|©Copyright 2009-2011 Out Of The Blue.
Battle of the big bad shooters: 2011 FPS roundup
There has been no shortage of quality shooters these past few months.
Barely into the last half of the gaming year, we already have some big
contenders for Shooter of the Year. Here are three of the most memorable
thus far, with the additional caveat that each candidate faces tough
competition from the highly anticipated title Rage and the obligatory
Call of Duty release.
Release date: March 22, 2011
Crytek clearly worked their butts off for this release. Not only is this game
absolutely beautiful, it manages to add to the First Person Shooter (FPS)
conversation in much-needed ways.
In Crysis 2 we find ourselves in New York City, a popular locale for
extraterrestrial destruction. In spite of this cliché choice of venue, this is a
shooter that demands attention. As a nano-suited badass (AAH! Nanobots!), it
is your job to secure an end to the alien invasion, while simultaneously dealing
with the humans who would rather not see you succeed. Tentacled alien
monstrosities take quite a bit of punishment before going down, and human
security forces employ state of the art weaponry to halt your crusade against
But what makes this game more than a pretty shooter? The gameplay here
offers variability in strategy—a feature that too few shooters bother with. Your
nanosuit is the key to this variablility. Do you want to be sneaky and stealthy
and walk past your enemies without notice? Fine. Your suit allows for
invisibility. Running and gunning more your style? Okay, no problem.
Nanoarmor turns you into a walking tank.
The challenge level of this game is especially noteworthy as well. Even on the
easiest playthrough, gamers will have more than a few brushes with the
Release date: February 22, 2011
Sony Online Entertainment is the big boy in the house that refuses to be
ignored. They scored a huge success with Killzone 2, and the third installment
amps up the action and presentation just that extra little bit—Killzone 2 only
had a dial that went up to ten, but Killzone 3’s dial goes to eleven.
We begin the most recent outing shortly after the second ended—our Jake
Gyllenhal lookalike is still on Helghan with his fellow Earth marines, and things
just went south when his fellow marine assassinated Helghan’s bald leader,
instead of capturing and Nuremberging him. The brass is furious about this,
and aside from a potential court martial in the near future, our heroes are
trapped on this depressing planet, and the Helghast are whipping up new
weapons with the potential to destroy Earth.
Much like Killzone 2, Killzone 3 is all about shooting space Nazis that have
British accents and seem just as intent on destroying themselves as they
are you. The Helghast have the benefit of looking way cooler than the Earth
marines, on account of their spooky gas masks. But they go down easily
The environments here and the level of detail are absolutely amazing. Plenty
of eye candy here throughout, but there isn’t much to offer in the gameplay
department beyond what we all expect a shooter to do—run and gun to the
next objective, watch an awesome cutscene, run and gun to the next
objective, watch an awesome cutscene, and it sort of just goes on like that.
Plenty of cool-looking stuff to kill, but I never felt like I was doing more than just
going through the motions I’ve gone through for the past two decades. I expect
beautiful visuals, but I want immersive and smart gameplay. I left Killzone 3
unsatisfied, and unwilling to playthrough a second time, in spite of my
ravenous and illogical hunger for trophies.
Release date: September 6, 2011
Thirsty for even more sequels from SOE? Look no more, friends, there are
aliens in them thar hills!
On an alternate Earth in the 1950s, an alien virus leads to the destruction of
mankind. And this ain’t no regular alien virus—it’s the kind that walks around
on two legs and knows how to develop crazy advanced technology. By the
time we start 3, ninety percent of the human population has been destroyed,
and our alien overlords are busy creating a wormhole machine thingie that’ll
finally but an end to all this Earth stuff once and for all. As Joseph, you are
tasked to escort a crazy, verbose doctor to the wormhole epicenter, located
You guessed it. New York.
Why can’t the hurricane’s eye ever land somewhere unexpected? Maybe the
wormhole could show up in Waldo, Ohio, for example? Or Eugene, Ore.?
Resistance 3’s variability keeps it from being a standard shooter. While
Killzone 3 zoned me out, Resistance 3 is much more entertaining. The story is
more epic, the baddies are more slimy, and the weapons have alt fires that will
keep you grinning the whole ride through: magnum bullets that explode on
command, grenade-launching shotguns, and alien rifles that see through
walls. To borrow a line from Jack Nicholson’s Joker: “Where does he get
those wonderful toys?”
The pace of Resistance 3 is super fast and loaded with frenzy. Combine this
with the ability to level up your weapons, and purchase cheats with points
earned in-game, and we get a highly replayable romp through alien goo. The
pulsating pustules of half-born aliens are especially fun to squish. Instead of
hoping for the game to end (as was the case with Killzone 3), I’m looking
forward to my second, cheat-enabled playthrough. Sony certainly saved their
best shooter for last this time around.
|For The Fans, By The Fans. Look Beyond The Mainstream.
Stunning. Arguably the best graphics to grace the PS3 so far.
This is one rare instance where it’s fine to believe the hype.
Sound: I especially love the nanosuit’s robot voice. And what a great
crunching sound when you turn on your armor!
Gameplay: A shooter with less linearity. Yay.
Story: Quite interesting overall. A nice blend of political
intrigue and alien Armageddon.
Replayability: A game worth the trophy time. Expect 2-3 playthroughs
Overall: Easily one of the best shooters I’ve ever played. A smart and
enjoyable excursion, despite the cliché location. This is a contender not
only for Shooter of the Year, but for Game of the Year as well.
|Graphics/Presentation: Absolutely gorgeous. Yawn.
Sound: Impressive sound design, but an aggressively repetitive score.
I don’t want to hear the same guitar riff for eight hours!
Gameplay: Yep. It’s a shooter.
Story: The ending is admittedly epic, but getting
there can be a real snooze.
Replayability: This game feels like work. I won’t be playing it again.
Overall: Killing Nazis got old a long time ago. Putting them in space
does not change this. In fact, putting them in space and giving them
British accents makes them even more annoying. A pretty, pretty
game that takes no risks and offers no incentives.
|REPORT CARD: Resistance 3
|Graphics/Presentation: Not quite as pretty as our other two
contestants, but certainly jaw-droppingly awesome anyway. Of course.
Sound: Epic sound design and score worth keeping on.
Won’t win any Grammies, but it does its job well.
Gameplay: Frenetic and satisfying, and with the alt fire and
upgradeability, slightly more than your average shooter.
Story: An engaging narrative. I actually care about the characters.
Replayability: At least 2 playthroughs are essential here.
Overall: Resistance 3 never quite breaks out of the mold enough to
warrant its own existence, but since it’s here, we might as well have fun
with it. I’ve seen worse shooters this year [looks accusingly at Killzone 3].