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Games Entertainment

This Year's Top Game Design Innovations 169

Posted by Zonk
from the eye-of-the-beholder dept.
Next Generation has one of those end of the year 'top 10' lists we all love so much, with plenty of room for discussion on this one. They claim to have picked out the top 10 game design innovations of 2007. It's hard to argue with elements like Portal's portals or Mass Effect's conversation wheel, but was Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii really as good as a mouse-and-keyboard PC FPS? "When people ask 'How do we make a good shooter on a console' what they really mean is 'how do we make a shooter that feels as quick and responsive as a PC shooter on the console?' Apparently the answer is the Wii mote. I was blown away by this fact. Nintendo had always been the 'family friendly' console to me so I didn't consider the FPS ramifications of the Wiimote but clearly it's the best tool for the job. With some tweaking and some refinement down the line I could see the Wii (or a console with Wii like controls) becoming the platform of choice for hardcore FPSers, even over the PC. If this does become the case it will owe it all to Metroid Prime 3."
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This Year's Top Game Design Innovations

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  • Wii FPS controls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater (1095745) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:44PM (#21674391)
    The only reason this is controversial is because the wiimote doesn't have good enough aim. It's often off by an inch or more on smaller tv's. This is hard on hard core FPS fans, but for me this isn't a problem. First, between wrestling with the auto-aim feature on a lot of shooters and using two analog sticks to control my movement and aim, I find correcting for the wiimote's bad aim to be easy by comparison. I'd rather have faster, more responsive aim that's off by a consistent amount than have to use a regular controller.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gravatron (716477)
      Controlling with the analog sticks in indeed something of an annoyance, but its not a game ender if done right. Autoaim can be just as bad at time. A happy medium between the two often works well though.

      Of course, you could also pull a Sony and just let the developers code for keyboard/mouse support, like they allowed with the ps2 and ps3. It seems alot of developers aren't making use of that functionality for some reason, beyond UT3's use of it. Why? No idea.
      • by vux984 (928602)
        Controlling with the analog sticks in indeed something of an annoyance, but its not a game ender if done right.

        It is for me. Its never been done right. I'd rather play them on the PC.

        Autoaim can be just as bad at time. A happy medium between the two often works well though.

        I hate auto aim... i want to shoot the barrel just behind the target its locked on. I want to shoot the caster behind the charging warrior... whatever... autoaim drives me nuts.

        I -did- enjoy Eternal Darkness on the 'cube tho, and thought
    • Re:Wii FPS controls (Score:4, Interesting)

      by G Fab (1142219) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:55PM (#21674587)
      I completely disagree, my friend.

      "was Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii really as good as a mouse-and-keyboard PC FPS?" This is an absurd question. The wiimote is twitchy as all get out. I know a bunch of people love Metroid 3, so I have to acknowledge that, even if I hate it, it's a successful and good product, but man that game is just not that good. I prefer the dual analog sticks, slow as they are, for moving about a 3d world, if I can't have a mouse. Also, the graphics on Metroid just seem pretty weak to me (and yeah, I know a lot of people think they are excellent).

      I guess I may just have weird tastes in this, and more power to Nintendo for the new ideas, but I own Metroid 3 and most other major wii games (well, my kids do), and I really don't like them that much. They are basically obvious motion adaptations of well worn and nostalgic Nintendo greats. That's a solid biz model, but top design innovation? Well, ok, maybe it is, but only because there aren't many real innovations out there. This is like including the powerglove with all NESs. yeah, it's different.

      And is a wiimote better than a sixaxis (granting that Sony gets no innovation points for knocking off the wiimote)? I guess. If you point it at the TV, it aims and twitches, and that's a feature only teh wii has, but is this a good feature or just a unique feature? Games like HVB are showing that the sixaxis can be pretty damn nice in the hands of a competent programmer (so sad that this is one of the best PS3 games, huh?).
      • by trdrstv (986999)

        The wiimote is twitchy as all get out.

        Do you get a lot of Sun in the room you play the Wii in? In general if I have those issues drawing the curtains fixes them ( sunlight screws up communication with the sensor bar).

      • by ookaze (227977)
        So basically, you hate the Wii and its best games like Metroid Prime 3, and think that's a valid reason why Wii FPS controls are not good?
        You prefer analog sticks? You may, but this has nothing to do with them being better than a Wiimote + Nunchuk combo.
        The worst is that you only guess that a Wiimote is better than a sixaxis, when it's obvious!
        I have both, I can confirm sixaxis is no match to a Wiimote, if only for the pointer.

        And you add more nonsense like "is this a good feature or just a unique feature?"
    • by trdrstv (986999) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:02PM (#21674681)

      The only reason this is controversial is because the wiimote doesn't have good enough aim. It's often off by an inch or more on smaller tv's. This is hard on hard core FPS fans, but for me this isn't a problem. First, between wrestling with the auto-aim feature on a lot of shooters and using two analog sticks to control my movement and aim, I find correcting for the wiimote's bad aim to be easy by comparison. I'd rather have faster, more responsive aim that's off by a consistent amount than have to use a regular controller.

      I didn't have that issue with a big screen. I wonder where that line really diverges, is it bad on say 19" TV, but Sweet at 42"+ ? Dunno. It was pretty easy for me to pick off people in the distance on my projector and I have a 92" screen on that.

      I know I'll get flamed to hell for this, but unlike the article I think the Wii Controls are already better than the PC's (and there is still room for improvement*). The Advanced sensitivity on Metroid Prime 3 is "Nearly, but not quite as sensitive as a mouse", but for what little sensitivity is lost, the Analog on the Nunchuck kicks the shit out of WASD, and there is simply nothing that can compare on the PC with the visceral immersion of the Grapple gun.

      Using your left arm to throw a grapple on you're opponent's shield, then jerking your arm back to pull the shield out of their hand so you can blast them with your arm cannon is something you can't get elsewhere. Add that with full analog movement, and you have an experience that not only rivals, but betters the competition.

      *Games are already improving on the design, play Medal of Honor Heroes 2 and customize your aim sensitivity to achieve mouse level precision if you like.

      • by Hatta (162192)
        Add that with full analog movement, and you have an experience that not only rivals, but betters the competition.

        The "experience" might be better, but the controls might be worse. You might have more fun playing with the wii controls, but do they actually let you win as often as you would playing with mouse and keyboard? The only way to know is to let PC and wii players duke it out online and see who wins the most.
        • by vux984 (928602)
          The "experience" might be better, but the controls might be worse. You might have more fun playing with the wii controls, but do they actually let you win as often as you would playing with mouse and keyboard? The only way to know is to let PC and wii players duke it out online and see who wins the most.

          That would be an extremely silly definition of 'better' and 'worse'.

          The -experience- is what's important.

          If you could play with a keyboard and mouse against someone who was ACTUALLY inside a 'star trek holod
          • by Hatta (162192)
            If a player using keyboard and mouse could consistently pwn a player in the holodeck, then yes a keyboard and mouse would be the superior controller. You can have all the buttons, axes, and immersive environments you want, but if it doesn't make you a better player it's crap. Any other measure of the quality of a controller is going to be so subjective as to be meaningless.
            • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @06:20PM (#21677403) Homepage
              By that definition an aim-bot is by far the best controller you can get.
            • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @07:50PM (#21678219)
              but if it doesn't make you a better player it's crap

              Except that the controller doesn't exist separately from the game, and games are designed around controllers.

              Consider how you move, jump, and climb, in an FPS with wasd? Its all *automated*! You run to a ladder and push forward and your avatar slings his gun and climb upwards. The designer removed all sorts of things from having to individually move your feet and arms and coordinate those actions, to having to sling your gun.

              The holodeck sim has let the designer put all that stuff back in, and made the experience more immersive. So now if you pit a holodeck player against a keyboard and mouse player, but forced the keyboard and mouse player to individually move hands, feet, fingers, torso, etc, they'd be almost unable to move.

              So, the keyboard and mouse is only a "better" controller if the game **compensates for the controller** and automates moving, running, climbing, etc.

              But its a pretty arbitrary place to set the automation. And its set there because it creates 'reasonably easy control while allowing for reasonably challenging play', and that's a game design choice. Some games make you push a key to climb, some make you put your gun away, some games have auto-run, some games simulate fatique and have it affect your reticule size etc...

              The keyboard/mouse could have even more automation, and do auto-aiming, auto-headshot, and auto-jump, auto-run (oh wait... autorun is already an option on most titles, and auto-aim is pretty common too...) that would make the game even easier to win than it already is; would that make it a 'better control scheme'? Does it make you a "better player"?

              Alternatively if the keyboard mouse scheme did LESS compensation then the holodeck guy would suddenly start winning. If the keyboard mouse scheme does NO compensation, and you had to use the keyboard/mouse to articulate all your limbs then the only way you'd beat the holdeck player is if he laughed himself to death watching you try to aim your gun at him.

              The point is that the 'controller' isn't just the hardware, its the software that interprets the controls, and the software part is pretty arbitrary. If a console player has dual analog sticks but the game auto-aims while the keyboard/mouse player has to cope with a reticule that floats around trailing the cursor instead of being the cursor... would keyboard/mouse still be superior?

      • I wonder where that line really diverges, is it bad on say 19" TV, but Sweet at 42"+ ? Dunno.

        MP3's controls were just fine on our 32" CRT. I stand about 6-8' away from the TV when I play, and while I will admit that the nunchuck's accelerometer is a bit twitchy (e.g. when trying to grapple a shield off something), I never once had a problem with the aiming.

        • by dolson (634094)
          You stand while you play Metroid? You do know that those Wii Would Like To Play commercials are just ads, not visual user guides, right? (In other words: you are allowed to sit.)
          • by Toonol (1057698)
            I find that standing improves the experience for some games. Not for a strategy game, like Fire Emblem, but for the action games, it makes them more fun. It also is, I think, a heck of a lot better for you. Nobody reading slashdot has a problem with not sitting enough. Didn't we just get a story a few weeks back about how the simple act of standing burns significantly more calories than sitting?
          • Yes, I knew that. However, I have an overriding problem: Labradors.

            Any time I sit on the couch, I'm guaranteed that at least one dog will join me there within 3 seconds of the time my butt hits the cushion. Let me tell you, attempting to shoot Space Pirates with 80 lb of highly energetic canine in your face adds a whole new meaning to "Hypermode." Worse yet, the nunchuck "grapple" movement, to a dog, looks like "human threw something - go fetch it!" At least if I'm standing, I can fend them off.

            Sometim
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:05PM (#21674727) Journal
      You know, some time in 2003 or 2004, I was talking to a gamer coleague about FPS on consoles, and bitching about how much it sucks with twin sticks compared to a good keyboard and mouse. And from there it went into the all time nerd favourite, singlehandedly solving all the world's problems, like Picard. In this case, well, how would _you_ make a console controller that works well in FPS.

      So what we came up with was: a trackball. No, really.

      Think a standard console controller. Say, a Dual Shock, because everyone knows it. But it's the same principle for an XBox pad, Dreamcast pad, Gamecube pad, whatever, really.

      Now think replacing the right stick with a small, thumb-operated trackball.

      Think about it. A trackball has much the same advantages a mouse has, because it _is_ a mouse turned upside down. You can turn around 180 degrees at the flick of the thumb, and stop on exact pixel you want to. The problem of joystick vs mouse is really that moving with a joystick can be very fast or very accurate, but not both at the same time. A mouse lets you do both. So does a trackball.

      So, really, why doesn't anyone do just that?
      • by cowscows (103644)
        I see where you're coming from, but to be useful in a FPS, that trackball would have to be insanely sensitive. Your thumb can do an incredibly complex mix of movements, but the total range that it can travel across any one axis is pretty small.

        It'd probably be great for a hardcore player that's spent a lot of time with it, but I think it'd be very frustrating and difficult to start with. But still, I'm surprised too that I haven't seen a product like that before. Maybe it does exist somewhere.
        • by Thansal (999464)
          heh, I actually do use a trackball exclusively, and it is true that you turn your sensitivity up quite a bit more then with a mouse, however you also have a great deal more fine motor control in your thumb then in your wrist/fingers, thus making a high sensitivity no real problem.

          I would LOVE to see a controller like this simply because I I would like a way to ditch my keyboard for gaming.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ucblockhead (63650)
        Years ago, I used a trackball extensively instead of a mouse. I liked it...preferred it even. But I had to give it up because it gave me serious RSI troubles in my thumb.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hidannik (1085061)
        There are other solutions - including ones that keep the current twin-stick controller setup.

        I've written a fairly extensive article on this at my blog: http://hansonvideogaming.blogspot.com/2006/10/levelling-playing-field-mice-and.html [blogspot.com]

        In short, if the graph of rotational speed vs stick deflection looked like a U instead of the more common V, twin-stick players could get both the precision and speed that a mouse provides.

        Anyone who's played a shooter on a laptop using the "eraser" pointer stick and with mou
      • by feepness (543479)

        Now think replacing the right stick with a small, thumb-operated trackball.
        They do sell them you know. I use this [logitech.com]. I got it when my shoulder started hurting after playing too many FPS. That isn't a thumb-operated one, but they have those too.
      • by aztektum (170569)
        i know it isn't exactly what you describe, but i remember something like this [cwonline.com] in Best Buys in the late 90s I think. not sure if this is the same manufacturer though.
        • by Moraelin (679338)
          Whoa. Yep, that's a variant of exactly what I had in mind. Yep, I'd buy one of those if it were supported by console FPSs.
      • As a long time user of a larger trackball, I actually hate the tiny marble-style thumb trackballs that seem to be prevalent in today's models. I'd much prefer a ball that can be used with the pointer/middle finger, leaving the thumb and pinky to do the majority of the button-mashing.

        Maybe that's why I'm much happier with the Wiimote than I am the Dualshock or the Xbox360 controllers. I've never gotten comfortable with the thumb-controls on the newer controllers -- I always used my pointers for the D-Pad l
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by hidannik (1085061)
        I think this is what you're thinking of:

        http://www.bodielobus.com/ [bodielobus.com]

        Hans
      • by brkello (642429)
        Sorry, but a track ball for your thumb isn't going to be the same as a mouse. The sensitivity would either be too high to prevent fine tune aiming or too low and make it very difficult to turn quickly.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I switched to using a trackball instead of a mouse because I didn't like keeping my desk clear of clutter. I actually got good enough so that I could beat most of my mouse-wielding friends in most FPS games. The advantages of the trackball are that you never run out of desk space, IE, you don't have to reposition it all the time, and also that you can hold it perfectly still while shooting, by removing your fingers (or thumb depending on the model), from the ball. Once I got used to it I found that there
        • by Moraelin (679338)
          It takes some getting used to, and you _can_ get pretty good with it. But you'll notice that I didn't even make that claim in the original message. Even if you never get as good as with a keyboard and mouse, the important part is: you'll _very_ soon be better than with a gamepad :)
      • I've been using trackballs for gaming since Doom on a 386. I've used about a dozen different models of them. Thumb trackball suck for gaming. Thumbs simply aren't dexterous enough to stop on a pixel. They're certainly not better than a traditional mouse. There are certain angles of movement with your thumb where you cannot move in a smooth arc, simply because of the way the digit is constructed.

        However, center-mounted trackballs involve the pointer and middle fingers. These are your two most precise digi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by edwdig (47888)
      I haven't played any pure FPS games on the Wii, only Metroid, but you're not really pointing at what you want to shoot. It works essentially like a mouse - just tilt the controller a little and the view & crosshair moves in the appropriate direction. You really shouldn't even know what the Wiimote is pointing at.
  • by edwdig (47888) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:54PM (#21674567)
    but was Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii really as good as a mouse-and-keyboard PC FPS?

    Metroid Prime 3 hit a weird spot. The first two Prime games certainly featured first person shooting, but didn't play anything like an FPS game. They played like an adventure game with a different camera angle. Prime 3 moved much closer to the FPS realm. If you're an FPS fan, you'll probably like the beginning and end of the game and tolerate the middle. If you're a Metroid fan, you'll probably feel the reverse.

    There's no doubt Wiimote+Nunchuck beats the keyboard part of mouse+keyboard. Precision moving and jumping is far easier with an analog stick than with a keyboard. If like me you rarely play FPS games, the Wiimote is easier to use than a mouse. But my gut feeling is over time, the mouse would be slightly easier to be precise with as it's on a flat surface rather than being held in the air.

    Of course, I play for the adventure, not the shooting, so I just left lock-on turned on, which means for the most part you only had to aim at bosses. If you found a good sitting position where you could rest the Wiimote on your knee and aim from there, you might be able to beat a mouse in precision.
    • by king-manic (409855) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @04:07PM (#21675567)

      There's no doubt Wiimote+Nunchuck beats the keyboard part of mouse+keyboard. Precision moving and jumping is far easier with an analog stick than with a keyboard. If like me you rarely play FPS games, the Wiimote is easier to use than a mouse. But my gut feeling is over time, the mouse would be slightly easier to be precise with as it's on a flat surface rather than being held in the air.
      I strenuously reject this statement. The wiimote + nunchuk are on par for some things but a magnitude worse for responsiveness. there is a notable lag between action of the mote and action on screen. partly due to the wi fi partly due to the slowness of the motion sensors. Given a choice I'd go KB+mouse 100% of the time. Metroid 3, Zelda, Rayman et al have not shown any promise that the wiimote will be better then kb + mouse. Wiimote+chuk is better then dual sticks of course. The wiimote and chuk only beats the keyboard and mouse in catagory: more intuitive to learn. Other then that WASD+mouse has it beat in every way.
      • by edwdig (47888)
        I strenuously reject this statement. The wiimote + nunchuk are on par for some things but a magnitude worse for responsiveness. there is a notable lag between action of the mote and action on screen. partly due to the wi fi partly due to the slowness of the motion sensors. Given a choice I'd go KB+mouse 100% of the time. Metroid 3, Zelda, Rayman et al have not shown any promise that the wiimote will be better then kb + mouse. Wiimote+chuk is better then dual sticks of course. The wiimote and chuk only beats
        • by Chris Burke (6130)
          And no, WASD can never compete with an analog stick. Besides the general awkwardness of WASD, they're just digital buttons. It's just not possible to do precise movement with them. That's the reason for all the hate of jumping in FPS games.

          No, the hate for jumping in FPS games is that you can't see what the hell you are doing -- you can either see where you are jumping to, or where your feet are, but not both, so one way or another you always feel as though you are jumping blind.

          Metroid gets around this thr
          • by grumbel (592662)
            ### Metroid gets around this through good level design.

            Its not just level design, Metroid also automatically looks down a bit while you jump, which helps orientation and in addition it has very 'sticky' edges, so even if you miss a jump by a bit, you still make it to the other side safely, because you 'stick' to the edge and can make it up.

            All that said, even with all this I still consider jumps in FPSs to be pretty annoying, not only are they harder, because you can see less, they are also simply less fun,
            • by edwdig (47888)
              Its not just level design, Metroid also automatically looks down a bit while you jump, which helps orientation

              I used to think that helped, but Prime 3 doesn't do that (at least not with the controls set to advanced sensitivity), and I didn't find jumping any harder in that game. Prime 3 had its share of precision jumping - for example, freezing the fuel gel spouts usually resulted in a pretty small area that you could land on.

              in addition it has very 'sticky' edges, so even if you miss a jump by a bit, you s
          • by edwdig (47888)
            No, the hate for jumping in FPS games is that you can't see what the hell you are doing -- you can either see where you are jumping to, or where your feet are, but not both, so one way or another you always feel as though you are jumping blind.

            I've never cared to see where my feet are. I don't see that being an issue unless the level designer made the platforms way too small.

            Metroid gets around this through good level design.

            Good level design makes everything better, bad level design makes everything worse.
            • by Chris Burke (6130)
              I've never cared to see where my feet are. I don't see that being an issue unless the level designer made the platforms way too small.

              Or the jump large enough that the only way you could make it was if your feet were at the very edge of the platform when you jumped.

              Turoc, the epitome of annoying jumping puzzles in FPS, demonstrated this frequently. The correct jumping procedure was: line up to target, look straight down at your shadow (no visible feet of course), run forward, hit jump when the center of t
              • by edwdig (47888)
                Or the jump large enough that the only way you could make it was if your feet were at the very edge of the platform when you jumped.

                Never found that to cause a problem in Metroid.

                Are you saying you never cared in Metroid where your feet are? Because it certainly matters in some other FPS games, and it 100% matters in true platform games that are either 2-D or 3-D 3rd person. It doesn't matter in Metroid because they made it not matter...

                Yes, in the Metroid Prime games I've never really cared where my feet w
          • Let me start by saying that I love MP3. However, the controls are not perfect. I really enjoy the aiming accuracy and would purchase MP 1 and 2 if they re-issued with the wii controls. The issue that I have is the gestures. They work around 97% of the time, but that 3% annoys the the hell of out me.
      • by ookaze (227977)

        there is a notable lag between action of the mote and action on screen. partly due to the wi fi partly due to the slowness of the motion sensors.

        No there is not. Unless you're able to see each of the frames displayed by second, which I doubt.
        Let me guess, you have a HDTV, right?
        The only lag seen usually comes from the TV processing. So you have it backwards actually:
        the more precise your controller is, the more you will detect the lag induced by your HDTV processing.
        The only time I saw lag on my TV was with the Wii on my HDTV, which now I play in game mode, and I don't see any lag anymore. I got my HDTV after the Wii, and never had any lag on the o

        • No there is not. Unless you're able to see each of the frames displayed by second, which I doubt.
          Let me guess, you have a HDTV, right?
          The only lag seen usually comes from the TV processing. So you have it backwards actually:
          the more precise your controller is, the more you will detect the lag induced by your HDTV processing.
          The only time I saw lag on my TV was with the Wii on my HDTV, which now I play in game mode, and I don't see any lag anymore. I got my HDTV after the Wii, and never had any lag on the old CRT one.
          And keep in mind that my HDTV was advertised with 5 ms refresh, so as most HDTV are advertised for worse, even in game mode, I'm sure they're still laggy.

          The lag is not present with a 360 nor my PS3 so no it is not in fact my TV. (6ms)

          The sole thing on which I agree is the "more intuitive to learn" part, which is the main goal of controllers on consoles.
          So the Wiimote + Nunchuk combo wins hands down.
          Then, precision is better with the Nunchuk than with a keyboard, which should be obvious to you, as the Nunchuk has an analog controller, that keyboard doesn't have, and the Nunchuk is designed to be operated easily without looking at it, while the keyboard is not.
          The only way in which the Wiimote loses to the mouse, is precision, and not by much, but as it's on the Wii, which doesn't have high resolution like on a PC to begin with, this point is moot, for now at least.

          WASD is basically been burned into my skull for over a decade. It is every bit as precise as the nunchuk due entirely to how ham fisted many console games are with controls. I've noticed lag in RE4, Rayman, Zelda:TP, have yet to play metroid 3.

  • by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:58PM (#21674615)
    There's no way the Wii mote compares to a mouse and keyboard for shooters.

    The only reason it's usable at all in Metroid Prime 3 is because the Z button auto-locks your view onto the target.

    If it wasn't for that feature, the controls would be hopeless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trdrstv (986999)

      There's no way the Wii mote compares to a mouse and keyboard for shooters.

      The only reason it's usable at all in Metroid Prime 3 is because the Z button auto-locks your view onto the target.

      If it wasn't for that feature, the controls would be hopeless.

      On the default "n00b setting", yes it does this. On "Advanced" the Z button locks the camera on a specific target, but gives you free range shooting ability anywhere. This is the way it should be played.

      • by edwdig (47888) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:16PM (#21674921)
        On the default "n00b setting", yes it does this. On "Advanced" the Z button locks the camera on a specific target, but gives you free range shooting ability anywhere. This is the way it should be played.

        Advanced sensitivity + Z lock for me. It's an adventure game, not a shooter. Why make disposing of the wildlife time consuming when the terrain is your real enemy?
        • by Chris Burke (6130)
          Advanced sensitivity + Z lock for me. It's an adventure game, not a shooter. Why make disposing of the wildlife time consuming when the terrain is your real enemy?

          Cus it's more fun. To me, anyway. Fortunately the game is designed really well and will still be just as fun for those who don't want to have to aim at the wildlife.
    • by HalAtWork (926717) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:13PM (#21674863)
      You're way off base here. The way I play Metroid 3 is on the most sensitive setting with no lock-on targetting... The only time I ever use the lock-on button at all is because when you hold that button down, it locks your movement into strafe, which makes it simple to walk across straight and narrow areas like tiny bridges or whatever... or if I want to jump a lot but still want to be facing forwards. Even then, when lock-on mode is turned on in this way, you can still move the targetting reticle around to aim at different areas of the screen, all it does is it freezes the screen in the direction it was in when you pressed the button... you still have to aim at what you want to shoot at.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IceCreamGuy (904648)
      While I've been know to aggressively lash out at close friends for even positing the idea that a controller comes anywhere close to the accuracy and functionality of a mouse and keyboard, I have to disagree with you here. First off, who the hell plays that game with Z-lock on? It's like playing OoT with Z-Lock on; sure if you've never played a video game before it can be helpful, but it's more satisfying to actually become skilled at something like that; which brings me to my main point; when you become ver
      • by edwdig (47888)
        First off, who the hell plays that game with Z-lock on?

        People playing the game for the adventure, not the shooting. You know, the stuff Metroid games are known for.

        It's like playing OoT with Z-Lock on; sure if you've never played a video game before it can be helpful, but it's more satisfying to actually become skilled at something like that

        I'm assuming you mean Ocarina of Time here... why would you not use Z-Lock? It's just a different set of controls that work a lot better in certain situations. Not using
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by IceCreamGuy (904648)
          I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree; I find that the shooting in Metroid, once you get used to it, becomes second nature, and it's a lot more satisfying for me to add that extra level of interactivity in the game. I certainly don't feel it takes away from the adventure aspect, just adds another layer to it with a little patience. As far as OoT is concerned, to me and every other Zelda fan I know, the Z-lock inhibits advanced gameplay by creating an extra mechanical action while targeting; with it o
          • by edwdig (47888)
            I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree; I find that the shooting in Metroid, once you get used to it, becomes second nature, and it's a lot more satisfying for me to add that extra level of interactivity in the game. I certainly don't feel it takes away from the adventure aspect, just adds another layer to it with a little patience.

            I played about 1/3 of Corruption with Z-Lock off, then turned it on for the rest. I could handle it fine, but it just felt like work. I've never been a fan of precision aim
            • I think you two are using different definitions of "Z-lock". Edwdig, this sentence:

              Switching between the sword and arrows mid fight without z lock is going to be a pain.

              makes me think you're confusing Z-lock with the whole concept of Z-targeting. Z-lock in OoT is when you don't have to hold the Z button to stay Z-targeted. Turning off Z-lock doesn't mean giving up Z-targeting altogether.

              Or maybe I'm the one who's misinterpreting.

              • by edwdig (47888)
                makes me think you're confusing Z-lock with the whole concept of Z-targeting. Z-lock in OoT is when you don't have to hold the Z button to stay Z-targeted. Turning off Z-lock doesn't mean giving up Z-targeting altogether.

                Oh... I never knew there was an option to change that. Wish I knew that ~10 years ago :) I thought he was against Z-targeting and couldn't understand it. He was comparing it to the lock-on option in Prime 3, so it seemed a reasonable assumption.
                • Yes, his was the original mistake, I was just extremely short on time when I made my post and didn't have time to type the second half.
    • So what? It does have that feature, and you have to take the controls as a whole. A keyboard/mouse with no fire button would be equally useless. What's your point?
    • There's no way the Wii mote compares to a mouse and keyboard for shooters.

      The only reason it's usable at all in Metroid Prime 3 is because the Z button auto-locks your view onto the target.

      If it wasn't for that feature, the controls would be hopeless.

      Yes, It has that option if the thought of Shooters is too intimidating to you. This is on par with some of the "Auto-aiming" tricks used in other console and PC games to simplify it for a novice.

      There IS a control option called "Advanced" that doesn

  • I'm a believer... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGreatGraySkwid (553871) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:18PM (#21674943) Homepage
    I've played several FPS games using the dual-analog scheme consoles have relied on to this point, and it always destroyed the immersive effect that is the FPS game's chief advantage. No matter how good you get with the sticks, the resultant motions on-screen are always jerky and mechanical. Robotic. It's a grating difference from the much more organic WASD + mouse scheme.

    Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the closest to that organic movement I've experienced. It's still not perfect; the aim is a smidge twitchy, and it would be nice to be able to spin a bit more quickly. Those faults aside, it's deeply intuitive. No, it's not light-gun aiming, but neither is any other successful FPS scheme (rail shooters are the only games I've seen with light-gun aiming), so I don't know why anyone who's an FPS fan would complain about that. As I said, the slight jumpiness of the aiming means sniping isn't really do-able, but relative aiming is what anyone who has used a mouse control system is used to. Just hold the Wiimote at your side, where you're not tempted to look down the barrel, and let your wrist do the work...you'll adapt to it in an instant.

    And yes, using the motion control for the grapple and combination locks and the like is *very* satisfying. Really, I highly recommend any FPS gamers out there to give this game a look. I think you'll like what you see.
    • by Bryansix (761547)

      I've played several FPS games using the dual-analog scheme consoles have relied on to this point, and it always destroyed the immersive effect that is the FPS game's chief advantage. No matter how good you get with the sticks, the resultant motions on-screen are always jerky and mechanical. Robotic. It's a grating difference from the much more organic WASD + mouse scheme.

      The Keyboard and Mouse is better then the dual analog control sticks. However dual analog is not jerky and mechanical. It is too slow f

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662)
      ### the resultant motions on-screen are always jerky and mechanical. Robotic

      Kind of like real soldiers, so I don't consider that a loss. Almost all FPS are utterly ridiculous in modeling a human being. They model a cylinder with a bit of wobble and a gun, thats it. No legs or stuff that actually matters a lot in actual movement. What WASD+mouse has going for it is that it doesn't have restrictions, you can turn as fast as you want, you are not limited by the game, only by your mouse skills. Which might be i
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rowan_u (859287)
      Sorry to be a naysayer, but you're completely wrong here. I've played and loved console and PC FPS games from Quake and Goldeneye to Crysis and Halo 3. The game that finally swapped me was Bioshock. Played it first on the 360, then over to the PC. It's not the console games that are twitchy, it's that damn WASD walking on the pc. In Bioshock on the pc, you are ether standing still or running. You'll literally miss half the game if you play it on the PC, with so many environments that must be strolled
      • The 'herky jerky' isn't in the mouse, it's your hand. I played through Bioshock on the PC and strolled around marveling at the richness of the environments. Each game experience is what you make of it. Also, my midrange PC is more than capable of 720P. Perhaps you're simply letting your bias show as I am?
  • Forgive me for asking, but what's this great new dialog system in Mass Effect all about? We've been simulating dialog with NPCs for something like 25 years now, what's so new and special about Mass Effect? I haven't played a demo or anything so I really don't know. It's just hard for me to imagine that they could improve upon the system in, say, Monkey Island.
  • by lpangelrob (714473) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:38PM (#21675241)
    Super Mario Galaxy might be one of the few games I play again from start to finish. :-D

    Video games have played with gravity in the past, but applying the concept of planetary gravity (with slightly non-realistic physics, but when you're orbiting around an ice cream cone, does it really matter?) to a 3-D platformer was the best idea I've ever played.

    At some point I'm going to find the smallest, most isolated planet I can find and try to see how many times I can orbit it with a long jump.

    That they did this without making me nauseous also deserves some sort of award. I seriously wonder how they did it.
    • >>That they did this without making me nauseous also deserves some sort of award. I seriously wonder how they did it.

      Really? I've never gotten nauseous from any (non-VR) game before, not even from some of the weird infinite loops I'd fall into in Portal, but I actually feel sick to my stomach after playing Super Mario Galaxy.
    • "That they did this without making me nauseous also deserves some sort of award. I seriously wonder how they did it."

      They removed some of the flexibility with the camera that Mario 64 enjoyed. With the camera more or less fixed, you didn't have to do a lot of mental compensation to figure out which direction to go.

      (At least that's my humble observation...)
    • i had the same idea, but only found 1 decent place for it: go to the 'Deep Dark Galaxy' in the garden. in the middle of the starting beach there is a cannon that shoots you to a planet with a firepower flower. instead of shooting there, aim at the green planet on the right. there is a screw that you unspin, and the planet will begin to shrink. if you do a few long jumps, eventually the planet will shrink enough that it sends you into orbit! that is until the planet disappears, and there is no more gra
  • EVE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cornflake917 (515940)
    Honestly, how in the hell can a graphics upgrade be innovative? I can think of at least a couple more innovative things in EVE, and I think the game is a total bore.

    I'm sure other companies have thought of upgrading their MMO's graphics engine. I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but I'm sure other MMO's have at least improved some part of their graphics. I think this top 10 list will find it's way in to my top 10 list of "Most Poorly Thought-out Top 10 Lists of 2007."
    • by vux984 (928602)
      Actually Everquest has upgraded their graphics engine a few times now. They've revamped all the Player models at least once. And they've even gone back and revamped several old zones to USE the new features of the new engine(s).

      And it goes without saying that the new zones use the new features.

      Here's a shot from 2001..
      http://www.rpgamer.com/games/everquest/eq/screens/eq_35.jpg [rpgamer.com]

      And one today...
      http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/eq/screens/eq57.jpg [rpgamer.com]

      Blurry green texture vs tufts of grass, flat ground with ver
    • Honestly, how in the hell can a graphics upgrade be innovative?

      Because, in addition to updating the rendering engine, they also re-modeled and re-textured nearly every object in the game, including every spaceship, starbase (exterior & interior), and stargate. That's almost everything in the game that a player would care about. I don't know of any other MMO that has attempted anything that ambitious.
      • by brkello (642429)
        It's a space game...it isn't that hard. There aren't that many ship/starbase models. There are like 5 interiors to starbases that they use over and over again. There are like four types of stargates. It is fine if you like the changes. But to call it innovative...even ambitious, is laughable.
  • What's this about Eve Online doing an engine upgrade being an innovation? Dark Ages of Camelot & Ultima Online have done it already. As for giving hope that a game can go on for decades, Everquest has been going for 8 years and just released an expansion last month.
  • Innovation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaveCBio (659840) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @06:30PM (#21677521)
    People always prattle on about innovation, but in my world everything takes a back seat to fun. I don't care how "ground breaking" a game is, the big question is whether or not it's fun. So, if you want to talk about changing gaming and doing something new and different go for it, but just remember, it's still a game.
  • I'm not sure if it was a bad list or a bad year, but I wasn't really impressed with the innovations. Puzzle Quest and Portal (#1 and #2) were great, yes, but #10-#3, not so much. Graphical updates in MMOs have been done before. Line Rider isn't exactly far from Kriby's Canvas Curse for DS. I was excited about the conversation trees when they were demoed in Mass Effect, showed them to a friend, and was told "oh yeah, Bioware usually does that kind of stuff with conversations" (I haven't played most Biowa
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662)
      ### Bioware usually does that kind of stuff with conversations

      I haven't played Mass Effect, but I did play KOTOR and Jade Empire and the dialog system in Mass Effect looks quite a bit different. For one thing KOTOR and Jade Empire are awfully black&white, you can do good thing and bad things, but basically never anything in the gray area, which makes all the dialogs feel very forced and unrealistic. Also your hero never talks in either game, other then indirectly through your dialog choices, which isn't
  • I don't understand the logic here. Because a game lacks a feature, it suddenly becomes "better"?

    Yes, this generation of game consoles are the first to really take advantage of online connectivity and do it well, but forcing gamers to go online just to even play your game isn't exactly going to sell games by itself. Look what happened to "Shadowrun" after gamers learned it was multiplayer only... it flopped.

    Aside from that, did this author completely overlook the MMORPG genre? This is about the only game for
    • On a side note, there is one other reason a company might choose to go online only with a game...

      When users buy a next-generation game title, they expect not only better graphics, but better gameplay with more sophisticated enemies/allies to play with. When filling these characters' shoes with a human player isn't possible, game companies have to invest a lot of extra time and money into developing far more flexible AIs that can intelligently think for themselves on the fly, and do so with varying levels of
      • This one of the primary reasons why I still love Quake 3 tournament. The AI bots are pretty challenging. More so than any current FPS.
  • Imagine having thirty years development time. Imagine what a world could be like after a quarter century of additional content and art. Imagine a living world filled not only with myth cycles and lore but history! For letting us dream EvE earns its place at number five.
    Dream? Nethack :P
  • Contrary to popular wisdom, there are good, fun games that aren't FPS. Personally, I don't find any FPSes fun, but I'm prepare to accept they're quite popular. It just winds me up that the genre has to be the be-all and end-all of gaming - witness the endless "consoles suck because you don't have keyboard + mouse".

    Metroid Prime, at least in its original incarnation (I've recently (finally) finished the first, but not played 2 or 3) isn't an FPS in any meaningful sense. It's a first-person explore / puzzl

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