How Survival Games Slow the Pace of Gaming Down from the Speeds of Multiplayer Shooters
There’s something compelling about survival games. Whether it’s the unexplored lands that you find yourself in, or the trials and tribulations of attempting to survive in a hostile environment or simply just thriving in your own world, forging your path for survival and living, there’s an element to the slow-burn feeling of the survival game genre that can’t be found anywhere else. Especially in today’s gaming industry, where so many popular games tend to be fast-paced multiplayer shooters, the transition to a slow-paced game can be refreshing and fun. But what is it that sets the survival genre apart from multiplayer shooters and other such games?
What Are Survival Games?
The survival game genre is a subgenre of video games, most often set in a hostile and intense environment. Most survival games centre the gameplay loop around survival needs, often focusing on food, water, temperature and other things, though games vary dramatically. In one game, you may only need to track your health and a generic hunger bar, whereas in another, you may need to track your calorie intake alongside balancing food groups, cleaning water from certain sources and avoiding diseases and other ailments. Surviving against biological difficulties isn’t the only challenge you will be facing, however. Many survival games come paired with hostile environments, forcing you to survive in freezing temperatures or scorching deserts, fighting back wild beasts or more terrifying creatures hidden out in the world, all whilst attempting to explore and improve your gear and skill.
Survival games tend to be a lot slower, as the main gameplay loop is focused on keeping yourself alive first and foremost. Especially at the beginning of these types of games, the gameplay is slow as you spend your moment to moment gameplay exploring a small amount of the map to find food and shelter, whilst staying out of danger. Though you do always have somewhat of a count-down going, that often being your hunger or water meter, you can often take the game at your own pace. This can be a complete switch from the fast-paced action of multiplayer shooters like Fortnite that require constant movement and attention with little downtime. But are there survival games still popular with this slower gameplay speed?
Totally Different Gameplay
Survival games are completely different to the speedy multiplayer shooters that pepper the market at the moment, and this is all thanks to the very different kinds of settings and gameplay features that the survival genre has generated over the years. First, let’s look at some of the settings that have emerged within the genre. Possibly the most common is the typical deciduous forest map, from games like Stormfall: Saga of Survival. This setting is perfect for the Bear Grylls type survivalist, where the games are often (though not always) designed to be as realistic as possible, focusing mostly on how difficult surviving can be. However, plenty of spins have been thrown into this setting, examples including adding tamable dinosaurs into the forest to help you collect resources and defend you from other, much less friendly dinosaurs.
Another two survival locations that have cropped up a lot for survival games are the deep waters of the sea and the vast nothingness of the void of space. Both of these environments push another survival element into the fold: oxygen. Run out and you’ll find yourself in all heaps of problems, especially if you can’t get back to somewhere fast. Not to mention the terrifying things that can be found lurking right behind an asteroid, or curled up camouflaged within an inviting coral reef.
One of the best gameplay features that tend to be found in survival games is the profound creativity that comes with base building. Base building is something that dramatically slows the pace of a game whilst keeping it interesting and ensuring a player stays entertained. In multiplayer shooters, players often run about a map with no real anchor or draw to the locations that they are in, other than perhaps to quickly gather loot and ammo before moving on. However, when it comes to base building, there is a lot more focus placed on the exotic and beautiful locations that a player finds.
Letting a player create their own structure, customised with decorations, workbenches, perhaps even a painting or two, slows down the pace of the game whilst allowing players to enjoy the gameplay, letting them take the rest of the game at their own pace. A great example of a base-building survival game is Minecraft, and the insane things that have been built in the game really shows how strong base building and creativity can be in a survival game. These allowances of a player’s creativity shine when compared to the average online shooter, proving that the survival game genre really stands out against FPS games.
Sometimes slowing the pace of gameplay is the right choice for a gamer, and survival games show why this is true. They allow for totally different gameplay styles and types, proving how different gaming genres can be, as well as creating
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