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FPS Battle 2004/5: Q4 Vs FEAR Vs D3 Vs HL2 Vs Far Cry ?
Okay, so the last two years have seen some pretty phat current generation FPS games released. Most of the big names and a couple of smaller ones have dropped something impressive on us gamers.

The above 5 I reckon are the biggest contenders, and all have similar aspects: Impressive technology, story-driven, sci-fi or near future, some horror elements, some military-esque gameplay, often some vehicles and other interaction.

So what do people think - can we vote on one particular winner? Are they showing a general raising of the bar in general? Is there a wide spectrum of quality there or just a general good range of sci-fi FPSes to feast on?

Votes please...
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How about you say "setting I personaly dont like" instead, huh?
And you obviously didnt play or even read about q4 
Tronyn 
If you want to see wide open outdoor areas on the Doom 3 engine, look no further than the upcoming Enemy Territory: Quake Wars game. It's being made by the same folks who did the original ET, so I personally have high hopes for that game. 
Re: 
Speedy: Yeah I've read about Q4, lots of reviewers complaining that the vehicle sections are just like being on a railway with a gun (Quake2 had that secret subway level, remember - apparently Q4's vehicles are more similar to that than to Far Cry's vehicles).

Saying "I personally don't like D3/Q4" would be true, however, it would neglect my above points about how id really have limited the scope of their new games, so that they are even more limited than their older ones. Though I've always been an id fanboy/defender and usually love their art style, I am beginning to agree with people who have been saying all along that they are all engine and no game. Maybe their new game with new intellectual property (first time in about ten years too) will break this trend.

I am hoping they manage to do something with Enemy Territory QW, but the only screenshot I've seen of that just looks like Doom3 models (which are great, of course) on heightmaps. I'm skeptical, but maybe they'll prove me wrong. 
Aww Come On 
they have zombie making et:qw! I wonder if he already flew over. Nah, in december only he says. 
I Forgot 
Extra points to F.E.A.R for including special features on the dvd version of the game, much like on a film DVD, theres a huge "making of" feature that is pretty cool and an interresting "developer commentry" as you watch a movie of the game being played. It might not interest everyone, but I really wise more developers would do this... Valve have added it in their "lost coast" addon map it is very cool there too (and interactive :D ).

Gimme Stalker. 
Eh, It's A Possibility 
(Kept as short as possible)

Far Cry: Probably my favourite of the bunch, a nice game with some good play.

Doom 3: Not a good game by itself, but it's engine spawned quite a few others. The expansion was quite good.

Half-Life 2: No.

Quake 4: Great graphics, good engine, terrible gameplay (for today's standards). While I dont give a rat's ass about today's standards, and think it's kickass, most folks think that it's just Quake 2 with better graphics and Borg. I'd have to agree.

F.E.A.R.: For all I can say, it's a decent game, but I'm too stubborn to buy anything made after 1997... 
Tronyn 
You hit it on the head really...

Carmack rolled the dice and tried to guess the industry would move towards real time, dynamic light, bump and specular on every texture, and in reality, we're just not at the point with graphics cards were we can have those things without serious sacrifices.

For example, the shadows in the D3 engine look absolutely fucking unrealistic and shitty. It's like they flipped an on/off switch for the range of shadows, ignoring every value between 1 and 0, and it looks terrible as a result.

Until coders and graphics card people can get together and figure out a way to do a real time lighting engine that actually looks good and doesn't kill your system when more than 5 monsters come on screen, they should shift their focus like Far Cry and HL2 did.

Far Cry said, "ok, we're going to do outdoor environments the likes of which have never been seen before in an FPS" and they executed that perfectly, while also keeping up with other technologies (bump mapping, specular, etc.)

Obviously, because of this, Far Cry does have some issues on indoor/structural rendering (e.g. sunlight shining through solid walls, etc.)

But, overall, the graphics risks that Far Cry took all made the game better, unique, and groundbreaking.

Half-Life 2 said "ok we're going to focus on doing a very solid, cinematic single player game that has a wide array of areas, and a solid physics implementation to really sell the immersion, so it's probably not realistic to mess with real time lighting, bump maps on everything, etc."

And Half-Life 2 was brilliant at doing that. It's not a nightmare to try and pull of a wide range of styles, as evidenced by the varied mods that are in the works.

People are going to look back at the D3 engine in 10 years and say "what the hell", for these reasons:

1) It's absolutely not suitable for anything other than indoor, starkly lit areas. We'll see what Splash Damage can do with it for ET:QW though.

2) Its total lack of support out of the box for simple things like lightmaps and water, which have been staples of pretty much every FPS for quite some time. Granted, they couldn't see scenarios where you'd come in contact with a lot of water on Mars, but if there were humans there, they need water for some things id!

3) Carmack's attempt to set the standard for good looking, realistic realtime lighting in games, which we realize now, is not currently a possibility.

It's really too bad John Romero didn't want to stick it out at id for the long haul, because Q3 and D3 probably could have been 10x better than they were. It's obvious how Carmack is a technical genius who needs equally talented designers to focus his expertise into a fun game, rather than letting him and the rest of the out-of-touch slopheads at id run amok.

No offense to the designers at id, but you need another Romero. You make fucking games, not masturbatory tech demos.

Half Life 2 and Far Cry are games that are fun to play.

(PS I can't comment on F.E.A.R because I haven't played it, but it looks like it could be cool)

(PPS Congratulations for making it through this post somehow. I hope I made sense, but if I didn't here is a candy bar for you to ease the pain. *gives you the candy*) 
Eh. 
(Quake2 had that secret subway level, remember - apparently Q4's vehicles are more similar to that than to Far Cry's vehicles).


You'd be lucky. Q2's train system at least allowed you free access on and off the train, normal gameplay, the opportunity for exploration, and in general fitted into the game.

Q4's vehicles are more like the train at the start of HL1, with weapons o_O 
.. 
Tronyn`s complaints are only valid in the case of doom3. That was 2 yers ago.
Dont be bitching on the game you didnt play, in case of q4. really.

D3 tech is hold back mostly by hardware. You cant have too many lights, or it will crawl on obsolete cards (like gf 3/4). That, and for convincing outdoors you really need sort of radiocity (even if faked) = lightmaps (which is very possible, but rather awkward to do in d3)

There is swim-able reflecting water mod for D3.
So its juts ID not giving a crap about including such thing in game (not that average joe reviewer noticed it, so its not much of a flaw)

Carmack's attempt to set the standard for good looking, realistic real-time lighting in games, which we realize now, is not currently a possibility.
Well, that�s the way of the pioneer. Quake was slow and looking worse (running at pathetic 320x200) than Duke Nukem (smooth at 1024x768 even) But it was real 3d with proper lighting, setting the standards for years.

Btw Far Cry indoors lighting is terrible mix of lightmaps and real-time, but 10x worse looking than source and 7.6x worse than d3 (well, I don't like how FC looks at all to the point I didnt even bother playing it, I just seen coworkers play it)

... what�s terrible about q4 gameplay?
its pretty much like COD, only better and prolly less scripted/linear and not as massive
(and everyone was raving about cod gameplay).
Hl2 is cool and innovative with its good use of physics for gameplay, but less of a shooter and thus less fun for my taste (not wanting to finish it even). Other games don't have to be like HL2.

Romero had a good chance to make a game of his dream... (let's not even mention its name!) So your suggestion that he could have radically improved ID` games just looks like a joke Blitz.

Dazz : Stalker is delayed till autumn 06... yeah D.N.F.A.L.K.E.R. 
Q4 Transport Parts (minor Spoiler?) 
there are 2 sorts of Q4's vehicles:
1) you are locked on gun and the train/car moves on its own, you just shoot (cod style)

2) you are locked in tank (with horrible controll) or mech. You can drive around in whatever fashion and shoot stuff. The levels are like a long road or a canyon ... 
Speedy 
ID needs a proper game designer whilst Romero's ION Storm needed proper management. ION had good gameplay ideas, developers who were worth more than their combined weight in gold but all the effort went flushed down the toilet because ION managers were completely unsuitable for the job. 
Good Gameplay Ideas 
"cant leave without my buddy supafly!"
(who got mauled by frogs)
sorry, I dont buy it

other ION's games were good tho (DeuseX) 
Speedy 
"cant leave without my buddy supafly!"
(who got mauled by frogs)
sorry, I dont buy it


That doesn't refute my point in any way. They had good gameplay ideas, but the execution was a mess. 
Jago... 
...I think is right about this. I've said it before, and I will say it again, if Romero had stayed at Id, and combined his design ideas and ambition with Id's engines and execution, the result would have been the best FPS game at the time.

DKT had variety, richness of content, and a bold design, but was marred by inconsistency, a weak engine, and a lot of roughness.

Q3A had a great engine, was smoothly put together, and had overall high design quality, but was marred by a shallow and limited game.

Combine the best bits of both, and...


Also, speeds, for someone who doesn't care what's popular, you are certainly joining in the spirit of the discussion :) 
 
dont u see those 2 are examples of bad game design - useless annoying sidekicks u cant continue without (and they easily die in fights ) and irratating small monsters . Whos to blame for DKT game design ? sham i love to discuss games qualities not popularity lists. Q3 rox btw. typing from phone. bleh 
Ahh But... 
...if it had been released on time it probably would have been the first shooter with anything you could really call a sidekick! Sure they were shite sidekicks, but the quality of a games AI is generally a result of the technology available at the time.

The small creatures were indeed shite, but shooters are still falling in to that trap today. HL2's Manhacks were quite infuriating.

Overall I think Romero is a great designer, but due to some very bad decisions from all of the Ion Storm execs [such as forking out millions on a glass penthouse with personal developer 'pods' and the like] Daikatana fell foul of delays. Had it been released when originally planned, I think people would have considered it a great title and we might all be mapping for it now. C'est la vie. 
Romero 
Yeah, I agree, Romero is a fantastic designer, and I hold him as one of my heros. His only flaw is his inability to work in a team, of which in today's world, is required. It's dissapointing actually, Romero has all of these good ideas, but no company can stick around him long enough for them to be put out. But, who knows, maybe one day he will make us all his bitch. 
How Can You Say Things Like That? 
Do you personaly know Romero or have been working with him 
Well, Certainly One Could Make Broad Statements Of That Kind About 
Carmack, and it wouldn't require having worked alongside him. Presumably Bank is either a) John Romero ("what a great guy that Romero is!" lol), oorrrrrrrr he's basing his statements on knowledge of Romero through the gaming press, what's public about his career, and of course, his work in games.

DKT I think is a classic example of too much ambition. I think Carmack and Romero kind of balanced each other out. One wanted too much gameplay, the other too little. 
Carmack 
just wants rockets 
Romero 
Yes, I've spoken with him on a few occasions. For more information on Romero's work ethic, check out Masters of Doom by Kushner. 
Grumble 
id employees aside...

I didn't care for Far Cry. I might go find the disk and finish it some day, but it felt fairly weak. The expansive outdoors wasn't anything new to me - Novalogic has nearly a dozen games with that. Those don't have a decent visceral feel either.

I played through just the FEAR demo. I do appreciate the fire fights, but I really find the environments to be dull. And the, uh, horror too. You can get through the demo in ten minutes though, so hopefully there is more to the full package.

Q4 - I exclaimed to myself many times "What a well polished game" when looking around. Then I shot things. Again and again and again. No complaints there, I sorta recall a few predecessors that were kinda the same way, if not more so. It was too linear (all of these games are though) and I think the vehicles just really underscored that. If people complain about being on rails, then at least don't literally stick them on rails. Also, for some reason I didn't like the same monsters as well as I did in Q2 - I could tell all the different kinds, but they just didn't seem that differentiated for the most part. Gladiators were an exception - I love a cool monster. Where were the tanks?

I like D3. Darkness wasn't an issue once my machine was configured right, and I like the arsenal and menagerie quite a bit. There is just a great variety to the monsters you could run into. I suppose I appreciate a game that lets people make great maps for it - I enjoyed Once Upon a Time by ThomasC (I got that right?) for example more than most original D3 levels. User made maps from this scene are always pretty much the top of my PC gaming enjoyment, and of these recent games D3 is delivering a little bit.

HL2. Grr. Steam did a few bad things to me, but let's skip that. I don't think the physics did a damn thing for me. Here's a new phrase - Puzzle Physics: Physics in a simulation that only affect things in a little sandbox the designer deigned to give you. Ever get pissed at a guard in City 17 right at the beginning and build a trap for them so you could drop something heavy on his head? Every time I tried to be clever I found I was better off ignoring the facade the game threw up and just act like the Doom Guy - run fast, aim good. Hmm. I never once was annoyed by the physics in Doom. There's lots of stuff I could say about HL2, and by no means is it all negative - I was just responding to a few previous points. 
Well. 
So far, I reckon:

Far Cry > HL2 > Q4 = D3 > FEAR.

Far Cry was great. Really good use out of the engine for gameplay effect. Fresh and different feel to the game, plus impressive scenes and stuff, and good vehicle integration. Must have been good as I didn't get b0red fighting humans...

HL2 was good. Everything HL1 should have been, actually worth the hype. Technology used really effectively e.g. faces, water, general realism. Gameplay good, but not as interesting as FC - still more fighting humans in normal map styles.

Q4 and D3 I put together really, not very far behind HL2, because they have strong atmosphere and great graphics, good sci-fi settings and proper monsters (important, really). But at the end of they day they are more of one trick horses than HL2, and a bit less interesting overall. But still, Q4 has good fun gameplay and D3 has great scary atmosphere.

FEAR I haven't played, there are reasons from that, seems less inspiring with time. 
Edit: 
Would like to point out I did have the \save_game option in Far Cry, well it's a bugfix really, should have had it as a normal F6 quicksave really, WTF. Otherwise it might have been too boring later on to finish it. 
Thoughts 
I wasn't sure what to say cause I haven't played Q4, and won't, or FEAR (might). But...

As for D3, HL2, FC -- they all had their moments but none of them are keepers for me. I predict Hitman 4 will be a keeper - although I'm aware that game isn't contending with any FPS on the horizon, surely... 
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