2016 has been an incredibly good year for first person shooters. Certainly there’s been a few duff notes, such as with Battleborn and Homefront: The Revolution, but they had their work cut out for themselves to match up to the likes of Doom, Overwatch, Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1. Not since 2007 has the genre hit quite so many highs.
As a fan of the old school arcade shooters from back in the dawn of 3D gaming, I will always have a soft spot for the likes of Doom. This is mostly to do with the fact that it’s silly, over-the-top, and above all else fun to play.
Realistic shooters have their place, but really it’s tight controls, excellent performance, occasionally tough enemies, and a solid grasp of level design that take Doom to another level. It brilliantly captured the essence of what made Doom Doom. After the more horror focused Doom 3, this was more what the fans were looking for; a rare breed of ultraviolence.
Put simply, Titanfall 2 is an all round masterclass of first person shooter design from some of the very best in the business. Taking the fast paced multiplayer of the original, Respawn Entertainment polished, tweaked and added to their game in perhaps small but meaningful ways.
However, what stands out is the excellent single player campaign that blends the flexibility of traversing on foot, rapid combat and the sheer power of piloting your loveable Titan companion, BT-7274. You’re constantly shifting gears, but so is the campaign as a whole, which constantly introduces new ideas, from that time travel level through to one of my favourite twists on the classic room breach sequence.
Needless to say, Titanfall 2 hasn’t sold anywhere near as many copies as it deserves to.
Blizzard’s reputation for quality software is undeniable, and with the release of shooter Overwatch they further cemented their place amongst the elite of the development world. Boasting a range of characterful heroes and villains – each of which could probably front their own game – it’s simply remarkable how laser-focussed the overall design of the game is. From the tight yet playable maps through to the wonderfully balanced line up of characters and abilities, and how it all gels together in a way that effortlessly pushes you to play as a team, it’s all been put together with an eye for detail that is sorely lacking from so many titles.
The drip feed of new skins and character customisations is probably more satisfying than it should be, but somehow it’s perfectly weighted to feel rewarding without forcing you to buy Loot Boxes with real money. Additionally, 2016 has already seen a number of special events covering the Olympics, Halloween and Christmas, and 2017 promises to be just as satisfying with new characters, maps and events liable to keep you playing for another twelve months.
The winner of our 2016 award for Best First Person Shooter is:
Runners up in alphabetical order:
- Battlefield 1
- Destiny: Rise of Iron
- Titanfall 2