This past console generation saw the rise of the first-person shooter, all the way from niche genre to industry darling. First-person shooters, or FPS as they are more commonly known, were available long before the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3: The PC has had them for years starting with games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, while consoles have had hits such as Goldeneye 64 and the original Halo. However, it wasn't until games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Halo 3 and Borderlands that the genre started selling millions of copies with each game launch. Almost overnight, the genre became known for being able to print money if you had a certified hit.
We've seen new FPS franchises rise up to take advantage of the genre's newfound popularity, such as Borderlands and BioShock, and older franchises that had nothing to do with the FPS genre, such as XCOM and Syndicate, forced into a first-person shooter format just to capitalize on the genre's success. It seems over the last generation, every developer and publisher tried their hands at making an FPS. The genre shows no signs of slowing down as we head into the PlayStation 4, with over 14 (!!!) announced PlayStation 4 games being an FPS, making up at least one quarter of all announced games.
That begs the question: which is the best PlayStation 4 FPS? Which game, out of all of the announced games, deserves your hard-earned money? Which will provide a new experience you can't get on the previous console generation?
Sadly, from this author's point of view, there is no best first-person shooter, as the genre has grown stale -- at least in terms of big budget AAA releases. Nothing on the PlayStation 4 in terms of FPS couldn't have been done on any a previous system, including an old PC from 1996. Sure, the graphics wouldn't have looked as nice, but that's tantamount to slapping a fresh coat of paint on a car that's out of gas: it looks nice but it doesn't get you to any place new.
Take a look at games like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts, games that are fundamentally the same experience as they were the last generation and, reaching even further back, the same experience they were when the very first iteration of each series launched so long ago. In fact, many gamers would say Battlefield has regressed from the series high of Battlefield 2, with many Call of Duty fans missing the atmosphere of games such as Call of Duty 4.
Shadow Warrior is just a retread of a game that was already done right back in 1996 and the new Wolfenstein? A feeling of "been there, done that" permeates through its very core. Nothing like rehashing games just to do them worse than the previous iteration.
Thief is just "Hey, we can make Dishonored too" and while Sniper Elite 3 and Destiny sound decent enough so far, they are so far out from release -- a lot can change between now and then. Just look at the Fable series for proof of how much a game can change over the course of development. For all intents and purposes, Destiny could take the title of best FPS due to the ideas Bungie has talked about but it's far too early to call it. Talk is cheap and hype means nothing: just ask Peter Molyneux all about that.
Dying Light was great when it was called Dead Island (talk about beating a dead, zombified horse) and Killzone has a lot to prove before anyone takes that franchise seriously. You've got to have at least one good FPS in your franchise before you can come anyone close to being considered for the best FPS on a new system.
You may be wondering "but you've written about so many of these games, why does it sound like you hate them all?" While many of these games will no doubt be enjoyable and worth a purchase to scratch an FPS itch, the PlayStation 4 at its core is about providing new experiences and providing a new direction for genres. You expect a new console to provide gaming experiences that just couldn't be done on the PS3.
Older gamers will remember the shift the genre took from Doom and its many clones to Half-Life, which came at a time when the industry was evolving. Suddenly, FPS games had a story, characters and wasn't just about finding the key and shooting anything that moves. With it's fresh new ideas and mechanics, Half-Life changed the genre forever on the day it was released, but it wasn't the only game to do so over the genre's history.
Deus Ex (and to a lesser extent, Strife and Ultima Underworld, but I doubt many remember those games) brought the genre RPG elements, Thief brought it stealth, Portal brought us a game that emphasized non-violence. Each one of these games changed how both gamers and developers viewed the genre, with each game accompanying a generational shift for the most part. None of the so far announced PlayStation 4 games can claim to be the best FPS as long as the ideas contained within are just holdouts from the previous generation, which is why many of these games are also releasing on the PS3.
Is the genre just tapped out? Is there nowhere left it can go but just rehashing the same ideas over and over again with a new coat of paint? Have developers done everything they can do with this genre over the last 20 years? No, they haven't. Eventually, we'll find a game released that uses every aspect of the PlayStation 4, in particular the way the system can blend single and multiplayer gaming, that will revolutionize the genre yet again.
The best first-person shooter on the PlayStation 4 will be the one that changes the genre with brand new mechanics and ideas. The game that carves a new path, instead of walking down the same tired old road, will be crowned king of the FPS. When that game is announced, you can be sure PS4 Experts will be all over it.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 8/21/2013