2011 was an exceptionally strong year for shooters. The lineup below will be hard to top come 2012. OK, we say that every year: best game ever, how do you top THAT? And they do. But really, 2011 was an amazing year for shooters. How can they top these bad boys? Read on, for our top shooters of 2011:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Selling millions of copies and remaining as the number one cross-format videogame is no reason to call this “the best game ever”. It deserves that praise based purely on butter-smooth gameplay, razor-sharp multiplayer and addictive-as-crack “Spec Ops” mode. The single player mode is a bombastic spectacle that makes Michael Bay reach for his pencil and notebook, and the online multiplayer remains as a honed battlefield of itchy-triggered violence.
Deus Ex: Human Revolutions
Human Revolutions successfully claws its way to the top of the action-RPG genre after a disastrous prequel. You are a cyber-augmented god amongst the flies and the world is your plaything. Every playing style is catered for, but playing Deus Ex as if it were a straightforward shooter is doing it an injustice. Your gun is a tool, you shape your environment with it. Hacking, sneaking, slicing, it’s all there and it looks tremendous.
Welcome solider, to the worst single player of 2011, packaged with the best multiplayer of the year. Battlefield 3 looks fantastic, features sharp controls and some of the most realistic sound to ever emanate from a shooter. It’s difficult to look past the glaring flaws of the single player, but with online as addictive as this, gamers quickly forgave Dice for cribbing Modern Warfare 3’s single player model.
This was a tough title to get excited about and was seemingly done to death (nuclear war, last survivor, irradiated landscape filled with mutants) but managed to find a niche of its own. Rage was immense, a 40-hour plus shooter from the gods of the gun, Id Software. With a modified Doom 3 engine and a line-up of the meatiest artillery in existence, Rage managed to make a mark in the crowded shooter market.
Shooters are hardware benchmarks, eagerly opening their arms as a platform for showcasing new technology in bleeding-edge HD. Crysis 2 is that benchmark and flies in the face of open-world games, actually delivering on its promise of “adaptable combat physics”. Stealth or brute force is combined and used in each environment as a sort of sandbox approach to combat. The graphics are stellar and the multiplayer is a refined take on Modern Warfare’s effort which favours the seasoned gamer over the n00b.
While Duke Nukem Forever promised a new take on gaming (and subsequently failed miserably), Bulletstorm actually delivered on it. While the shooting mechanics were tiresome, the scoring system, which favoured “skills over kills” delivered a new means of digital retribution. Headshots were out, impaling goons on cacti and launching them over a cliff were in. Crude, and long enough without wearing out its welcome, Bulletstorm was a welcome approach to old-school gaming.
Is a shooter a shooter if no-one is shot? In Portal 2’s case, it is. In Portal 2, you shoot walls, ceilings and platforms to create inter-spatial transportation devices, or “portals”. It’s not the prettiest looking game in the world, and certainly not the most violent game (unless detaching security cameras is gory) but it is the most thoughtful, exciting and humorous game of 2011. Physics and the greatest voice acting in video game history combine with lateral thinking to produce a dizzying scale of detached insanity. Now you’re playing with portals.
Was it the 3D feature which cemented Killzone 3 as a stellar shooter? Probably not, we hedge our bets on the incredibly detailed guns which tore Helgast apart like wet paper. Killzone 3 was polished to perfection with bleeding-edge graphics, intelligent foes and responsive controls. Despite a predictable storyline, Killzone 3 was leaner and tougher than many other shooter of 2011.
By Gears of War 3 many believed that Epic would have run out of steam, unable to top the balls-to-the-wall madness of Gears 2. But they were wrong, so very wrong. Gears of War 3 is an exceptionally linear shooter but built on a pedigree so rich that the walled game-play barely matters. Objectively, ‘violent’ sums it up nicely. Plus, men without necks have no fear.
If F.E.A.R didn’t set your world alight with slow-mo gun battles and lanky-haired ghosts then the third in the trilogy will do little to rally you to its cause. For those who fell in love with the lightening-fast gunplay (which happens to feature the best enemy AI in existence), F.E.A.R 3 was an outright treat. It employed every scary trick in the book and featured two playable characters. The vanilla “point man” and the now deceased Paxton Fettel both play very differently to each other, and as such the online co-op becomes a high point of F.E.A.R. 3.
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