I hope I am not shooting myself in the foot by replying more than once here, but yet again I’ve had some brainstorms about combat-focus. I think no game has nailed “realism” in combat yet - they either railroad it into “shooting,” or it becomes a brawler or fighting game. The real world has realistic approaches to combat, where close quarters lead to groundfighting, firearms only become useful to at a certain range, and one is able to realistically navigate environments to position sniper’s nests and choke-points on a map. I feel few games give us a full picture of all the dynamics of combat, from the gung fu to the gun-riffic. What we need is more options. I feel guns are a terrifically flat option in the face of all the other revolutionary elements System Shock introduced into the mix. In other words, it kinda went from “emergent sim” to “emergent sim with FPS genre conventions.” I am hoping this sequel will somehow avoid this, not by taking away the guns (though I still think multiple approaches in select areas would be neat), but by somehow introducing new elements into the mix. If I feel combat is limited to shooting, it turns all the other elements into a shooting gallery, despite all the neat conventions System Shock created by introducing “immersive sim” into the mix.
Here are some thing I’d like to see ideally:
- Wall-running and landscape maneuverability from UA - If I see it, I can reach it. Fluidity of movement is key. I want to be able to wall-run up surfaces and jump from wall-to-wall in narrow corridors when I have sufficient skill.
- “Unique” ranged & melee weapons - No generic bullets. Also, guns in space ships don’t make much sense. You could puncture the hull. Ideally, I’d like to see guns as a sort of multi-tool, used for problem solving, among other purposes.
- First-person platforming. Half-life put this to good effect. It varies up mechanics, and create layers and nuances to the complexities you are already solving. If we’re talking about fluid navigation (AKA parkour) I want to be able to put it to good use. Let’s say I see a vent up in the wall, and I want to avoid the next room of enemies entirely, I should be able to jump/double-jump up to that vent, or parkour my way through appropriate obstacles to reach it. then crawl through and land on the other side of the room.
- Direct navigation of physics - for puzzle/problem solving. It varies up the keycard-finding mechanic by introducing new problem-types. If I can move valves by hand, rather than pressing an “e” key to automatically perform the function, you are on the right track.
- Enhanced melee - I think the melee combat system could be expanded through numerous passive perks, such as unlockable chain-combos. I want the wrench to see more love.
- Enemies with special attacks - Got kinda bored of the hybrids. More enemy types, with more special attacks–especially those feeding into the cyberpunk aesthetic–would be more than a touch welcome.
Basically, combat needs to address ground-fighting and other circumstances, and vary it up a notch! If we’re talking fully immersive sim, we have two hands, two arms, two legs, and two feet - and multiple uses of all of the above. I’m not saying turn it into street-fighter, but at least a few different uses of the wrench, and a little more diverse melee - maybe even giving the wrench its own skill tree - would diversify combat from its vanilla shooter roots, and give it a more robust feel. That, along with giving enemies special attacks, would go a long way toward reinventing combat in the age of the immersive sim. I wouldn’t even mind if we could find and use make-shift weapons along the way - just using objects in the environment and weighted physics as a weapon in-and-of itself.