The FPS genre might have been the most saturated and overstretched, and for a long time, it seemed that the genre is heading nowhere in terms of innovation. However, with the recent and remotely-recent game releases, we are seeing developers thinking outside the general shoot-and-kill and team deathmatch formulas. Have these formulas taken the genre ahead and can the future of FPS games rely on their foundations?
In this article, we look into new mechanics and gameplay improvements that have been becoming a trend in the recent FPS releases.
Mobility: Breaking away from the traditional run and gun formula of first person shooters many game developers have made an attempt to rejuvenate their franchises with a dose of fast paced character movements.
The brand new first person shooter developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC is responsible for bringing in some fresh gameplay mechanics to the first person genre. Excellent combination of its solid gun play and the parkor adds a whole new layer of fun. While the action in Titanfall may not be fast paced, its the new traversal abilities which allow you to navigate the map with a breeze and keep the combat going. Moving around a map in Titanfall is an experience on its own, chaining perfect double jumps and wall running manages to keep the gameplay fresh even after you have poured hundreds of the hours in the game. In Titanfall, its not only the pilots that enjoy these added mobility features, Titans besides being big in size are very mobile and have the ability to dash in desired directions, this leads to a very crucial balancing act between pilots and titans. Being the first first person shooter to embrace this concept in multiplayer to this extent Titanfall has definitely earned its respect in eyes of many gamers including me.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
[pullquote]2014’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was a pleasant surprise for gamers and COD fans around the world since the game finally made an attempt to change the fundamental laws of Call of Duty’s multiplayer component.[/pullquote] The introduction of the exo-suit makes the combat fast and always keeps the action in frenzy mode. The basic use of the exo-suit is to allow you to dash and double jump in any desired location at any point of time. Compared to Titanfall where the new traversal mechanics give you the ability to navigate faster, in COD: AW even though the pace at which you will move through the map will increase, the major change here comes in the close quarter combat where the new exo abilites let you dodge the enemy fire and bounce back at him with a surprise. When compared to previous releases of COD the game has a lot of verticality which further increases the intensity of the game but sadly the map design does very little to provide any support to this mechanic. Overall COD: AW does utilizes the new trend of mobility to add some more fuel to this game but whether these mechanics will be a part of future games or not will remain a question till the release of Call Of Duty: Black Ops III.
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5: Guardians realised the spartan as a futuristic soldier and adds a new layer of spartan abilities to the already successful and established Halo gameplay. At its first glance the new spartan abilities do look similar to the exo-suit in COD: AW, however, after playing the game you will realize its the implementation and execution of these mechanics which make them feel different from COD in practice. While 343 attempts to modernise Halo they have kept the core gameplay of the game intact and Halo 5: Guardians feels like a Halo game at its heart. If you further inspect these abilities and the gameplay changes you will realize the composition of Halo 5’s gameplay which makes the spartan abilities a base feature. This means that everybody has access to them and they are not locked behind any progression system, when you start the game they are with you from the beginning. [pullquote]The new balancing mechanic which links the sprint with your shield creates the perfect balance between the two and moreover, it finally puts rest to the debate whether sprint should be in Halo or not.[/pullquote] While we have only experienced a small slice of Halo 5’s multiplayer gameplay we will have a keen eye on the upcoming announcements regarding the Big Team Battle and other modes. The new spartan abilities will further allow the player to move around a map much more faster compared, certain abilities like clamber adds a sense of flow to the character’s movement an element missing from previous Halo games. These changes have so far received a warm welcome from the community and if 343 Industries continue to listen to player feedback, we might have a real winner in our hands.
Shifting gears from military focused gameplay of the franchise Battlefield: Hardline takes the gameplay to the drama between cops and criminals. Compared to other shooters listed in this category (Payday 2) [pullquote]Battlefield Hardline does not introduce any big new changes to intensify the combat but few changes to the character movement mechanics and the addition of new gadgets like the grappling hook and the zipline do enough to make the game feel different.[/pullquote] Certain new modes like Blood Money, Heist and Hotwire are responsible for the added speed in the game. Even traditional Battlefield modes like conquest also take advantage of the increased
speed, putting focus on cars and bikes rather than heavy military equipment further changes the way you play Battlefield Hardline.
Lack of Content/Variety and Game Modes: Critics and gamers have been highlighting this issue very prominently as two of the big first person shooter games released this year already suffer from this problem.
Not everything is positive when it comes to Titanfall. During its launch the game was massively criticised for lack of variety game modes and a proper campaign. While Respawn Entertainment could not fix the problem of having a campaign since the game was built around multiplayer and a campaign seemed redundant, they have gradually definitely ironed out the problem of lack of game modes since the launch of the game. Titanfall has received plenty of updates which have added new game modes from time to time. Even the Season Pass which includes 9 maps has been now made available for free. These updates and free content will improve the game’s image but won’t allow Titanfall to recover from the initial damage done during the launch of the game.
Battlefield: Hardline felt like an incomplete package from the vey beginning. Lack of any specific game modes and maps to support the cops vs criminals action certainly spoils the fun. Even the armory falls a bit short with less number of guns and gadgets. The game’s multiplayer starts to feel repetitive after pouring few hours into it. The vehicular action has also been reduced due to the increased focus on cars and bikes which are supported by terrible physics. Decreased scope of Levolution and Destruction is also disappointing. Overall Battlefield: Hardline falls short on the content side.
Evolve on the outset is a great game. It introduces a new form of FPS co-operative play, and for a change, it’s fun. On one hand, Evolve marks itself as a genius of a game, offering an experience only exclusive to itself. On the other, it bears some stark cynicism in the form of blatant lack of content, hidden in the form or “promised DLCs.” A game that demands the full price of 60 US Dollars, Evolve lacks a single players campaign, and features only one multiplayer game mode, the “Hunt” mode. Critics including ourselves were not able to get past this. Some argue that the single game mode is a marvel in itself, but 30 hours in, I found myself wanting more, and getting none.
Co-op: A mechanic which has been rarely exploited by game developers has been generating popularity among the fans of first person shooters.
Destiny is a proof of how co-op can change your gaming experience. When played with a group of people Destiny feels like one of the best first person shooters, however if you decide to save the world on your own the experience is bound to be an unpleasant one. The foundation of Destiny is laid down on co-op and it proves it’s actual worth only when played with bunch of friends. This further shows that more developers should focus on cooperative modes to add more value to their game.
Evolve lacked some serious content. While it wouldn’t be fair to say that the fresh take on coop gameplay makes up for the lack of content, Evolve still deserves a handful of accolades for thinking out of the box and breathing some fresh air into the stagnating genre. So far, Evolve is a co-op only game. In the Hunt mode, there are two sides. On one side is the monster, on the other is four players: the tank, the damager, the support and the healer. A Hunt match involves phases of cat-and-mouse chasing, with bursts of violence in between if an encounter ensues. Cooperating with your teammates is an absolute necessity, and a microphone is recommended for better coordination.