Bullet Fatigue

By chance, I recently ended up completing both Killzone 3 and Homefront in the same weekend. Not that that was particularly surprising, as both of those games featured a fairly short single-player storyline. What really surprised me was how unimpressed they both left me, though. If I had to sum both of them up in a word, it’d be that most American of expressions: Meh.

Now don’t get me wrong, neither of them are bad games. Killzone features some pretty epic battles, fantastical sci-fi style weapons and a non-stop rollercoaster ride of action. Homefront tried to take the more measured approach, raising questions about the treatment of prisoners of war, and even throwing in the odd moral dilemma.

At the end of the day, though, both games still boiled down to this. Shoot the bad guys. In the face. Take that, space-nazis/evil Korean invaders!

Bad things happen to the enemy in this car park…

After the impressive opening sequence to Homefront (the video part of which was ruined by some genius who decided putting PRESS A TO SKIP in the MIDDLE of the screen was a good idea) I was dropped into the game proper. Rescued from a prison bus which had just doubled as a sort of war crimes tour bus, I was given a pistol and thrown into the action. And there it was, the action. Hide behind things, shoot baddies. Kill them all, then move into the next area and shoot some more. I actually sighed when I got to the first fight, as I felt the opening had promised much more. In fact, Homefront’s storyline’s attempt to humanise the enemies at points by showing some pretty horrible things happening to them almost directly clashed with the actual gameplay. Look at the horrible things happening here! Right, that’s done, get your shotgun out, and let’s shoot those bastards IN THE FACE! It reminded me of Comic Relief – look at this hilarious sketch. Now look at the suffering! Now laugh! Now cry! It just clashes.

And Killzone, like a lot of these games, I genuinely couldn’t have given a shit what was going on. In fact, for most of the game, I didn’t know. What I did know was that if anything had red on it, you had to shoot it in the face, and the blue guys were friendlies. I also seemed to get shot a lot by Helghast I hadn’t even seen, which was fairly irritating.

More epic battles. Yawn.

Both of them are good games, though. They’re polished, featured great set-pieces and are well made. So why did they leave me so unimpressed? I think it is a sign of the quality of the games industry these days that games can’t just be very good anymore, they’ve got be astonishingly good to really stand out, and for me, neither of these games went above and beyond the call of duty.*

This FPS malaise I’m in has already had its first victim, entirely through no fault of their own. I’m sorry, Crytek, but under any other circumstances I would have rushed out and bought Crysis 2 on release date, but in my current FPS funk, I’m not even sure I’m going to bother. I’m sure it’s good, but is it REALLY good?

*Accidental FPS pun, sorry.






11 responses to “Bullet Fatigue”

  1. Tim avatar

    Interesting. I think that the FPS genre is splitting in two and developers are struggling to cope with the demands of the consumers.

  2. Walter avatar

    You should have opted to play neither of those two and waited for Crysis 2, excellent single player campaign, appropriately lengthy and an excellent multiplayer component to boot.

    I don’t think that we have demanded much from our FPS games, ever, I just think that companies like Activision have other developers now thinking that its cool to churn out the same or similar content over and over again, I think that BF3 may be exactly the same :

  3. Tim avatar

    I disagree – we are demanding more and thats why we are not satisfied with the same games being churned out with different skins on.. But they feel adding a mandatory vehicle mission is sufficient for it to be different.

    For me its simple as I said above the genre is splitting FPS and iFPS (Intelligent FPS), games with more strategy and a larger playing field allowing the player to approach the mission from a number of different angles. Far Cry 2 is a good example of this.

  4. paul avatar

    I have big hopes for Deus Ex: Human Evolution, but all those other FPSs like Killzone and Crysis can eff off. Sure they have their place but in an oversubscribed genre noone is really setting themselves apart by doing something interesting. Sad thing is no matter how stagnant the ‘genre’ gets, people just keep lapping it up. Seems guns and violence sells, who knew?

  5. Tim avatar

    Paul – FPS maybe over subscribed but KZ3 has a superb multiplayer..

  6. Simon avatar

    I’m feeling the same sort of fatigue I think Tony. I think it’s because it’s all becoming too familiar, i.e. the pacing, structure and mechanics.

  7. paul avatar

    Tim, oh for sure I play Killzone 3 online quite a bit, the Multiplayer is fantastic. I was referring directly to the single player. I need to add you to PSN, I’ll make space for ya.
    also: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, not Evolution. Imagine my embarrassment

  8. Barry avatar

    I’m getting the same feeling from most FPS games too. Bulletstorm, which is immense fun, gave the genre a little glimmer with unique ideas but I still got bored and found myself playing the game for short durations.

    The golden age of FPS’s is long gone (CS:S, CoD2, MW1) and it will take a massive reboot which probably won’t happen for many years.

  9. Tim avatar

    Paul – Deus Ex looks great – I hope it will give me what i was looking for in Mass Effect 2 (I know that isn’t a FPS). PSNid is ThatBoyTim btw..

  10. TimG13 avatar

    I finished Killzone 3 with a lot to be desired as well. Shooters are becoming more and more samey these days, although that isn’t exactly the entire reason why I didn’t enjoy K3 as much as I’d hoped. But, thank the Lord, Crysis 2 is amazing! Much slower paced (for the most part) with tactical play more dominant than mindless blasting. It’s certainly worth a rent Tony, even if you are suffering from an FPS head ache.

  11. […] read an article today on Readyup (LINK) that finally made me realise what is going on with the FPS genre. It’s changing! Yes the […]

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