I wouldn't go as far to say that the move to 3d FPS is just simply
fashion trends. There is a lot more to FPS than just the features you
mentioned. In fact, I'd go as far to say the use of the FPS format has
nothing to do with features but realism. So look at this comparatively
speaking for a second.
The side-scroller format is by and large a 2d format. It only allows the
player to move in four basic directions up, down, left, and right. I
don't care how many weapon upgrades, traps,
cut scenes, or high end graphics the developer adds the fact is it is
still nothing more than a 2d game. Why is that a problem?
For one thing it restricts movement. In most First Person and Third
Person style games the player has several complex moves to choose from.
In the Tomb Raider games you have the ability to climb, jump, flip,
roll, walk, swim, or run in every direction possible. Basically,
anything the human body can do you can perform that same move in the
game. While it can be argued you could do these things in a 2d
side-scroller, that is true, but you still wouldn't get the same degree
or freedom of movement offered by a truly 3d FPS type game.
Then, there is the game level itself. A true 3d game world allows a
developer to render 3-dimensional structures, objects, and use 3d
calculations to render a more realistic world. Back when I was a sighted
gamer I always found it easier to personally relate to a fully 3d game
level rather than a 2d one. In fact, I still do. Unless you've had this
experience, as I've had, I guess it is pretty hard to express in words
how and why it is just better without using lots of personal examples.
Here is a case in point. In Star Wars Mysteries of the Syth there is a
level were Mara Jade is in an Imperial City looking for clues to the
identity of the rogue Jedi helping the Empire.
Anyway, being as the game is fully 3d it allows for some pretty
interesting combat situations simply not possible in a 2d only format.
As you move Mara through the city you have to keep an eye out for
Imperial snipers above her hidden in windows and on roof tops as well as
watch out for Storm Troopers on the ground. So basically an ambush can
come from anywhere, and often as not they will come from above when you
least expect it forcing you to look up, aim Mara's blaster, and shoot
the sniper in the window. Offering some pretty realistic urban combat
As I've mentioned many times my favorite tactic for that level was to
force jump to the roof, of a nearby building, crouch down, and when some
storm troopers would pass by I would play sniper and pick them off one
by one. If I was in a particularly savage mood I'd activate her light
saber and force jump right on top of them like an avenging angel and do
some slicing and dicing. Another option was just to light the light
saber and force throw it from the roof and slice right through the poor
unsuspecting troopers. My point being that the 3d environment offered
many realistic combat situations that can't be replicated by a 2d only
Unless you have had this sort of experience it is kind of hard to
express why 3d is more widely liked by mainstream gamers than
side-scrollers. We think in terms of accessibility, which is easier, and
less about the experience. Sad to say very few VI gamers have had the
opportunity to get this kind of experience because games like Sarah,
Monkey Business, or Shades of Doom still are not totally 3d.
are still 2d environments. They don't actually have a true 3d
environment, and don't offer the same degree of realism a 3d game would
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