We came to the conclusion in the latest episode of the PWNCAST that there really aren't too many shooters at all these days. Far from it. But that perhaps the genre hasn't advanced very much in the last few years. Stagnation is always a worry and, although we've seen some attempting to fly the flag for new experiences (DX:HR, Metro 2033, Bioshock to name a few), there are precious few FPS titles out there that really stand out. Something that discussed in an opinion piece earlier today.
The annals of the past, however, are rife with curious titles, when the FPS was a pioneering genre rather than a symbol of our industry treading water, when games weren't automatically compared with Call of Duty. With this in mind, this Tuesday we take a look back at some FPS franchises we'd really like to see make a comeback.
Honourable Mentions: Doom, Battlefield: Vietnam, System Shock, Painkiller, Unreal Tournament
10. Soldier of Fortune
Ah Soldier of Fortune. The game that let you blow the limbs off of people. Raven can occasionally be a bit inconsistent, but they always manage to deliver entertaining games. True the sequel was rushed, and then less said about the third (non-Raven) instalment the better, but John Mullins' first adventure ushered in supreme tactical choices. You could shoot the guns out of people's hands, kneecap virtual neo-Nazis, make every shot count thanks to the highly controversial "gore zones". Also, John Mullins' moustache is amazing.
Frankly, we'd like to see Raven combine this dismemberment with the OTT stylings of Singularity. And maybe a marketing budget. That'd be nice.
9. Red Faction
Let's be clear, here. We're not talking third-person action here. We want a return for the wall-smashing, crater-blasting, hugely destructible FPS brilliance that made Red Faction a killer app for the PS2. We enjoyed Guerilla, but by making it a third-person game, Volition removed some of the impact and, although the game was surprisingly tense at times, we can't help but feel that would have been even better seeing the game directly through Mason's eyes.
Another Raven classic. I think we're ready for another moody fantasy FPS. Hub worlds, arcane weaponry, and castle sieges. Mad cackling laughter, lots of chains clinking, and a score composed by Kevin Schilder. We want team deathmatches with dark magic and necromancy. We want trans-dimensional, Four Horsemen-slaying action. Let me be a Paladin in an FPS once more dammit!!
A cheeky entry, this, but one that needs to be stated. There were nearly tears at the rumours of Prey 2's cancellation. The sheer ambition of the project captivated journalists at E3 and Gamescom last year, but it was the reaction of the public at EGX in late September that really gave the impression Human Head might have been onto something a bit special. The developer demos were packed, the buzz palpable. Have Bethesda given it to another team? Is the project still alive and kicking? What's the score now Human Head are babbling on about Rune? We don't know, but we pray to every deity imaginable that it's still around.
Yes, we know that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is no more. But should news stop us from hungering after a sequel? Hell no. Shadow of Chernobyl was a masterpiece of non-linear FPS design, and engaging mechanics. The world-building was exceptional, the atmosphere utterly chilling, and the results hugely impressive. Sure it had the odd technical hitch, usually graphical, but the ballistics were spot on.
We'll have to see if Survarium can cut the radioactive mustard.
5. No One Lives Forever
A game that lets you basically become Emma Peel? Yes please. No One Lives Forever still has one of the finest female protagonists to grace video games (sadly, there isn't exactly a vast array of competitors), armed with inventive gadgets, witty humour, and providing a better send up of 60s spy thrillers than Mike Myers could ever hope for. Come back to us Monolith. Stop fannying around with Batman spinoffs and get those creative juices flowing!
Check out the full Blast From The Past retrospective.
4. Metroid Prime
I remember first playing Metroid Prime and being utterly gobsmacked. Retro Studios surpassed all expectations by taking an iconic 2D Nintendo series and fully delivering a next-gen experience on Gamecube. The incredibly detailed environments, the intelligent level design with the focus on exploration, the hauntingly beautiful sound design, and that feeling of isolation and loneliness. By transforming Samus' adventure into 3D, by letting us see the worlds she explores through her own eyes, Retro succeeded in doing something Nintendo haven't always found particularly easy: moving forward.
We'd love to see them do it again on Wii U.
I don't think we really need to explain this one.
""So we'd like to make a game with a unique, hyper-realistic, exaggerated art style that has you jumping around famous global locations, travelling through time to stop an alien race from demolishing history."
"Erm, we don't think that something this quirky would sell. In fact, who are you again?"
"We made GoldenEye."
"Please...take this cheque."
If only. Now going by the name Crytek UK, I'd frankly much rather have another TimeSplitters title than Crysis 3.
id had to be on this list somewhere. Though Doom might perhaps have been the more obvious choice, it's Quake we want. A true id Quake. Not palmed off to Raven, competent though they are; not a sequel to the very Quake-esque RAGE; but id going back to what they do best. Tense, visceral bat-sh*t crazy, Lovecraftian corridor shooters. Crazy guns. Crazier enemies. Speedruns. Insane multiplayer.
...and then we'd like the Strogg back too please.