Shooters have once again packed store shelves this year, and it was a great year for fans of the genre. 2K Games, EA, and of course Activison as it was a significant improvement from last year’s effort. Yes there were bad games, but they were very far between. The constant theme this year was story, and success was found. Borderlands 2 witty writing was still there that created many memorable moments, Black ops 2 surprising has a deep storyline with player choices built in was smartly designed, and Master Chief returned in Halo 4 marking beginning of the Reclaimer trilogy. Regardless of what you think of the genre, we had plenty of red targets to shoot at, experience points to gain, and plenty of people to shoot through our Internet connection. So lets recap the top five shooters of 2012.
It’s been since Halo 3 since the last time we have played as Master Chief, and finally the wait came to end. Under 343 studios development, they have brought back the first person shooter icon looking best yet, but I found the juggernaut stumbles a bit. The story just isn’t sharp compared previous efforts, and Halo 4 cliffhanger leaves me wanting more than I got. Multiplayer is back, but it’s mostly what you got before with little tweaks. I felt Halo 4 took zero chances and the game suffered.
5: PlanetSide 2
An MMO first person shooter? Sign me up! What makes PlanetSide 2 a great game is that is consistently ongoing. The combat controls are really tight, and there are to many things that I can recount. In PlanetSide 2 there isn’t any real objective unlike traditional first person shooters. Your goal is to not win a match, but to simply progress your army’s domination forcing players to work together.
Starting of with number five, Syndicate developed by Starbreeze Studios is by far one of the most underrated games of the year, and judging by the sales numbers it appears I was one of the few that played it. The storyline is actually real treat, as it tells a world controlled by corporations with use of tech-mind controlled powers. Even though that was a real treat, where I found most of my enjoyment was the online coop. The four-player mode mixed in with the powers you possess make it to hard to not have a great time.
3: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Ok I get it! There has been a yearly iteration of Call of Duty dating back to 2006, but you can’t nark how consistent this series has been. Black Ops 2 developed by Treyarch, might have made the biggest leap in the series since Modern Warfare 1, and what they have done is staggering. The player choice system kept things fresh and interested and actually allowed made me want to go back and replay the campaign. The online play removes many of the franchise, and simply just allows to players. The one thing you can’t say about Treyarch’s effort in Call of Duty: Black Ops effort is they didn’t hold anything back, and took every possible chance to make this the best Call of Duty game in the series.
2: Borderlands 2
I didn’t like the original borderlands when it first hit store shelves. I found the story to be nonexistent, and the game needed to cut a lot of fat in order to reach its potential. Luckily that is the case with Borderlands 2, as the game feels more complete with a hilarious storyline that has a beginning and an end, an actual boss, new abilities to wreak havoc with. However, what made Borderlands 2 a great game is the four-player coop and the addictive looting nature it inhabits. I probably had the most fun this year playing four-player coop over the Internet, and constantly getting supplied with downloadable content made me want to return to Pandora.
1: Max Payne 3
This was my anticipated game of the year when I made my predictions earlier in the year, and it didn’t disappoint. Rockstar games minus L.A Noire haven’t been known for telling a story, but Max Payne 3 told one of the darkest stories about a disgruntled out of shape cop that looks a lot like John Mcclane from Die Hard that video games have seen. Max Payne 3 is the slickest game that I have seen in a long time with the game’s presentation mimicking a comic book layout with flashing texts, and QuickTime cutscene design, which allowed this mature tale to speak volumes.
There has been a lot of fuss about the gunplay, and in my experience that wasn’t a deterrent. I enjoyed the challenge of slow mo diving to clear out a room. I was in control of my actions and felt rewarded whenever I decided to pull the trigger, and some of the negative attention is just nonsense.
It’s the total package! The excellent Health soundtrack that helped make one of this year’s best moments, when Max is in the airport lobby, and the music skyrockets to a new level as take on waves upon armed guards. It’s personally one of the few video game albums that I have bought and listened to because it helped create so many great solo songs. Yes there is online play, but what made Max Payne 3 so great was being able to revisit one of the darkest video game figures in his entire glory. This is one of the most polished shooters that I have ever played, and takes unbelievable risks to be our best shooter of 2012.