Welcome to the Multi-Shooter-Verse

As a gamer, there was always one aspect of the hobby that never appealed to me. It was an aspect that many gamers not only enjoy, but slather over and dedicate great attention to, investing stupendous levels of emotion, time and effort. They would do it from dawn to dusk, then to dawn again, fuelled only by easy eats and an unquestionable bipolar glory-rage that confuses those that spectate it.  That aspect was online gaming.  I don’t mean all online gaming of course. The thrill of playing with others in a competitive environment in games such as Mario Kart, or the teamwork that came with co-op games added a dimension to a possibly stagnating title.

These aspects of online gaming, to me, were healthy; sporting and social arenas where a smile was had and a cheer was raised when accomplishing something. No, the area I point my fat, greasy finger at is what I have dubbed, the “multi-shooter”. It is the arena owned (or “pwned” if you will) by games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo. It is an arena that thrives on blood-thirst, vengeance and the need to destroy your fellow man in armed combat. To me it was a dark world, and I wanted no part of it.

I don’t say this without experience. Many a time there would be a fellow gamer luring me in with promises of “fun” and “good times”, but each time I would spend the next ten minutes watching as the camera swirled over my prone, headless body while I waited to respawn, once again, only to die. It was like a barbaric Groundhog Day, watching as no matter which way I walked, whatever I armed myself with and even if I saw a foe, I would always find the red blush mist my screen and see my failure to kill happen again. It was demoralising, it was frustrating and it definitely wasn’t fun.

Last year, however, something changed. Crysis 2 was released as a multiplayer demo and I curiously tried it out, only to be pleasantly surprised that I had entered a multi-shooter where I was no longer the moving target for others, but I was enacting my own vengeance, completing tasks and gaining levels of weapons and abilities once alien to me. I was finally a productive member of the team! I had finally found what I was looking for: balance.  So I purchased Crysis 2 and jumped into the multiplayer in between bouts of the, rather fun, single player, only to find that, soon enough, Crysis 2 would suffer the same horrors as before. Players would either have weapons far surpassing what I could offer – some honestly, some modded – and death was a constant reminder that I wasn’t good enough. The same reasons/excuses were there: my weapons did little damage, they appeared in my blind spot all the time, lucky grenades… but all this was nothing compared to the feeling of gaming sadness I felt.

Once again, I was not good enough for a multi-shooter.  However, I had dipped my toe in the red waters and found games and loadouts that fitted my style. My run-gun-hide way of playing perfectly fitted games such as Capture the Flag, causing me to be a functioning team player, and I saw a few victories come my way. It seemed all I needed was a taste of victory to get my multi-shooter lust going… until the server drops, rage quitters and aforementioned modders made it all rather tiresome.

So, I kept myself to other, less online games. I dabbled a bit with Mortal Kombat’s online fighting, sucking at that too but enjoying the fact it was Mortal Kombat. I saved science in Portal 2 with great joy. I scoffed at those who played multi-shooters for their lack of variety and gameplay. I had entered their world and knew better, poor souls.  Then came the game I am raving about these days: Gotham City Impostors, and what happened with Crysis 2 happened again: I found myself having fun. Whether it was the Batman hue to it, the humour in both gameplay and weaponry, or the fact that what I was doing seemed to work, I found myself continuing to play. Again, it was games such as Capture the Point or Grab the Item, but I was achieving things that had only been done by veterans in multi-shooters before. Inspired, I decided to brave the multi-shooter world of other games such as Space Marine and, once again, despite a lot more dying, found myself feeling a sense of doing something useful in a team. Doing something productive. Doing something fun.

After playing the beta, I bought Gotham City Impostors on release and continue to play it, enjoying watching my stats go up and, most of all, having fun. Having fun killing other enemies in a variety of ways. Having fun seeing XP rewards pop up on the screen. Having fun capturing items and hoping no-one blasted my brains out. The old problems still remain of course: those of a higher level still “pwn” me, some servers randomly die and losers are still sore as a Keira Knightley’s bum in A Dangerous Method, but I’ve finally entered the world of the multi-shooter and felt a part of something.  I can now see why those before me play the games. They are not the anger-fuelled philistines I once cast them as, they are warriors on the field of battle, sworn to take down their opposing member.  That or blow them up with a jack-in-the-box. Salt and Pepper, on the woooooound.  Ahem.

Last five articles by Oli



  1. Chris Chris-Toffer says:

    This is a great read Oli.

    I’m actually quite the opposite to you. I’m something of an First Person Shooter veteran and they took up a large part of my early gaming years (Doom, Duke Nukem, Rise Of The Triads, Half Life) right through to the present day, although now my choices are a little more specific (Battlefield 3, Bioshock, Deus Ex HR)

    I started out early in Call Of Duty UO (Not regular COD, I’m a vehicle man) and really got quite into it. First person shooters are something that requires some time to get into. You do need to learn the weapons and the maps. You’ve pointed out Capture the Flag as a gametype you enjoy and I’m pretty much the same. I could compete in Death Match Or Team Death Match but my skills are more objective focused.

    On the other side of things the idea of an online RPG or MMO doesn’t appeal at all. Constant grinding for XP and a fantasy setting doesn’t generally appeal. I’ve tried WarCraft and wasn’t interested. Same for Guild Wars. No idea why. I love RPG games and fantasy realms, just not online. It’s rather odd.

    But top read dude. Really enjoyed it!

  2. Lorna Lorna says:

    I usually despise multiplayer components of games, but the few times that I have ventured into the arena, I have tended to try and stick to games with friends, rather than randoms – that way I avoid all the nonsense that comes with those free for all arenas. I don’t have the time or level of interest usually to invest heavily in a multiplayer game in order to build the necessary skills with which I can avoid being slaughtered. Sadly, many online achievements are for ranked games which involve abandoning the safe climes of games with friends.

    I was actually very interested in the Assassin’s Creed MP but typically, by the time my net connection finished buggering about, everyone had levelled up and become experts, making it unplayable :( Finding a MP game that you are not only good at, but really enjoy without all the other online baggage is a good find indeed.

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I’m not a fan of online gaming, and I think that broken record is starting to wear out so I’ll need to see if I can get it on CD as soon as possible, otherwise I’ll not be able to keep using it! Many years ago, I used to play Command and Conquer online with my friends Pat and Willie, and my first experience of playing with strangers was one particular night when they weren’t available for a game but I had that yearning to play, and so I stepped warily into a public lobby and picked a game.

    It was odd. It was horrible. To this day I have no idea how they did it but, by the time I’d managed to build a supply centre, a power plant and a barracks, four bombers came flying overhead and destroyed what were the humble beginnings of my base. With anti-cheat mechanisms in place, I was well and truly stumped as to how they could effectively build a supply centre, power plant, barracks, air field and the time it takes to build four bombers when I was building my base as quickly as the game would allow.

    That was the last time I played PC games with strangers, but I did end up playing with strangers on the original Xbox when the Lost Planet demo came out. I liked the look of it, so I gave it a shot and ended up playing with two American guys who did nothing but complain over the mic the entire time, especially when I did what I was supposed to to, which was to take them out without being taken out myself. Of course, as is the nature of online twatness, each of them actually gave negative feedback with XBL.

    Now, I stick to gaming with friends, whether it’s Borderlands, Shoot Many Robots, Red Dead Redemption (when I was able to connect to the bloody game) and long for a day when I can hang out with my friends in the Capital Wastelands.

    I should also point out that I’m crap at shooters.

  4. simonjk says:

    I’m just don’t enjoy the multiplayer experience anymore. I did like playing Co-op GRAW2 with random people and some friends and things akin to it and loved playing Borderlands with friends but my external life just doens’t work around it anymore. Any one on my FList will probibly notice I play at exact times, after 3pm once I have picked my kids up from school untill I have to cook tea and there is just no way you can play MP and look after kids and after 11pm when everyone else has gone to bed and I really just need the ‘me’ time and the peace and quiet. I have actually been known to play online co-op in private solo just for the challenge of extra enemies and right now I struggling though the Mass Effect 3 co-op on my own. What can I say, love ‘me time’ and hate strangers just doesn’t equal me playing a lot of MP.

  5. Edward Edward says:

    Great stuff, Oli! Have to admit I’m always just trying to avoid FPS and TPS games at the moment, as I just tire of the genre, and so as a result I find myself slowly moving out of the need for multiplayer. It’s weird like that, it’s almost as if all those sort of games are just doing the same thing as each other and making it more difficult to entice those on the fence…

  6. MKG85 says:

    I find playing online frustrating as the majority of people play to win no matter how. They use repetitive methods and even make use of in-game glitches. I dont play FPSs on consoles due to the control method, but design flaws in the tracks on a game such as Mariokart Wii, make competing against people who arent playing honestly almost impossible. Maybe I have too high a temper or I am playing the wrong games, but the last title I remember enjoying was Quake 3 Arena on the PC. A nice calm Golf game with a 3-stop control method would be fun…

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