My Top Ten: FPS Differences


People are always banging on about how every FPS game is basically the same. Those people are idiots, here’s why:

  • In Doom they have floaty fireball monsters, a gun called The BFG which actually acronyms a sweary word and a health meter represented by a little picture of a face (presumably yours) getting more and more beaten up.
  • In Call of Duty they have characterisation which makes you sad when one of the non-playables gets killed. It’s almost like the storytelling is having an impact on the player. Oh, hold on, they have this in Brothers in Arms too. Well Call of Duty is set during the Second World War! Oh…
  • In Medal of Honour they have Nazis and it’s set in the Second World War… Oh, this isn’t going well is it?
  • Well, alright then… In Wolfenstein the Nazis have robotics and, in later iterations, they’ve found some magic rocks which make them slow down time and see floaty ghost-like things which remind you of Slimer from Ghostbusters if he’d had a motorcycle accident and can’t get around so well these days.
  • In Halo you can jump and almost float like you were Michael Jordan doing wire-work for a new Star Wars movie. You can also dual-wield your weapons unless you’re playing the first Halo. Or the latest one. They hadn’t worked out how to do it for the first one and by the time they made ODST they’d given up trying.
  • In Far Cry 2 there’s pretty fire and the “baddies” are mostly Africans who have plots to overthrow warlords and steal things and shoot at you in a church and let you get halfway through the game before breaking completely and never bloody working again. Almost every other FPS let’s you finish the game so that’s different.
  • In Duke Nukem there was a gun which shrinks your enemies into tiny little frantic nutcases who are easy to stomp in a sickly comical fashion. Like cockroaches or ants. Or kittens.
  • In Modern Warfare it’s set in modern times rather than an old world war or a spacey future. Alright, some others are set in modern times too but none of them actually tell you that in the title. The only way the title of this game could be more explicit is if they called it “Runny Shooty Look Quite Pretty”.
  • In Portal you don’t actually have a proper gun, there are no Nazis and you’re not sure if it’s set during a world war or in the future or even right now. You also have to eat cake. I think that was the aim of the game – to eat some cake. It was like an FPS version of Fat Princess. But good.
  • In Six Days in Fallujah you have to be outraged that anybody would dare to reference a conflict that was so recent and pretend that you didn’t spend hours making accurate maps of Port Stanley and Camp X-Ray in the Delta Force map editor on PC. At least, that’s what I did.
  • In Gears of War you have to play Halo but from a different perspective. It’s not even in the First Person anymore, how about that for a big difference?

Oh, alright, that was cheating…

  • In Mirror’s Edge you’re encouraged to refrain from shooting anyone and just do jumping instead. A bit like 90s denim-clad Irish pop-puppets B*Witched but with more style and less soul-crushing despair.