Shooter Shorts

On May 10, 2006, in Games, by psu

I took a couple of days off from Oblivion to play the two shooters for the 360. The two major franchise shooters currently available are Ghost Recon and Call of Duty 2.

Last night, I played the co-op missions in Ghost Recon with tilt. As others have already written, the rendering in the game is remarkable. There are thousands of little details that the artists must have toiled greatly over. Dust flies in the air, cars beep with alarms when you shoot them, the streetlights blink in a completely empty and zombified Mexico City. It’s too bad that into this shiny shell, Ubisoft just poured the same tired sloppy, sluggish stupid Ghost Recon gameplay. I mean, Jesus, you can’t jump.

The A.I. is horrendous. If they see you, they shoot you through the head instantly. If they don’t see you, you can walk up to one of the bots and shoot it in the face point blank with a sniper rifle. There is no rhyme or reason to how the bots act. It’s sad that three years down the line, no one has been able to make bots that are as fun to chase around and kill as the ones in Counterstrike. The bots in this game don’t even look any better than the ones in Counterstrike since they all move in a strange way that suggests the motion capture is missing frames. They also all have the same face.

The rest of the game plays like Counterstrike in slow motion. Aiming is a chore that involves pushing the stick left and right, all the time fighting the “realistic” momentum that keeps bouncing the gun back in the opposite direction. Moving around the map is similar. It’s like everything is stuck in quicksand. The result is that rare shooter that makes me completely motion sick. In addition, the HUD and map displays are so complicated, and the maps are so large that it is often impossible to figure out where the hell you are supposed to go next. I suppose this is designed to make the game feel “open” and “free”, but the result is a lot of players running around lost.

The single player is no better, since now you have the stupid bots fighting for you and against you at the same time. I wish I had rented this, but at least I should be able to get enough in trade to get that baseball game for the PSP.

Call of Duty 2 is different. I bought it figuring that I should play at least one of these WWII games, and the last one I tried made Karen scream turn it of, turn it off, turn it off in 30 seconds. This game is doing better so far. But it’s still too loud.

The controls, however, are tight and fast. No more quicksand aiming and the sluggish enemies. The A.I. in this game is not great, but at least it does not get in your way. Also, the character animations are smooth and not distracting. Call of Duty doesn’t really seem to try and provide anything more than an on-rails experience where you shoot a lot of stuff, but at least it does this well. It’s always fairly clear what you are supposed to do next, and if you are supposed to hit some waypoint, the waypoint is easy to find. In the middle, you pick up lots of different kinds of guns and fire them a lot. This is what a shooter is supposed to do, and so this game makes me happy even if it is a bit rote.

Summary: Ghost Recon goes back, Call of Duty is worth a quick runthrough.


3 Responses to “Shooter Shorts”

  1. tilt says:

    The co-op play is a disappointment, too — only four maps!? I guess if we’d been more hardcore and left respawning off, it might have been more like Rainbox Six, but yeah, in the light of day, I must concede your points. Still, very pretty.

    I just got Perfect Dark Zero from Gamefly — it’s much more stylish and fun than I imagined. It’s basically a straight up FPS, but it does have co-op play, apparently through the whole single player campaign. We tried the first two missions last night — it was pretty fun.

    Sadly the disk has a big smudge or scratch over the intro trailer.

  2. psu says:

    Hmmm. Gamefly you say.

  3. Adam Rixey says:

    Gamefly is great, especially since 360 games are $60. And it lets me rent games like GRAW and remember how much I hate squad-based games with moronic AI. You’d think if somebody’s elite enough to join the ghost squad, they wouldn’t run across a battlefield to then kneel DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE GUN I AM FIRING FROM A PRONE POSITION. After the third time I killed my teammates I just gave up and returned it.

    Gamefly’s biggest flaw is that if you don’t live in California there’s at least one week turnaround time compared to Netflix’s two days.