Friday, 22 November 2013

5 fun FPSs that aren't Call of Duty or Battlefield

It's that time of year again. That time when us gamers are being told to either buy Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4 at every turn. The gaming press constantly tells us that they're the pinnacles of the FPS genre. This is not true. Not one bit. So, in the attempt broaden some minds, here are five first-person-shooters that aren't Call of Duty or Battlefield, games that never quite got the appreciation they deserved, and are still top drawer entertainment.

Here's an unusual one. From Monolith Studios (Aliens Vs. Predator 2, Tron 2.0, F.E.A.R), comes a western FPS inspired by Japanese anime. It's a bizarre concoction, but damn does it work well. However, as opposed to being just a straight shooter, Shogo approaches the genre a little differently. There are two types of missions; on foot like any typical FPS, and inside a giant robot armed with massive, kickass weaponry. It gives the game a great sense of variety as on one hand you'll be entering buildings, talking to people and flipping switches, while on the other hand you'll be towering over buildings, blasting cars into pieces and taking on similar robots with an array of canons, rockets and blasters. It's different; looks awesome with its Japanese anime feel and delivers game-play that is unlike anything you've played before. Check it out!

Singularity - PC, Xbox 360, PS3 (2010)

Here's a title that is criminally underrated. Singularity is one of those games that tackles the classic idea of time travel- a plot device that many games have failed to utilise properly- and nails it perfectly. The player is armed with a weapon called a Time Manipulation Device. It can be used to slow down time, move objects in the air and even restore destroyed buildings, structures and bridges to their former perfect state. However, as if that wasn't good enough, all these abilities can be used in conjunction with the typical array of weaponry expected from a FPS. Throw in a dash of pseudo survival horror and you have yourself one of the most unique games of the last generation. A shame we probably won't see a sequel though!

Here's one for the Trekkies out there! There's been plenty of Star Trek games over the years, and while a good deal of them have been pretty enjoyable, Elite Force is, in this humble writers opinion, the best by far. The game takes place aboard the USS Voyager during its 7 years stranded within the Delta Quadrant, an area of space that, basically, is pretty fucking far from home. As expected, you'll go up against some of Star Trek's most memorable enemies (most notably the Borg), and get to use all the nerdy typical gadgets, including Phasers and Tricorders. However, the icing on the cake is that between the excellent away missions you'll find yourself on, the player gets the explore a large chunk of the USS Voyager at their own leisure, all the while interacting with the cast of the TV show. Voyager may have been a hit-and-miss series at times, but Elite Force is quite an accomplishment. Authentic to its source material and a whole lot of fun!

Far Cry 2 - PC, Xbox 360, PS3 (2008)

Since it was released there has been a lot of love for Far Cry 3. And yeah, sure, it's justified as it's a pretty neat game, but have you played Far Cry 2? It seems to be the black sheep of the family, but I can't imagine why as it's the best in the series so far. Far Cry 2 brings the action to Africa, and has the player trying to track down The Jackal, a deadly arms dealer that almost makes for a kind of Colonel Kurtz type of character. But compared to its sequel, the world of Far Cry 2 is much more dangerous and unforgiving. Beyond the ever threatening presence of various militia groups that inhabit the world, the player must also keep their Malaria at bay, constantly look for new hideouts, seek companions and friends throughout the world, and make sure their guns are in top order as faulty guns can jam during a shoot out. The player is literally thrown into this world without a clear idea of what to do, and it's up to them to survive. Great stuff, and well worth checking out if it passed you by.

You know, prior to playing it I would have thought that Escape from Butcher Bay- a prequel to the film Pitch Black- would have been a heap of steaming shit. I mean, film tie-ins never work, right? But imagine my face when I found it to be one of the best games of that generation. Escape from Butcher Bay places you in the boots of Richard B. Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, as he, well, escapes from Butcher Bay, of course! Butcher Bay is basically the Alcatraz of this franchise, and houses the worst criminals the universe has to offer. Blending fantastic gun-play with a visceral and bloody fighting mechanic, Escape from Butcher Bay is not only an absolute thrill to play, but also the best film videogame tie-in to date. It's not for the weak at heart either, but if you're looking for gritty action game that isn't Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 34, you could do much worse.

Denis Murphy

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