There has long been a debate in the shooting game genre and even more so within the circle of Competitive gaming whether first person shooters are a more refined product in regards to E sports versus third person shooters. To be certain there are advocates on both sides of the fence and I could name several third person shooters that have been embraced by the competitive community ( Ghost Recon, Gears of War to name a few) . The majority of hardcore ” Pros” however prefer their shooters staring down the barrels of a Battle rifle or an assault rifle equipped with a holo scope.
The winds of change are upon us and it’s not that the FPS category has nothing to offer but simply that the market has been so flooded with First person games that I belive the gaming public are starting to suffer fatigue of sorts. Last year was a turning point for sure with 2011 seeing the release of two titles in the same genre ( military shooter) going head to head for the publics buying dollar.
The FPS genre for the most part relies on gamers fantasies of being bad ass military soldiers and welding an assortment of real life weapons in a virtual environment and while there are a select few title that stray to Sci Fi as inspiration ( HALO , Crysis) for the most part FPS usually means ” Military Shooter” . Because of that lack of inspiration ; FPS games in that genre are being cranked out left right and centre every year and the inevitable outcome will be gamer fatigue. We will start looking for new ideas and more imaginative settings and world to play in. As much as I loved Medal of Honor, Battlefield 3, Homefront; I have to say that myself and many other gamers of like mind are not starting to ” burn out” on the genre. The games are starting to look a like and my experiences and fun factor are starting to dwindle. I have even started looking towards other genres all together to fulfill my gaming needs.
So where does third person shooting games fit into this situation you ask?
Third person perspectives in games allow for a crucial element that its first person brother does not. Immersion. Now I know what you are saying ; that First person is way more immersive because you are looking through the yes of your character but I’m speaking about the world around you. To actually be able to see the onscreen character interact with his/her surroundings . Its like watching all your favourite movies at a theatre through the eyes of the main actor versus how we see them now. I don’t know about you but if every movie I had to watch was filmed like Cloverfield I would stop watching movies. Make no mistake; third person games have the ability to tell better stories because of its viewpoint and if you’re not convinced go talk to developer Naughty Dog and ask them why the chose third person for the Unchartered series of games.
The ability to see your character onscreen makes you feel more attached to him/her throughout the game experience. In the case of shooting games it gives you the ability to see your virtual warrior and if the developers did their job well you can also see the efforts of your customizations right in front of you. There are the standard pros’ of course like an expanded view of the battlefield and being able to survey the world with a better overall perspective but the most enjoyable part is that you can now see an animated character performing all those cool jumps and rolls to cover.
So back the competitive side of the argument. In the past games that used the third person perspective lacked the refinement and precision of an FPS and hence why that community didnt embrace them as readily. Certain games in the past few years have changed that trend and show the community that a third person based shooter can be considered a valid competitive game.
This year we will see a large amount of games that will be giving gamers compelling reasons to embrace this new perspective on their shooter lifestyle. Here are some games to look out for
Binary Domain: A new IP from Sega that takes elements from Gears of War and fuses them into a world overrun by renegade robots ala Terminator.
Ghost Recon Future Soldier: The latest in the Ghost Recon Franchise takes the fight further into the future with a 10 year leap in what we have today. The game will successfully avoid the pitfall of being just another modern shooter and showing us some cool Future Tech while keeping us grounded with traditional gun play and settings.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon city: This is the first time RE fans can cut loose and revel in the pure shooting mechanics of the franchise without having to worry about the narrative and pacing of the core series. It promises team multi player and co-op story. From what I have sen it takes the story elements of the franchise and blends them with the shooting mechanics of Socom.
Spec Ops: The Line. Touted as a video game version of Apocalypse Now; this game uses a strong narrative and a consequence system to keep gamers glued to their seats. Next to nothing of its multi player component has been show but one can assume that it will have an equally strong presence seeing that the games presentation in the campaign is off the hook!
Resident Evil 6: While not a competitive shooter the game still makes the list because it is probably the pinnacle of what a third person action/shooting game can achieve. One can only wonder what a first person version of the Resident Evil would look and feel like ( little known fact is that Resident Evil did was indeed envisioned as a fist person survival horror game before they scuttled that idea in favour of third for more scares and immersion)
So while the audience for this genre of game is split between the E sport community and the casual gamers there is no denying that the FPS market is almost flooded that we gamers will start looking for ” higher ground” so to speak. and that Higher ground while still a shooter at its core will simply be a different perspective on things.
Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash