Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The 5 Best FPS and TPS Games of 2015

Black Ops 3
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The Call of Duty series has been going on for well over a decade at this point, and the shooter franchise has had its ups and downs in that time. Treyarch has been around since the early days, and they’ve come a long way in proving themselves as worthy with the Black Ops games. The question with them becomes less about if Black Ops 3 is better than last year’s Advanced Warfare and more about is it better than 2012’s Black Ops 2? To which the answer is:


Hell. Yes.

It’s easy to look at Black Ops 3 and see that not a lot has changed, and that’s certainly true, but not entirely. Sure, you’re still going through a roller coaster of action events that defy all logic in the single player, still swapping out guns and perks in the multiplayer. The new “additions,” like a robot arm that shoots fireflies or being able to wall run, are just extensions on what you’ve previously been able to do in other games, but they definitely add to the fun of it all. Shooting up robots certainly never gets old, and the array of weapons at your disposal here are all pretty great, and Zombies continues to be a delight. If the series is going to keep continuing, Treyarch is at least making sure to keep them fun.

Star Wars Battlefront
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The series has been dormant since Battlefront 2 released back in the PS2/Xbox days and both Free Radical (who was in charge of Battlefront 3) and the original series creators, Pandemic, have been closed for years, and interest in this reboot has been all over the place. It’s safe to say that this one had a lot riding on it up to release. Aside from being the first of many Star Wars games that will actually tie into the new film trilogy, EA needed to prove that they and DICE could be trusted with the series after their previous shooter, Battlefield 4, was filled with a lot of bugs and glitches that soured fans. Certainly not helping the odds was the news that the game wouldn’t have a story mode that the previous two games did, or the news of a season pass that costs nearly as much as the entire game. By all accounts, that should be a recipe for disaster.

And yet, while in some cases it definitely is, Battlefront manages to succeed just by being a really fun blast to play. It looks and sounds great but, more importantly, DICE just nailed what made the previous two games work. The shooting works whether you’re in first or third person, and the weapons are balanced. Star Wars’ big scale fights seen only in the movies definitely come across here through most of the modes the game provides.

Still, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in some of Star Wars’ most iconic battles (that weren’t in the prequels), you certainly can’t go wrong with Battlefront. Plus, it’s currently the only game out where you can play as iconic characters from the original trilogy and completely shatter your perceptions of them by dying horribly. And that’s worth the $60 alone.

Halo 5: Guardians
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Microsoft’s shooter megafranchise needed a comeback after last year’s Master Chief Collection ended up not going in their favor. Glitches and connection issues didn’t sell people on 343 Industries taking the reigns from Bungie, and it got to the point where 343 had to publicly apologize and offer all Halo 5 DLC for free. While that’s a great move, it wouldn’t be enough to get people on board with the series going forward. Only the actual Halo 5 game would be able to achieve that.

It’s a saying that gets thrown around a lot, but Halo 5 really does feel like the biggest game in the series. The story mode is certainly no slouch on the action or scope of the story, constantly coming at you with action sequences that don’t let you rest. Regretfully, some of the biggest action occurs in cutscenes instead of player input, but there’s no denying there’s awesome to be had either way. The addition of three extra Spartans as your co-op partners or AI teammates has definitely increased the number of enemies you face, but it still maintains the classic flow and balance that Halo’s been known for.

But multiplayer is truly where the game needed to sell itself, and it is awesome. Fans who weren’t into the loadout and ordinance drops of Halo 4 will be glad to hear that those have been wiped away in favor of putting everyone on an even playing field. All Spartans can aim down sights, sprint, clamber, and use thruster packs in what helps to provide more mobility and combat to things, and each map is thankfully tuned with these new mechanics in mind. Halo games have always thrived on multiplayer, and in that regards, Halo 5 is more than a worthy successor. Well done, 343.

Splatoon
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Nintendo’s made shooters before, the Metroid Prime games are proof of that. But that always felt like a bit of a natural evolution for Samus Aran’s adventures, whereas Splatoon just came completely outta nowhere. It’s not every day that you see the guys behind Mario go “hey, here’s a game where you can turn into a kid and squid and shoot paint”, but it certainly isn’t unwelcome.

Splatoon certainly feels polished like Nintendo products do, and it’s definitely got the charm their other games possess. While the single player is pretty fun, it’s the multiplayer where the game truly shines and shows why it won the Game Award for best multiplayer. Paintball’s got nothing on what Nintendo’s got to offer.

Painting an entire area the color of your team and painting an enemy to death never gets old, and sliding around as a squid may just set a new bar for fun ways to travel in games. Not to mention the free updates the game has been getting that add new maps, weapons, and outfits. Can’t go wrong with free on top of great, can you? Plus, who hasn’t ever wanted to be a squid? Just look at them!

Destiny: The Taken King
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More than any of the games on this list, The Taken King sort of needed to exist for Destiny. While the game is definitely successful on multiple counts, there’s no denying that plenty of criticism still remains with Bungie’s shared world shooter. Jokes about a flimsy story and an unfinished game had stuck around for over a year, and not even the two DLC expansions helped much on that front.

If nothing else, Taken King’s biggest success certainly comes in providing a coherent story for Destiny that the base game was lacking. Even though he makes brief physical appearances, Oryx is a constant threat throughout the story, and your mission is to clear the entire way through. There’s genuine stakes in what’s going on, and tying the story in to Eris Morn and Cayde-6 helps this feel like a joint effort instead of you going on solo quests with vague objectives.

The Taken King brought with it a bunch of new content, turning Destiny from a good game into a great one. The base game hasn’t changed all that much, but new loot and subclasses changes things up; flaming hammers and electric hands are always welcome. Quests feel more like actual missions with personality instead of typical MMO fashion, and they definitely feel more fleshed out than missions in the original game did. When you add in the new Raid and modes that come in packaged with the Taken King, there’s no denying that this is the comeback Destiny’s needed for a while.

What’s your favorite shooter of the year? Let us know in the comments below.

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