In the world of the First Person Shooter, who reins supreme? A comparison of some of my favourite series.
The First Person Shooter (FPS) formula is a simple one; at its core a good FPS combines adrenaline-fuelled action, an extensive weapon selection and deadly vehicles. Gamers are spoiled for choice in the genre; there are tons of great titles around. The run and gun gameplay of Call of Duty, futuristic thrills of Halo or sheer scale of Battlefield, there’s something for everyone for the modern FPS fan.
Call of Duty (COD) is one of the genre’s most popular franchises, making the leap from the world war periods to the modern day in 2007. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare reinvigorated the series, receiving critical acclaim (and remains as a personal favourite.) Recent releases have traded the modern day for a near future setting; Advanced Warfare introduced fresh gameplay dynamics like the Exo-Suit, making for a much more fluid and fast flowing experience. Black Ops broke new ground with the zombie mode, a game type based on wave defence of increasingly hostile Nazi zombies. That game type is a tradition continued in the most recent COD games and attracts a massive following.
COD distinguishes itself from the other FPS on the market with great story driven campaigns, the vehicle and stealth levels have become as integral and demanded for these titles as a dizzying weapon array. Online matchmaking is not a realm for the faint of heart, frustration is guaranteed for the ill prepared.
As this guy shows:
Halo entered the fray with Combat Evolved. Released in 2001 by developer Bungie, this was a game like no other at the time. The mix of gameplay and a genuinely gripping story was a winning combination and the series has gone from strength to strength.
Halo 2 has proven to be a defining moment for online gaming; the dedicated server let gamers go from match to match easily. Although the dedicated server is considered commonplace today it was a crucial leap, and we are all grateful for it.
The newest instalment, Halo 5: Guardians, has proven to be the most polished version of the series to date. The Spartan Charge and Ground Pound add to your arsenal and have been used for a tool to access certain areas of the map. Vehicles, weapons and flanking opportunities rewards those players willing to explore.
Guardians depicted The Master Chief as never before, defying direct orders and pursued as a criminal. Spartan Locke was the one charged with the task and the dynamic was exhilarating.
Online is as good as ever, new game types like Warzone introduce fresh themes. The inclusion of AI bosses and the REQ system raise the stakes on every life you have. The pain of loosing a power weapon before you have used it in battle is excruciating.
Battlefield earns its marks through big maps and destructible environments; why enter a building to take out an enemy when you could bring the building down upon them? A fiercely loyal online community inhabit the Battlefield servers; there is a bitter rivalry with COD fans and often slug it out in online forums to be crowned king of the FPS.
The multiplayer maps of Battlefield are truly enormous. These coupled with high octane game types create a fantastic, although very tough, online experience. Online is arguably this series strongest claim to the FPS crown and is definitely where the series is at its strongest.
Thus far I have neglected the series considered by many to be the pinnacle of FPS gameplay. Released in 1999, I am talking of course about Counter Strike (CS).
The series newest edition, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, is one of the most sought after categories in the world of E-Sports. Competitions are watched by thousands and with prize funds of $250,000 up for grabs it’s easy to see why.
All in all this is a great genre, fast paced and action packed. For me, the Halo series will always be number one. 343 Studios have done a wonderful job with Guardians, it is the slickest and most developed title to date. The Master Chief is an icon for FPS players and should be recognised as such.
Few genres inspire as much devotion as FPS, don’t believe me? Ask Doug.