boss in MGS3: these are all difficult and fun bosses, not because they make you do some arbitrary sequence of attacks, but because they are strong and ruthless in their attacks. In fact, having the player fight these enemies in only one way would be disastrous; these battles require the player to use all the tools at his/her disposal, and to change tactics based on how the fight is going. I really liked the Lost Planet 2 demo because it does this very same thing. Although the giant salamander has weak points, the player isn’t forced to attack them, and could use any variety of attacks or just stand there and shoot it in the face (like me).  Hey videogame developers, next time you want to put a boss with mandatory weak points in your game, just put a target on a merry-go-round and have the player shoot it. It’ll be just as fun, and make twice as much sense.

Comparison Screenshots and Pixel Counters

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Most all of us know the tiny differences between a PS3 and 360 game but that has not stopped websites from posting up comparisons of multiplatform games for flamebait.  The game looks just fine on both consoles, there is hardly any difference between the two yet people love to throw out these comparisons to try and find some major difference.  Then you have the pixel counters who want to make a big deal because a title is lacking just a few pixels that most people will never notice.  People have become so snobby and are hating games simply due to a tiny drop in pixels or the fact that it looks a bit better on this console.  As long as the game is a blast to play, it shouldnt matter if its lacking little pixels here or there.

Check out our Headshots on Page 2

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