Created By: Nemo on September 2, 2011

Shooter Hero Packing Powers

An otherwise standard first-person shooter where the hero has superpowers that play a key role in gameplay.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
In the beginning, their was Doom, and it was good. You had your Standard FPS Guns, and that was all you needed to deal with your enemies. Sometimes you'd have some weird-ass weapons like Blood's flail, or Hexen's magic staff, but on the whole shooters rarely deviated from the use of your standard point-the-right-end-and-pull-the-trigger-to-make-bang weaponry.

However, at some point in the past 10 or so years, this began to change, and it became increasingly common for shooters to grant their protagonist some kind of Stock Superpower (or powers) to use in addition to traditional gunplay. The reasons for this are, rather prosiacally, that you can only progress along the same algorithim of melee weapon, pistol, shotgun, machine gun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher etc before it become tedious. As such, various games have attempted to augment this by giving their hero additional powers outside of "has a lot of guns" for the player to enjoy (see The Joys of Torturing Mooks).

Note, that such powers must have a real impact on gameplay. Master Chief from Halo has superpowers, but these don't affect gameplay in anyway other than providing an in-story explanation for his standard-issue shooter hero abilities- hence they are not this trope. Jack from BioShock meanwhile has the standard issue FPS abilities, but his Plasmid based superpowers have a major impact on gameplay and provide alternate solutions for the player aside from traditional gunplay.

Examples:
  • As mentioned above, Jack from Bioshock, as well as Subject Delta from the sequel fall under this.
  • The original Deus Ex is probably the earliest example of this sub-genre. Both it and it's sequels ally standard FPS/Stealth gameplay with various "Augments" the Hollywood Cyborg player is able to buy, ranging from built-in grenade launchers to cloaking devices.
  • Far Cry:Instincts for consoles gives it's hero a superpowered "Predator" mode allowing for enhanced sense and a lethal lunging attack. Particularly notable considering that the's abilities where lacking in the PC version that played more like a conventional shooter.
  • Crysis and it's sequel (made by Cry Tek, who also made the above) also grant the player super strength, speed, nigh invulenerability and a cloaking device based on the hero's powered armour.
  • Time Shift gives it's hero time slowing/rewinding abilities from the unique "chrono-suit" he wears.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • September 2, 2011
    Nemo
    I know the titles a Snow Clone of Super Hero Packing Heat, but I thought it was appropriate (ie: a hero you'd expect to use superpowers exclusively also uses guns- this trope being the vice-versa of that).
  • September 2, 2011
    RocketDude
    • Half Life gives Gordon Freeman the HEV suit, a Hazmat suit that doubles as Powered Armor. The suit itself is stated to have weapon and ammo management, medical monitoring, battery-based armor and Morphine injection capabilities, among other things, handwaving the classic FPS elements.
    • Wolfenstein gives B.J. Blazkowicz the Thule Medallion, which allows him to harness magical powers that let him see hidden things, slow time, shield himself and even make his bullets destroy things. These abilities can be upgraded later on.
  • September 2, 2011
    Balmung
  • September 2, 2011
    deuxhero
    Only Human Revolution has grenade launchers. DX had a total of 2, both mutually exclusive, abilities that didn't just boost JC in some passive way.
  • September 2, 2011
    Maklodes
    Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight mostly played like an FPS, but you had a force powers. Incidentally, that came out in 1997, 14 years ago.
  • September 3, 2011
    Nemo
    @Rocketdude- Half-Life kind of falls into the same area as Halo- the superpowers are there to explain away unrealistic gameplay mechanics, not grant the player option they wouldn't have outside a traditional shooter. I meant this trope to be about the addition of game-play altering abilities to a standard shooter as a form of unique selling point. @Balmung- I'm sorry, please don't judge me too harshly. I'm not sure if you can actually edit YKTTW's prior to launching them- I can't seem to find an edit button, and this is only my second YKTTW @Deuxhero- Cheers, I'll modify the citation accordingly (sorry, I never played the original). @Maklodes- Cheers again- I'd thought of this as a realtively new, marketing based trope, but that early example (of which I should have been aware of as I've played it) does show that it's not an entirely new idea.
  • September 3, 2011
    Nemo
    Also

    • The Darkness video game gives it's hero the same darkness based superpowers as the original comic did, in addition to some standard FPS action.
  • September 3, 2011
    GKaiser
    Would this also include Bullet Time powers a la Max Payne?
  • September 3, 2011
    MinotaurWarrior
    The title is a bit confusing. It sounds like a shooter hero who is really good at packing - perhaps an inventory trope. Super Powered Shooter Hero might work better?

    Project Snowblind, being heavily inspired by Deus Ex, made heavy use of this trope.

    John Vattick, protagonist of Second Sight, makes use of both guns and psychic abilities.
  • September 3, 2011
    Arutema
    • Lilith from Borderlands, with the power to become intangible.
  • September 3, 2011
    Nemo
    • Max Payne works, though the powers are mentioned in the story- they are still used to put an unusual spin on shooter gameplay.
  • September 3, 2011
    Nemo
    Also, any ideas for a better name are welcome- I'll wait till a concensus builds to select one though.
  • September 3, 2011
    aurora369
    The entire Jedi Knight/Jedi Outcast/Jedi Academy series is this. In JO, when you get your lightsaber and Force powers, the conventional weapons aren't useful anymore. In Jedi Academy, you start with a lightsaber and quickly learn Force powers.
  • September 3, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Arutema: Technically all the characters in Borderlands have them. It's just that only Lilith's are mystical (or the result of experiments with alien tech anyway), although given they can all add elemental effects...
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