Just another bland, brown shooter, right?
I've always been a fan of shooters—and it's not like they're unsung heroes by any means—but there's this misconception out there that they're all the same carbon copies of one another. The misconception reasons that all shooters are boring military shooters with the same characters and roughly the same stories with parallel conflicts and lackluster performances and...it goes on. Basically: shooters suck, right?
I can't argue with a lot of the points people make against shooters. Sure, a lot of them play fairly identically to one another. A lot follow the same, rote guidelines. The tried and true methods. The boring methods.
But after E3 I had a startling thought: I'm actually excited for a Call of Duty game again. It's been years since that last happened! And it's not the only shooter I can point to and show the nonbelievers that maybe there's some life left in that genre yet.
Guns might be tired in theory, but they can still be fun. And Call of Duty is just one reason I'm excited to be a shooter player again.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Futuristic military first-person shooter with tons of new gadgets
Though a shooter with a solid story is obviously ideal—as players of the recent Wolfenstein will attest to—I personally don't need much more than new guns and new gadgets that actually prove to change the way I play in order to enjoy it. Advanced Warfare seems to hit that note.
In addition to the standard frag, flash, EMP, etc. grenade options, the one in Advanced Warfare lets you cycle through a few new, unique options. You can set the grenade to "target," which will scan the area and highlight enemies in red. You can throw out "smart" grenades which will target enemies, the grenade flying up into the air and hovering before shooting across and into an enemy's location to explode there.
And we might just get a better story this time around, too. The development of this Call of Duty is being led by Sledgehammer Games, who were involved in the first Dead Space and Modern Warfare 3. They've been working on the game for three years now. We're already seeing futuristic, Matrix-like elements like an energy class rifle, swarms of enemy drones, footmen dressed up in mechsuits, and your own exoskeleton that, like in the Crysis series, will give you extra strength, a boost jump, the ability to use grapple lines, magnetic gloves and cloaking. But perhaps best of all, in a move not unlike Titanfall, Advanced Warfare seems to be playing around with ideas of player movement. You can double jump to glide with boosters in the air. You can use that booster to jump down long distances for a soft landing. And you can side-strafe, jump up in the air, and then side-strafe mid-air.
Rainbow Six Siege
Team-based tactical first-person shooter
Rainbow Six is back! And I couldn't be more excited. Rainbow Six was a series I used to play incessantly with my older brothers. And it's one whose next chapter I can see playing in the same way: basically, over and over for far longer than I have free time.
I played a few rounds of what you all undoubtedly saw at E3.
That included playing on the side of both the Rainbows leading the assault on the single house map that was revealed at E3, as well as the enemies that counter that attack. I got a weird impression that the Rainbows usually win at this game, but I can't be sure until I sink a significant amount of time into that game first. But in almost every round I've personally witnessed, the enemies weren't able to hold out long enough before the Rainbows shot them all dead.
Regardless, tactical player-versus-player shooting is what Rainbow Six has always been good at executing. Our first few rounds were an embarrassing display of amateur moves—my teammate actually killed me with friendly fire early in one round, and I spent the rest of my time switching camera angles to tell them where enemies were coming from. But I look at the gameplay trailer and I recall the live demonstrations we were shown and I can tell that mastery of the game's tools—the shield, the lean, spotting weaknesses in the building's facade and shooting enemies through those points, tossing up grenades through newly-created holes between floors—will go a long way.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Sci-fi first-person shooter that takes place on alien planets
Maybe this isn't a wholly popular opinion, but there isn't much out there quite like Halo multiplayer. Yes, even Halo 4. Everything in the game—the maps, the weapons, the specials—were always ten times more useful once you fully mastered their nature, and they were always features that opened themselves up to you once you messed around with them more than a few times. The campaigns and characters were memorable, too.
The HD collection is the perfect opportunity to revisit favored multiplayer modes and singleplayer missions. But it's a good introduction to gamers who never had the chance to play the Halo games in their prime, too. Everybody wins.
Far Cry 4
Open-world first-person shooter with a focus on stealth (and elephants)
Did you know that you can ride elephants in this game? Far Cry has always been a personal favorite—and well-loved here at Kotaku—but that was even before the elephants.
We might not have seen a ton from Far Cry 4 yet, but from what we have seen—the elephants, leaping between cars, the elephant-assisted murders, co-op, the elephants...—it looks like it'll be a lot of fun.
Shared-world first-person shooter with RPG elements
This one's a controversial one. Destiny so far has a history of bad showings, but I don't necessarily think that had to do with the game but rather more to do with marketing decisions.
And while certain details of how this game will play out are still up in the air, the alpha was a good slice of player-versus-player, mission and aesthetic introductions that I came away from feeling good about.
Team-based multiplayer shooter
It's like the Left 4 Dead 3 you know we'll never get. Each team is composed of four classes that need to work together to take down the one big boss-like enemy, controlled by a fifth player. I always appreciated Left 4 Dead for forcing teamwork on players, and Evolve seems to be hitting that same note.
You can read more about how I feel about this one.
No Man's Sky
Exploration-based first-person shooter with space combat and I probably other stuff
Here's a "first-person shooter" that's trying to do something entirely different, and it's certainly a whole lot more than just an FPS. There's exploration. There's space battle. There's all of space.
I've written about this one at length, suffice it to say that this game's definitely one that can't be ascribed to the alleged downward spiral of the first-person shooter. And it's certainly not brown.
Shooters might have a reputation for being unoriginal, and maybe that reputation is warranted. But I'm somehow seeing a ton of titles slated for this year and next that I can still find myself getting excited about.
Or maybe I'm just too much of a shooter player at heart.