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Traditions are great. I love decorating pine trees in December, eating large birds in Autumn or collecting eggs laid by a mysterious, sometimes anthropomorphic, rabbit in Spring. But not in videogames. These five traditions need to fade away. Developers need to know: there is no Santa, and there is no such thing as regenerating health.
5. The "headshot"
Ahead of the curve: Rainbow Six
Playing catch-up: Modern Warfare,
Yes, heads are ripe melons just waiting to burst open with a carefully placed three-round burst. But I would guess three bullets to any part of the body is enough to inhibit your killer instinct. A bullet to the chest isn't a helpful indicator of incoming fire, it's a prelude to making peace with God and regretting all the phone calls home you never made.
If the words "Get to cover" flash before your eyes, you're already dead. The point of survival is to be in cover, stay in cover and move to the next cover.
My one weakness, how did you know?
4. One man armies
Ahead of the curve: None.
Playing catch-up: Modern Warfare
Teammates get in the way, slow you down and generally don't make a dent in the enemy. So it's no wonder lone rangers are popping up in every future/alternate timeline war these days. But this works against the player, lessening the emotional impact and threat level of enemies. Outflanked by three trained militia? No problem. Tank? Easy, just grab this conveniently placed RPG. The enemy threat level has one tier: killable, by little ol' me. Why not create more circumstances that spell certain death if not helped out by friendlies? Why don't developers research this obscure tactic called "covering fire"?
3. Regenerative health
Ahead of the curve: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Playing catch-up: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3
It made sense in Halo. Energy shields use energy when they are in, uhh, use. Subsequently, it also takes time to recharge. The healing power of the human body ain't so speedy. The Master Chief combat style is uniquely situational: i.e the future. A special operations marine wearing naught but camo pants and rifle should not adopt the military tactics of a 22nd century super-soldier. Again, game developers, you're hurting yourselves by making bullet wounds so trivial. Bandaging your wounds with health packs at least added some insult to injury, but no amount of cotton swab fixes a shotgun blast to the back.
2. Melee button
Ahead of the curve: Borderlands
Playing catch-up: Halo, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3
Now I'm no scientist, but in what universe does a quick jab ensure sudden death? People have suffered dozens of stab wounds and survived. Bullets, on the other hand, have a much better track record. Knives have their place on the virtual battlefield, but as the old saying goes, "bullets for killing, knives for whittling."
1. The midas clip
Ahead of the curve: Rainbow Six: Black Arrow (Thanks for the tip Daniel Castro!)
Playing catch-up: Every other game. Ever.
No, it's not golden, but just as improbable. Two bullets left in your clip? How about twenty? Reload and those un-spent shells somehow magically transfer back into your pool of available ammo. Someone, or something, must be following you like a persistent gollum, salvaging those leftovers and feeding them back into your inventory. Otherwise, you'd leave behind half your munitions with your obsession to stay "fully loaded".