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Default First-Person Shooters that was not short on story/atmosphere

March 4th, 2007, 18:49
The topic is controversial and will more than likely get some flames on a board I know is dominated by oldschool gamers. I got the flamesuit on so try me.

Here I will focus on some First-Person Shooters that actually delivers a well written story, well written NPC's, nice twists and a good atmosphere. The purpose is to show that while the genré is often forgetable, there are some shiny gems worth playing for them who thinks FPS's are for braindead people. Ironically, several of the following got weak sales thanks to not fitting well with twitchhappy actiongamers.

Alien VS Predator 2 (2001)
Main Characters: Corporal Andrew "Frosty" Harrison, a Predator, an Alien
Noteable Characters: Dr. Eisenberg, head researcher of the LV-1201 facility, General Vasili Rykov, head of the mercenaries assigned to defend LV-1201, The Empress, the Xenomorph queen
Story: AVP2 tells a unconventional story about three "heroes" who would probably be bitter enemies against eachother but they all share the same foe. The events intervene and takes place at pretty much the same time. The story is fairly complex to give without giving away spoilers but all three heroes will battle LV-1201 and their corrupt leaders.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (2006)
Main Character: Jack Walters, private detective
Noteable Characters: Many characters taken from H.P. Lovecraft's novels, most noteworthy Obed Marsh
Story: Based heavily on H.P. Lovecraft's short novel Shadow Over Innsmouth, also borrowing elements from The Shadow Out Of Time. The game tells the story of Jack Walters who are hired to a manor house in Boston, Massachussetts to deal with a cult calling themselves Fellowship of the Yith. Something there happens that are so terrible to Jack's mind that he ends up several years in Arkham Assylum. The real story begins 7 years later in Innsmouth, a run-down, underpopulated and extremely xenophobic New England port town, shut off from the rest of the world. Here Jack is sent to deal with a robbery of a certain Brian Burnham, but Jack is going to find so much more, including the truth about his own past.

Call of Juarez (2006) (Added by Moriendor)
Main characters: Reverend Ray and Billy
Noteable characters: dto
Story: The young and impulsive Billy flees his family ranch after a violent bust-up with his stepfather. Billy roams the length and breadth of America; two years pass, then Billy decides to go home. The day of his return, gunshots are heard at the ranch from as far away as the neighboring town. One of the town’s inhabitants informs the Reverend Ray, the brother of Billy’s stepfather. At the farm, the Pastor discovers the bodies of his brother and wife and then spots Billy, bloodied whip in hand, standing by a wall daubed with the words ‘’Call of Juarez’’, written in blood. The young man notices the Reverend and flees in a panic.
Ray was well aware of the quarrels between his brother and Billy and figures out that the stepson must have killed the couple in a fit of anger. He vows to avenge the death of his brother and sister in law, and sets out in pursuit of Billy. In the course of his pitiless chase, he chooses to become once more what he was several years previously: a fearsome and bloodthirsty killer.
The specialty of CoJ is that you play hunter and hunted alternately.
JemyM comments: I have not played this myself.

Clive Barker´s Undying (2001)
Main Character: Patrick Galloway, adventurer of the paranormal
Noteable Characters: Jeremiah Covenant, Patrick's old war buddy and his siblings, Lizbeth, Aaron, Bethany and Ambrose
Story: The game begins with Patrick receiving a letter from his old war buddy Jeremiah Covenant. Upon arrival (Ireland) Jeremiah explainss that his family have a dark secret. As children the siblings performed a dark ritual and now at adult age they have fallen to madness and eventually death, all except Jeremiah. The siblings have however woke up from the grave and are now haunting the huge family mansion as well as it's surroundings. Patrick as an experienced ghost hunter sets of to deal with the problem. The story is progressed throughout spooky stages, cutscenes, books and notes that you find along the way.

Deus Ex (2002)
Main Character: J.C Denton, a NANO augmented UNATCO agent
Noteable characters: Deus Ex also tells the story of Paul Denton, J.C's brother, but Deus Ex really have more characters and organisations that can be listed in short.
Story: Deus Ex begins in a cyberpunk society, plagued by a virus known as "Gray Death". Because of the rarity of the cure the nation is in turmoil and several terrorist organisations such as the National Secessionist Force plagues the people and the government. A special anti-terrorist organisation is founded under the United States, fighting a war on terror. The story features many twists and turns and the game won several prices for prices for Best Storyline.

F.E.A.R (2005) (Added by Moriendor)
Main character: F.E.A.R point man
Noteable characters: Alma, Paxton Fettel, Harlan Wade, Norton Mapes
Story: The player is a part of F.E.A.R, a secret special ops unit of the U.S. government specialized in dealing with paranormal threats. At the beginning of the game, the player witnesses how a man called Paxton Fettel is taking command of a batallion of telepathically controlled clone supersoldiers and how Fettel's army seizes control of the Armacham Technolgy Corporation (ATC) structure, killing all its occupants. F.E.A.R's mission is to track down and eliminate Fettel. For more or full info on the story check here at Wikipedia.
JemyM comments: F.E.A.R is a horror game with alot of scary scenes and alot of atmosphere with a dark and gruesome story. I was personally distanced from the story due to the prescence of the "Replica Soldiers" who you are forced to fight throughout the entire game. Theese soldiers do not seem to have anything to do with the rest of the story and there are far too many of them based on the explanation why they are there. A storytelling technique Moriendor did not mention is that F.E.A.R use answering machines that can be used to play up messages, usually among people who talked to eachother before things went sour (similar to System Shock 2). This helps to flesh out the story.

No One Lives Forever 1 (2000) & 2 (2002)
Main Character: Cate Archer, scottish spy
Noteable characters: The entire gallery of NOLF is memorable, including the villians. Following the story of Armstrong, the scottish villian is as fun as following Cate Archer herself.
Story: In the year of 1960, in a homage to classic spy movies/books, UNITY, a secret organisation, works against the terrorist organisation known as H.A.R.M. The main character, a female ex-thief who struggle with old male prejudice, resembles Emma Peel from The Avengers. NOLF1 packs one of the greatest end twists of all time, which gave birth to NOLF2. The game won several Game of the year prices, including Computer Games Magazine, Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer and Gamespy.

System Shock 2 (1999)
Main Character: Military recruit
Noteable characters: Dr. Janice Polito, the mystical Shodan, XERXES the computer A.I
Story: The player takes the role of a military recruit hired to protect security on the spaceship Von Braun's maiden voyage. He is awakened from cryo sleep just after something strange happened with the ship. Quickly he discovers that something is wrong. The events that have taken place on Von Braun is told through events, discs, letters, e-mails and journals from other passengers.

The Jedi Knight Series
Main Character: Kyle Katarn, Jedi Knight
starwars.com's databank
Noteable Characters: Jan Ors, Kyle's friend and ally, several villians and famous characters from the movies
Story: 3 games were made with Kyle Katarn as the main character and 2 have him present as a master. A few books use the character.
In Dark Forces, Kyle work under Mon Mothma, dealing with the Dark Trooper Project. Dark Forces expand the myth of Dark Troopers. The real story about Kyle begin in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, where Kyle learns of his true heritage. Morgan Katarn, his father, once helped the Jedi Rahn to close off the Valley of the Jedi, a resting place for Jedi who became one with the force. Jedi Knight uses cinematic cutscenes with real actors. In Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, Kyle acts as the master for Mara Jade (character from the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn). In Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (My personal favorite), Kyle have resigned as a Jedi when Jan Ors are taken prisoner and killed. Kyle sets off across the galaxy to bring the Dark Jedi Desann to Justice but must first relearn the force to stand a chance. In Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Kyle again takes the role of a master to the main character, Jaden Korr, force prodigy. In the end the player may take the dark path and make Kyle the antagonist. The true end of Kyle Katarn is considered to be unknown, chosen by players of Jedi Academy.

Vampire: Bloodlines (2004)
Main Character: A new vampire
Noteable Characters: Many interesting characters like the powerhungry Sebastian LaCroix, Smiling Jack the Anarch (your mentor), and the sexy malkavian Jeanette with her sister Therese
Story: Vampire Bloodlines tells the story of a fresh new vampire in Los Angeles. Places like Santa Monica, Hollywood and Chinatown are visited in the game. The players are torn between competing organisations of vampires. Beyond finding your space in the city, the plot surrounds a mystical sarcophagus that all factions wants, with different ideas of it contents. Some say it contains an ancient vampire that, if consumed (drinking it's blood), would give the consumer godlike powers.
Last edited by JemyM; March 5th, 2007 at 17:42.
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