2016 was an exemplary year for the first person shooter in particular, but 2017 has been a rather more mixed affair across the shooter genre, finding itself mired in controversy all too often. There’s been some great games, if not quite to the same high standard of last year, but the allure of loot boxes and microtransactions has soured the taste for some of the biggest releases.
It’s opened the door to a somewhat unexpected winner.
All the rumours in the run up to the Switch launch pointed to a remaster of the Wii U’s unique take on the multiplayer shooter, so for a full sequel to appear was a welcome surprise. Building on the first game’s fun paint splattering gameplay, this is easily one of the Switch’s must have games.
As any good sequel should do, this takes everything that the original did and expands upon it. All the game modes that the first game had after its year of support ended are here, there’s a range of new and reworked weapons and abilities to try, the surprise highlight that the short and sweet Salmon Run horde mode was, and while still the game’s weakest point, a more expansive and well rounded single player adventure. Nintendo’s support for this game has been great, just as it was with the first game. There’s been plenty of new weapons joining the roster, new and returning maps, regular SplatFests and more.
A game that had me well and truly hooked over the summer, it’s one I still love to dip into even after the mad rush of holiday releases.
Vote for your Game of the Year in our community poll!
Call of Duty WWII – Runner Up
Ten years after Modern Warfare set the world on fire, Sledgehammer Games finally took us back to that simpler, “boots on the ground” brand of online shooting. Although there are plenty who dig the series’ more recent innovations, for some they’ve transformed Call of Duty into something barely recognisable.
Taking us back to World War II was a no brainer and while hardly groundbreaking, it’s pushed the franchise in a different direction, topping sales charts along the way. Between the singleplayer campaign and online modes, it’s simpler yet still incredibly sharp with some interesting new ideas to boot.
Destiny 2 – Runner Up
There was a lot of hype and anticipation in the run up to the fully fledged sequel to Destiny. Destiny 2 was a game to correct all the flaws of the original, give us a proper cinematic story, give us more reasons to explore the patrol zones with dynamic activities and more secrets to search for, and to cut back on some of the unnecessary grind that still inhabited the first game.
It succeeded, and the first 20-30 hours of playing felt a lot more satisfying and fun to work through – Bungie haven’t lost a step when it comes to making a fun first person shooter – and then the grind set in and players found the game wanting in terms of endgame longevity and the quest to unlock the best guns and armour for your character, while the multiplayer stepped away from the simple fun of the original’s 6v6 battles in favour of more focussed 4v4.
Bungie are working to improve the game, but they’ve found themselves plagued by an endless stream of little scandals. One week it’s a rogue emote animation, the next it’s the paucity of content in the first expansion, the next it’s the microtransactions and how they effect a seasonal event. If they’re not careful in 2018, their community can easily dwindle as if a death by a thousand cuts.
Somehow both better and worse that the game it supersedes, Destiny 2 still has the potential to be Destiny at its most compelling, addictive best.
Honourable mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Ghost Recon Wildlands
- Wolfenstein II
The shooter genre is often hotly contested, and this year is no different. There’s some (very) notable omissions from our lists for one reason or another, so sound off in the comments below if your opinion differs to ours.