Just How Realistic do We Want Our FPS Games?
This is a Guest Post by Tiffani Weston.
This hilarious game play video from “Battlefield 3″ shows gamer “StoneMountain” giving commentary online as if the game was a real-life war. The whole act is a gimmick, and everyone involved is having a good time, but it does beg the question: In video games, what’s the perfect balance between fun and realism, and which games do it best? There are dozens of first-person war sims on the market, and all have pros and cons regarding this equation.
Call of Duty
This is the most “arcade” of first-person shooters. The “Call of Duty” series prides itself on its run-and-gun action where teamwork is an afterthought, and unlocking gold camo is more important than winning a round of Domination. “COD” is the game for “me,” not “we,” and its elaborate system of weapon and perk upgrades caters to it nicely.
The maps are also very stagnant and non-interactive. No amount of grenades will blow holes through the walls, and none of the vehicles are usable at all. Everything in “COD” is designed to simply add to the maze of a map or provide cover.
Most realistic: “Hardcore” game play makes it so a player goes down with just a few bullets. This is more reflective of what it would take to drop an enemy in real life.
Most unrealistic: The EMP grenade disables an enemy’s radar, but somehow the radio still works just fine.
The popular series from EA and Dice take players’ favorite components of a first-person shooter and incorporate vehicles, destructible environments and advanced physics. “Battlefield 4” introduced “Levolution,” damage to walls and buildings on the map that affect game play for everyone involved — entire buildings can be destroyed and whole towns can be flooded.
There’s more of a team aspect compared “COD.” Because maps are larger and vehicles are part of the equation, players work together to spot and kill enemies while completing mission objectives. On the realism rankings, the style of warfare behind “Battlefield” is a few notches higher.
Most realistic: If you reload a weapon with 20 bullets left in the clip, you lose those 20 bullets (most games don’t do that).
Most unrealistic: If you’ve got the coordination, you can eject from a plane, shoot a rocket launcher at an enemy and land back in the plane and continue to fly. That makes “Top Gun” look like “Microsoft Flight Simulator.”
The “ARMA” series is one of the most open and realistic war sims in games, and that comes with both ups and downs. The up is that it requires the most strategy and team play which is fantastic for online collaboration. The down is that the pace, like real battle, is much slower. Slow enough that some gamers who prefer a run-and-gun like “COD” might grow a bit bored of what’s happening.
“ARMA 2″ and its expansions were popular on PC for years, and the recent “ARMA 3” gives a massive upgrade to the already-popular series while maintaining the style of game play from its predecessor.
Most realistic: Huge, open maps, scarce ammo and tons of slow-paced teamwork.
Most unrealistic: Graphics are still lacking compared to “Battlefield” and “COD,” which can be distracting.