eGamer Awards 2013: Best First-Person Shooter
The first person shooter genre has received its fair bit of criticism over the past few years with accusations of stagnation and recycling. Regardless of all the controversy surrounding it, first person shooters are still the best selling games in the industry thanks to their cinematic approach to gameplay and general fun factor. While some people may become sick of them, first person shooters are here to stay and sometimes they turn out rather good or even excellent.
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The first person shooter genre is definitely one of the most popular in the game, and all gunners (that is shooters, not Arsenal supporters) are well aware that a great deal needs to be offered in order to make it to the top. It’s quite easy to stick a floating gun on the screen wielded by a generic nameless and faceless brick and call it an FPS, but the truly fantastic games in this genre pull out all the stops and deliver a complete experience we can’t forget. Whether this comes in the form of a grand multiplayer or an engaging single player – or in some cases both – is up to the game, and of course, in the end, what we evaluate is how well our nominees managed to achieve their goals and how good the playing experience is. What more could we ask for but guns, guns and more guns? The answer to that would be the best use of them in the most exciting, diverse and memorable playing experience.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Even with the franchise falling into a pattern and becoming a bit repetitious, nobody can deny that Call of Duty is still as fun to play as ever. Guns handle like a charm and with new tweaks to the engine, they are also much more fun to shoot. The singleplayer campaign tried a few different things such as the whole America falling into disrepair scenario. The experience is still as cinematic as ever with missions that take place in the void of space while others have you driving a tank ludicrously fast through a nuclear facility. It has all the excitement we have come to expect from a Call of Duty game and it manages to still be relevant today.
If you ever want to simulate being in a firefight in a far off distant country, then Battlefield 4 has you covered. The game boasts a visceral shooting experience with bullets flying past your head, stuff breaking away and falling apart from explosions and that ever imprtant feeling of immersion. The main campaign is fairly above average with solid enough characters and great setpieces such as an aircraft carrier splitting in half right before your eyes. It’s not without its issues and signs of stagnation, but DICE have delivered a great experience that goes along with the game’s exceptional multiplayer.
While BioShock Infinite’s combat was not the main attraction of the game, it still did quite a number of things correctly that it deserves praise. The most exciting addition has to be the battles that took place where there were Sky-Lines above the battlefield. You could hook up to them with your Skyhook and glide along at ridiculous speeds while shooting people in the face. This gave the game a new level of frantic excitement on top of the various Vigor combinations you could use as well as the weapons on offer.
Metro: Last Light
Metro: Last Light broke new ground with its amazingly dense atmosphere and engaging combat. It also had a robust stealth system that you could employ throughout most of the game where you can sneak by entire rooms full of soldiers undetected. The game gave you the choice between stealthing by unknowing enemies or rushing in and shooting everything that moves. Both options were masterfully executed and both were fun to do. The game also brought along some survival aspects with ammo being scarce and resources hard to come by. This made you think about what you are doing so that you don’t end up fighting a radiation filled monstrosity with nothing but your knife. The atmosphere was tense and even managed to scare some of the eGamer team members into a fetal position.
It couldn’t be Call of Duty: Ghosts because for all the shooting fun it gave us, we could see that the franchise has run out of new ideas. It’s more of the same that we see year after year and is crying out for new direction.
It also isn’t Battlefield 4 because while the campaign was above average, it still didn’t hit all the right notes to make it a truly great experience. It is also marred by the odd technical issues that has plagued the game since launch.
It isn’t BioShock Infinite either because the combat wasn’t the thing that got the most attention in the game, that being the narrative aspect. While it was fun to ride along the Sky-Line, we feel that the combat was the weakest aspect of the game.
While the modern military shooters suffer from their stagnation, Metro: Last Light took the genre in a different direction. Combining fun shooting mechanics with a tense atmosphere and a survival aspect, Last Light created an exciting and thrilling experience that hasn’t been seen much in the first person shooter genre. It gave you the choice between stealthing past enemies or being a Russian version of Rambo or even both if you want some variation. Going up to the surface was almost exactly as terrifying as the claustrophobic tunnels of the Metro and that is no small feat to achieve. While the game had some strange views on female characters, it didn’t sour the game enough to the point where enjoyment was lost because of it. Last Light is a game that did away with all the conventional means of a first person shooter game and did something truly unique.