There is no doubt that some massive games graced our consoles over the last two month and will continue until the end of the year, cementing that we’re truly in the middle of gaming season. Among the many games released it’s no guess that the shooters have had most of the spoils, with some great first-person action gracing our screens since October. So who really won? Who takes the crown of best shooter this year, changing the landscape of the genre once again?
The back-end of October brought the release of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, probably the most grittiest of shooters, giving gamers a raw and accurate military experience like no other. This alone has distanced the shooter from the rest of the pack and something developers Danger Close really wanted to put emphasis on. This was shown clearly with its pre-launch marketing, bringing in former Navy Seals to share their stories and experience for the game’s benefit, something they’ve done previously. With the title also glistening thanks to the arrival of the Frostbite 2.0 engine to development, this is a huge boost in the right direction for the series and a big break for Electronic Arts in the Battlefield off-season.
With the new engine undoubtedly came new gameplay features, giving completely different mechanics from the last outing in the series. Unfortunately some will see the similarities with Battlefield, but that shouldn’t be enough to sway you from buying a pretty solid game which still managed to take the back seat.
November as usual started with a boom, well for Xbox 360 users anyway, with developers IO Interactive releasing the highly anticipated Halo 4. This year more than most eyes were on the franchise, with a brand new developer taking the reigns after former Halo developer Bungie hung up their keyboards on the series.
The release also saw the return of Master Chief as the game’s main protagonist, which was always going to garner much-needed attention. As for the gameplay itself, Halo 4 does what it’s meant to do, give gamers an intense storyline and addictive multiplayer – a first-person-shooter in a nutshell. We also now know that Halo can survive without Bungie, with 343i rising to the occasion and delivering a game even hardcore Halo fans can’t find fault in. Being a PlayStation gamer that can’t even fathom going over to the dark side and buying an Xbox 360, Halo is the one franchise I would consider picking up if I ever did.
The one shooter most of us keep our eye out for however is the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise. The next helping of run-and-gun action from the extremely popular series, which is still in full steam after all these years. We knew Call of Duty: Black Ops II was different from the day it was revealed, with a brand new setting thrusting the storyline into the future while still continuing the story arc from the previous installment Call of Duty: Black Ops. The addition of a new story, guns, scoretreaks, an ever growing Zombies mode and some killer pre-order options, buying into it is no doubt value for your money. However, post-launch problems have caused plight among gamers, especially those on the PlayStation 3 version, with connection and freezing issues causing a stir.
Whatever hate that might accumulate from that however seems to drift away once you do get to play the game. The single-player portion tells the story of one man’s journey of revenge to the backdrop of American drones turning on America. The multiplayer gives the usual in your face action Call of Duty does so well, adding the new features promised before release and also removing features the community decided had no place in the game anymore. A Zombies mode that allows you much more freedom than before and the promise of more on the way.
All together Activision and Treyarch have delivered another solid Call of Duty experience for the million of fans to lap up. The real question is when it will end?
All these exciting releases are getting ate up by the gaming public and whilst they enjoy their success, other shooters are yet to even release, one game in particular is Far Cry 3 – which is causing quite a stir, but in a good way.
We obviously didn’t get the chance to play the game yet as it doesn’t hit shops until December 4th, but for those who were lucky enough to review the game scream with approval that we are in for something quite special. It was something we expected, with an explosive showing at this year’s E3 event and some nice gameplay videos released sometime after, we got to see the sheer size of the game’s landscape and intriguing storyline the game bolsters.
When you eventually get your hands on the game, you will take the reins of Jason Brody, an adrenaline junkie who finds himself stranded on the Rook Islands and up against an enemy even Darth Vader would try avoid.
Promised within the seriously long single player story is a fascinating villain in Vaas. Vaas apparently likes to talk a lot and really shows how good the voice acting in Far Cry 3 is going to be. Improvements in gameplay and visuals are also noticeable in the demos that released, the ability to take cover behind objects, blind fire, throwing weapons and improved melee combat, set to really breathtaking backdrops. We really can’t give our own two cents until we have the game in our hands, but we can definitely be excited until we do.
One would think if Battlefield 4 had its release this year what effect it would have had on the Call of Duty marketing structure and its eventual release, but with Medal of Honor’s: Warfighter taking the 2012 slot it hasn’t really rocked Activision’s baby, failing to garner enough attention.
Halo 4 on the other hand has pushed itself back into contention for Xbox 360, but that’s it, the game is locked to one console, leaving those on other platforms blind to how amazing it really is. Hopefully in the future we can get our hands on the franchise, then watch as it takes over the world. As for Far Cry 3, it could snatch the title of best shooter this year, reviews are pointing towards it, we will just have to wait and see.
For me though it’s another year for Call of Duty and Black Ops II. The sheer amount of content is worth the price tag, with Zombies, Multiplayer and Single player to dive into, developer Treyarch has really laid out a feast for gamers. Problems might have made the launch of the game a tad dodgy, but these are problems that can be ironed out, leaving a quite playable game, one worthy of this year’s best shooter.
What about you, what shooter did it for you this year? Let us know in the comment section below and check out our Facebook page for more of today’s gaming news.