The case against cover systems in modern shooters

The TL;DW of this video is that shooters are less fun when they rely on cover based mechanics.

I agree with a lot of the assessment in the video. What do others think?

I haven’t played Vanquish, but this video has sparked my interest.

My favorite shooter was the first Halo Trilogy. If you wanted to hide you just walked behind an object or wall. You didn’t need to glue yourself to a surface, limiting your movement speed. You could just freely walk out when it was safe. Also, that game was fun because of all the gameplay variety: such as the cool alien weapons and the assortment of vehicle types to use. Both air and land.

The Deus Ex series is fun as well, because it’s not just a shooter, rather all of the stealth and gameplay mechanics are so deep, the game becomes very complex, the shooter aspect takes a back seat and the game becomes fun to master: hacking, jumping high, placing objects and taking alternate routes through vents or punching through walls, disabling electronics, upgrading your powers, using non-lethal means such as stealth kills, smoke bombs and tranquilizers.

Also, and even though you took cover in Mass Effect you had so many class options to choose from, this allowed you to change up the gameplay to whatever suited your style!

So, now that I think about it if a shooter is based entirely just on cover, hide and shoot, it becomes extremely boring. If there is no cool or interesting gameplay factors added in (like vehicles in Halo or stealth and variety of gameplay options in Deus Ex), the game is just bland! Halo and Deus EX are so much fun because of the variety!

At least that’s what I think. To be great a shooter can’t just be a shooter. It needs to have a variety of gameplay options built around the shooting to keep things from getting stale.

My favourite (walking) shooters are Half-Life 2 and Halo 2 (mainly this one because it is where the series peaked), both of which contain a lot of variety.

But even more straight forward shooters are preferable if they don’t limit movement. I picked up Quake 4 yesterday since it was just released on GOG. I remember playing this when it first came out, over ten years ago. As one of the last games before the Gears of War era of shooters began, it still holds up well because it doesn’t constrain movement the way many modern shooters do.

The new Doom reboot is fun, precisely because it feels so fluid. Exactly what the genre needed.

I played the new Doom as well. It was really fun performing those fatality-like finishers. It basically felt like an updated version of the original! I also liked how in each level, you could find those hidden switches that open up secret rooms from the first game. Presented in all their original pixel glory!

I started playing Deus Ex Human Revolution again and it makes me appreciate just how good it is over its sequel, Deus Ex Mankind Divided.

The sequel, Mankind Divided, unnecessarily extended and continued on with main character Adam Jenson’s story, took out the bosses, over complicated the gameplay, and had a lackluster story. Every Dues Ex game since then was a self contained story. If you ever play any Deus Ex game Solo, you have to play Human Revolution. The first Deus Ex is good as well but that may seem outdated now. It also has a sort of Blade Runner/Mystery/Film noir vibe.

Also, I was talking about Mass Effect. What held that series together and kept the shooting aspect from becoming stale was the gameplay classes and more specifically, the story choices; how each action affected the subsequent sequels to come.

Any shooter needs meat around the bones to keep your hunger sated I think. That’s what makes a good shooter. Gamplay execution, story and gamplay options.

I have the first three games on Steam/GOG. I played a little of Human Revolution and it seemed like something I’d like to play more of, so it’s on my list to play properly. I might go back and try the original as well. I hear that the second one should be skipped?

Well, the second one is still fun and the story is at least better than Mankind Divided. But, I’d focus on the first Deux Ex and Human Revolution before you play that one.

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The second one, Invisible War, is a sequel to the first Deus Ex, and the last one in the timeline. So I played it to find out what happens next, and whilst the story wasn’t great (but not bad) the game was fun.

Would you recommend playing them in chronological order?

You could probably go:

Deus Ex Human Revolution (first in timeline)
Deus Ex
Deus Ex Invisible War (last in timeline)

But it’s up to you.

I also recommend playing Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. You can get it on Steam or for Playstation 3 (on Playstation Network)

The game is a homage to the 80’s! The game makes tons of references to 80’s movies and is full of humor. It’s also very fun to play and sort of has that run and gun style of Doom! You can also beat it in about 6 hours.