Heart to Hartman
At ease there reader. This here list is brought to you by the military-themed shooter. 'Shoot at stuff, shoot at it again. Achieve total victory!'. That's 'Military-themed Shooter' - out now! Alright, so maybe this isn't a sponsored post, but I'll bet that game would've made an ungodly sum of money - and all whilst honouring the troops on their madcap adventures. Wait, what do you mean - unrealistic fantasies? I'll have you know that our boys routinely outrun helicopters, disarm timebombs, and faff around on orbiting satellites... dont they?
Pah, I see I'm going to have to call on an old and angry acquaintance to settle this bitter dispute. Enter Gunnery Sergeant Sal Strucker. Despite the fact that I've just made him up, Sal's served everywhere from the jungles of Vietnam to the bloody fighting fields of WW2 - he even found time to take part in the largely unreported 'World War 3', which took place in Hull, last year - so if anyone knows military realism, it's this fictional, grizzled old grunt. Begin!
[A word of advice] It is strongly recommended that you read Sgt Strucker's reports in the voice of Full Metal Jacket's infamous Sgt. Hartman. Ten-hut!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The first name in modern military shooters to be screamed across the Internet by a legion of furious tweens. Still, the original Modern Warfare is a helluva shooter, mixing action movie bombast with a soupon of realistic, contemporary action. It's not for nothing that this one solitary title changed the face of modern gaming, effectively dragging the FPS into the here-and-now with an unstoppable level of swagger. I wonder what Sarge might make of this modern day marvel?
GySgt. Strucker: Talk about your Hollywood hogwash! Most soldiers would be glad to bag five scalps in their whole damn careers, never mind this sugar-coated shooting gallery horseshit. Where oh where is the latrine digging? The bed making? The shoe shining and the gruelling 6am morning marches? And don't even get me started on those KIAs. Heck, I've seen men walk off a helicopter crash before. Granted, none of them had just received a massive dose of nuclear radiation, but that's neither here nor there! Suck it up soldier, and for the love of god take off that grass skirt Ghillie suit! Sounds like the name of some gossipy golden girl at the nursing home. What's next? An 'Agnes' jockstrap? A Winifred t-shirt?! Phooey!
Medal of Honor: Frontline
Ah, for the halcyon days of old, when children the world over would huddle up to desk-sized CRTs, plug in their gamepads and set to emulating grandpa's Nazi-stabbing theatrics. Good times Frontline was one of the most popular and err 'realistic' FPS of its day, charting as it did one man's silent struggle against the Nazi war machine. Playing as Lt. James 'Jimmy' Patterson, gamers worked their way from sand-caked cannon fodder to proper covert ops, tracking down and taking out a proto-stealth bomber in the process.
GySgt. Strucker: Now here's a trooper with true grit, guile, guts and gumption, unafraid to take his Sunday stroll right through the heart of Nazi Germany. This fine 'specimein' kicked Fritz square in the bits and told cranky old Adolf exactly where to stick it. Out-freaking-standing soldier. Boche may've had us by the shorthairs, but you sure as hell had him by the crosshairs! Isn't that right? Stupendous display! Hell, he even made the Normandy landing look easy. I wouldn't be surprised if they stopped making Medals of Honor altogether after witnessing this all-American hero in action
Spec Ops: The Line
If Spec Ops: The Line taught us anything, it's to never count out a crappy franchise - i.e. just because the male members of the British royal family look like Mad magazine mascots today, that doesnt mean they always will. Likewise, from the doldrums of B-tier gaming, 2012's The Line emerged as a deep and challenging portrayal of modern conflict. Cue much bloodshed, moping and poorly considered zip line traversals.
GySgt. Strucker: Jesus Halliburton Christ, soldier! I've seen less self-loathing at a My Chemical Romance concert! What's the matter, descent into madness got you down? Psychotic shitstorm not what you had in mind? Hell, maybe you've just fried one too many natives lately? I mean, hot damn - you think white phosphorous just grows on trees? That man-made muck costs more to make than any one of you sad-eyed, soldier boys earns in a lifetime, and youre just sitting there tossing it out like candy at an XL clothing convention. And as for that stunt with the water truck. My, my, you certainly do know how to win hearts and minds don't you, private numbnuts? If foreign aid were about blowing shit up, Adolf Hitler himself would be humanitarian of the year! Diiiismissed!
Rainbow Six: Vegas
Where most shooters tend to cater to the rank-and-file recruit, Rainbow Six: Vegas trains its aim on the more tactically astute 'officer class'. Where the likes of COD routinely march players into obvious ambushes, Rainbow Six grants players the freedom to waltz into that exact same spot by design - before loudly cursing their luck and taking 12 tactical nukes to the chest. Three cheers for progress!
GySgt. Strucker: Who needs R&R when the bad guys are holed up in Sin City? I've got your weekend pass right here, son. It's called 'shoot the terrorist between the cheeks and watch him play craps all over the honeymoon suite'! Why, there's enough entertainment on show for a whole dang squad, even one named after the YMCA's 'hottest dance troupe of 2004'. There's champagne, good food, even a lovely lady terrorist to contend with. What's not to love?! Request for shore leave deeeenied! As you were, troopers.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
The latest entry in the all-conquering COD franchise, Advanced Warfare transports players to a whole new world of possibility, before politely asking them to fill a new set of fools full of lead. Advanced lead. I suppose the more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Wrong, because now there's a robo-suit and err, wave-dashing. Over to you Sergeant Strucker.
GySgt. Strucker: Well I'll be a son of a slack-jawed liberal; who'da thunk that Kevin Spacey himself would be the future of armed conflict?! Oh sure, you've got your Rockem Sockem Robots and your shiny space age gadgets, but no amount of fancy Leroy Jetson bullshit is gonna save you from a one-way trip to the toe-tag emporium. Do I make myself clear, Private Mitchell, or is that Baker, Troy Baker? You know your voice is awfully familiar, Private Baker, are you some kind of Joker? Well, never mind all that, back in my day we didn't let some fancy Forrest Gump leg brace do all our running for us! Private Joker, be so good as to remove that god-forsaken apparatus and give me 20. On the double soldier!
No, it isn't a Canadian trying to pronounce the word 'armour', this is Arma 2, a tactical first-person shooter from the folks behind Operation Flashpoint. It's also the game that gave rise to that most popular of zombie mods: DayZ. Simply put, Arma provides players with a tactical overview of a battle, before plonking them down into the shoes of one of the game's groundside grunts. Gamers are then able to switch between these viewpoints at will, issuing commands and downing tangoes with considerable ease. Got that? Good.
GySgt. Strucker: Good God, almighty, do I smell the subtle stench of consequences in the air?! Hell, I was beginning to think you could just run around a battlefield, waving your arms and flapping your gums like a dope fiend on a scavenger hunt! You mean to tell me I ought to try and avoid those bullets whizzing past my head? Well, shit! Why didn't you say so before, genius!? Thank heavens they gave me at least one recruit who understands the concept of duck and cover!
The OG of counter-insurgency, CS began life as a multiplayer Half-life mod, before branching out as an officially sanctioned, standalone title. One team adopts the role of terrorists, grabbing hostages, planting bombs and generally being less than demure at dinner parties, while the rest set out to stop them.
GySgt. Strucker: I bet you gunk-sucking miscreants think this is all a big game. Well, I've got news for you, you pencil-necked pansies, I *whispered confirmation* Well, how about that? It is a game! - a war game, and I'll be damned if I'm going to watch this unit endure a single, solitary teabagging! Heck, I want this squad to be the right honourable Earl Greys of teabagging! I want them to have so much god-given testosterone flowing through their veins they won't even have to crouch down to do it! I want them running with knives, I want them planting bombs, I want them stomping aimbots until the soles of their shoes look like defective ketchup packets! Do I make myself understood!?
Battlefield: Bad Company
EA's more story-driven take on the Battlefield franchise, Bad Company is a game with plenty to recommend it - not least the legion of fans all baying for a second sequel. The action takes place in a fictionalised eastern Europe, with the United States and Russia finally getting past their 60-something years of vigorous foreplay and declaring all out war. Players take on the role of Private Preston Marlowe of the 222nd - an army battalion composed of known troublemakers and nasty ne'er-do-wells. Together, Preston and company blow up a whole heap of buildings, making use of the game's innovative destruction engine.
GySgt. Strucker: Seems some bright spark decided to take my 'running through a brick wall' talk a tad too literally! Kudos on your creativity, Bad Company, but I fancy it'd be just as simple to walk AROUND that obstacle rather than to expend six-weeks worth of shells punching through it! Grey matter or sidewalk splatter ladies, it's up to you! Use your brain or feel the pain, it really is that simple! This is not the time to be rehearsing for a renovation, planning a kitchen extension, or turning that shabby old shack into an extremely open-planned living space!
One more for the corps gamers
Sadly, that's all the time we have with Sgt. Strucker for today. If you have any thoughts on what you've read, or you'd simply like to spread a few more slurs on the World Wide Web, check out the comments section below. As you were!
Pay attention, Private Parts! Check out some of our other fine, fine content on the double! Here's a feature about Torture in games - tame or terrifying? (opens in new tab). Are you smirking at me, son? Read this article on The 19 most impractical swords in games (opens in new tab) at least 20 times! Assholes and elbows, people!