The five best shooters on current gen-consoles
Unless you have been living under a rock, one of the most hotly anticipated mulitplayer titles released recently. Overwatch, the latest game from Blizzard Entertainment had a stellar beta with record breaking figures of over 9.7 million players. All in all, it is destined to be a huge success in an already crowded market of online multiplayer shooters.
The release of Overwatch got me to thinking about other shooters that are currently available on current generation consoles that I feel still deserve a bit of love when the initial blush of excitement about Overwatch has passed (if it ever does). So here are five shooters that already exist that you’ve probably forgotten about and really should play.
Yes, yes I know, Titanfall is over two years old now and in online shooters that is virtually decrepit, and it’s true that the online community has died to virtually non-existent, but Respawn Entertainment’s debut title is really rather fantastic.
Not without it’s problems it never really managed to capitalise on the anticipation it built up pre-release, perhaps in part assisted by the split player base over the Xbox 360 and Xbox One communities.
There is much about Titanfall that got people excited, me included: firstly the team behind the brilliant Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare were creating the game so anticipation was high that it was going to be a tight, well designed online game; and secondly it featured giant mechs and a new way of moving around the map with the thrust pack and wall running.
Wall running and thrust jumping proved such a great idea that the behemoth that is Call of Duty in the two years since Titanfall’s release has also incorporated the new movement style in to its games, however in my opinion neither Advanced Warfare nor Black Ops 3 have managed to capture the same amount of thrill that Titanfall does in it’s movement.
One of the best ideas that Titanfall introduces is the after game mini game of trying to reach the extraction ship if you are on the losing side. It’s an added bonus and allows for the losing team to at least recover some pride. It also allows for some really sweet trick shots for extracting!
There are points to be made about the lack of any meaningful campaign missions, and there is something missing in terms of unlocks and items to keep players hooked, but the sheer joy in the movement and the titanic battles between giant mechs is a spectacle. I have very high hopes that Titanfall 2 which is releasing across all platforms in the autumn will capitalise on the things that make Titanfall a superb shooter and builds on it to really make the new franchise something special. Also, all the DLC maps are now totally free to download, so there is a tonne of content to get stuck into.
Halo has always had a pretty good reputation for excellent online play, coupled with a brilliant map creator tool in the form of Forge and a hugely fanatical and creative fanbase. When Bungie split from it’s relationship with Microsoft to become a privately owned developer again, Microsoft retained the Halo intellectual property and the mantle of development for the Halo Universe was passed on to 343 Industries.
Halo 4 online never really grabbed me that much, I had been a huge fan of Halo 3 multiplayer sinking many hours in to that with friends and virtually managing to bag all the achievements associated with it, even that pesky double kill with the Spartan Laser in free for all, but when 4 came out it never managed to capture that magic again for me. I had issues with the various armour loadouts which seemed to remove some of the balancing from the game and the shooting didn’t seem as precise as three. Halo 5, however has improved on that in virtually every way.
The multiplayer has been stripped right back, no more armour loadouts, every player starts with the same ordinance and the shooting feels accurate and loaded once again. The maps are varied with more being added all the time and there is the same roster of game modes that you would expect from Halo, with more being added all the time, the latest addition being the Zombies mode and the fan created Griffball.
343 has also added it’s mark on Halo multiplayer with the single life mode, Breakout. It is outstanding fun; tense and exciting it absolutely relies on a team working together to win. Halo has always felt like a game where skill and movement will always prevail rather than a battle of who saw who first and Halo 5 feels like a return to that.
I’m disappointed that Plants vs Zombies 2: Garden Warfare isn’t more popular. It is a fantastically fun online shooter, brimming with humour and features an amusing cast of characters with broad class assignations like Tank, Healer, Defence etcetera.
It’s generously packaged as well with 12 v 12 matches across twelve maps and a good variety of game modes as well as a single player mode for both the plants and the zombies which functions as a training ground for learning how each character works as well as a horde type mode.
The visuals are bright and fun, but underneath it all Plants Vs Zombies 2 is a deep and satisfying shooter with a delightful cast of characters that are all enjoyable to play with. It also features a real hook to continue playing in the form of the sticker packs which can unlock anything from weapon skins to inventory items for the horde modes Garden Ops and Graveyard ops, to brand new character variants which invariably add elemental type damage to the core skills.
At launch it did have some balancing issues which were quickly addressed in a couple of post release patches and there is more content promised down the line which will be free.
This one was a tough one, I toyed for some time over including Rainbow Six or Star Wars: Battlefront (a choice I suspect wouldn’t have been popular), but in the end settled on Rainbow Six Siege.
Visually R6 Siege isn’t the best looking game on the market, but it more than makes up for it in it’s brilliant, tense game modes. There is no room for a lonewolf in Rainbow Six, and the game does it’s best to encourage a team based focus to each mode. Careful, tactical planning is required to breach as an attacker with communication key between team mates to call out areas where they have been hit by an enemy, or where they have cleared rooms and floors. Similarly, as a defender, structured planning on where to reinforce windows and doors, or lay down traps to slow down the attackers is absolutely key to success, and a team that actively communicates will invariably be successful.
There is a wide range of operatives to choose from and each game requires a useful blend of the different types to ensure success. And unlike Overwatch you can only have one type of operative on each team which ensures that that blend of skills is represented.
The destructible elements in each map add a real dynamism to each game you play as you can be shot through walls and doors without any warning.
There are very few shooting games available at the moment that manage to create a palpable sense of tension in every game, perhaps helped in part by the fact that there is a finality in that you only have one life per game mode and you had better make the best use of it with methodical, shrewd planning.
You may have noticed one thing about the last four titles. Yes, that’s right – None of them are on Nintendo systems! Let’s face it, the typically family-friendly Japanese corporation are rarely ones to delve into violent territory, that is until Splatoon hit the humble Wii U.
It’s bright and colourful aesthetics and happy pop-punk soundtrack indicate from the very start that fun is very much as the top of this game’s priorities. But if there was one reason alone that Splatoon is on this list, it’s the game’s accessible approach. Only Nintendo could make a friendly online shooter – In stripping the genre of its complexities, taking away verbal communication and keeping the action fast, furious and most of all, fun; Splatoon has naturally earnt its fair share of fans. Even those that shy away from the competitive world of online shooters, will find Splatoon to be a far friendlier approach to the genre.
The initial release may have been light on content, but Nintendo have more than made up for it with regular free updates, adding tons more weapons, items, maps and modes to ensure fans have a reason to keep coming back time and time again. Then, there are things like the regular Splatfest weekends, where players choose a side based on a topics such as whether you like Spongebob Squarepants better than his friend, Patrick.
Put simply, Splatoon is a breath of fresh air, and no matter what your thoughts on shooters, there’s something for everyone here.