eGamer Awards 2012: Best Third Person Shooter
The third person shooter genre offered up a healthy amount of commendable titles this year and while it wasn’t the most thriving genre out there, it arguably did enough to leave us more satisfied than not. Let’s take a look at the best titles that the year had to offer, and select which of them stands above all the others. But as per usual, let’s first go through the rundown before we get to the nominees.
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Where would gaming be without guns and baddies to use them on? Probably not many fun places. In order to be nominated for this award, a game has to make sure it packs one hell of a punch, and uses its arsenal of weaponry and mechanics in the best way possible. In the end, it’s not just about what kind of weapons are on offer or how many chest-high walls you can crouch behind, but really about how they’re all used within the design and how the game itself plays while using them. Whether the game in question opts for a cinematic experience, classic arcade-like shooting or exciting multiplayer, it needs to be top notch in terms of both quality and mechanics in order to walk home with the prize here.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line was a game that made a powerful impression on us this year. Never before has a shooter made us question our own actions the way this one did, and its unique setting of Dubai was fantastically well-realised. The best thing about the game was undoubtedly its narrative, which was superbly written and presented, ultimately making the game both memorable and awesome. The gameplay may have been your stock-standard third person shooter, and if a little more polish had gone in it certainly could have done this game wonders, but this was surely a game we played almost exclusively for its story, and most gamers hearing about it would likely be doing the same. It was more than worth it for its compelling narrative alone, complete with excellent voice acting, interesting character development and dark twists that will haunt the mind, resulting in a unique experience.
Transformers: Fall of Cyberton
Transformers: Fall of Cyberton was a highlight this year for licensed titles, as it was a better game than its predecessor in almost all ways that count. The campaign may have been a bit on the short side, but the multiplayer was the heart of the experience, and it more than made up for anything missed in the single player, to anyone willing to invest in it. Ultimately, the game was a competent and varied shooter with a strong multiplayer offering, and overall it really was a great game. Transformers fans couldn’t have asked for a whole lot more, although mostly if they were chasing after the multiplayer.
Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 was a solid package with an admirable amount of game content that made the purchase feel justifiable, and it also featured a surprisingly good multiplayer component to boot. It definitely wasn’t the Max Payne game we wanted, but if you severed ties with the past then what you were left with was a pretty good shooter, and there was always that highly enjoyable multiplayer mode to get into. The game also deserved praise for its high production values, stunning visuals, excellent voice acting and, of course ,most importantly its visceral action and stellar set pieces. As far as shoot em’ up action went, Max Payne 3 was an easy enjoyment that you didn’t need to feel guilty about.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier may not have returned the series to absolute greatness, but it was a solid shooter overall that gave players plenty of worthwhile content, and fans of the series would certainly have found their fix with this title. However, it’s true that it would ultimately have been newcomers that would have enjoyed it the most, with regards to the campaign as its faults were most glaring for veterans, and that’s both a good and bad thing. However, Future Soldier hit its highs whenever it did what it knows best, which is tactical warfare. And the multiplayer component was as strong as ever, and really is one of the best team-based competitive multiplayer offerings out there. Its multiplayer definitely made up for a number of its campaign shortcomings, and gave us good reason to nominate this game.
Starhawk was a great multiplayer-focused offering that was accessible, highly addictive, deep and tactical and plenty of fun to play. It was both a fresh and incredibly entertaining shooter, and its multiplayer more than made up for any faults of the rather bland single player offering. Starhawk could have easily been overlooked this year, but its fantastic ideas and great execution of them in multiplayer really set it apart and ensured that it earned its place on our nominees list. It’s definitely one of the finest multiplayer titles you can get on your PlayStation 3 right now, and that’s extremely admirable.
And The Winner Is…
It wasn’t Max Payne 3, because its clunky mechanics and repetition, coupled together with its complete abandonment of its original spirit, left a rather bitter taste and made it feel like just another shooter rather than the glorious epic that it used to be.
Now it gets interesting. If you’ve been taking notice, every nominee on our list has its faults, and rather hilariously the games that have faults in single-player make up for them in multiplayer, and vice versa. As such, we considered the best all-round experience, and the game that was the most memorable for us and left the strongest impression. With that being said, our selected winner wasn’t Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Starhawk or Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line was ultimately the most important game in this genre for us. We’ve established that all of our nominees have flaws, so we took to considering the most memorable and all-round best experience, and with that it was unanimous that this game stood out above all others. With its powerful and unforgettable narrative that was so damn good that it made the gameplay itself feel secondary, its excellent choice of setting, wonderful presentation and satisfying gameplay, Spec Ops: The Line is fully deserving of praise, and we had no hesitation in declaring it the best third person shooter of 2012.