Why Single Player Matters (An FPS Rant)

Quality single player content in first-person shooters is a dying art.

It’s all about the multiplayer experience these days, which I can understand. Thanks to the same amazing internet technology that allows me to stream porn at 60 titties per second, I’m able to trade bullets (and colorful insults) with some 13-year-old in Georgia. However, it seems that developers are placing too much emphasis on this aspect of game playing, and we’re usually stuck with a fucktarded single player campaign attached to an excellent multiplayer game.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

I believe we need a return to those games that drove you to first play through, and beat, the single player campaign before even touching multiplayer. Call of Duty is all well and good, but I feel like I am now playing the same goddamn scenario over and over again. Halo, we must admit, is the worst with this. You can set your watch to the predictability of the battles in all Halo games.

Oh look It’s 5-10 Grunts plus 2 Elites /Brutes.

Toss a grenade…

Plasma pistol charge shot…

Finish off with regular pistol…

Repeat…

And the entire idea of regenerating health is absolutely killing the FPS experience for me. This recent development abomination in FPS gaming has morphed the genre into a clusterfuck of repetition and frustration, rather than exploration and thought. Bring back health packs and armor you fuckers! Give players a reason to use their brains and not just shoot.

It’s like the old tag-line for Half-Life: “Run, Think, Shoot, Live”

THINK! I want more puzzles, exploration, and immersion rather than levels of action that are on par with the movie Commando (still a gem of a movie). What happened to the creativity of games like the first Half-Life? A game in which not only the storyline was paced beautifully, but the combat as well.

Very few games of late actually provide a quality, deep, and original single player game play experience. Bulletstorm is one recent title, I must admit, that kept me coming back for more single player action; a creative story, memorable characters and events, and new gameplay elements that actually make the game different from the visually striking yet redundant style of Halo or Call of Duty.

Even a passive FPS like Amnesia is on the cutting edge: doing something new with a tired single player viewpoint and making it feel new, not just the same game but prettier than last time.

I live in a constant state of fear and excitement waiting for Duke Nukem Forever. Will it go the way of shitty single player FPS? Or will I be playing repeatedly while mashing my space bar to see pixellated boobies in between an epic single player campaign.

Duke Nukem Forever…FINALLY.

I’m not done looking down the barrel of a gun on my TV screen, but I am done with half-assed, cookie cutter single player experiences.

Don’t agree with me? Speak up!

-Ben

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About Ben Everett
Helping people steer clear of SUCK since 2011

13 Responses to Why Single Player Matters (An FPS Rant)

  1. James says:

    COD: Black Ops has a surprisingly good single player campaign, although it’s on the short side. I’m thinking that this kind of complaint is starting to be heard by developers more and more now and they’re starting to devote more to the single player experience. There’s also Portal, a game that has brought back the puzzle solving aspect of FPS’s that we used to play back in the 90’s where it wasn’t always about killing tons of bad guys (but it was always nice when you solved a puzzle or challenge and got rewarded with some sort of god-gun). The thing the bugs me most about games in general today is the linear nature of single player games. Side-missions or secret areas are either non existent or so obvious they really are part of the path you’re going down any way. Any way, just my 2 cents.

    • Sean Moore says:

      I partially agree, from what I’ve seen from black ops the single player was pretty good (haven’t played all of it, thanks Red Ring!) but one thing that sucks about COD single players is its still pretty basic, you basically have to go a certain way, puzzle are non existant, when they say “Blow up the enemy tank/plane/turret/base/computers/porn stash/xbox/silo you’re pretty shown where it is with a big ghostly outline with a thing on your screen saying “Press A to plant bomb”…I DIDN”T EVEN KNOW I HAD THE BOMB!!!!! But you are correct that Portal is a ray of light on a gloomy FPS day, THANK YOU VALVE!!!! Wrecked Reviews loves you.

    • Ben Everett says:

      Black ops did have my fav modern (and by that i mean post WWII) shooter campaign in a long time for sure. Short but sweet with good narrative pacing. Treyarch did a fantastic job but the gameplay still fell flat towards the end and I found my self moving on rather quickly.

      Portal and Portal 2 are gems for sure. I’m waiting for this trend of “because we are looking down a gun means we have to have non-stop action” to go back to being a minority in the FPS genre. They will always have their place and I will enjoy the shit out of them. I can only kill communist, nazi’s, and terrorists for so long before I want more.

      I like Sean’s idea about COD. It would like injecting a little bit of that old school Rainbow six element into the gameplay. I used to play Rouge Spear nightly trying different weapon load outs even after totally RAPING the single player.

  2. Sean Moore says:

    You know what would make COD better? is if they added the gun mods and perks to single player. They tell you, the next mission is in the arctic, heavy snow storm, then its up to you to choose heartbeat sensor, thermal scope, silencer or we’re going on a stealth mission, through a mansion or compound, then its up to you to pick silencer, handguns, shotguns etc etc, if you choose the wrong guns, wrong attachments or perks to your weapons then it makes that single player, THAT much more challenging.

  3. Clark says:

    I feel the exact same way in regards to the health regeneration system. Before 2004 (or whenever the hell Halo 2 came out) most games did use the armor/health bars. The problem that I see with using the health gauge is the fact that health kits in some FPS games are finite, therefore putting the player in impossible situations where they only have 5 hp vs a boss. Take the original Half-Life for example. Remember all the times you would run into save point with almost no HP and die over and over again? Of course, you could reload a previously saved game to think of more effective strategies to defeat enemies without loosing much hp… In my opinion, the problem is if you make a game too hard, you loose a large market of ‘casual’ gamers who aren’t in it to think about it.
    I wonder what Half-Life 3 Will be like?

    • Ben Everett says:

      Half-Life 3 seems so far away when we have already waited 4 years for Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

      I was really hoping Valve would start to explore a little bit about the Aperture Science vs. Black Mesa rivalry in Portal 2. I have such blue balls for that game. I remember the original source engine leak back in 2003 had a map on an Aperture Science ship while you battle several stalkers. Then in episode 2 they elude to Dr. Mossman found said ship, known as the “Borealis”.

      Seriously….BLUE BALLS!

      Also WHERE THE FUCK IS BLACK MESA MOD?! They keep saying when it’s done but by the that time we will probably have a new source engine.

      END HALF-LIFE RANT!

  4. Ivan Torres says:

    I feel that those elements we all yearn for exist in games, but only games that are single-player only. Games like Bioshock, Dead Space, Red Dead Redemption have proven there can be more to games than just explosions, but my beef is with any game with multiplayer. I agree that the single player aspect is always too short and never as robust as the multiplayer, it’s just kinda tacked on so there’d be another bullet point on the box (pun intended).

    i never bothered finishing the modern warfare 2 campaign, just because it bored the shit out of me, and i had to force myself to go through black ops’ campaign. black ops had some good moments, but never had enough substance to hook me. the campaign for battlefield bad company 2 was much better, i thought. the main difference about these games i think is that the CoD games don’t have any characters, they have soldiers. you’re basically playing Soldier A and sometimes a Soldier B. I mean, can you remember any characters from Black Ops besides Reznov? He was the game’s only true character, and that’s why you remember him. Character development is the bread and butter of storytelling. If i can boil my beef down to any one thing, it would be that.

    • Ben Everett says:

      Agreed Ivan. Their are still good single player efforts out their but as a whole they are a minority. And even then games like Dead Space and Red Dead are rocking the 3rd person view. Which in an essence has been the new haven for single player story telling.

      Lost Planet
      Bio Shock
      Resident Evil 5
      Batman Arkham Asylum

      All 3rd person and AMAZING single player experiences

      Also I don’t know why I didn’t mention this before but the Metroid Prime Series deserves a HUGE amount of praise for taking that genre and making it it’s own. No games in my opinion has combined combat, story telling, and exploration better.

      But then came Other M….FFFFFFUUUUUUuuuu!

    • Ben Everett says:

      Also good call on the Characters…I didn’t even remember Reznov! Haha

      Unlike Bulletstorm were all the characters had an awesome time to develop and become a part of your memory.

  5. Brad Whiteside says:

    My name is Brad and I own a PS2.

    • Ben Everett says:

      Red Faction
      Half-Life
      Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
      Medal Of Honor : Frontline
      Time Splitters

      Get on those in the bargin bin dood!!

      • Brad Whiteside says:

        We’re not really talking about the golden age of console FPS here, but I get your point. On it.

        Also, I didn’t like FPS until F.E.A.R came out…so…yeah. I absolutely hate playing video games with other people. Video games was/still is my escape FROM people.

  6. Joey Dalgato says:

    If I could give you a standing ovation for the article, I would. 100% agree with most of the comments too. It’s unfortunate that even in games that would be great for a long single player campaign (e.g. Homefront), cop out to multiplayer… what ends up happening? Nobody goes online and servers shut down in a month -_____-

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