Dear FPS: I Love You, But It's Time To Change (Again)
I was 9 years old when I saw the box behind the counter, showing an image of soldier on a landing craft with the words Medal of Honor: Allied Assault printed in the centre of the picture.
Being a World War 2 nut, even at that age, I immediately knew I had to have it.
I played it 5 times in the first months I had the game. Eventually my dad got so angry with me being sucked into this mind-blowing, awesome game, he took the disk out of the drive and threw it away while I was busy playing it.
Little did he know, more was to come…
I’m sure my parents were worried about me growing up to be a bit of a psychopath, but I continued to add World War 2 games to my collection.
Both expansion packs (Medal of Honor: Spearhead and Medal of Honor: Breakthrough) were soon added to my collection. Then came the day when I discovered Call of Duty as a demo in a N4G magazine. I sat and played that demo, as well as the one that followed in the very next N4G issue, countless times. I bought it as soon as it was released, along with the expansion packs that went along with it. I’m sure my parents were worried about me growing up to be a bit of a psychopath, but I continued my collection with WW2 games like Medal of Honor: Underground, Medal of Honor: European Assault, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, Medal of Honor: Heroes, Medal of Honor: Airborne, Call of Duty 2, and Call of Duty 3.
Then came Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and it changed everything in the FPS market.
It was a revelation. People babbled over the new tech guns available, got teary-eyed over the ability to shoot through walls and were completely amazed by the crispness in which the game as a whole was delivered.
I stayed away from it for a while, quite unhappy to see that the new Call of Duty wasn’t in a World War 2 setting. But thinking back now it was a good thing the market veered away from WW2 settings. By that stage the World War 2 shooting games had flooded the market and, for people other than WW2 nuts, people were beginning to drown in them all.
Call of Duty: World at War was a game that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Yet the consensus from most of my friends was that Modern Warfare was better than anything else on the planet, and World at War, with its bolt-action rifles was rubbish. Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 were both the same in my eyes: while they seemed to have their brief moments of awesomeness, they just felt bland.
The campaigns were almost exactly the same. The guns felt the same, the over-the-top storylines were similar, and the death animations were identical in both games. Many people have argued that Call of Duty was never about the single player, but that’s not the case. I enjoyed all the Call of Duty campaigns up until World at War, playing through each game’s campaign more than once (in fact 4 times on a few of the games) and have loved every minute of it.
Another problem with the Modern Warfare setting is the enemy. It's either the Russians or the Chinese. Every now and then a new bunch is thrown into the mix, like in Call of Duty: Ghosts. Everyone wears the same camo fatigues and all have slight variations of what is basically the same gun. Adding it all up it begins to melt all together, creating a game that has the same generic experience as its predecessors.
EA also moved towards a more modern setting, with Battlefield 3 picking up where Battlefield 2 had left off in 2005.
Medal of Honor (2010) was the first time that the series wasn’t set in WW2, and then came the game that destroyed the Medal of Honor series: Warfighter.
As a gamer who prefers the FPS more than others, I had to suck it up and play the newer games based in modern settings, and I’ve come to love a few of them too. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is one of my favourite games, and CoD: Black Ops 2 seemed to hold up for me for a while, but I still prefer the classic WW2 games that have been kept alive by extensive community modding.
This is why I’m excited for Enemy Front which is (supposedly) coming out in June.
As far as reports have said, it’ll be a sandbox game. I’m not sure if it’ll basically be a WW2 version of Far Cry 3 or not, but it looks absolutely gorgeous. They’ve decided against the dull colours usually found in war games (such as the horrible blue filter in Battlefield 3) and made use of striking colours making it extremely good-looking.
But I digress.
It’s time for a change of pace with today’s FPS games.
The modern warfare setting is in the same position the WW2 games were so many years ago, and a new formula is needed.
The modern warfare setting is in the same position the WW2 games were so many years ago, and a new formula is needed. I hope that Enemy Front can break the generic mold the FPS market has created over the past few years. Although I'm a WW2 nut, certain eras haven’t been done justice, such as the Vietnam War or The Great War, and hopefully we can one day get games that use these mainly unexplored settings.
I guess it all boils down to where the main target market lies, and what the consumers want. Hopefully, Enemy Front delivers to my expectations, and harks back to the good old classics when one man and his gun could change the course of history.