EGMR Awards 2015: Best Shooter
The shooting genre is often at risk of suffering the most from stagnation. There’s only so many ways you can point a gun at someone’s face and shoot it. These days, a shooter needs to be really unique to stand out from the pack and demand our attention. In 2015 we saw a bit of a decline in the genre, surprisingly, but the biggest commercial successes still belong within this genre and it undoubtedly still has the biggest influence on the industry. So which games managed to wow us with the shooty-bangs this year?
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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. Likewise with the first person shooter genre, we’re all 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. Whether these games opt for a cinematic experience, classic arcade-like shooting or exciting multiplayer, they need to be top notch in terms of quality, content and mechanics in order to walk home with the prize.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Call of Duty still remains one of the most lucrative and widespread franchises that gaming has. People that are not even into gaming know of and sometimes even play Call of Duty due to it being so incredibly popular. While it is still annualized, three studios being in rotation for it can wield some quality results. Black Ops III, the latest in the Black Ops spinoff series which has been widely loved by fans, was no exception to the quality standard that is usually inherent in a Call of Duty game. The game plays like butter, it looks amazing and there’s so much content for you to consume. The game featured an incredibly addictive and in-depth Zombie mode that can keep you hooked for days if you allowed it to. Unfortunately, the campaign truly suffered being one of the worst campaigns in the series and the multiplayer, while good, was really formulaic. Still, it has a lot of redeemable properties and is still one of the better crafted shooters you can play.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Just mentioning the words “Star Wars” can set off a geek frenzy. The franchise has touched the hearts and minds of multiple generations and is near and dear to a plethora of people. Star Wars: Battlefront aimed to replicate the Star Wars people love so much and create a beautiful Star Wars inspired world where you can ride AT-ATs around and kill Stormtroopers with a laser blaster. The game was touted as a Star Wars fan’s wildest dreams and for the most part they succeeded. The gameplay is excellent with gunplay being fast and fantastic and the visuals are some of the best we have seen this generation. Unfortunately the game suffers a lot because of its lack of content and overemphasis on DLC. It also does not feature a singleplayer campaign which would have been great given the source material and the potential.
Halo 5: Guardians
The Halo series, while being slightly overrated, has always been lauded for its quality. It was after all the franchise that popularised console shooters way back when Halo Combat Evolved was a launch game for the original Xbox. The franchise’s transition into the new generation has been a relatively smooth one with 343 Industries bringing their A-game and refining the much beloved Halo formula down to its fundamental fun roots. With increased mobility and refined gunplay, Halo 5: Guardians can be comfortably described as the most fun you can ever have with Halo. Thanks to the Xbox One, the graphics have also been upgraded to look astounding and the singleplayer campaign is well-acted and worthwhile. Definitely one of the stronger shooters to come out of this year.
Here’s one you probably didn’t expect. Splatoon is possibly the cutest type of territorial warfare you can witness. Little squid kids are tasked with painting as much of an arena as possible and the team with the most area covered in their colour of paint wins. Simple premise, but it can be oh so fun. For being a game primarily aimed for children, it can get pretty competitive and the mechanics surrounding it are more than sound. An extremely fun and adorable competitive shooter that has caught the imagination of many, without a doubt.
Rainbow Six Siege
The Rainbow Six series saw a bit of a deviation from its standard formula with Rainbow Six Siege. The game was now predominantly online only, doing away with a traditional singleplayer campaign. They chose to focus on hyper realistic battles between the law and the terrorists, with online matches that are a lot more intense and exhilarating than other games in the genre. With destructible environments and numerous options of engagement, Rainbow Six Siege is a solid shooter in most respects, but falls a bit short on longevity and lack of content due to its increased focus.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III falls way too short of the mark because of its lacklustre singleplayer campaign and routine multiplayer offering, even if it offers a reliable shooter experience. There were just too many faults for us to ignore to consider it a winner.
Splatoon, while extremely charming and mechanically sound falls short of our winner in too many respects.It has some great ideas and implementation, but there is a lack of some key features that could have made it much more compelling.
While certainly winning in fanfare, Star Wars: Battlefront falls just short because of its lack of content upon release and dependance on expensive DLC content. While a more than competent shooter, there was too much missing to make it a viable winner in our eyes.
Much the same as Battlefront, Rainbow Six Siege also doesn’t offer enough for us to give it the coveted award while being a fairly great realistic online shooter.
Halo 5: Guardians has the complete package that the other nominees lacked. It had a very decent singleplayer campaign and the best gameplay that Halo has ever seen. The increased mobility and refinements did the game wonders and made the gameplay second to none. There are so many amazing moments for you to experience, both in the singleplayer and the multiplayer that cannot be properly described with words. While falling a tad short on an interesting narrative, the rest of the game more than makes up for that with an action packed ride through the eyes of Spartan Locke and the much improved multiplayer. As a package, Halo 5: Guardians takes it hands down.