Should any Shooter NOT Have Horde Mode?

I haven’t actually gotten the chance to play Team Fortress 2’s new “Mann vs Machine” mode yet, but I don’t see how it could possibly be a negative influence on the game. So what if it’s a trend that a ton of other franchises are doing. Is there any modern shooter in which you would NOT welcome a horde mode?

I hate how most of this console generation’s trends have proliferated. I don’t think everything needs multiplayer, or DLC, or XP systems. Horde mode for some reason though is the one “trend” that I still welcome with each new game it enters. It’s reached a point where we don’t even call its use a lack of creativity anymore.

I think this might be because I’ve started to prefer horde to conventional versus multiplayer. I haven’t touched conventional versus in Gears of War 3 at all, and Spec Ops survival has taken up most of my time with Modern Warfare 3 so far. It’s completely co-op so you don’t have to worry about getting crapped on by human competition all the time, and it’s a dynamic pure-game experience so you don’t have to worry about it ruining the storyline or something like that. It doesn’t really have any drawbacks as far as shooters are concerned if you ask me.

It asks the most basic question of players: how many enemies can they kill, or how long can they last? It’s a mode that focuses entirely on a game’s combat system against NPCs without narrative or human opposition to get in the way, highlighting how good a game’s combat system might actually be.

I didn’t really start to appreciate the combat in The Witcher 2 for instance until I started playing Arena – its own version of horde mode, and that game isn’t even a shooter. Infinity Ward once said that their survival mode in MW3 basically served the same purpose as playing versus with bots, which I actually used to spend hours doing back in the day.

I don’t know if any games coming out this year though will have new appealing ways of doing the mode. Halo 4 will probably include Firefight mode but I have no idea what it plans to add. I really hope Black Ops II doesn’t consider Zombies its replacement for Spec Ops Survival, and I hope that if it does include Survival, that it’s four players instead of two.

Like I said, I don’t like how almost every shooter this generation has been inundated with trends to the point of homogeny, but I do think that horde mode should become one of those expected standard features of the genre.


  • With western remakes of samurai movies having been a trend back in the day, it’s about time they went in the other direction… starting with a samurai remake of Unforgiven:
  • A motherload of anime comes out on Blu-Ray in English on November 13th: Serial Experiments Lain, Black Lagoon, Hellsing Ultimate, etc.
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4 thoughts on “Should any Shooter NOT Have Horde Mode?

  1. jtreiner says:

    Awesome blog. Every shooter should have a horde mode.

  2. This was a nice read. As soon as i started to read this blog it reminded me of playing against bots in Perfect Dark for the N64. In my opinion it’s always fun to play along with friends split-screen against AI which increase in difficulty as you try and survive. I haven’t come across many games where they offer this mode with 4-player split screen which would definitely be awesome in my opinion.

  3. Keng says:

    hmm… so true, I am longing for a game where you can fight few (or even one) opponent with amazing AI rather than fight dozens of brainless zombies running at you…

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