Alright, let’s talk about the tropes in modern military shooters, why they suck in modern military shooters, and how other games do some of those tropes better. You see, I think you can agree with me when I say that most video games are power fantasies. I won’t disagree with that.
However, why is it my super soldier in Call of Duty only allowed two weapons? I’m a super soldier! Lemme stockpile weapons! Our first trope is Limited Loadout. It’s where you aren’t able to carry more than two weapons and an assortment of grenades. It was first popularized by Halo: Combat Evolved, and engrained into shooter culture with Call of Duty. However, it’s a piece of shit in those games. Master Chief is a goddamn space marine! You’re a super soldier in a power fantasy where you pretty much are a goddamn one man army! You’re telling me you can’t carry more than 2 guns in a power fantasy? What the fuck? Doomguy can carry seven to ten weapons! Ranger from Quake can carry eight! Serious Sam can carry thirteen weapons! There’s no goddamn reason for Master Chief or Captain… Planet NOT to be able to carry everything he can! Hell, Bulletstorm has the same problem, even though I like that game.
The Left 4 Dead series, on the other hand, does Limited Loadout right. You have a main weapon, a secondary weapon, a health kit, another health item, and a grenade, which makes sense for Left 4 Dead because you’re not a super soldier, you’re just a normal person trying to survive a zombie apocolypse. That’s why it makes sense not to be able to have every weapon: you’d be overencumbered if you tried to carry every possible weapon. That’s why I like the Limited Loadout in L4D and L4D2. It’s the same thing in Killing Floor, Arma, and Counter-Strike. In a game like Borderlands 2, it’s similar to the Limited Loadout of, say, COD or Halo, you can only use up to four weapons, but you can carry a lot more than what you can use. I think the minimum you can start off carrying, asides from stuff you’re using, is like 15, and you can switch by going into your Storage Deck. That makes more sense to me than Master Chief only carrying two weapons and eight grenades.
Of course, no discussion on modern shooters can’t be complete without a talk on regenerating health. What the fuck. How does a human go behind cover and gain back health? If you’re aiming for realism in your modern military shooter… wouldn’t health kits be a better option? You’re never around a medic for you to be healed, so it makes no sense. It makes even LESS sense in something like Duke Nukem Forever! Regenerating health implies hiding! Duke does not hide! And don’t get me started with the regenerating health in Mirror’s Edge. It’s just… how does that happen? How does Faith regain health?
Now, of course, there are some games that have regenerating health where it does make sense. The Saints Row series comes immediately to mind. The Boss has the ability to recharge their health slowly, with the ability to regain health via pickups in SR1 and SR2. The speed in SRTT is pretty much the same as a maxed out regen speed in SR2, keeping a bit of continuity between the two. In Team Fortress 2, the Medic can regain health unlike his teammates, as he’s the one with the Medigun. It’d make sense for him to add a passive healing for himself.
Speaking of health, why in the fuck are headshots so powerful, killing a person in one shot, but it takes a bajillion of bodyshots to do the same? That makes literally no sense. If you get shoot someone, regardless of where you shoot, it’ll hurt! What about limb shots disarming someone? What about bodyshots staggering a foe? What about a crippling limb shot? If you’re aiming for realism, that’s not really realistic. I mean, Fallout, Grand Theft Auto IV onward, and Borderlands do it! Anyway, I’m getting a bit off-topic. Next trope.
Goddamned motherfucking cocksucking iron sights. Why do so many shooters have iron sights? Why do we need to look down them for better accuracy? Hell, why the fuck does Serious Sam 3 have them? I don’t even use them, I’ve got the fucking crosshair! I know it’s there for the modern milarity shooter fans, but come on, why? We’re shooting a shitton of enemies. Looking down the sights is pretty much death in most games. For me anyway. I’m a run-and-gunner, you know that. It ties into this next trope.
Mobility. Call of Duty considers itself the gaming equivalent of big-budget Hollywood action blockbusters, but it can’t be because you’re only popping out of cover, popping a guy in the head because bodyshots don’t do jack shit, then going back into cover.You get hurt, you just hide longer. That’s how COD tends to played. The cool parts off action movies aren’t the parts where the hero’s pinned down unmoving. While suppressing fire is the way to kill bad guys in reality, we’re playing a goddamned power fantasy video game here. Dodging missiles, leaping over chasms while shooting, rocket jumping, being a fucking hero, THAT’S fun.
Now what games do iron sights and mobility right? I gotta say Killing Floor here again. You only move slightly slower when you’re using iron sights, not like you’re a snail in molasses. That’s how you keep the zeds off you. Sniper weapons are great, I’ll agree with that, but not every weapon is a sniper weapon.
Alrighty, I think that’s enough here. While I do encourage discussion, keep a cool head. I’m just pointing out the poorly-used tropes to what I find to be the lesser of the subgenres of first-person shooters and pointing out examples of those tropes being used WELL. Except for the headshots bullshit, there are NO good examples of that.
Tune in next week!
((Littlepip helped me out with this. :D))