End the Slander Against On-Rail Games. End it Now.

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Did you think there were too many on-rail games at E3 this year? Kotaku reader Ivan Lopez remembers the good ol' days of Time Crisis and House of the Dead. He's staying loyal to the genre and wants to know if on-rail games were always treated this badly or if fans have just moved on and in true on-rail style can't turn back.


When did on-rail games become bad? It seems as though nobody likes them anymore, despite being part of the core gaming universe over a decade ago. They co-existed with the FPS genre back then, why can't they co-exist now? All I ever hear is how crappy on-rail games are despite great games like House of the Dead, Rez, Time Crisis, and even Dead Space Extraction. Child of Eden [pictured above] is looking to be a great game in my opinion, yet because it's on-rails people assume this attitude and come in with a critical state of mind that the game will be low quality.

As an on-rail shooter fan, I was always disappointed with the lack of those games not appearing this gen. Even the original Xbox had House of the Dead 3, Nintendo has Star Fox, and the PS2 had the Time Crisis series to call it's own. Now I'm seeing a rebirth of the genre, but with that rebirth I see slander and out right refusal to believe that on-rail games could be anything but terrible. Is this a generation thing? Does one need the experience of seeing these games pop up on consoles, arcades, and PCs for the first time to appreciate them or did the one time fans simply turn their back on the genre, never looking back? Maybe I was just too young to ever notice criticism of these games back then.

Either way, as a fan of the genre, I look forward to games like Child of Eden and Gunstringer, while also looking forward to HD updates of classic experiences like Time Crisis, House of the Dead, or the underrated CarnEvil.

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Too many and too many crappy ones? I dunno, that's probably how things sum up for me. Or at least in part. I don't mind a game that has only one... exit? Like HL2. You didn't *really* have all that many choices on where to go. You followed the (relatively) linear map and that was that. But it was the quality of the production, the story and the atmosphere that made it great. Not only that, but you were left quietly alone to ponder the horror of the situation.

Maybe that's part of the problem: games that force companions/teammates on you. My latest, greatest example is Homefront — a game i wanted to love and ended up hating for many reasons, namely the idiotic screaming retards you HAD to travel with. All. The. Time.

The other problem being pacing. Pacing is key. Again, in games like HL2 you made your own pace. You didn't have to move on to the next task/part of the map/whatever until you were good and ready whereas many of today's "on-rail" shooters FORCE you to move on weather you're ready/willing or not. If you're not? Well you're either "loaded" into the next event or something/someone yells and harasses you incessantly until you do (Homefront, i'm looking in your direction again, but you're not the only one).

One reason why i liked Crysis 2 so much was that it essentially left me to my own devices until i was good and ready to take the next step (and even this game is a far cry from it's predecessor).

Gorgeous, vibrant worlds are created in video games these days, but why bother if we never even get the time to stop and soak in the scenery.

/my 2 cents