It seems to me that gunfeel is an important science for videogames. This is not because guns are fundamental in any way to our medium – although I think you’ll agree they are quite popular – but because guns in videogames represent a quantum of interaction. A single click. In fact, this piece might have been entitled ‘clickfeel’ but, I think, it’s with guns that the aesthetic of this interaction is thought about most frequently and most keenly.
Ask a random gamer, PC owner or not, for opinions of Doom and you’ll be lucky if you get one. Ask them for memories and you’ll get a dozen. Even those who’ve never shot the barrel and turned the imp into pixel mush remember it as if they had, its greatness written in lost man-hours, failed exams, smuggled serial cables and soiled pyjamas. Little wonder, then, that creator id Software chose to apply that legendary brand, almost a decade later, to a game that arguably didn’t need it.
There’s something wilfully perverse about Vanquish restricting its best weapon to downloadable content, not least because the Anti-Armour Pistol is the ideal way to acclimatise to the game’s unconventional combat rhythms. Sharp, accurate and with a single zoom, it reminds me of Master Chief’s sidearm in Halo: Combat Evolved, and it’s every bit as satisfying to wield. A second playthrough of the game’s campaign with this and the excellent Laser Cannon (a third DLC weapon, the Boost Machine Gun, can be safely ignored thanks to its small clip size) has been revelatory.
Toying with the dynamics of the competitive, team-based shooter is an unexpected move for the developer of Scribblenauts, a game defined by its lack of prescribed solutions. Doubly so when you consider this is an experience in which you cannot even run freely, instead flitting from cover to cover using your jetpack. There is little room for emergent gameplay here, although 5th Cell’s predilection for confounding expectations is clearly found in the broader canvas of the game. Hybrid may live up to its name in its appearance, a visual mash-up of Halo and Vanquish, but in the systems it’s quite unlike anything else.
Brothers In Arms Furious 4, the fourplayer co-op Gearbox shooter announced at E3 in 2011, has "evolved" into an all-new IP.The news was revealed at PAX over the weekend by Gearbox president Randy Pitchford. Speaking to Kotaku, he hinted that the new game would, like Gearbox's shooter-RPG hybrid Borderlands, fuse two established genres in a new way, but refused to elaborate."Our Pokémon has evolved," he said. "It has different powers."
If you want a good idea, get a lot of ideas. Linus Pauling said that – and he won a Nobel Prize. He didn’t win it for game design, though, a field in which the simplest concepts are often the most fruitful. And sure enough, for your first couple of playthroughs, Toybox – a strange cocktail that sees you controlling a side-scrolling shooter with your left thumb, and a match-three puzzler with your right – seems to have a few too many concepts in the mix.
The lead designer of subversive thirdperson shooter Spec Ops: The Line has called the game's multiplayer mode "tacked-on" and "bullshit", saying that it was only included because publisher 2K insisted on it.
Following a move into publishing with a re-release of Rock Band 3 last year, console peripheral giant Mad Catz recently announced its intention to exploit “targeted software opportunities.” Or, for those of us who don’t speak press release-ese, low-risk games that sell hardware. In the case of WWII air combat title Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII, that’s the re-branded Saitek AV8R flight stick which is bundled with the Collector’s Edition.
Team Fortress 2 is the only game in the world that has a control test. On console, as part of Valve's Orange Box, TF2 is under glass: a multiplayer, class-based shooter untouched from 2007's original release. There, my scout has a standard issue pistol and a scattergun. My soldier a rocket launcher and a shovel. My demoman both grenade and sticky bomb launcher.
Gearbox Software's marketing campaign for the upcoming Borderlands 2 has taken a novel turn with the studio releasing a 16bit-style demake of the original game.Playable in browsers at the marvellously named Borderlands 2 website wubwub.eu, The Border Lands is a single-screen shooter that gives players a choice of four of the game's characters – Salvador, Maya, Zero and Axton.