Easy Mode: A Shooter Complex

I am open to playing just about any genre of video game, and if I find something that piques my interest I will always give it a try. While I am particularly fond of JRPGs, puzzle games, and pretty much anything put into LEGO form, I have spent enough time playing all the different video game genres to have an idea of how they play. Borderlands 2 was a recent huge hit for me, and has made me even more open to trying out different games. And while I’m not particularly good at them, I really do love some first-person shooters, and at the same time, I hate them. A lot.

Specifically, it’s the multiplayer aspect of shooters that I just can’t handle. In an FPS campaign mode, it is you against the AI, and depending on the difficulty you chose to start with, those AI don’t necessarily pose any real challenge. Even the hardest difficulty has its limitations – once you understand the patterns and can control the number of enemies, you can eventually make your way through the checkpoints and press onward, gradually getting better at it as you go along. I’ve been playing a lot of Borderlands 2 since its release last month, and both my aiming skill and my ability to both look around with one toggle and move with the other without spinning and looking at the sky has improved dramatically.

In online multiplayer games, however, there is no learning curve. There is no chance of “getting used to” the AI, or the patterns, or the strategy of the other team. You are either the best that there ever was, or you get demolished within ten seconds of every respawn. Snipers are hiding everywhere and have insane precision, and your teammates will lose it on you in the chat if your KD isn’t high enough (or low enough, or whatever enough). I’ve been told off several times for being sucky in an online match, which is not conducive for practicing or getting better at all. And it plain just isn’t fun or relaxing, which is the reason I play games in the first place!

The challenge of online multiplayer can be incredibly frustrating for a skilled gamer – imagine what that can feel like for someone who isn’t very good to begin with. It’s a terrible scenario because there is no way to learn or get better. Even if you play the campaign through on all the different levels of difficulty, its challenge pales in comparison to the challenge that faces you online. It’s a territory that I avoid altogether, and I think that’s a shame. One of my favorite things about gaming is playing with other people online, and not always even people that I know. There’s something awesome about banding together and defeating the other team; it’s not so awesome when you can’t even take a step and then get screamed at when you die again.

I know a lot of people enjoy, and even exclusively play FPS games online in their multiplayer mode. I have friends who only play Call of Duty or Battlefield and play it all the time. And they’re good. But unless you’re good, those games just aren’t fun to play at all. They are especially something to avoid for the not-so-skilled gamer – unless you enjoying rage quitting, pulling your hair out, and crying over the hurtful, hurtful words of a small 13-year-old boy that snipes you 15 respawns in a row.