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Article - State of the First Person Shooter Address

by Lengis on Wednesday 21 September 2005

Rants on the past present and future of the genre

Duke3D. What else needs to be said. It's a good game. But yet, here we are 9 years later, with no sequel in sight, and we are still playing it. To be honest, I can't find myself enjoying many other single player FPS's, other than the two classics, Doom and Duke 3D. Maybe it's the fact that Halo uses nothing but plastic toys for enemies, or that Half Life was little more than a glorified corridor crawl. So I guess the question is, where the hell do first person shooters go from here?

To be honest, most of my experience with current gen FPS are limited to mostly multiplayer focused shooters like UT99, UT2k4, Quake 3, Tribes, etc. Half Life 2? Never played it. Doom 3? Looks cool, but never played it. Pain Killer? Nope. Far Cry? Naa. I guess my crappy PC is to blame, but I haven't really experienced what you would consider a modern single player focused FPS..... Unless you want to count Halo 1-2, which I don't. As a result my experience with FPS's are limited mostly to what's available on the Xbox. So how can I pass judgment on the current status of the genre when I haven't even played some of the latest and greatest shooters? Well, I can, but it really just speaks a lot more of the current quality of FPS's on the console rather than in the industry. But amid the muddy puddle of water, there is a little glimmer of hope.... Riddick.

This gritty little shooter is one of the best FPS's I've come across in a long long time. What sets it apart from the wannabees is it's combination of things that work. It's gunplay is fast, and thrilling, it's visuals are excellent, it's AI is smart, the enemies are cool, and it has a variety of gameplay....... But actually, in a way that can be a negative too, because it's almost too varied. I ended up wanting more shooting action.... Ah c'est la vie.... But I can't really say Riddick is one of the stand out examples of the genre. It's just..... missing something. Maybe it has something to do with how short it is, and how it's not very replayable (although I have replayed it many times, it does get a bit dull). Regardless of this though, if nothing else, I see a great potential in Riddick. Riddick showed that current and future FPS's don't actually have to suck (as they have in the recent history, which gave me worries that we will be playing nothing more than the same garbage over and over again). Thus, we have the next shooters on the horizon, FEAR, STALKER, Prey, Quake 4, and Killzone (next gen).

Killzone may seem like the oddball of the group but I'm looking forward to it for a very good reason. Potential. I see tons of potential in this game, and could very well be one of the greatest FPS's ever... Or it could suck. I accept that possibility too. Heck, how many times have we seen an awesome trailer to something, then it turned out to be a stinking pile of crap? Star Wars Episode 1 comes to mind..... Aside from KZ, we have the big name PC shooters like Prey and Q4, both of which look excellent and shouldn't disappoint. FEAR and STALKER don't look quite as impressive, but are ambitious projects never the less. Oh, and then there's Duke Nukem Forever.

Yes, I left it out for a reason. We simply know nothing about it, nor do we have anything to go by. All we know is, everything released in the past about it, is now obsolete, and worthless. The only question remains is, will it live up to it's little bro, Duke 3D? It seems like a pretty huge jump, almost like going from Doom to Quake 4 kind of a jump. What kind of gameplay will it offer that separates itself from no name shooters like Area 51, or that new Goldeneye game. Maybe the appeal alone will make it unique, but making a game good isn't my job, I'll leave that up to the programmers. So where do we go from here? To quote the final line in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, "We'll have to wait and see".