As one of the consistently most popular – and most populated – genres in modern gaming, Best Shooter has once again been a hotly contested category in the Game of the Year voting here at TSA.
2015’s seen the release of the latest entries in long running franchises such as Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and 343 Industries’ Halo 5: Guardians – both of which launched unsurprisingly to favourable reviews yet still felt like iterations upon past success sprinkled with new ideas, rather than being unmistakable, unique & exciting takes on the format as a whole. Similarly, Star Wars Battlefront felt short of that spark of creativity, even as it brilliantly recreated the sights and sounds of the films.
In stark contrast then, our winner is a game which takes a fresh look at the shooter genre, a million miles away from the explosions and near-future hyper violent set-ups seen in the likes of COD or Battlefront.
While other shooters seem to borrow from each other in a constant back-and-forth, Splatoon felt like a quintessentially Nintendo title. It took a massive risk on being different – whilst still familiar enough – and it’s most certainly a risk that’s worked out for them.
The game sees two teams face off lighting up a vibrant metropolis with ink rather than explosives, employing a simple core idea and movement mechanics that forgo the complex, twitchy headshots and ‘going prone’ in favour of a far more approachable, accessible and unique experience. The multiplayer aspect has been refined and added to over the months since launch too, with regularly released free DLC such as extra maps, weapons and character items as well as entire new game modes and themed contests all of which have helped to ensure the servers remain as busy as ever, which is no mean feat for any new IP, but especially one exclusive to Nintendo’s ailing platform.
It’s worth pointing out of course that Splatoon’s not reliant on multiplayer, as there’s an enjoyable campaign in there too, but the 4v4 online battles form the main body of the game – a ridiculously fun pick up and play ink-em-up that can quickly develop into a hugely tactical affair, given a little practice.
Many people may have dismissed Splatoon on first sight, perceiving it perhaps as a foot in the door or training-wheels for the ‘real’ shooters out there, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Splatoon is unapologetic in it’s childlike lustre, but behind all that lies a fantastic squid, sorry, squad based shooter, that everyone should give a go.
Runners up in alphabetical order:
- Call of Duty 3: Black Ops
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood