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  1. Best Third-Person Shooters

    I was talking about Third-Person Shooters yesterday, I guess I am sort of in the mood for playing some. It has been a while since I last played one. Figured it would be a good idea to expand the discussion. See what other people think of the genre and what games they like. First of all, I believe that despite TPS games dominating the industry for a good 5 to 7 year period, they haven't been analyzed to quite the same extent that, say FPS games, have. You might find some think-pieces grumbling about cover-based systems, but there doesn't seem to be quite the direct antithesis to them, in the same way, that modern FPS games with regenerating health and cover are contrasted with 90s FPS shooters with health packs and bunnyhopping. Or at least, I haven't seen quite the same battle lines drawn between cover-based TPSs and run and gun TPSs. This leads to the question: What are the best Third-Person Shooters you've played? What makes a Third-Person Shooter work for you? Do you see yourself favoring one direction over another within the genre? Or do you think they're all mostly the same? I have to say, I have always been mostly lukewarm on the genre. Particularly during the height of its popularity. When it felt like whenever a developer had a certain idea or property they were interested in, when it came time to ask "Okay, but what is the gameplay like?", the answer was inevitably "I don't know. Make it a Third-Person Shooter, I guess". Even with regards to games I did undoubtedly enjoy, like Red Dead Redemption, mechanics-wise I mostly considered them to be just passable. So I stopped to think about what my favorite TPS might be, and I think it is Shinji Mikami's Resident Evil 4. Which is curious, one of the granddaddies of the genre, certainly influential, is still one of my favorites in the genre. And I'm not usually one for nostalgia. What's different about it? I think the thing with me is that I was never such a fan of either cover-based TPSs or run n' gun TPSs. I find the gameplay a bit too stale in both cases. Either you stay behind cover as much as possible, only pop out to shoot, or to move to a different cover; or you spend your entire time running to avoid shots while trying to land your own. Or at least that feels true for the skill-level in which I play at, if you play online at a high rank, your experience might very well be different. Resident Evil 4 is an interesting third way because it limits your movement when shooting. You often have to run from enemies and reposition, but you can't shoot them while you do it, nor can you run forever. At some point, you have to stand your ground and shoot while the zombies are running straight at you. It's tense. It rewards skillful play as well. Ammo is scarce, and well-placed shots to weak points can disarm enemies, or open them up to melee attacks that both conserve ammo and do a lot of damage. I think that's what I really love about that game. It's the tactical choice of when to move, when to shoot, when to go for the body, when to risk going for the weak spots, when to close in for a special melee move. As much as I love my walking simulators, I also love my mechanically-complex, over the top Japanese action games, and Resident Evil 4 I think is one of the very few examples of those sensibilities being applied to a shooter instead of a hack n' slash/beat 'em up. Resident Evil 5 was not as creative and fun as RE4 in my eyes, but I do think it was still mechanically sound, at least in so far as combat mechanics. And Resident Evil 6, though it's maligned by many for ditching horror pretty much completely, as an action game and a Third-Person Shooter I think it's great. The TPS games outside of the RE series that I can think of that I would put on a similar level would be Shadows of the Damned and Vanquish, the latter being a much more fast-paced game though, both of which are also Shinji Mikami games. This is just my personal feelings towards the genre, but I'm curious if anyone else has similar views or, if they don't, what exactly separates a good and a bad Third-Person Shooter in their eyes.