Where Did the Simplicity Go?

Not long ago we lived in a time where gaming didn't rely on creating as fast of a pace as possible or movement schemes that allow to you fly in...
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    Not long ago we lived in a time where gaming didn't rely on creating as fast of a pace as possible or movement schemes that allow to you fly in the air, run on the walls, and overall, move in any way to meet your respective desires. One way or another, gaming is continuously moving further and further away from its more simplistic predecessors. Whether it's better or not is a redundant debate that is riddled in subjectivity and relativity. You'll have little to no luck when searching for an objective right or wrong in these regards, as both sides of the argument will come at it with details and information supporting their beliefs, but that's a pointless debate that's better off being saved for another day. This simplism at hand, though, has left us whether we like it or not.

    Not going back too far for the sake of it being blatantly obvious, we'll focus on Halo. The shooter franchise that revolutionized both first-person shooters and online gaming, on multiple occasions. Yet, what was once recognized as one of, if not, the most simplistic shooter on the market, has seemingly turned its back on its beloved roots. One could argue this as being simple progression and evolution of a franchise, however, the series has not evolved so drastically between its first entries. For example, Halo: CE - Halo 3 did not remove the core elements and principles of the game, even through the 6 years between them. One of the biggest gameplay changes that Halo 3 brought, was equipment, such as the bubble shield or power drain. While these were a new (and exclusive) addition to the series, they did not stray from Halo's rather simplistic ideology. They could completely change how battles played out, yet were balanced in an effective manner and made available to everyone, therefore not being so different from a power weapon or power up, two things that have always been in the series. Come 2012, when 343i bought Halo from Bungie, the fans were subjected to a massive change to the game in its entirety. There is an extremely jarring change present when you switch from Halo 3 to Halo 4. The gameplay was completely revamped by 343i and featured changes such as, but not limited to: sprinting amongst all players, various armor abilities, killstreaks, and loadouts. This has left fans of the series to refer to this entry as one of, if not, the worst Halo made to date. The changes did not stop there, either, enter Halo 5: Guardians. The entry that rid the game of split-screen play, one of the most beloved features of the franchise. This game has successfully torn out any remaining simplicity that was left after Halo 4. It brought "advanced movement" to the battlefield, as well as "aim-down-sights" and we're now left with little to no resemblance to the past entries with it. 343i has essentially done anything it can to crank up the pace of the game when it simply wasn't needed. This isn't to say the game is bad per se, yet, it just doesn't feel like Halo anymore. It feels forced and synthetic and it has rid the game of most of its redeeming qualities, in a desperate attempt to make it faster paced. With microtransactions and the omitting of split-screen, as well as all the unnecessary and bothersome features, it simply feels like a shell of what once was. I'm a huge fan of Halo and I always have been, in fact, I still play Halo 3 on a regular basis and it's unfortunate to see one of your favorite gaming and entertainment franchises crumbling and leaving behind many of its great aspects. It's sadly become another money-grabbing franchise that leaves fans reminiscing about its glory days, and oh, how I wish that wasn't true.

    As much as I wish it weren't true, Halo isn't the only ever-so-popular franchise that has drastically, monumentally, strayed from its widely well-received roots. There is also arguably one of the most controversial game franchises of modern times, Call of Duty. What once began as a typical, yet great war shooter has over time become unpalatable and a total and complete disgrace to its former self. Its genesis lied with a simplistic, twitch gameplay in a realistic, legitimate war setting. Call of Duty blew up in 2007 with its debut into the recent eras of combat, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The biggest rival to Halo 3 at the time, a time when these franchises were in their prime. We ventured back to World War II with 2008's entry, World at War that brought Zombies, the beloved and acclaimed mini-game that continues to accompany the series to this day. Come 2009 we get to meet the sequel to Call of Duty 4, and we were presented with Modern Warfare 2, the record-breaking game that blew up the franchise and potentially changed it forever, again. Yet, it did so without leaving a stark contrast between it and its predecessor. Objectively speaking, this game is noticeably flawed, but when compared to its successors, it's a damn good entry. It increased the pace from the previous games, without straying from its roots or source material. It was one of the last entries to actually feel like Call of Duty. It was a simpler time, where you can nail headshots with an AK-47 or Glock in Afghanistan or perhaps Favela. It was real. Black Ops continued that use of reality with its release in 2010, when we ventured to the Vietnam era of warfare, it simplified it even further, and it worked. It's 2016 now and people have been excited to play it again through Xbox One's backwards compatibility and for good reason. Fast forward to 2012's Black Ops II, a game that fared surprisingly well despite its major shift in setting. It changed the class setup in a fairly decent way, brought competitive gaming in, and overall, was a solid entry. Now, I'm not particularly a fan of the futuristic setting, however, the core concepts weren't destroyed with this entry, therefore, it gets a pass with me. 2014 gave us the massive disappointment of Sledgehammer's debut with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The game that leaped even further into the futuristic setting and introduction of an absolute abomination of advanced movement. Your character is now half-robot and makes use of the most linear attempt at advanced movement that I have ever encountered. I don't even want to get started on how stupid the idea is of a man with an exo-suit jetpacking through the air like a fly, whilst dressed like a clown and trying to "quickscope" someone. Just last year, Treyarch gave us Black Ops III, which yet again, went even further into the future, while keeping an exo-suit, but don't worry, it's different. I've played tons of this game and at this point, I'm just legitimately bothered by it, I had to delete it. It effectively ruined every single concept that Call of Duty once had in place. The movement system, while not as linear as its predecessor's, has rid the game of any remaining map strategy that it once had. There is no point in wondering if someone is around the corner, when they can slide, fly, and wall-run around said corner. The debut of "specialists" has done an excellent job of killing off the point and use of killstreaks. Go ahead and give a player a grenade launcher, minigun, flamethrower, or invisibility, when they've done nothing to earn it, I sincerely struggle to see the rationality behind implementing such a thing. There was a time when you could naturally progress through the game to earn the best weapons as everyone else did, but apparently it's a better idea for the player to pay legitimate money through moronic microtransactions for a chance at getting such a weapon, I've paid a good $20 or so and have yet to receive a weapon that I would have liked to, what a petty thing for a developer to do, for no reason whatsoever. We've gone from a great "boots on the ground" shooter to the complete opposite. Every addition attempting to increase the pace and distance into the future, despite the countless complaints from fans and critics alike. Infinity Ward will be dropping Infinite Warfare this year, and is holding off on showing the multiplayer until September, and yet again, it's even further into the future and straying even further from its simplistic origins.
    In all honesty, I don't enjoy feeling this way about these franchises, however, I can't objectively speak of others because I haven't played them to the extent that I have the aforementioned two. I've put countless days worth of gameplay into Halo and Call of Duty and it's painful to see what they have become today. Halo was known for its simplicity and slower pace and it's just not there anymore, and Call of Duty was once a war shooter that had realism and map strategy. I miss the feeling of starting a round of Halo or Call of Duty and everyone simply running out onto the battlefield, now you fly around and run on the walls, there's just no finesse to it. I miss the times where I was getting shot by a terrorist that was wielding an M4, and now I'm getting killed by a wall-running golden robot (with a minigun arm) that beats me to death with a diamond encrusted wrench, then proceeds to use catchphrases and dances afterward. That's just a travesty to me. It really is unfortunate because I continue to play them in hopes that I might enjoy one as much as I used to, but I rarely find that being true. This isn't to say that one franchise is better than the other, or that one generation is better than the next, it's just an attempt to bring to light the stark contrast that can be seen amongst them. Maybe I complain too much. Perhaps I just don't adjust to change well. Call me old fashioned but I think, when it's all said and done, I just miss a simpler time.

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    Dead
    Former riter.

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  1. Qhxp_Lobbies
    AMEN halo 2 was my first game and I've loved the game ever since. However since the introduction of halo 4 I haven't bothered playing the new games. Even the story is garbage. Cortana is evil and insane...ug. I miss a simpler time too :/. P.S. I'm a big fan oF TAA
      Deadpool likes this.
  2. Kakashi
    I think Halo 5 is the best halo to date, on a competitive aspect. It is not a noob friendly game at all and I like that a lot. When I go into matchmaking at the champion level I play some of the best players in the world, including pro teams such as CLG (winners of the Worlds tournament). You get the best of the best and playing them improves your skill drastically. To me that is what halo has been all about for the past 15 years of my life, the only way I have fun is by playing players of that caliber, and this game gives you that opportunity.
    1. Tfsfan
      Well see that's the problem, Halo is meant for competitive players, but at the same time is very noob/casual friendly, I feel that because Halo 5 focuses ONLY on competitive play, makes it the WORST Halo to date. That being said, competitive play isn't bad as long as the casual side balances it out, but Halo 5 doesn't balance it out, the game is just so, non-Halo it hurts, I still question myself as to why I'm still playing it, then I realized, it's the only Halo on Xbox One that allows you to unlock stuff.
      Qhxp_Lobbies likes this.
  3. 3xTiNcT
    I get what you're saying and I agree but change in the right way can be a good thing. I too miss the way the older games played. Also you never mentioned Call of Duty: Ghosts, any reason why Deadpool ?
      Qhxp_Lobbies and Deadpool like this.
    1. Dead
      I guess I feel it didn't bring as drastic as a change as AW or BO3, I originally wrote about it but felt the end result was too long.
      It brought sliding and leaning, but not flying and wall riding.
      Qhxp_Lobbies and 3xTiNcT like this.
    2. 3xTiNcT
      Yeah a lot of people still didn't like it though. Even though it was more "simple".
  4. B-rad
    Games like Rocket League have brought more simplicity to the playing field in a game that is actually fun to play. I enjoy the game a lot. However more advanced played games are still fun but I also miss the simplicity to some of the core games we used to play like Halo 2.

    I have a feeling that sometime in the near future they may bring back some of this simplicity in some of the games they release. We can only hope anyway. No telling what the future of Xbox One will hold, however I for one am hoping we get a more variety of games to choose from. The first person multiplayer thing is starting to get old. It's been around for a while and it's losing it's touch because of how many games have gone this route. We are starting to get to the world of virtual reality and the scene will take it's change for the good or the bad soon. Like I said, we can only hope for variety. We need something new. Something that ends up as famous as Halo 2 in those days but for the new system. It needs to be new and fresh and it needs to be the new craze. Let's hope we get it.
      AzzidReign likes this.
    1. AzzidReign
      You are on point! I still think of H2 as the best in the Halo franchise, perhaps the best FPS I ever played. There was a simplicity to it that I've been ranting about over the years as the franchise has evolved, along side of COD evolving. I think what has made RL so popular is the simplicity, it's very simple to just pick up the game and play, but what keeps you playing is mastering that simplicity (not to mention how epicly fun it is). Just like Halo 1 and 2, if you mastered the "simplicity" of aiming, you will do great.

      I forget where I read it, but I thought that there was a much larger movement in the mobile gaming, which inherently is more simplified due to the "lack of" controls. Look at the success of some of these mobile games. You can look back years in my posts to see my rants on how the complexity is ruining the gaming experience (imo). Learning curves are become to big. It should be about simplicity and mastering it.
      B-rad and Deadpool like this.
  5. mad dog luciano
    this is why I still play retro or older games coz they are better and more fun than most modern games. and even tho I do play modern games I enjoy the old or retro games more and I actually buy more old/retro games these days
    1. Tfsfan
      Yep same here, I recently bought pokemon yellow, gold, silver, crystal, sapphire, emerald, and leafgreen for my gba sp.
      Son G0ku likes this.
  6. II{-_-}II
    Somehow loadouts and XP systems instead of skill based rankings have become the preferred method, yet simple games like halo 2 and CoD 2 were the best in the series.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. II{-_-}II
      Lol yes the arbiter had camo in the ****ing campaign dude, this article is focusing on online multiplayer, where loadouts or map spawns actually matter..
      Deadpool likes this.
    3. Tfsfan
      It doesn't matter whether or not it was in campaign or multiplayer, Halo 2 introduced the first useful armor ability, like it or not, technicalities or not, it happened.
    4. II{-_-}II
      Your delusional if you think the arbiter ability of camo in the campaign was a turning point for halo or revolutionary for FPS games. It was a nice touch to the campaign, but similar mechanics had been around for years in campaigns and also online PC games. Idk why your even trying to argue this ****, it's a fact when loadouts came out in halo and powerups got to be excessive, halo had hit it's major turning point.
  7. Feyfolken
    This trend has leaked well out of the FPS genre. The popularity of the series you mentioned have made many other developers and publishers feel like incorporating some of those gameplay elements is the key to success. It's very tragic - those who make games today feel that with all of the advances made in development software and game design, we can't go back to simple games with simple mechanics.

    That's why Undertale had such a profound effect on so many people who played it. It wasn't a simple game per se, but all you needed to know was the arrow keys moved you around and three other keys let you interact, cancel, or open a menu. 7 total functions in the game and that's all it needed to be as successful as it was.

    Meanwhile, all of these games that you've mentioned just don't know where to stop. It's why Halo, one of my most beloved franchises, lost me totally as a fan. Halo: Reach was where it started for me and since then, it's just gone further and further from where it was the most successful: Halo 3. Halo 5 has the least amount of units sold for being a main entry in the series.

    343i - and admittedly, Bungie when they let Microsoft run rampant with their IP to make Reach - have alienated a massive fan base by essentially making their games "Call of Duty with Spartans". I still have all of the Halo books, all of the games up to Halo 4, and a nostalgic need to want to go back to the golden days where all I did was play Halo 3 with friends and even family. It's sad to say, but I have absolutely no desire to play any of the new Halo games and I don't even care to hear about them anymore.

    This is a perfect example of having the technology/capability to do something, but no one (except for the fans) considered whether or not it would be a good idea to do it.
      UndeadASU, Keeley Hazell and Deadpool like this.
    1. Tfsfan
      Honestly I can agree that the newer Halo games such as 4 and 5 blow hard, but for me the last true Halo game was Reach, not because it had a ton of stuff in it, but because it fit perfectly into the story, and allowed players to play it their way instead of the way the devs wanted them to play it, which is something 343i wouldn't even begin to know how to implement.
      Keeley Hazell likes this.
  8. danguy2009
    The more games do this the more I'm not going to buy them. same goes for games with forced online singleplayer modes or no campaign whatsoever.

    Games used to be simple things that earned money based on the game being just good, now games earn money based on how much they can wring out of you in the long term which has an effect of pushing more people away from them so the publishers have to push even more moneymaking tactics to recoup the losses of people not buying the games. I think this way of trying to profit so much will only work in the short term as more and more people decide to not buy the game.

    I don't mind DLC that adds story content, new multiplayer maps and levels but I will not buy weapon/cosmetic DLC or pay for a chance at getting a weapon, that stuff I want to earn through level progression.
    1. Tfsfan
      Yes, all of this! This basically sums up modern gaming and why it sucks, sure there are a few gems like Mario Maker, Pokemon ORAS, or hell even Minecraft Story Mode, those are games I'd pay to get DLC for because they are well put together and don't try to siphon money out of you like a cash vampire.
    2. ForeverLoading
      What about games like Overwatch, League of Legends, or CS:GO? They're all great games without needing any singleplayer modes.
  9. Tfsfan
    I miss the good old days, where games were jam packed with secret easter eggs, and areas where if they were found didn't do much, but made you feel like you accomplished something. Like breaking out of Sierra 117 in Halo 3's campaign, or locating the secret warp area in the original Super Mario Bros. or even getting to the figurine island in Wind Waker, it was fun, now games try to make themselves more "realistic" when in reality that's the opposite of what they should be doing. Games should be unrealistic, because fantasy or fiction makes a game GOOD realism just makes you feel, I dunno, bored, like you've done it before, predictable?
  10. Aventador
    I agree 100%!! Just spoke about this the other day. Games today have too much in them. The simplicity of playing is gone and Micro-transactions are one too many. Skins and bling are flooding games, things are too complex and the fun is being sucked out of games. We need someone to go back to the simplistic days of halo. Get rid of load outs and make players fight for the better weapons on a map. Skill will determine who wins. Not some kid with endless hours available to unlock items.