VIDEO: A History of Cover-Based Shooters (and why they suck)

Roland takes a look back at the original cover-based shooters, and how they’ve evolved into the industry standard that’s used for so many games today. Then he lays out three of the big issues that seem to plague these games, using Spec Ops: The Line, Max Payne 3, and several older games as examples.

For more Examined Life (of Gaming), visit Roland’s website! You can find various side videos that aren’t featured on the Booth!

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  • Cristiona

    Poptarting. Good word. Good summation in general, too.

    • The_Stig

      Mmmm. Pop Tarts.

      • Thomas Stockel

        Awww, beat me to it. I did like “I love war: I’m an American.” Well said, sir. :D

        • The_Stig

          That was a damn fine line.

      • I don’t care WHAT the Toaster Strudel people said, Pop Tarts are just better.

  • John Wilson

    You know,you can turn off voices in PS3 port of windback.

    • That alone makes it worth buying!

  • Sand Ripper

    The Brothers in Arms series is first-person, but they’re also guilty of some of the things mentioned in the video.

    • Yeah, that was a game that seemed to have a lot of innovation, but it was a lot like Kill.switch. Just moving pieces around the board over and over. Like a game of monopoly where you can’t buy anything, and don’t have to pay rent.

  • I think a big problem is that you can’t perform a ‘pop-tart’ without getting hit the second you break cover. It’s like the NPC’s all have auto-aim, no-spread hax on all their weapons.

    • Max Payne 3 was especially bad for that. I think they do that whole insta-hit thing to force you to blind fire.

      It’s just one awful love-triangle of gameplay. Can’t hit anything on the move, have to poptart. Enemies have absurd accuracy, so you have to blindfire. Can’t hit anything with blindfire…. have to poptart. Blargh.

  • msgundam2

    So even though these games sell by the truck load you think they should not be made anymore because a few elitist gamers don’t like them.

    • Should the Call of Duty franchise not be made anymore? I mean you can say that about any successful franchise that’s not liked by the so called elitists.

      The problem I have is that the people who seem to like games such as, say, Spec Ops The Line, ARE the elitists. :)

      • msgundam2

        “Should the Call of Duty franchise not be made anymore?” No, the game sells very well. if these a demand for it there is no reason to stop making them.

        There are elitist on all sides think their shit don’t stink.
        I do like you video and you do bring up good point. Hiding behind stuff and taking pop-shots from room to room gets boring.

        • Yeah anybody who acts like games have no right to exist is kind of an asshole. When I say stuff like that I’m usually trying to be funny; though I do think some of these franchises are pretty well played out. The reason they shouldn’t make a Max Payne 4, Gears of War 4, Spec Ops: The Line 2, etc etc etc is because those STORIES are totally done, any further game would be a weird zombification. Like Cinderella 2 or whatever. Happily ever after BUT.

          I think the biggest problem with TPCBS games is that they’re a massive console-concession. Every facet of the core gameplay is basically because it’s difficult to make a full fledged FPS playable/fun on a controller. The cover based shooter doesn’t seem like a natural evolution of the FPS or TPS, but rather a corruption.

          • Rex

            This! I agree I think the cover based mechanic is very much out of the limitations of concole games and the controls of those games. It makes getting head shots more turn based. Hide> wait for them to stop firing> line up shot> fire>repeat. Controls on consoles (and i own three consoles and a gameboy) don’t work well with games that require pinpoint accuracy in a 3 dimensional space. Remember that modern controllers haven’t evolved much at all since the NES, You have directions and buttons. Yeah they added more directions, and more buttons even another joystick but it’s still based on the basic design of a controller made to make sprites run right to left.

            This is also the reason that games don’t let PC gamers and console gamers cross over- in FPS gamed like modern warfare, because 1 person playing modern warfare on a pc vs a a group of controller players would annihilate them, even an average PC gamer vs very good console players would look like a God. But that’s the controls and it’s because controllers aren’t very good at allowing you to aim and run at the same time.

            I wanna make a cover based fantasy hack and slash game, where you can be a warrior with a giant broadsword and you take cover and wait and when someone walks by you fucking kill them with your broadsword!

          • HAhahah that would be awesome! Taking cover with your sword and clotheslining dudes as they walked past. Take it to the logical extreme. :D

  • david francis white

    What happened to!! Is it ever coming back?? I will miss it if it is done!!! What did you think of Star wars Force Unleashed 1 & 2!!!!!