This week, Zero Punctuation reviews one shooter and one, well you'll see.
So this week I've been playing a bit of Medal of Honor: Warfighter! Pahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Sometimes I do a thing where I incrementally alter a game's name each time I say it until it's something stupid, but I'm feeling pretty fucking undercut here. You know, Warfighter, 'cos he just fights wars all over the place, and then he gets his tax return done by his friend Numbers Accountant. I don't know anyone who didn't immediately laugh at this fucking name so why didn't anyone involved in its development put their hand up, or is that a flogging offense in the EA slave pits?
Maybe someone was testing to see if his colleague was paying attention and he got out of hand. "Let's make another fucking realistic modern war shooter." "Yes, sounds great!" "Um, also I think we should call it Warfighter." "Yes, sounds great!" *pause* "And then I thought maybe I can push an entire birthday cake up your cockhole." "Yes, sounds great, let's do lunch, I have a nosebleed!" Or maybe it's targeted marketing. They knew the title would be laughed out of the room by all but those with less awareness than a bowl of fried tripe and happily those are the only people who could enjoy the fucking game!
Anyway, Warfighter. Pahahahahaha- sorry, serious now. It's a very serious game where lots of people die. Well, lots of foreigners die. I thought we were over the whole Modern Warfare thing. It had its fun for a while, systematically abusing the word "realistic", but then Spec Ops: The Line came along and showed us what a bunch of violent paranoid glory-boy twats the whole genre was making us all look like. You were supposed to slink off in shame! Nanny caught you with your hand in the cookie jar, you don't just continue eating the cookies.
But no, Warfighter's down with everything that makes modern shooters fucking despicable. The story just kept dumping me one location after the other and told me to shoot all the brown people talking foreign. I didn't know who they were or why they deserved it, although I did know they were vastly outmatched technologically. At one point, you take control of a remote-controlled robot that goes behind enemy lines and fucking mows people down until someone can tip it over and bash its camera in with a rock, and that just fucking says it all, doesn't it? We've got kill-droids, they've got rocks. We are Imperial Stormtroopers massacring the fucking Ewoks!
I could maybe stomach the ethics if it was a fun game, but like all modern shooters, having to be played by a self-aware human being was classified by the developers as a bug. "Shoot that bloke," said my colleague, but I hadn't spotted the bloke he was talking about, so he said "Too slow!" and did it himself. A turret guy I've been carefully flanking for a few moments was shot by an NPC just as I was lining up the sights. Three enemy buildings full of snipers were bombed to dust by missiles launched from what I think was the vengeful finger of God. "Why the fuck am I even here?" I thought as I zoned out on the battlefield again, all the gunfire and shouting blurring together and settling on me like a big head-mounted pancake. "This game has made it perfectly clear it doesn't want me around; it wants the kind of person who doesn't think Warfighter is a stupid title. Incidentally, pahahahahahahahahahaha, Warfighter!"
So I stopped. An hour and a half in, I stopped. I put down the controller and turned it off. There are only so many neurons I'm prepared to squander. Then I played the Doom 3: BFG Edition instead, which also came out last week. A much more fulfilling shooter experience even while BFG in this case appears to stand for Begging For Greenbacks.
So id is apparently working on Doom 4 'cos they had their fun with Rage, but now their owners would rather they made a big sack of money for them all to go windsurfing with, but first they need to make sure that people actually remember what Doom is, besides the sound a slightly stupid bass drum makes. Hence a thing that rather amusingly terms itself a "remastering" which in this sense means "you can hold a flashlight with another weapon now", but even that smacks of revisionist history to me. All right, it was kind of weird how the space marine never thought to use duct tape or just hold the flashlight between his massive pectoral muscles, but it was part of the game! There are levels that I'm pretty sure were designed around the dodgy lighting and the one thing that everyone remembers of Doom 3 is that it was darker than a Pontefract cake lodged in Barry White's armpit.
Every other slightly dodgy design choice is preserved for posterity in the Barry's Funky Gammonflaps Edition, like the frankly bizarre ragdoll physics that turns corpses into somersaulting paper dirigibles, or the shitty sound design where the assault rifle sounds like a playing card clipped to a bicycle wheel and the handgun sounds like a robot vagina queefing transmission fluid, and obnoxious load times long enough to let me think of really horrible analogies like that one.
You know, when Doom 3 first came out, I thought less of it because it distanced itself from the original Doom's colourful balls-on-the-tea-trolley action with its grey palette, narrow corridors, and endless audio logs from boring people who got lost on the way to the System Shock 2 auditions. But how naïve my younger self seems now that I thought Doom 3 constitutes a bad direction for shooters, now that I'm playing Doom 3 to cleanse my fucking palate after playing Warfighter (Pahahaha!), because holy shit, suddenly I have firm context! I'm a lone space marine being attacked by demons from Hell and now I get to kill the demons because demons are dicks, and I know they're dicks because they keep jumping out of cupboards and trying to relocate my balls to my armpits! It's not me and a huge army invading Hell half-heartedly shooting at silhouettes fifty yards away that may or may not be a demon until some cosmic unseen entity decrees that I may proceed and shoot up the next location. Instead I'm in a corridor and there's a monster in the way and I can proceed once there isn't a monster in the way. You know what really jumped out at me? No objective markers. So if there's a locked door, I have to organically search the nearby environment for the key with no direction to go on. And you know what that took away from the experience? NOTHING!
I suppose Warfighter (Pahahaha!) exasperates me because after I declared Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare as the twin bollocks lords of Shit Mountain, there were dissenting voices dismissing my opinion on the basis that I "just don't like shooters". Oh, you ignorant little bastards. Stick your balls up your arse and clench yourself castrated! I was into shooters while you were sucking on Wiimotes, you cover-loving, health-regenerating, murderer come-latelies! You don't even know what a shooter is! A shooter is fast-paced, circle-strafing, wits about you, rocket-jumping, last scrap of health, toodly fuckpies, organic excitement in a fancy hat! It is not riding a conveyor belt to the next chest-high wall and resting your head on it until you get lulled into a lovely little sleep by the other people's gunfire.
Perhaps this calls for greater clarity of language. Doom 3 and Painkiller and Resistance 3, we'll call "shooters", and we'll come up with new names for Modern Warfare-style games, like "spunkgargleweewee". I'm perfectly fine with people telling me I just don't like spunkgargleweewee, and Warfighter is bad even for spunkgargleweewee, so gargle something else!
Fuck swearer: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
And yes I know Warfighter is the name of a real life military communications system but that is somehow even more laughable
It's called a Cacodemon because it makes me cack myself