Always a staple of hardcore gaming, first person shooters have gotten more than their fair share of attention over the past few years. Nonetheless this season, and the coming months, have and will see a number of notable releases in the genre that should be more than enough to satiate the thirst of even the most twitch happy shooter fan. Below is a list of a few that we feel are the most interesting.
5. | November 11th 2009
Interested gamers don’t have much longer to watch the next installment of the Call of Duty franchise, largely because the game will be out this time next week. Returning to the much traveled lanes of World War II, World at War looks set to rematch the gritty nature of the franchise with the series’ original time period. Many fans of Call of Duty 4 were a tad disappointed by this, hoping for another Modern Warfare, but World at War looks set to impress, and by many accounts plays just as smoothly as it’s much hailed older sibling. Does it look to reinvent the FPS genre? No. But neither did Modern Warfare, despite it's being a spectacular game, and as long as it provides the same addictive thrills, you’d be a fool to complain. And it has a flamethrower! Who doesn’t love those?
4. | Q3 2009
This game may be a ways off as of yet, but with the sequel confirmed, and on its way to both the 360 and PS3 it’s hard not to get excited. Player’s first journey through the city of Rapture was one of the most unique, mind-blowing, and talked about experiences of the previous year and we can’t wait to see what will happen next. The game’s trailer only wets our appetites as to its possibilities. What could a city rising out the water mean? Is it just an advertisement technique, or a hint of things to come? We’ll have to wait, but I’m sure more than a few people will be following this game with interest.
3. | TBA 2009
Gaming as a whole could use more than just Rainbow Six: Vegas when it comes to good tactical shooters. Aliens: Colonial Marines hopes to fill that void with tense, moody action that still requires you to think. Based in the rather dormant Alien franchise, the game takes place around the same time as the second film and follows a group of marines who are forced to face off with the violent titular creatures. The player will be at the head of a squad of marines that can be customly loaded with whatever weapons they can carry. Player's will be able to use motion sensors and seal doors to slow down their opponents, but the inevitable close range brawl with the cricket shaped beasties will be inevitable in addition to those constantly terrifying encounters with the emblematic face huggers. Will the game live up to the films it's modeled after? Aliens has a spotty history when it comes to video games, but we can always hope.
2. | November 11th 2009
Mirror’s Edge might have made the number one slot if, like Call of Duty: World at War, it wasn’t currently so close to the release date. The game has been awing gamers since its announcement and the hype built around it has only grown with time. One of the few first person shooters as of late seemingly designed around more than just upping the carnage factor, Mirror’s Edge is one of those rare game’s that is genuinely trying to be something unique. Allowing player’s a whole spectrum of abilities usually exempted from FPS games –sliding under stuff, running on walls, etc.- and featuring a refreshingly bright color palette, Mirror’s Edge is looking to be a truly unique experience that is already scoring big with gaming critics. We can only hope this is due to it's quality and not it's hype, as it has been with many other recent games. But even with that sad degeneration of gaming journalism in mind, Mirror's Edge is looking to be an extraordinary and must have game for FPS fans.
1. | February 2009
Some might disagree that Killzone 2 is a game to watch, or in the least the number one shooter to watch as of late. I am interested in it simply because of the rather silly controversy surrounding it. It's fun to watch PS3 and 360 devotees duke it out over this game. More so however, it does look to be shaping into quite a solid shooter. While I am not one to value graphics over anything else, Killzone 2 does look spectacular enough that it has caught my eye. The biggest concern that I have with K2 is that even if it is a good game, that that won't be enough. Just the past few days, in addition to the upcoming weeks, have seen a smörgåsbord of excellent games released within the FPS genre, and if all that Killzone 2 has to distinguish itself from the mix is wonderful graphics, I can see it running into trouble. Uniqueness is becoming more and more important in first person shooters, and unless you distinguish yourself in an undeniable way, people tend to judge you as mediocre. So I'll be watching Killzone 2, and obviously, judging by it's place on this list, I suggest you do too.
With first person shooters quickly becoming one of the most popular, if not the most popular form of hardcore gaming, it's nice to see that many developers are set on using it do more than construct revamps of the same tired, twitchy formula. The above might not be everyone's particular list to pay attention to, but they are nonetheless worth watching. That said, it does say something when so many, big upcoming titles fall into the same genre of gaming. Shooters are definately fun, but they like any other medium have their limit, and as always it would be nice to see a little bit of diversity in the games the industry is putting out.