The first-person shooter genre has been a staple in the gaming industry. Since Wolfenstein was made, there’s was something special about putting a camera with a gun in front and killing things. Doom is what made the genre really hit it strides. When Doom was released it became the most installed program. Windows 95 was second. Fast forward to now, most fps games have been stuck in a formula. There have been some innovations through the years, but diversity has been lacking. Some could argue, there’s not much you could innovate or change in fps games. To a point, they are right, however, gameplay mechanics can be variety. I do think 2015 and 2016 are changing all of that. We are going to see more subgenre fps games. Hopefully, this will bring more interesting ways of playing. Let’s take a look at some of the games that are changing or keeping the fps genre alive.
SUPERHOT is an interesting first-person shooter. It takes the core gameplay mechanics and adds some strategy in the mix. Unlike Battlefield were you coordinate with a team to capture an objective, this game stops time when your not moving and speeds it up when you do. There are waves of red “bad guys” coming after you. SUPERHOT is one shot, one kill game. This applies to you and every combatant that comes after you. I love the endless wave mode. It can make you look like an action hero on steroids. The player can pick up almost any object and use it as a weapon. There are melee weapons as well. A cool feature is throwing any object or weapon at your enemy. This game brought a different type of strategy to the fps genre. The player has to choose carefully where to go and who to shoot. You can take as long as you like if the enemy has not fired their weapon. It brought an interesting depth to a genre that needed it.
Overwatch is interesting. Made by a developer better known for its role-playing games and strategy games, its take on the fps genre is refreshing. Overwatch takes a different route opting for a skill/role based shooter. Each character fills a certain role. The objectives vary between capture a point and escort the payload. The gameplay is very fast and kills come quickly. Characters have two skills that they can use frequently and a powerful ability that needs to time charge. It brings back certain aspects of the arena shooter but keeps it fresh. The characters have personalities of their own and it feels like a lived-in world. All characters are unlocked from the start, which was a great choice. Leveling up systems with character unlocks can bring some unbalance to the game. Even their reporting is different from other first-person shooters. They focus on giving details about the characters role. They also added a “Play of the Game.” Overwatch also lets players switch roles at any given time. This comes in handy when you need to deal with the changing tactics. This shows a highlight of a character playing their role well. This game encourages players to play as a team. If you do not, you’ll probably lose the game. This and Battleborn will help establish the team-based/role/skill based fps. I foresee many developers and publishers scrambling to make more games like these.
Battleborn is similar to Overwatch. However, they do have their differences. One big difference is that players have to level up to unlock characters. I do not think this was a wise choice, but, Battleborn seemed to have a free-to-play model and then switched. Battleborn is a team/skill first-person shooter. There several different classes and each character have three abilities. Two of them you can use frequently and one ultimate charge. This is the only similarities that Overwatch and Battleborn have in common. Battleborn does require a little more skill. Players can buy gear to buff their characters. There are three different modes. Incursion is an “MOBA-lite” mode. The difference is there is only one lane to travel down. However, the overall gameplay is the same. This will probably the most popular mode for the game. You cannot change characters mid-game though. The other game modes are capture the point and meltdown. Battleborn and Overwatch may not reinvent the wheel in gameplay, but, will establish the skill/character based fps.
The father of all first-person shooters. This game is what made the genre what it is today. Many innovations came from the first Doom. The great thing is that many people still play the original today. John Romero, one of the founders if id software made a new level for Doom. Fast forward to 2016 and a new Doom is coming out. The developer is going back to its roots and doing an arena shooter. This is great because arena shooters have been done before, but, there has been a long hiatus from this type of fps. Doom gets ride of the regenerating health and brings back health and armor packs. All the tried and true weapons are back, but you only carry two weapons. id has added a few new features to the genre. Now players can get a power up and transform into a demon. They are one of the most powerful items in the game. There is a time limit to how long a player can be the demon and they can die too. They have added some Call of Duty options to it, but this is more cosmetic. Arena shooters have had a long hiatus and it’s great to seem them coming back. They are a fun old school way of killing other players and having fun too.
Battlefield is known for its destruction and vehicle combat. First person shooters were not always like that, though. Before Battlefield, they were mostly arena shooters. Small maps and no one could control vehicles. When Battlefield 1942 came out, it completely changed that. It would be a welcome change too. Before Battlefield the most a server would host would be 16, maybe 32 players in a single match. Battlefield doubled that with 64 players. It also brought planes, tanks, and boats into the mix. Players responded too. They loved the unpredictable nature of Battlefield. Plus, the weird and fun tricks players can create in the game. Battlefield centered around warfare and teams. Battlefield 2 would leave World War 2 in favor of modern warfare and add a commander role. This was a welcome addition and brought cohesion to teams. A great commander could turn the tide of a match. BF2 brought squads as well. This pushed the team play further. PC gamers could mod BF2 as well. BF2 introduced a leveling up system. Players would level up and unlock new weapons. Most games today use this. This is why the game is still played today. BF 22142 was a small step up, set the distant future, it did not add much, but a new mode which was called Titan mode. Instead of only capturing points, players were tasked with destroying a huge ship called the Titan. It brought a fun alternative to the traditional Capture mode. Next step was Bad Company series. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is arguably one of the best Battlefield games created. The Bad Company series brought destruction to fps games. Before that, buildings could never be destroyed. In Bad Company, everything could. It added a new challenge and was fun to blow holes in buildings, or destroy them. It was also a departure from the series. The tone was silly and it worked well. Now, we are going back to World War 1. This era has mostly been untouched by the gaming community. Verdun is the only game I know that is about WW1. Battlefield brought to life what warfare is like in some ways. It also brought a new sub-genre to fps.
Call of Duty:
The undisputed king of the first-person shooter genre. Doom made fps what they today, but COD made them popular. Call of Duty started off as a WW2 game, then left that for modern warfare. Call of Duty 2 brought regenerating health that every shooter has used since its inception. It was the first of its kind and killed health packs for years to come. Most developers ditched them for this mechanic. Call of Duty is loved and hated by many. However, it was not until COD4 that it really took off. The introduction of abilities after you kill a certain number of kills and the leveling up system. The fast and fluid gameplay really are what made this game so enjoyable. There were many other games throughout the years, but this is the one that made COD what is today. Without, COD4, I don’t know what COD would be. Maybe it would not be as popular. Like it or not, Call of Duty is a money maker year after year. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare brings the franchise to the distant future. It’s interesting to see Battlefield and Call of Duty go in different directions. I may not play Call of Duty anymore, but it has left a mark on the gaming industry and fps genre.
Rainbow Six Siege:
Rainbow Six, like many of the other games, redefined the fps genre when it first came out. It was one of the few fps games to focus on planning and strategy. You had a couple of fire teams and you, the player, would plan out which team went where. The first was fun and challenging. It brought some new life and a different take on the fps genre. Fast forward to now and you have Rainbow Six changing the fps genre again. Inside of leading different teams, you are a part of a five-man team. Players are charged with defending or attacking the objective. Rainbow Six also brought destruction to the franchise. It is a first for the franchise. It has worked well for this game, making it a dynamic game. It can change at a moment. The gameplay is on the slower side. Teams are encouraged to work together. It is a great addition to the fps genre and brings in a short, tactical fps game to the genre.
What Do You Think?
Did I miss any? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below.