Shooting The Breeze
For the first few months of 2008, I semi-retired from First Person Shooters
For the first few months of 2008, I semi-retired from First Person Shooters. I’d just had my fill after the deluge at the back end of last year. And to be honest, I didn’t really miss ‘em. But I’ve been playing the Battlefield: Bad Company Beta for the magazine (more on this at another time) and it’s got me back in the hunt. I’m back baby, with a 12 gauge in my hand, humping your corpse. As it were.
Now, as everybody knows, the 360 plays host to two competing monoliths in the online shooter universe, Halo 3 and Call Of Duty 4. Both have new map packs coming out this month (the COD one may well be up by the time you read this), and after my three-or-so month hiatus, tonight seemed like a good time to resurrect my floundering military career.
With any gap like this away from an online game, there’s always a worry that the community will have passed you by. That your skill set will never be on a par with those that never left. So with that in mind, I took my first tentative steps back into the modern battlefield that is Call Of Duty 4. A couple of rounds in, though, and it was like I’d never left. I’ve always been the guy that supports the team rather than leads it. I’m the dude that comes in second, and I’m ok with that. And I was back in my comfort zone again within minutes.
Call Of Duty doesn’t demand that you learn every inch of its maps to be good. It doesn’t need you to have a PHD in its arsenal, or to have written a thesis on its every exploit and game-breaking glitch. It’s an exercise in instinct and awareness, of cover and accuracy. If you have a basic level of skill, you can do well. And that’s why it’s brilliant. The new maps can’t come soon enough.
What of Halo though?It’s the polar opposite. That’s a game that needs to be studied, for all four corners of every one of its maps to be commited to memory forever, right? Well, maybe not. The rebalancing of the weapon set after Halo 2 has done wonders, meaning the Assault Rifle can legitimately kill anyone, and the 1-2-3 or gun, grenade and melee has regained its purity. It’s less of a weapon whoring exercise, and more a bout of ability and bravado. You still need to be good at Halo, of course. You just don’t necessarily need to be good at Halo 3. And what about the ‘moments’ it throws up? The combination of physics, animation and an innate comic timing lets Halo just throw the most audacious ‘omgs’ at you every five minutes. And then you can watch them again, cut them up and upload them. Brilliant.
There are three new maps coming up later in the month, and you can check out the next issue of 360 for an EXCLUSIVE (in caps, no less) preview straight from the horse’s mouth, Frank O’ Connor, Bungie’s very own content editor and all around awesome guy. You don’t get that sort of thing anywhere else.
So, there you have it. I’m back in the battle, and I think I’m going to be enjoying it. See you in the barracks, soldier.