First Person Shooters – There Can Only Be One

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Following a row over what is the best first person shooter currently available, the Zero1gaming writers have all been sent away to come up with a case for their chosen title.

Drew Pontikis on Battlefield 3

As I’ve written previously, I am a big fan of Battlefield 3. I love the way the Frostbite 2 engine lets you watch the map slowly be raised to the ground throughout a match. I love the smooth graphics which are more than a match for anything that I’ve seen elsewhere, and I especially like the dog tag collecting element; an element that takes the game to a whole new level. I love the fact that the maps are huge – literally huge. I heard that the field of play in Skyrim is to scale with the whole of the UK; LIKE I EVEN CARE! This is nothing compared to the Armoured Kill DLC maps where you need to catch an internal flight to get across. I love the fact that there are vehicles everywhere; choppers, jets, tanks, quad bikes, ATV’s, dirt bikes (COME ON!! DIRT BIKES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!); the list goes on. What I love the most however is the cooperative element required to play well. You play as a team, you win as a team. Your medic is keeping you alive, your support guy is keeping the ammo topped up, the engineer is fixing the tank and the sniper is picking off your attackers. That is why Battlefield 3 is the best; however you play your first person shooters, it’s got an option for you.

Joseph Butler-Hartley on Borderlands

Ever wanted to shoot a psychotic burning midget in the face with a sniper rifle as he charges towards wielding an axe whilst laughing hysterically? No? Neither have I of course, but don’t let that put you off Borderlands, a unique loot-driven FPS RPG with an awesome sequel.

The games blend first-person shooting and RPG elements more seamlessly than any games before them. They manage to elicit the sort of run-gun–fun associated with games like Duke Nukem whilst also satisfying the RPG crowd with very clear levelling and skill trees. Whether you’re the kind of psychopath who likes to burst into enemy strongholds wielding an assault rifle, a fig leaf and nothing else, or if like me you’d prefer to snake round the bushes picking the dim-witted bandits off with a sniper rifle and a dangerous pet, Borderlands caters for all!

There is something to be found in Borderlands that won’t be found in any of the other FPS’s analysed in this article, and that is a sense of humour. Gearbox understand that it is fun to charge into a stronghold of perturbed little people, tanking up bullets and blowing them arse from mask with a range of colourful and differing guns. Its goal is simple: to entertain, and unlike some other FPS games which spend more time making sure that every single one of their ten-thousand explosions are spectacular, Borderlands instead invests its efforts into making its combat as visceral and enjoyable as possible, even if headshots aren’t always fatal.

 

Ed Prosser on Counterstrike Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the best first person shooters around today. You might think that’s a bold statement, but here’s why it’s not. The original Counter-Strike was a mod of Half Life 1. And at it’s heart Counter-Strike has always kept that homebrew attitude. It’s always had a huge community making new maps, new game modes (the GunGame community creation from the last Counter-Strike is actually an official game mode in Global Offensive) and skins.

Counter-Strike has always had a narrow focus on what it’s best at. And that is highly competitive multiplayer gameplay over a small number of game modes, along with the community attitude. It’s one of the original competitive games, and one which still requires more skill than the rest of the modern fps genre. There’s no  health regeneration in CS: GO. You have a set amount of health and one life per round to spend it as wisely as you can. Please your head round a corner and get it blown off by a sniper? Too bad son. Maybe you’ll do better next time. The old school gameplay, combined with a few concessions to modern shooters and the modern competitive gaming scene, gives you a hardcore fps experience which is friendly to casual gamers.

Olly Smith on Deus Ex Human Revolution

The refinement of a by-gone revolution, the latest Deus Ex game keeps to its’ namesake and remains a symbol of rebirth, within a saturated genre. The modern FPS can at times seem like nothing more than a creature of habit. Run to point A, before shooting gentleman B, consequently completing objective C. As is the way with appealing to target audiences, today’s shooters often take a reductionist approach to player input, resulting in final products that are entertaining, but lacking in engagement. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a glistening exception to this formula. Offering the ultimate weapon of choice, this tactically deep FPS is as content rich as it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Adam Jenson’s conspiracy deconstruction takes place in a modern neo-Detroit that is remarkable on the eye. The artistic style of this title runs thick through every fragment of its’ DNA and is a fascinating blend of renaissance flamboyance and hyper-modern edge. All aspects of Human Revolution revolve around choice. From the way Jenson’s equipment and augmentations promote varying play style, to narrative dilemmas throughout the theme-rich, sprawling narrative. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an unquestionably flawed FPS and I absolutely adore every fibre of it. It is beautiful, challenging and interesting, which is what any game of the highest tier should be.

Raymond Newell on Call of Duty

For years man has strived to be the best it can be, each individual wanting to become more rich, successful and famous than the last. Think of Call of Duty as the most successful man to date; unrivalled in sales and popularity, and no matter what the people say they still buy it year after year after year. This isn’t mere coincidence. Call of Duty manages to seamlessly blend options as to how you play, an ever increasing variety of game modes and arcade shooter action to exhibit the best aspects of the classics (Quake, Unreal Tournament, Doom) and put them in a more realistic setting but keep the gameplay that appeals to the modern audience who can’t sit still for 5 minutes before being bored out of their skulls with the tedious nature of not playing a fast paced shooter. It’s singleplayer story may have become as obscure as a typewriter but they know that nobody spends 200 hours playing the same old 6-hour campaign over and over. They know that everybody spends 200 hours playing the same-old multiplayer over and over. The pursuit of perfection is more prevalent in Call of Duty than anywhere else and it should stay that way because there simply isn’t a better FPS franchise to strive for greatness in. Everything a bored person could ever want under a single, million dollar roof. That’s Call of Duty.

Lastly, an anonymous reader who felt so strongly that the answer was Left 4 Dead 2 they actually wrote in to tell us why

I love zombies.  I love killing zombies.  Therefore it is safe to assume that I love Left 4 Dead.  Unsurprisingly, I love Left 4 Dead 2 even more.  I love bashing in skulls with a cricket bat.  I love lopping off appendages with a samurai sword.  And who on this overpopulated planet doesn’t love thinning a herd of zombies/undead/infected with a bloodied chainsaw???

It’s a well-known fact (which I’ve just made up) that Dead Island is basically Left 4 Dead on a tropical island.  That’s also a pretty decent game but since you wouldn’t consider it to be a FPS we’ll treat it like that smelly, ugly cousin you don’t want to admit you’re related to.

Anyways.  Back to business.  I love the fact that teamwork is essential to make it to the safe house at the end of each level.  One man armies are not welcome in this zombie apocalypse.  You will just end up getting yourself and your team mates killed.  This is perfectly highlighted in the finales of each campaign, where your simple objective is to stay alive for a specific amount of time, until help arrives.  In these instances the best laid plans and tactics all go for shit as soon as the screen starts shaking and one of your colleagues shouts TAAAAAANK!!!!!

About Drew Pontikis
Drew Pontikis is an avid gamer and writer. A fan of racing sims and first person shooters, Drew is notable for talking almost exclusively using Futurama quotes.He's usually found in front of his Xbox or his laptop, follow him on Twitter as @drew060609 Gamertag: drewski060609