Maybe it's time military shooters drop single-player campaigns.
In the past, when the community discussed the relevance of single-player in first-person shooter, I firmly stood by campaigns and their tepid politics, muddy story lines and oh my gosh you blow up everything how awesome is that missions.
Things changed over the past couple years. Developers, in hopes of winning over the naysayers, have unlearned what they knew best: levity.
Where old military campaigns undercut the violence with absurdity, the modern shooter campaign is terse and serious. The EA marketing team has pushed Battlefield 4 as a shooter with soul. Here's the rub: if I believe these characters I'm shooting are human, that they have a soul, then I don't want to be shooting them, because that's profoundly unsettling.
I want games to have characters that I care about and stories that explore the repercussions of violence; but for me they can't be the same games in which I murder at least two hundred people for fun. The hypocrisy is too jarring.
Early on in the Battlefield 4 campaign, a civilian begs your troop to help her family, but there's no real way to "help" in this game. You can do one thing: shoot. And that's fine. That's what I want to do when I play a shooter. I just don't want to shoot humans with wives and kids. I want to shoot lines of code floating inside an inflated ghillie suit.