Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

GAME BYTES 10/25: Story Still Matters for Next-Gen Shooters

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

GAME BYTES 10/25: Story Still Matters for Next-Gen Shooters

Article excerpt

Despite everything we've been through, and despite all that has occurred this year, I'm falling for shooter trailers that focus on stories yet again. There were three released early this week for the biggest upcoming shooters that will be released over the next month, and I was a sucker for them all.

The first was for "Call of Duty: Ghosts," and it was as predictably slick as we've come to expect from Activision with that franchise. It even featured a sequence in space, highlighted clearly due to the success of Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" at the box office this month. But it was neat-looking, of course. The second was for Tuesday's "Battlefield 4," and it featured a soldier punching a dog in the face, an obvious dig at Ghosts' Riley, the dog sidekick in that game. Very savvy, EA.

But I'm still extremely skeptical of those titles, because their last story efforts were not so good. Infinity Ward's "Modern Warfare 3" had a pretty lame campaign, probably the least remarkable in the "Call of Duty" franchise since "World at War" in 2008. And "Battlefield 3," well, that was just all around bad. The "Battlefield" team had never made a story campaign before, though, so I suppose that was to be expected to some extent, even though it was responsible for one of my favorite solo games of this outgoing generation: "Mirror's Edge."

The third trailer was for the top-selling first-party launch game for the new-gen consoles, Sony's PS4-exclusive "Killzone: Shadow Fall." And while "Killzone 3" was technically inept, that is still a franchise that will get my story-obsessed ears to perk up on demand. Of course, "Shadow Fall" looks totally dope on its own, and so that helps.

But the excellent trailer compelled me to review "Killzone" lore for a bit on Tuesday night, and as always that was an enlightening journey. Sci-fi shooters with deep lore aren't particularly unusual ("Halo" and "Mass Effect" have millions of years of backstory, for example) but few have backstory with much of a point aside from spinning a good yarn, and none that I can think of carry "Killzone's" moral relativism.

The "Killzone" games themselves depict a conflict between the people of the planets Vekta and Helghan in Alpha Centauri. …

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