Apparently, developers just can't make a first-person shooter campaign that anybody actually likes .

As much as I promote innovation and originality, I still enjoy the occasional shooter. And as it's my job, I've played just about every campaign of every FPS of the generation, from Singularity to RAGE to Killzone to everything in between. And you know, while there are always a few minor issues – as there are in any video game – and some were just plain "meh," I get really confused and annoyed when I see people bitterly complaining. They complain about everything .

Everyone is whining about the Battlefield 3 campaign, for instance. Why ? I don't get it. Sure, the AI is outdated and there are a few bugs, but what more do you want ? That campaign had just about everything and in direct comparison to other games, it excels in a number of categories. But nobody is satisfied. Nobody ever is. KZ3 didn't control exactly like KZ2 and people didn't like the end. Modern Warfare 2 was too short. RAGE didn't have a good enough story. Resistance 3 didn't have good enough graphics and wasn't as realistic as the military shooters.

It never ends. Just about every single time I hear someone talk about a campaign in a shooter, it's usually described as "meh," "lame," or "boring." There's always a problem. This may be a byproduct of the multiplayer explosion, in that the only people whining are those who only buy shooters to play online, and never cared about the campaign to begin with. But in truth, stepping back from both a critic and fan standpoint, I'm really not sure what we should be complaining about, over and over.

I actually think shooters get put under a microscope more often than any other genre, although I know the hardcore gamers will hate me for saying that. And when these FPSs are analyzed to death, it's inevitable that somebody will find something wrong. I just don't know why the negatives get so much attention, and why everyone seems to flat-out assume that every shooter campaign "could be a lot better" in some way. I'm not saying all campaigns are fantastic. I'm saying there are are fantastic campaigns, and they never seem to get any credit.

Related Game(s): Battlefield 3

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jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
10 years ago

Agreed. Shooters get a ton of scrutiny because they saturate the market and they dominate the sales charts. You might even say its become "hip" to hate on the FPS/TPS games. They're the online multiplayers favorite genre, so the single player campaign needs to be EXTRA criticized.

FPS are way too often compared to other genres, and they shouldn't be. This year alone has seen tons of quality titles- Killzone 3, Socom 4 (I may not have too many supporters for this title but I loved it), Resistance 3, Gears of War 3 and Battlefield 3. All of which have a quality single player campaign and addictive multiplayer.


Last edited by jimmyhandsome on 11/6/2011 9:46:46 PM

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
10 years ago

You forgot Rage. 😉

Agree with your and Ben's entire posts. People let themselves get sucked into the hype, then it always seems like a disappointment. I'm more of a multiplayer guy, don't really have any campaign expectations or hopes at all, so every time I play it, I enjoy myself.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
10 years ago

True, unfortunately I haven't played Rage yet. Next on the list with MW3.

friction
friction
10 years ago

Lmao I love s4 too 🙂 It could of always been better but I'm sure there will be another, and I honestly can't wait.
No shooter, or game has ever brought me the heart pounding adrenalin rush as the socom series has in those heated suppression matches when its you and one opponent left and your entire team watching your screen.

friction
friction
10 years ago

I just don't understand why someone can't come out with a multiplayer only game, stop packing two separate games on one disc.
I understand video games have consisted of a campaign from the dawn of time but that doesn't mean miltiplayer hasn't changed the game.

Ps I love your point about resistance 3 not being as realistic as the military shooters lol, why the hell should it be, first off it's an alternate universe being invaded by subterranean beings. If it's one thing I can't stand about this generation, it's having to compare every game to every other game, what works in one game HAS to be in every single other game to be amazing. I think that's why I love this site so much, you guys know whats up in the gaming industry. Thanks for actually being truthful in your reviews 🙂

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
10 years ago

Because without a campaign, they would be losing a fair amount of profit. They put in both to cater to both multiplayer and campaign fans' needs.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Because MAG didn't do as well as one would have hoped.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
10 years ago

That's only because MAG sucks.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
10 years ago

MAG isn't that bad, I enjoyed playing the Beta though.

dkmrules
dkmrules
10 years ago

Buy Battlefield 3 on the 360, the campaign and multiplayer ARE on separate discs 😉

slugga_status
slugga_status
10 years ago

MAG is a very underrated shooter.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

MAG actually is one of the best online shooters this generation. I know why people say "it sucks" and its a stupid reason. Here's why – it doesn't play like CoD. Of course it doesn't. Its a strategy type game. There's not 6 opponents in a tiny map, that you can single handedly take out. There's far more and if played right in the confines of the maps, there's not many shooters that can do what MAG did. It's a great game, very underrated especially today, after all the updates it's seen.

Alienange
Alienange
10 years ago

@ bigrailer19 – No. That's not why MAG sucks. The maps are uninspired, the weapons are hopeless, the character progression is pointless and the gameplay is severely repetitive.

And that's not mentioning the terrible graphics, sound and control.

slugga_status
slugga_status
10 years ago

@ Alienange

Well that really isn't true..The maps are vast and set up right for each given game mode. The weapons have multiple attachments that you can place on it to your liking. The character progression is some of the best I've seen in a FPS. You literally tailor your soldier to your liking. Not one soldier is the same on the game…

I really don't see how you can say the gameplay is "severely repetitive" when no other FPS offers any of the game modes nor make your want to play as a team. Graphics aren't that bad at all, the sound of each weapon is different and the control is easy to get used to..

I hate to ask but have you played MAG since it's last update? Not knocking your opinion but it's not very accurate to what the game has become today.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

Alien-

I'm gonna ask you a question. When was the last time you played MAG?


Last edited by bigrailer19 on 11/7/2011 2:25:00 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I agree, FPSs just have nothing new to offer and people are obviously feeling the fatigue. They crave something special, something different, and developers need to go back to the drawing board to deliver that if they don't want their game to be seen as more of the same.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Can't go with that. Uncharted 3 didn't "really have anything new to offer," either. I don't think there's anything wrong with refining tried-and-true formulas, and that's what I'm seeing from most modern shooters.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

The thing about that is Uncharted is on its third entry so it's all good, when there have been over a dozen games that are all basically the same people get fatigued.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Well, I don't see how Killzone 3, Resistance 3, Battlefield 3, and RAGE are all identical. I got very different vibes and experiences from all of them.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I just think they all pick from the same bag of tricks without adding anything compelling. I don't think they really NEED to in order to keep going on, but to stem the tide of the "blahs" it gives people I think things have to change it up.

tes37
tes37
10 years ago

I found a solution that works pretty well, for me, that is. I don't buy every one that comes along. I'm probably missing out on a few great titles, but one thing I am not, is burned out. I liked the two I bought this year. Killzone 3 and Battlefield 3.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Hehe – actually, this is a good point.

tes37
tes37
10 years ago

Thanks Beamboom.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
10 years ago

oh come on. listen i think we have right to complain if a single player campign is gimped. look at kz3's sp campign for example. you can easily complete it in about 5hrs, and to top that off it's practicaly on rails…a lot sprinting down narrow paths to the next set of glowing eyes.

as long as a sp campign is part of the package and it feels gimped i think gamers have the right to complain. these 5hr campigns with medicore stories just don't cut it for me. they could be so much better. you don't even have to put it under a microscope to see how deficient a lot of these sp campigns are in a lot of areas. again, they could be a lot better in areas like story telling and characters. rage's story was weak.

i don't think a lot of effort is put into sp campigns these days in shooters i know it's trend that is not going to end anytime soon but that does not mean all gamers have to like it.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

That's the problem, right there. Everyone thinks EVERY campaign is "gimped," when in fact, that's crap.

KZ3 can't be "easily" beaten in 5 hours. Every single estimate I see for FPS campaigns is ALWAYS exaggerated. KZ3 took me 8 and took most people 7-8. Battlefield 3 takes about 7-8. Last I checked, a LOT of campaigns are about that length, including God of War 3, Heavy Rain, and Uncharted 3.

I'm sorry, but saying the campaigns are "gimped" is just more biased shooter hate. You don't think a lot of effort is put into those campaigns? Really? Seriously? Did you SEE the production values in Battlefield 3? Wait until you see MW3… And what about Resistance 3 and RAGE?

More effort has been put into those games than almost anything I've seen in 2011. Period. They're not my favorite games in the world but we have to give credit where credit is due.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/6/2011 11:10:13 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Agreed. Why can't somebody put an Uncharted quality story in an FPS? Or even the drama of Heavy Rain?

It could be done, but the lemmings wouldn't respond to it.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
10 years ago

@ben

my first playthrough on kz3 was 5hrs and 17 minutes. i know playtimes can vary but i was just shocked when the end credits rolled up. my first response was like…that's it? that's how the story ends? that's all we get? wow. thank god i liked the mp. i feel sorry for the gamers who picked it up for its sp campign however. not every sp campign is gimped so to speak. i think crysis 2 at least put some effort into the sp campign. even it is just your standard sci fi aliens attack story though. B movie material at best. nothing spectacular. i keep thinking to myself these games could use some quality writing. it would make the experience so much better. bring in some A level hollywood talent if you have to.

maybe the effort is there in terms of production values but i don't think a lot of effort is put into the stories. if there is a lot of effort put into the stories then the execution is just poor. i think they could do a lot better.

@world

exactly. why can't somebody put a decent story in these shooters? if it can be pulled off in other genres then why not shooters as well? i don't think most shooters are strong in story telling. again, they could be so much better.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 11/6/2011 11:57:48 PM

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
10 years ago

Honestly, if you want "Uncharted" quality, then go play the Uncharted series. Simple as.

The series is arguably the most popular and universally praised series on the PS3. How do you expect a campaign of that sort of quality/caliber? It's damn near impossible to match, let alone surpass.

AshT
AshT
10 years ago

@Excelsior1, oh how i agree with you here, what we are seeing here is sacrificing SP quality/length/story for MP

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

@World: I really can not see how you could put a Heavy Rain drama into a fps. Not unless you insert mile-long cutscenes that have nothing to do whatsoever with the gameplay.
It's like asking Arnold Schwarzenegger to do family friendly comedy. He did try, but we all know how that turned out.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/7/2011 3:04:43 AM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Beamboom,
Character drama doesn't necessarily have to be attached to the gameplay. I mean, if the developers could accurately portray the feelings of a soldier at war… Sure, it would require quite a bit of exposition, but if you read my comment below, you'll see how it might be possible so long as the developer is willing to take a bit of a risk at pissing people off. It could definitely be blended into the gameplay though. Interactive cutscenes for example. Again, it wouldn't be popular, but it could very well be a step forward.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Lawless,
I did read you comment below and it was a very good read (as commented already) but trauma of war can not be compared to the low key, human drama of Heavy Rain, where scenes like everyday life in the back yard, family life, father-son relationship, a lonely parent, those aspects of life is portrayed.

A good simulation of war and the trauma that follows could very well be implemented into a fps, and the fps games could very well contain a bit more humanity, that I agree with. But there is a huge stretch from there to Heavy Rain.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/7/2011 5:39:24 AM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

I know, I replied before you did 😉

While it's true that it is a different kind of drama to be expressed between child-gone-missing and soldier-at-war, I fail to see how a similar emotional connection between player and protagonist couldn't be made. The soldier is still a person, and although he is attacking/killing other people in the name of his country, he still has people back home that he worries about. It could be narrated by his journal entries, interposed with scenes of him talking to his family.

Of course, the typical FPS story would have to be eschewed for it to work. You couldn't have a supersoldier with overwhelming amounts of enemies. It wouldn't be about saving the world, but surviving. It'd be a new breed of FPS as it simply wouldn't fit into what we already know and think of the genre. Considering it like that, I don't see the huge stretch, but perhaps you disagree on the alterations to the formula of the FPS and if that is the case, then we are at loggerheads.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

no no essensially we agree here, don't get me wrong.

Have you played Resistance 3? I almost fell off my chair in surprise when i started playing. That game had the *potential* of being almost exactly what you describe here. It started off so incredibly good. Vulnerable humans, the feeling of a totally overwhelming force against you, using your brains against brute force, running away and hiding from enemies, the setting were just perfect. A man, leaving his family behind to go on a travel across the country with the company of a fragile, old man. Oh man, the setting was so good my jaw dropped.

But then… Then it drifts off into being more of a shooting gallery, hitting the all time low when it turned into a zombie shooter at one stage. At that point in the game I could just have well started to cry. I gave up on the story and treated the rest of the travel as just another shooter. Bloody shame.

But therein lies the entire problem I think: The market *expect* the fps to be just that, impressive and varied scenes with lots of different stuff to point at and shoot. A coherent story can not embrace *everything* in the name of entertainment. It need some structure, some persistence. And that's where Resistance 3 sadly stumbled and fell, along with many other shooters.

Then it is far easier to create a typical fps-setting where you are, or become, a Godlike superbeing. Crysis being the prime example of that – only in those games it *works*, in my humble opinion.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/7/2011 7:12:38 AM

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

I agree a lot Campaigns are very short in the FPS world. But here's the thing. KZ3 took me about 7-8 hours on hard. If it took someone 5 hours it's because they just ran through it. Games are jot meant to be ran through. But that's the problem with shooters, is that's what they are. The pacing in a shooter is very fast paced, and in turn pushes players to rush to the next enemy. I think this results in what is being referred to as a short campaign.

When you up the difficulty though, you are more restrained from hauling a** to the next enemy. You are more grounded, and forced to take a more strategic approach. Again KZ3 took me 7-8 hours, because I was forced to "PLAY" the game, because as we all know the AI is brilliant and on harder difficulties kept me from trying to be Rambo. Looking back there's no way on a harder difficulty I could have completed the game any faster unless I did try to run n' gun through the game.

The CoD games are short I think since MW2 they all have been between 5-6 hours long. But that's the type of game they are Rey almost force you to rush through the game. They are always frantic and packed with tons of action around every corner. If I played CoD the way I play KZ it would probably add another hour.

As for BF3 that game was just plain short. I feel like it took me 4 hours to beat. It probably took more than that, but I can say with confidence it's the shortest FPS I've ever played. It was good, it was fun, but short and the ending was a let down for me. I sat there wishing, hoping something else would happen at the end, but sadly just credits. O well.

Anyways that's my take on it. Play the games like they are meant to get the moat out of them. The moment you change the way the game is meant to be played is the moment your perception of it gets skewed.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
10 years ago

@bigrailer

you make some good points. i always count the playthrough times of a sp campign when the game is on normal difficulty. sure you can crank it up to hard to add to the time but that's kind of an artificial way of extending the game. most people are going to probably play it on normal difficulty. you make a great point about pacing. kz3 does push you forward so to speak. that adds to its length issues i think.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

I brought up using the hard difficulty because shooters are very, very easy. On Normal with most shooters I've come across, I could stand in one spot and live for nearly 5 sec. Before finally being killed. That also results in people running through games because with regenerating health you can simply afford to run right through enemies, without having to take cover and strategically move up the "battlefield". Yes most people will play on normal, but because of this they are able to more easily be encouraged to Rambo on through. The player almost feels invincible at times. Leading to short campaigns. 😉

ZenChichiri
ZenChichiri
10 years ago

Imagine a game like Turok 1 and 2 for N64 in HD glory. Those had actual boss battles, variation in enemies and level design, and innovative weapons. Now that would be cool. I want to see the River of Souls in HD glory. I also want to use the Cerebral Bore again and suck out some brains. Too bad the new Turok sucked.

I wish they would make games like that now, but when people think FPS these days the first thing that comes to mind is multiplayer. Ugh! I hate being in the minority because there is nothing I can do about it. I think because multiplayer is a big issue they can't make anything too game breaking in the single player because they limit themselves with what multiplayer is capable of. For example if a weapon you get in single player is seen as overpowered in multiplayer, they might not even add it to the single player! Sacrifices! Buuuut that's the thing. Many of us single player only (I should say single player usually) are now in the minority so too bad for us I suppose.

Rage is a nice exception this gen. I'm digging it, as it has innovative elements to it, with enough variation mixed in. I'll wait to pass full judgment until I'm done with it though. And don't get me wrong. I DO enjoy FPS games this gen, but I'm not enjoying the campaign as much as I enjoyed some other FPS games from other generations that were more campaign focused.

PS – I love Battlefield 3 online.

PPS – By no way am I saying the campaigns are gimped, just that they are lacking something special.


Last edited by ZenChichiri on 11/6/2011 10:54:16 PM

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

I loved the campaign in CoD 4 MW1. It was varied in terms of gameplay and was long enough to satisfy. I wasn't expecting a 30 hour long masterpiece like an RPG, and MW1 was great for it.

Naturally, I compared MW2 to MW1, and to me MW2 just wasn't as varied and wasn't long enough to satisfy. 5 hours long the campaign was, and I think MW1's was around 7 or 8 hours. I know it's not much, but it's enough to make that difference between feels too short and rushed, and feels just right.

I loved Killzone 3. Never finished Killzone 2.

Resistence 3 was disappointing to me. Not the story or length, that was brilliant!! The guns were fun, but the FPS mechanics felt clunky and dated, like a PS2 FPS but with great graphics and a great story. The tech side of R3 kinda ruined the experience for me, made it feel more like a chore to finish than fun.

I'm enjoying Battlefield 3 right now, even if it is on 360 (wanted the PC version, but wanna play with my brother)

I'm really not surprised why people are complaining about the story in FPS. It is the dominant genre in video games right now, in terms of press coverage and sales. Of course people are gonna be really critical about FPS campaigns!! There's so many of them to choose from, so naturally you go with the best and you compare the new FPS' to the great classics!!

Personally, I'm hoping MW3 will have a great campaign, varied in level design, uses the new environment damage model to full effect and is at least around 7 hours long. CoD has a smooth 60 frames/sec and highly responsive controls, I've always found it to be the best controls and presentation in an FPS. It's just a shame Activision had to recycle the content so heavily. Keep the essentials, but add content rather than just simply swapping one map and gun type for another.

Chances are I might get MW3 when I find it cheaper than 60 bucks. (Australia, 60 bucks is about half the price of MW3 at launch)

Quite frankly, I'm looking forward to Harmonix's new ideas, and where Naughty Dog will go next. In fact, I'm tired of 360 gimping games, forcing PS3 multiplats down with it. I say bring on the next generation!!! I wanna see what AI, physics and graphics look like in FPS' then!!!

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Just thought of something. I love CoD's controls and 60 frames/sec smooth gameplay, but am sick of CoD's recycled content.

Something tells me I might like Goldeneye Reloaded. Soon as I find it cheap during the lull period next year, I think I'll pick it up. Only question is, 360 or PS3? PS3 has Move, and it's my solo player console of choice. 360 is where my friends are at, so getting it for that might convince others friends to join me online.

I can't wait for PS4 to release first and dominate, I hate this multiplat divide. Last gen it was PC or PS2, so simple, so much better. I miss those happy simple days.

dork02840
dork02840
10 years ago

by their nature FPS are more action then drama/story related. i loathe the cheap B movie feel of most of their plots, with the exception of several. Havent played Killzone 3, eyeballing Goldeye 007 when it drops in price at Newbury Comics :). For me a shooter has to be the right mix of sci fi, shock, gore, and characters. i often find that the blend in what i find…even in a game like Mass Effect, i find that they focus too heavily one one end or the other. The end result for me then becomes a chore. FPS do dominate the market and the sales, let alone the advertising. i work at a local naval base, and every time i drive by our entrance gate after flashing ID i see a MW3 sign along the softball field fence, and i always mutter…shameless fucks blatantly catering to the gun toting military crowd…makes me nauseas. as a rule of thumb personally, i usually find my gaming experience to be much better with 3rd person games then FPS. i like being able to see character nuances and effects, with the wrong story(personal taste wise) and an over inundated game HUD i often roll my eyes before even 10 hours of gameplay, that and horror/military themed titles slay me. if you give me the choice between vanquish and MW3…i will choose vanquish every time. vanquish has style, and an arcade sensibility that i feel many hit games sorely lack.

main_event05
main_event05
10 years ago

pass

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

How many FPS games come out a year? Imagine if that many Transformers movies came out a year; people would be right to be turned off by it. All flash an no substance.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

How many? Not a fraction as many action and sports games come out.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
10 years ago

Or Wii party games for that matter. I think we can count ourselves lucky FPS' haven't become the new shovelware of 2010 and 2011. There's still a level of quality that they all must have.

Bodycount is one exception. FPS shovelware from a great developer who once made Black. Such a shame.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Statistically Ben is right.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

But he is, downthumber! This is fact, not opinion. Just go count for yourself, ask gamerankings to give you a list of all the ps3 releases so far this year and start counting.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Yeah cuz we all know God of War and Devil May Cry are worthy of comparison 😛

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

I'm waiting on Valve for my Single Player FPS experience. HL2 (and the 2 episodes) is still one of my favorite SP experiences EVER.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

I played trough the Orange Box when it came to consoles. Yes the PS3 port had major issues, but I also loved the games. Not my favorite, but those are games that had great stories and excellent gameplay.