I’ve had the discussion of “running and gunning it” come up a lot lately, ever since I started to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The first time it came up was when I was telling a friend how much I was looking forward to playing DXHR, because I like how it gives you options in how to play. I don’t have much patience, and I’m horrible at stealth, so I was pleased to learn that I won’t get a MISSION FAIL if I get caught (sure, I might die, but that’s not really what I’m referring to here). My friend brushed me off and said, “Well, if you run and gun it, you won’t last long.” I didn’t reply, because I was trying to pick out where I said “run and gun.” Now that the game is out, friends feel the need to keep telling me, “You know, you can’t just run and gun this game,”or “You really can’t go in guns a-blazing.”
I know that I greatly favor my patented RARRRRR! technique when it comes to games, but I never said I didn’t implement this technique strategically.
Let me set the record straight; I know that running and gunning it or running in with guns a-blazing in DXHR is going to get me nowhere but full of holes. When I say that I take the combat route, I mean that I’m going to be strategic in where I take cover and where I take my head shots. I can’t run and gun for a couple of reasons: 1) Jensen only carries 10 bullets at a time (what is up with that?); and 2) the guy doesn’t move that quickly in the early outset.
After I tried to clarify myself in a gaming podcast the other night, I started to think on when running and gunning in a shooter game is ever a good idea.
Sure, there are some instances where you have to in order to finish the mission, level, whatever, such as the Jeep charge in Uncharted 2 and a few occasions in Gears of War. But most of the time, running and gunning it is a certain way to meet video gaming Jesus a/k/a the respawn screen. Most of Uncharted 2 you had to find strategic cover, Gears is known for being a cover-based shooter, Vanquish was difficult if you didn’t know how to find good cover quickly, and I can’t think of a World War II-based game that doesn’t require players to take cover or die. From personal experience, the few times I tried to run and gun in Mass Effect 2, it never ended well. I think the only way I would ever run and gun in a game when I didn’t have to is if I had a God-mode cheat in place, like I often did for Doom 2 back in the day.
Let’s seriously think about it. When you run and gun, you experience the following things:
- the inability to aim as accurately;
- being a giant target everyone else with guns can see;
- loss of tactical shooting;
- complete loss of shielding a/k/a cover; and
- the inability to take in everything that is going on around you, like people with guns aimed at the back of your head.
What of any of this sounds like a good idea? I like doing the shooting AND decreasing my risk of getting shot all at the same time. Doesn’t that sound like a much more sound strategy? At the very least, it’s a strategy that will let you live longer than two seconds.
Now when Space Marine releases next week, that may throw my whole run-and-gun theory out the window, as there isn’t much cover provided. At least there, you have a giant sword with your guns. Who needs cover when you have a giant sword?