Editorial: Putting it in Perspective

Over the weekend, I finally got my hands on a copy of Oblivion for the PS3. I had been pining after this game since it was released on the 360. This was so long ago now that I was still working at a major retailer and peering at it through the lovely glass doors. So, as our own Lusipurr was getting his shiny 360, I was buying the Game of the Year edition of this for $20 new.

oblivionI should have done some more research. I was not aware that this was a first person game until I popped it into the system and started playing. I really, really do not like first person games. Shooters? I avoid them like I avoid a mob of stinking, brain-eating zombies. They inevitably bring about miserable headaches and watery eyes. So, imagine my disappointment when I found myself staring at my character’s hands instead of her lovely backside.

When I play video games, I like to see the whole picture. I want to be looking at my character, my surroundings, and the other characters all at once. First person games limit these views — you can only see through your own (your character’s) eyes. I can see how this would be beneficial when you are playing a first person shooter, but in adventure games?

Swallowing my disappointment, I decided to play on, determined to get my $20 out of this game. I was pleasantly surprised. It was not nearly as hard on the eyes as I thought it would be, and once I started to grasp the controls it was actually fun. Needless to say, I died a lot. This experience also taught me that I shouldn’t judge a game by its point of view.

Whether I am looking on from above, staring at my character from behind, or watching a 2D sprite run from left-to-right, these third-person viewpoints will remain my favorite. However, I won’t make a disgusted face the next time someone mentions first-person in my presence.

So, readers, what is your favorite way to ‘view’ games?


  1. Unless I am much mistaken you can actually set Oblivion to a third person POV, it does look incredibly awkward though.

  2. I guess that’s what I get for not reading the manual or checking the options! I’ll have to try it, but I’m sort of liking it the way it is now.

  3. Yeah well it was clearly developed as a first person game, the mechanics work much better from that perspective. IMO the only reason that they included a third person mode was so that players would be able to admire their armor.

  4. Yeah, just like Fallout 3. You can play that in third person, but you really, really, really shouldn’t.

    And Thea, I was a similar way. I wrote off first person games for a while, and while my opinion changed a little bit before this, Fallout 3 really did sell me on the effectiveness on that perspective for some games. These types of games are about BEING the character and not being involved in a story that’s playing out in front of you like most JRPGs. I probably still prefer the latter, but – like you – I’m glad I’m able to appreciate the other side as well.

  5. Look at Oliver, who was terrified of FPS games and who refused, for so long, to play TF2.

    And now he regrets every minute that was wasted!

    FPS games can be well-implemented, and I am glad you’re finding that Oblivion is so.

  6. For me, the game that immediately jumped to mind while reading this was the first Metroid Prime. To this day, that remains the only 3D platformer I’ve ever played where I never found myself fighting with the camera. I’m not saying it was perfect, but because it was a mechanic I’m so used to, I always knew exactly what I needed to do to get the camera to go where I wanted it to, which was a really nice change of pace from pretty much any 3D platformer I’ve ever played.

    To answer the question in the article, though, I’ve actually found myself caring less and less about a game’s perspective recently. If it’s a good game and the controls are solid, I usually won’t even really notice what camera system it employs.

    @Lusipurr: This sounds like the first step towards getting Thea into TF2. Best of luck on that front!

  7. Lies I say! Lies! First-person shooters are the bane of my existence! *shakes fists* No TF2 for this one.

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