Everyone has that friend. You know the one: that person in your group that starts groaning the moment you suggest everyone grab a controller and do some fragging in Halo or Counterstrike. They just don’t get it. They hate the idea of losing and they know that playing against you and your friends is going to result in a lot of deaths. They don’t understand the adrenaline rush of a massive multiplayer brawl, desperately seeking the right position to attack, and the joy of outwitting your opponent to have someone come up from behind you and start your respawn timer again.
I’ve been that person. Ask Grethade, any suggestion that we should play Halo together was responded to with a sound “That’s not my thing, maybe next time”. I abhorred the concept. What’s interesting about it? What do I get out of the experience? Why would I want to play something that I will lose soundly in for months while I learn how to play?
It takes a lot to break out of that. That friend of yours could be a future FPSer, and stick just as well as the rest of your clan if given the time and the method. And the fact is, you love having them over at the LAN and you just want to see them enjoy their time as much as you are. There is hope! The following steps of game suggestions just might get you there – I know they helped me. And if they don’t? Well, they’re all good games, and you can certainly enjoy them on your own too. Perhaps even go the other way around and show your friends that you can enjoy a good RPG too!
1. Fallout – The Fallout series is extremely well known for its witty antics, great turn based play, and open environment. It’s a natural transition for anyone who respects the Elder Scrolls series or open world RPGs in general. The stats are obvious and apparent. The structure is familiar. And yet at the same time, I can’t help but want to delve in more about the equipment. Why does each weapon act differently? What’s the purpose all of these different classes? Even the gamer who doesn’t know the difference between a pistol, a revolver, and a sniper can get a solid understanding and enjoy something that’s full of wit throughout the game
2. Borderlands – The transition from Fallout to Borderlands is all about performing actions in real time and manual shooting. You liked the style of Fallout, and you want more. Borderlands takes the level of ridiculousness of weapons to another level. The loot pinata is the best search for the right weapon experience since Diablo 2, which will be a nice reminder of what’s there. While looking at the numbers, players get a feel that the pure stats are not the only important part of a weapon and what they do. Additionally, while Borderlands requires aim, which is a new concept, it tends to be rather generous and not punish the player too much, even if they should not succeed.
3. Left 4 Dead / Zombies – You’ve found the Cache. You’ve bested Handsome Jack. You’ve enjoyed the lootfest of Borderlands and you now yearn for something with a little bit more consistency. This is where Zombies and Left 4 Dead really comes in. The opponents are still NPCs, but the game thrives on multiplayer with friends. You learn how to use the maps to your advantage. You know which weapons you want to use, when and master what seem insurmountable odds… and you lose. A lot. The biggest benefit to survival zombie games is that it makes the roleplayer understand that death is a part of the game, and it that shouldn’t be terrified. It’s just another part of the game, and the challenge of trying to survive makes the game more enjoyable. Hearken to the Buddhist leanings of the game. Help them embrace it. They’re close to bridging the gap.
4. Your FPS of choice. This works best in situations like Black Ops 2, where you utilize the PVE Zombies game to help the transition. ”You already have the game playing Zombies with me, so let’s try out the other stuff on the disc.” The campaign is nice, and it’s there, but don’t let it be a crutch to what you know is the true joy of the game – multiplayer. Party games like Gun Game and One in the Chamber help the player feel like they’re not coming in brand new (most of these games are designed to be progressively more difficult when getting close to completing the objective), and so some good shots will be had. Additionally, you’ve already taught your friend to be accustomed to new weapons, learning how they work in the game, and how to best position their advantages on maps. Congratulations, they are now ready to FPS proper.
It may take time, hard work, and patience (drained out of us by our instant queues in our games),but the efforts are worth the reward when your friend starts showing you the sick triple kill they recorded the other day, and they have the sniping position that makes your reckless abandon seem like no big deal in team deathmatch. And besides that, all of these games are a blast and are worth your time, even if you’ve got nobody you are looking to convert.
What was your first FPS experience like? What did you play before? How have you brought other people into enjoying the genre? Let us know in the comments – perhaps you will help others join the flock of people who can’t get enough K/D ratio.