6 Tips for Becoming a "Pro" Video Game Shooter

Get the Skinny on Video Game Shooters

2012 Consumer Electronics Show Showcases Latest Technology Innovations
Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Shooters are quite possibly the most popular genre among games, and you don't have to know every detail about each game to play like a pro. There are some simple tips that apply to almost every shooter game, whether the game revolves around first person shooters, third person shooters, tactical shooters, or a combination of these shooter types.

Using these tips will help you be the best at your game.

The Keys to Success Are Right At Your Fingertips

Game Options: Optimize Them to Your Tastes
One of the easiest ways to become better at a game, without ever playing it, is to adjust the game settings to something to which you are familiar. Most shooter games come with a few standard areas that can be tweaked to your liking, such as brightness, X and Y axis sensitivity and inverted look.

Did you say adjust the brightness? Some games are so dark at the default settings that you'll miss many of the details. Adjusting the brightness to a higher level will help you spot those details more easily; once you've become more familiar with the game, you can re-adjust the brightness back down to the default level, for a more realistic gameplay experience.

Inverted look and the X and Y axis sensitivity fall under a similar category. If you find yourself looking up when you are trying to look down, chances are you need to invert the look.

The same goes for the axis settings: If turning to the left or right seems too slow, then the X axis should be adjusted up a bit so your character moves more quickly (same for up and down, and adjusting the Y axis will resolve the problem). This is a setting that needs to be continually adjusted as you become more familiar with the game.

Adjusting the X and Y axis up as you become more skilled with the game will help your overall game. The bottom line --  the quicker you can turn and stay in control, the better you'll play!

Targeting - If You Can't Hit 'em - You're Toast

General Tips to Meet Your Mark
One of the most basic principles is to make your shots count. Firing aimlessly towards enemies does little for your game unless it is specifically meant as suppression fire. One common mistake many people make is firing too soon. However, you should never fire until you have a clear shot. If the enemies don't know you are there, they won't fire at you, so you're somewhat safe as long as you are undiscovered. This is much more common in stealth shooters, where the main objective is to go through the game primarily unnoticed.

I Was 'Dead On' Target, But Missed, Why?
If you were on target and still missed, there are several factors that could be hindering your effective targeting. One of the most obvious is weapon selection. Different weapons react in different ways, it is a possibility that the recoil from the weapon is changing the exact point of impact, or it could be that the game you're playing is so realistic that you will need to lead your target.

In other words, if your target is running to the left, you may want to aim just a bit to the left of his head. By the time the bullet makes its way to where you have aimed, you'll have a perfect headshot lined up.

Get To Know the Weapons and the Maps

Your Weapon Is Your Partner - Choose Wisely
As stated earlier, choosing the right weapon can have a drastic impact on your results, and this varies quite a bit from game to game. In the next example, I'll refer to a couple of weapons in Rainbow Six 3, a tactical shooter available on PC and most consoles. Many people recommend using the G3A3 rifle for use in RS3, and for good reason; it is the most powerful rifle, bullet for bullet, in the game.

However, it also has some major drawbacks. First off, it only holds 21 rounds per clip, where other weapons will hold over 30. It also has a significant recoil, enough to make you miss more often than not. For these two reasons, I actually prefer the TAR-21, which has a 31 round clip and much less of a recoil. While it may not have the 3.5x scope, it does have a 2.0x scope, and I can get double the kills with this gun by using the methods described in this article.

Know and Use the Maps to Your Advantage
Knowing the maps extremely well will only be helpful in multiplayer games, but knowing the terrain on any given map will serve more than one purpose. Single player and multiplayer games use the environment to avoid enemy fire. Use every outlet the map and environment give you, ducking behind barrels, hiding behind walls, whatever it takes to stay safe.

One key tip during times when taking heavy fire from enemies is to stay behind cover until you hear them reload, then come out from your safe haven and start shooting.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice as Often as Possible and Reap the Rewards
Sure it is an old cliche, but it holds true in the case of Video Game Strategies. Of course, your first experience with a shooter game likely won't be perfect, and you'll likely find yourself dead more times than alive. As time goes on, building up your skills in one particular shooter will help you across all games in the shooter genre.

More From Us