We've seen it all before (but we still love them)
Shooters have become dime a dozen, and even when genre-defining franchises like Gears of War, Halo, and Borderlands change the formula, there are still those cliches that weve all seen over and over again. But while some can be annoying, others can bring that familiar comfort of knowing exactly what you should do in a particular situation, or just be something that every great shooter needs
We've picked out the game elements in shooters that may feel way over-played, but we still love them anyway. Here are the biggest shooter cliches in games.
Youre the lone-wolf protagonist
What is it: Youre the guy (or gal) who saves the world (galaxy, reality, whatever) all by yourself. It doesnt matter if you came from humble beginnings or if youre a grizzled war hero; you are humanity's one and only hope, and the only person with the skills to stop whatever impending doom is coming to your home. Sure, it would make more logical sense that mankind's military leaders would put their effort into the abilities of their vast armies, but whatever. They'll let you take the glory instead, thank you very much.
Why we love it: We want our enemies to be at our mercy. Sure, running into battle with a squad of battle-hardened soldiers is pretty cool, but watching some no-named soldier gun down a vicious alien parasite is far less enjoyable than doing it yourself. Those NPC noobs always get in the way of our carefully planned battle tactics and step in our line of fire way too often. Plus, we're suckers for the, "I'm better off on my own" and "They'll only slow me down" lines.
Everyone has regenerating health
What is it: Regenerating health has become the shooter staple for bringing the hero back from the brink of death. Forget medical first-aid packs, the best way to heal from a bullet wound is to sit behind cover, take a deep breath, and wait till all that red jelly fades from your vision.
Why we love it: Whatever your thoughts on regenerating health (like how it "makes games too easy" or that it's "for babies who cant handle real shooters stop breathing into your microphone noob"), having the ability to heal your wounds like a certain adamantium infused, comic book superhero keeps the action flowing. There's no need to backtrack and stock up on medical supplies, you just hang out for a few seconds and you're back in the fight.
The world is full of chest high walls
What is it: When there are hundreds of bullets and a half-dozen explosions surrounding you at any given time, it might be a good idea to hide behind something and avoid taking a chunk of searing hot metal to the cranium. In shooters, we've gotten used to jumping behind cement blocks and sheets of metal in a firefight, especially those conveniently placed chest-high walls sprinkling the environment. With these pieces of cover comes the ability to lean up against them, pop up to fire, and move from one spot to the next.
Why we love it: There is nothing worse than being out in the open and soaking up all of the hot lead in a firefight. The overabundance of chest-high walls might clue you into upcoming enemy ambushes, but strategically moving from cover to cover, vaulting crates, and popping up to headshot the bad guys is always an absolute thrill.
Gratuitous turret sequences
What is it: Get ready! A massive wave of enemy troops is encroaching on your position! There's absolutely no way you could handle dozens of enemies with only your rifle and a few grenades... but wait! There's a turret nearby that's conveniently facing the direction of the attack. Hop on and mow down anything that wanders into your wide-open firing lane with unlimited ammo and incredible firepower.
Why we love it: After all the time you spend conserving ammo and hiding behind cover, sometimes you just want to unleash your fury without having to worry about any of those things. Nothing's better than laying on the trigger, setting off explosions, and yelling, "Come get some!" Come on, you know you've done it.
On-rails high-speed chases
What is it: Whats a blockbuster action first-person shooter without the adrenaline high of an intense high-speed chase? After you've spent some time on foot, the action is sure to transition to you climbing into the back of a truck/helicopter and firing at enemy trucks/helicopters with an unlimited supply of explosives and machine gun bullets.
Why we love it: What's not to like? Chases scratch the same itch that turret sequences do (you get to go all out with the Gatling guns and missile launchers without having to worry about your bullet count, health bar, or anything else), but you get to move really fast while you do it! If you see something moving, just shoot it. Cool right? Its video games at their most basic.
Slow-motion shell shock moments
What is it: Boom! Theres a white flash, smoke is in the air, and youre thrown to the ground. Quick! Squirm awkwardly while teammates yell inaudibly at your face. Then you either get up, or sit back and watch something terrible happen--its not like you can do anything to stop it.
Why we love it: Despite being obnoxiously cliche in the wake of Call of Duty, Battlefield, and every other FPS game this generation, they still make for the most memorable moments. Remember crawling around the nuclear fallout in the original Modern Warfare, or getting sucked out into space in Halo 4? You might just have to watch helplessly as the game takes over, but its still awesome.
One (or two) hit melee kills
What is it: This one actually sort of makes sense--if you have the drop on an enemy, you should be able to slide some cold steel into their neck and end their life. But at this point, nearly every shooter has melee as a one-hit kill. Other games go for more realism by forcing you to--gasp--hit an enemy twice with a blunt weapon before they fall dead. Either way, this turns your knife into the most powerful weapon on the planet.
Why we love it: It actually makes gameplay sense. Without powerful melee, theres no detriment to getting up close to an enemy. And without any punishment for running up to a foe, youre just going to do it all the time. All this makes for incredibly goofy shootouts where both players swing their guns wildly, wasting bullets by drawing circles on the ground. That, or boring knife fights--were looking at you, Counter-Strike.
Red barrels--red barrels everywhere
What is it: This might be the original shooter cliche. It's almost unheard of to have an FPS that doesn't have some sort of explosive barrel, crate, or red canister. These little guys are always perfectly placed in the paths of passing guard patrols, sitting in tank depots, or strategically positioned near mission objectives that need to go boom.
Why we love it: Like a raging bull, as soon as we see red on the battlefield, we go for it. Put the explosive barrel in the crosshairs, squeeze off a few rounds, and watch the fireworks fly. It doesn't even matter if there's anyone nearby to get enveloped by the flames. We'll shoot it anyway. Because loud noises, pretty colors, and fire. Oh yea.
See? Cliches can still be fun
What shooter cliches do you love? Which ones do you absolutely hate? Do you wish explosive red barrels should never be used again? Do you love the all-powerful, close-quarters knife kill? Let us know what you think in the comments below.