Saturday, July 16, 2011

Special Forces stick to walls

Nothing in this world gets me worked up like military themed video games, with a close second going to driving games. Naturally, I'm drawn to 1st person shooters and strategy games considering my background, but the ridiculous things that they put into them gets my blood boiling like nothing else. I am not pleasant when I play video games.

So these days the trend is to make military 1st person shooters as realistic as possible, but it never fails that some idiot makes it into the design team, and that person is the problem why modern 1st person shooters suck. If the design team would just send the creepy guy with the red stapler to the basement, I wouldn't loose my shit when I'm meticulously slaying mercenaries at distance from cover, about to win it, only to be eaten by a virtually invincible man-eating german shepherd.

Starting out with a positive, the most realistic 1st person shooter I've ever encountered, and a fine example of how to do it right is Medal of Honor Limited Edition. It somewhat follows a realistic story line, is exciting, and is noticeably void of the stupid man-eating dogs that can only be killed with the precise timing of a single button, and not with a knife. The design team for that game sent stapler boy and his wild-assed ideas to the basement with the accountants and lawyers. Well done.

The worst examples of 1st person shooters, and a stern warning of how to not make them is the Ghost Recon series of games. Full disclosure: I can't stand Tom Clancy. I've actually written him non-fan mail, begging him to stop making books, games, and movies that have anything at all to do with the military. Just. Stop. Tom Clancy has made me do more facepalms than any other writer, and I can't imagine how anyone takes him seriously. It would be as if I went out and became a foremost known authority in interior design because I read Wikipedia articles on the subject all day and knew a few gay guys. It doesn't make any sense.

The first time I wrote him a letter was over the first Ghost Recon game, where you are a supposed Special Forces team that has to decide whether you want to carry grenades, explosives, extra ammo, or a pistol, because your special ass can't seem to carry all of the above like in real life. Also, just once it would be cool to have a team that could actually kill bad guys and possibly spare you from not losing the game from gunfire from your six. Pathetic. The only thing I found good about the game is that your character gains experience with every mission. The succeeding Ghost Recon games were absolutely awful, and I tossed those games in the trash after the first mission of two.

The most recent target of my rage is the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The fanciful characters and story line in the game are unrealistic but entertaining none the less, and are not the reason for my angst. No, the worst part about this game are the Juggernauts. Stapler guy should be dragged out behind the woodshed and flogged on his face with a handfull of rabid foxes for getting those things in there. He must have seen an EOD suit on teevee one day and, the squirrels running full speed in that fantastic mind of his, decided that they absolutely must be in the game. Genius. The design team no doubt rolled their eyes at that suggestion, but for some reason decided to appease stapler guy and allow it in. I mean, the EOD suit protects from explosions, right? So it stands to reason that it would also resist the .50 BMG, M18s, 40mm grenades, and pretty much anything else!

The Juggernauts flat out ruin what would be an otherwise decent game. Too bad that stapler boy also got the man-eating dogs in there as well. Why in the world would you put so much effort into making a game as realistic as possible, only to ruin it with invincibly huge soldiers in bomb suits that can't see and dogs that can take several rounds in the vitals and still eat you? What were they thinking? Your supposed to be an elite SAS Soldier who kills bad guys all day, swimming out of a submarine and popping up out of the ice cold sea and head-shooting baddies, but one falls move has a mutt precisely tearing your throat out after you shot him nine times? Blaaaaauuuuggggghhhhh!!! Keep that shit.

All 1st person shooters though have the phenomenon that I call "Special Forces Stick to Walls." Any rock, fence, bush, tuft of grass, wall, vehicle, or artifact in the game will stop you cold, allowing the enemy to smoke your ass because you can't get off the X. Your such a special operator that you can't step over a clump of weeds, instead getting hung up there until you get killed.

Smooooooooth Operrrrataaahhhh. Why do I suddenly have Sade in my head?

Anyways, I know games are not really real life and all, but I would appreciate if designers would look at 1st person shooter games that don't suck, like Medal of Honor, and strive to be like them. Stop letting the pimply faced kid that lives with his mother and plays airsoft in multicam make characters and storyline for military games. Maybe hire someone who was in the military or perhaps a real life Special Operator and let him vett out all the crap. Sound like a good idea?
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