Bullet Points is a regular, unscheduled series that takes a look at an unique aspect of a game and discusses its significance to the game as a whole, and often its significance to other games or gaming in general. It features everything from the biggest AAA games, to the smallest indie title, to more than likely a game you may have never heard before. The only unifying theme is that there’s just something about each game that they did either first, best, or it may be the only game with this feature. That could be a new spin on something old or an entirely new idea. Or, it could be something old that is done so well it is worth mentioning.

The following is in chronological order with the newest article in the series first.

Call of Duty’s Cinematic Storytelling

By Dan Hodges

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It’s hard to imagine a world without Call of Duty. The massively popular multiplayer, the iconic zombies, the blockbuster campaigns—they’ve all become integral parts of gaming’s annual release schedule. 2018 marks the end of an era, however, with this year’s game Black Ops 4 being the first in the series to not include a single-player campaign, opting instead for a Battle Royale mode. The classic multiplayer will still be present, as will the popular zombies mode, but the campaign is sadly absent. Read more here..

Metal Gear Solid’s Codec

By Dan Hodges

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Whatever Metal Gear Solid makes you think about, it’s the game’s codec that is arguably the single most iconic and enduring part of that weird and wonderful game that launched 20 years ago today. Read more here…

Bloodborne’s Insight

By Joe Allen

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Alexander Pope once said that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Nowhere is this truer than the world of From Software’s 2015 masterpiece Bloodborne. In the city of Yharnam, knowledge is at once an extremely valuable resource, a source of immeasurable power, and the cause of the city’s downfall. While knowledge provides characters like Laurence and Ludwig with incredible strength and endurance, many of Yharnam’s most prominent figures (including these two) are brought low by knowing things they shouldn’t. Read more here…

Shadow Warrior’s Swordplay

By Dan Hodges

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The 2013 reboot of Shadow Warrior is a weird and fun game for many reasons. The focus on silly humor, the referential easter eggs scattered throughout the game, the obscene levels of gore. They all come together to make a uniquely ridiculous experience. On paper, the reboot of the 1997 DOOM-era shooter of the same name shouldn’t have worked, and yet it did. And still does. Read more here…

Jazzpunk’s Comedy

By Ron Welch

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Comedy is hard. Making a good comedy game is almost impossible. Writers, artists, level designers, and game designers must work in perfect harmony to create a cohesive, engaging experience. It’s not enough to be funny; comedy games need to have the variety, freshness, and interactivity to make players want to finish the story. Enter  Jazzpunk, a spiritual successor to spoof comedies like Airplane! and The Naked Gun (minus Leslie Nielson). Read more here…

Dark Souls’ Ornstein And Smough Boss Battle

By Joe Allen

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Probably one of the most talked-about elements of From Software’s flawed masterpiece Dark Souls is its boss encounters. The game is an intentional throwback to retro-style gaming, so bosses are unforgiving monstrosities with attack patterns to learn and overcome. Every Dark Souls player has their rival, their most hated (or loved) boss fight, the one that kept them awake for days as they strove to overcome it. There’s one boss, though, on which everyone is agreed. Read more here…

God of War’s Hub World

By Joey Thurmond

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There’s a crucial difference between the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon trilogies: their hub worlds. The former has a world map in the first game akin to Super Mario World where you move your character along linear paths with stopping points signifying levels. The other games opt for one area divided into five sections that contain five levels each. Any five levels in one section can be tackled in any order, too. Besides minimal character interaction and saving the game, these hub worlds were little more than static gateways that only streamlined and broadened level access over time. The Spyro the Dragon series did this from the start and then some. Read more here…

Battlefield 1’s Horrors of War

By Anson Chan

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When EA announced that Battlefield 1 would take place during the First World War, it seemed like it was going to be a less than enjoyable endeavor. After all, most people know of WWI as this horrific conflict where hundreds of thousands of soldiers died thanks to the rise of trench warfare, and no one really wants to play a multiplayer game where you get killed by a thick cloud of gas five seconds after spawning in. This may have been the case if the game were to take place exclusively on the Western Front, but thankfully DICE did their research and expanded the game’s setting far beyond the fields of France. Read more here…

Skyrim’s Books Used to Flavor the World

By Anson Chan

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Offering dozens if not hundreds of hours of gameplay in the base game alone, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is certainly not intended to be a game for those who want to run through and save the world in an afternoon. Sure, such an option is available for you if that’s how you want to play, but there is so much that you can miss by doing so. Read more here…

The Dragon Age Series’ Idle Dialogue

By Anson Chan

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If you’ve ever played any kind of Role Playing Game like Skyrim or Dragon Age or Mass Effect, or for that matter, virtually any game that features non-hostile Non-Playable Characters, you may notice that occasionally some of those NPCs will start blurting out some dialogue at you. Depending on the game and the situation you are in, that dialogue may be an amusing little quip about someone stealing your sweet roll, or perhaps something about catching an arrow with their knee, or maybe even something useful that leads to a quest. Read more here…

Destiny’s Reimagining of Our Solar System and Beyond

By Anson Chan

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With a decade of experience in creating sci-fi environments for gamers across the world thanks to the Halo series, Bungie set their sights on even grander, more distant shores with Destiny. This time, however, they had to contend with creating a wider variety of maps and levels to match the multitude of species (human or otherwise) that you encounter in the game. Read more here…

The Halo Series’ Uniquely Generic Art Style

By Anson Chan

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As the Xbox’s flagship video game franchise and one of the most influential game series to date, Halo is known for many things. From recharging health systems to the popularization of console multiplayer, there is much to praise the beloved First Person Shooter for, but what makes Halo truly iconic? Read more here…

Outlaws’ Marshall Training

By Perry Ruhland

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Twenty years and a fistful of days ago, LucasArts released a little game by the name of Outlaws. With it came Marshall Training, a whole new mini-campaign focused on how the Marshall rose to his prestigious position—by tracking down wanted men and women and shipping them back to town. Read more here…

Rainbow Six Siege’s Destructible Environments

By Perry Ruhland

There’s no emotion better for a developer than paranoia. When a gamer’s paranoid, they’re never bored, never looking away from the screen, and certainly never shift-tabbing to respond to Steam messages.  Yet, in all the games I’ve played in my life, none have succeeded at making me feel so constantly paranoid as Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six: Siege. And it’s all thanks to those damn walls. Read more here…

John Woo’s Stranglehold’s Heroic Bloodshed

By Perry Ruhland

It’s impossible to deny the influence of Hong Kong director John Woo. From The Matrix to Cowboy Bebop, it seems a good majority of pieces of contemporary action media have little traces of John Woo somewhere in their DNA. It was only a matter of time until the man himself stepped into the ring with the licensed sequel to his iconic 1992 film Hard Boiled, simply known as John Woo’s StrangleholdRead more here…

Conquests of the Longbow’s Player Accountability

By Perry Ruhland

As far as design trends are concerned, I’ve been very surprised to see player accountability and choices come to the forefront in story-based games, such as Mass Effect and the numerous Telltale point and clicks. I’m surprised because every single one of these games hasn’t been able to come even close to powerful choices having powerful consequences to one that came out over twenty years ago: the 1992 Sierra point and click adventure Conquests of the Longbow. Read more here…

No More Heroes’ Charge Mode

By Perry Ruhland

Grasshopper’s absurdly violent character action game centers around Travis Touchdown, wielding a deadly beam katana, a lightsaber knockoff that he purchased on the Internet. Travis’ beam katana isn’t perfect. It’s flashy and all, but it has a tendency to sputter out after prolonged usage. So to recharge the battery, Travis has to waggle the grip in a rather, ahem, familiar motion. Read more here…

Binary Domain’s Robot Destruction

By Perry Ruhland

Gamers have sent a lot of robots to the scrapyard over the years. From Badinks to Gekkos and everything in between, pick up any science fiction game and there’s a good chance you’ll be smashing an automaton apart at least once or twice. But despite the absurdly high amount of robots I’ve torn apart in my time, nothing has been quite able to match the feel of taking down the relentless buckets of bolts found in Yakuza Team’s 2012 third person shooter Binary DomainRead more here…

Metal Gear Solid 4’s Return to Shadow Moses

By Perry Ruhland

Metal Gear Solid 4 is a game filled with what I can only describe as “anti-fanservice.” Returning to Shadow Moses is exactly that. Scenes exemplary of that theme are where the game shine’s best, playing up the gamer’s nostalgia for the series before tearing it all down again. Read more here…

DOOM’s Hell

By Perry Ruhland

The competition for gaming’s best Hell is hardly stiff. No, one clearly stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you want a fantastically designed underworld, you have to look no further than id Software’s latest DOOMRead more here…

Overwatch’s McCree

By Perry Ruhland

In the crowd of colorful personalities, one clearly stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. His name is Jesse McCree, and he’s shaping up to be one of my favorite new characters of the year. Read more here…

Epic Mickey’s Cartoon Wasteland

By Perry Ruhland

The Cartoon Wasteland is the last thing you’d expect to see in a game based on a Disney property—a less-than-pleasant recreation of the Happiest Place on Earth populated by forgotten Disney characters. Despite the strange and almost gothic style everything has, it’s still immediately recognizable as Disneyland, and that’s what makes everything so fascinating. Read more here…

Wolfenstein: The New Order’s Perk System

By Perry Ruhland

Progression is one of the most difficult topics in game crafting. When you make a videogame, you want to make the player feel like what he’s doing has an impact, give the perception that he’s doing well, and that he’s getting better at the game. You do that by giving the player access to new features the more he delves in the experience. Wolfenstein: The New Order excels in making this process feel natural and unintrusive. Read more here…

Dark Souls’ Firelink Shrine

By Perry Ruhland

From the dense foliage of the Forests of Giants to the mesmerizing beauty that is the Painted World, the Souls series has taken players just about everywhere. But few places have made quite an impression on me as the original Dark Souls‘ Firelink Shrine. In a world that, to put it simply, is not a nice place to live, it’s comforting to know that Dark Souls has a hub in the Firelink Shrine, and thankfully, it’s quite the nice locale. Read more here…

The Souls Series’ Love of Berserk

By Perry Ruhland

Through four games (five, if you count Bloodborne) in the Souls series, a few things have stayed consistent with Hidetaka Miyazaki’s difficult action RPGs. From Demon’s Souls to Dark Souls III, there are a handful of elements you can expect to see in each and every one of his works. There’ll be punishing difficulty, an excess of strange monsters, and there will always, without fail, be a handful of references to BerserkRead more here…

Fallout 3’s Liberty Prime

By Perry Ruhland

Liberty Prime is a robot of simple tastes. He likes democracy, capitalism, and liberty, and he hates RED CHINESE COMMUNISTS, as he will frequently remind you. He stands above the wasteland that is Fallout 3, an ugly and unwieldy game with skin-deep role-playing. Read more here…

Perfect Dark’s Counter-Operative Mode

By Robert N. Adams

Co-op is an ubiquitous feature in gaming, something that has become an expected option in many. However, there’s not much innovation in the area, most just feature the same gameplay but allow more than one person to do it at one time. Perfect Dark turns that idea on its head in its “Counter-Operative” mode, which makes Player 2 take control of a random enemy on one of the campaign levels. Read more here…

Mass Effect’s Dialogue Wheel

By Robert Grosso

A dialogue wheel is a dime a dozen, seen in many RPGs from big to small all across gaming. We can thank Mass Effect for bringing it into the picture, for better or worse, where each portion of the wheel was associated with a different tone. So instead of just guiding conversation with what was simply said, the wheel was used to give players an idea of the emotion behind it. Read more here…

Halo: Combat Evolved’s Arsenal

By Alex Santa Maria

Halo: Combat Evolved is easily one of the most important games to ever come out, spawning a franchise that is still incredibly strong to this day. Master Chief is an instantly recognizable figure and will forever be attached to the gaming landscape. One of the most significant reasons for that, among many, was Halo’s incredible gameplay foundation whose roots can be found in the variety of well-designed weapons Master Chief has at his disposal. Read more here…

The Division’s Dark Zone

By Chris Anderson

The Dark Zone is full of tense moments that are created from its design. It is not purely a PvP zone where the purpose is to kill everyone you come across, as that is a good way to miss out on the loot. Everyone’s there to come away with some stuff and it’s all about weighing the risk of trying to get, or take, what’s “yours.” Whether you engage or not is calculated to help bring some more predictability to a very unpredictable setting. Read more here…

Hellgate London’s Icon Minigame

By Todd Wohling

Min/maxing is a mantra many gamers subscribe to, which makes it difficult for developers to force players out of their comfort zone and try new things in a game. Hellgate London utilized a minigame with icons that forced players to do certain tasks in a specific way, ending of course in some sweet, sweet loot. Read more here…

Dishonored’s Toolbox of Death

By Perry Ruhland

The first time you play through Dishonored, it’s very likely you’ll treat it like a stealth game. And why wouldn’t you? The game encourages sticking to the shadows, hiding corpses, or just avoiding conflict entirely. So it wasn’t until my second time around that I really embraced the chaos, and I found that while Dishonored may be a decent stealth game, it’s an absolutely brilliant action title. Read more here…

Super Mario Sunshine’s Tropical Setting

By Perry Ruhland

Tropical islands aren’t anything new in video games, but they’re not that common either. Games might visit islands during their running time, but there is a tragic shortage of picturesque sandy beaches, coconut trees, and clear waters. So when a game decides to set its entire duration on one of these tropical islands, I listen. And when it’s a Mario game, that goes double. Read more here…

Duke Nukem 3D’s Level Coherency

By Perry Ruhland

The PC gaming market in the 90s was oversaturated by shooters. Ever since Doom burst onto the scene, nearly every third shareware out there would be for some sort of shooter. So when Duke Nukem 3D rolled around, it needed something to stand out from the crowd. A unique identity that would come from not just the strength of its gameplay, but the brilliance of its game world. Read more here…

Blood’s Devotion to Horror

By Perry Ruhland

Back in the 90s, nearly every big shooter was an homage to some form of popular media. So it was only inevitable for the fast-paced gorefests to eventually tackle the rising star that is the every popular horror genre, and Blood just nailed it. Read more here…

Darkest Dungeon’s Narrator

By Perry Ruhland

There are many things that contribute to Darkest Dungeon‘s unique identity, from the striking art style to the crushing stress mechanic. However, I want to talk about the element that brings the entire game together in my eyes: the fantastic narration of Wayne June. Read more here…

Soldier of Fortune II’s Gore

By Perry Ruhland

The Soldier of Fortune series lasted for three games of varying quality (and one four day online beta that never amounted to anything), but I’m genuinely surprised it even made it that far. The first Soldier of Fortune was a competent shooter, but there wasn’t really anything gameplay wise that made it special. However, there was one topic that had people talking, and still has me loving the game today:the ludicrous gore. Read more here…