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The Bullseye: A tale of two games

A brief look at one gun, two games, and what they say about the transition from the old school to the new school of shooters

In most shooters, the first few guns you get are bog standard.  A pistol here, an machine gun there, maybe a shotgun.  They're the basic tools of an effective arsenal, but they're uninteresting, and usually get outclassed in a few hours.  But Resistance: Fall of Man did things differently.  Because twenty minutes in, you get the Bullseye, a gun with more character than most shooters' entire arsenal.

And it looks good, too

The Bullseye is the kind of submachine gun Rambo would design.  With a huge 70-round clip that disappears in about three seconds, surprisingly high damage per round, and pretty terrible accuracy, it's made for spray-and-pray, a beast of a weapon that begs you to get in the Chimeras' faces and rip them to shreds.  It's the kind of weapon that encourages rash decisions and aggressive movement, right down to the jerky, unhinged firing animation.  

Just look at that thing go (5:30 for the good stuff)

And it's a perfect fit for Fall of Man's combat.  At a time when military shooters were encouraging measured tactics and progressively more conservative play, Resistance was more Starship Troopers than Navy Seals.  Always outnumbered, outgunned, and hounded by relentlessly aggressive enemies, the only way to survive in Resistance was by constantly pushing forward, safety and security be damned.  Try to cower behind cover, and you'll find yourself surrounded…and that never ends well.  It was the Andrew WK of console shooters, a desperation-and-adrenaline-soaked binge that didn't worry about making you feel smart as much as it did making you feel like a reckless, destructive badass.

Fast forward two and a half years, and Resistance 2 emerges with a very different set of priorities.  It was smarter, more sensible, and more "tactical"; health regenerated, Chimeran aggression was dialed down, and measured, "stop and pop" shooting was the name of the game.  And the new Bullseye fit right in.  It eschewed the constant inaccuracy of the Bullseye v1 for a variable spread that encouraged controlled bursts.  Clip size and fire rate were down, as was damage.  What had previously been an uncontrollable monster felt trained and obedient, better at placing shots and picking off targets, but at the expense of most of its past fearsomeness.

See 8:00.

And that's without even mentioning the tags.  In Bullseye v1, the tags were essential to hit anything at long range…but more often, they were just used to focus fire and switch from killing a Chimera fast to killing it really fast.  The Bullseye v2 didn't need the tags in open combat…it was accurate enough without them, and there were more viable alternates for long-range combat than the first game had had.  So they became circumstantial, most useful when you wanted to run away or duck behind cover and still do damage.  In the Bullseye v1, the tags supported its recklessness…in v2, the tags supported caution.

Objectively, neither type of game is better or worse.  I'd argue that the original game was exhilarating while the sequel was boring, but plenty of others I'm sure would say the former was mindless and one-note while the latter was smart and tactical.  But a transition it was, and it's undeniably true that these games, and these guns, show how just a few subtle changes can completely change how a shooter feels and plays.

As a final note, everything above applies entirely to the single-player campaigns.  With the balance changes made for multiplayer, the differences between the Bullseye in Resistance 1 and 2 are far less significant.
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About Callusingone of us since 11:20 AM on 06.07.2013

Recent grad, professional researcher, aspiring writer.