With the continued rise of games of Overwatch and CS:GO, first-person shooter (or FPS) video games remain some of the most popular around the world. This is especially true as these games compete on an international level in eSports competitions, often with prizes of large amounts of money for the winners. FPS games span a wide variety of other genres, meaning that if you want more story with your action, there’s a game out there for you! Subsequently, if you are just looking for a straight run-and-gun style of game, you will find what you need as well. In everything from Call of Duty to Borderlands, with both multiplayer and campaign stories alike, FPS games are prevalent. Perhaps it is their availability among video games that makes them so popular, but we at Honey’s Anime believe there is more to it than that…
Sure, FPS games are widely available, both as a genre and on several different platforms, but what keeps people coming back to these games time after time? Is it just the popularity of the games due to their past achievements, as it appears in the Call of Duty franchise? We only truly return to the genres of games that we love; meaning that for first-person shooters to be as popular as they are, there must be specific things about them that we enjoy! We are going to try our best to explain what it is about these games that keeps us coming back for more, even if our killstreaks on Call of Duty may not be the best. It is in the combination of several different aspects that FPS games draw our attention!
Many video games will combine a drawn-out storyline with moments of action, often including a more open exploration aspect to keep players interacting in the setting longer. The most typical FPS games are usually considered to be ones with little to no story involved like Call of Duty or CS:GO, with their limited scope often looked down upon as too simple. However, several FPS games actually try to incorporate a more in-depth plot and some exploration of the world. For example, BioShock is a first-person shooter that uses its own twisted setting and story to draw the player in further. And while it might seem like the “shooter” aspect of the game would take a backseat in favor of these other aspects, the combination actually ends up heightening the excitement of the game! Players understand the risks their character faces on a deeper level, making combat a hardcore experience.
However, this does not mean that FPS games which focus on multiplayer combat are any less fun or exciting! While games like Call of Duty, Battlefield or Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege favor limited story and setting, the thrill of the action in combat continues. In fact, it is this fast-paced action which unites FPS games, and helps make them truly enjoyable to play. First-person shooters never slow down, keeping players guessing and moving throughout various maps, levels, or chapters. And if you do find these competitive-driven games to be too bland for your taste, there are plenty of plot-driven FPS games for you to dive into as well. Whether the game has an intricate story or not, the thrills of an FPS game are some of the most enjoyable parts!
Another reason that people are drawn to FPS games is that level of personalization which comes with the first-person experience. People enjoy video games partly because of their ability to be someone else entirely, to step away from reality into a different world. In Halo, players can become Master Chief, fighting against aliens bent on the destruction of human beings. Though not all FPS games have such a drastic step into another setting or person, that aspect of playing through a video game as another person is certainly enjoyable. The excitement of seeing a world through someone else’s eyes becomes even better when you can control those eyes, and the rest of the being behind them, to fight how you want!
For some players, there is also a certain thrill to fighting off grotesquely horrifying enemies for survival. Not only are we able to prove ourselves on the battlefield, but we can defeat demons and monsters straight out of our worst nightmares. In games like Doom, Killing Floor or Prey, we fight horrors and zombies just to survive – and the first-person experience ups the drama quite a bit! Meanwhile, other players enjoy the multiplayer aspect of first-person games, proving themselves on the battlefield in a different way. In Overwatch, we may play as a different, established character, but each time we play that character we are, in a way, becoming them to help our team fight. Regardless of your preference for FPS games, being able to insert yourself into the game in some way is definitely a fun part of the experience!
In combination with both of the former aspects of FPS games, there comes the idea of competition. At its core, every shooter is a competition, whether it is against the NPCs of the world or against other players in online combat. Competition can be a good thing, allowing people to reach new levels of achievement within themselves. FPS games are the perfect area for competition, as there is often nothing at stake except perhaps your pride in the game (unless you are competing in eSports). You can even compete against yourself, striving to improve certain traits of your combat or stats that are important to you.
Obviously, the competition aspect of an FPS game becomes more obvious when it is displayed in a straightforward manner, as in the multiplayer parts of Overwatch or Call of Duty. But even more story-driven FPS games share the thrill of competition, even if it’s not always apparent. For example, Far Cry 4 is a first-person shooter that has a wide, open world map with an intricate main storyline. Yet players can even find competition in this game – not only in fighting off NPCs, but in unlocking achievements or in more personal goals like using different methods to enter the enemy base! A good first-person shooter thrives on the competition its players find within. But try not to take the taunting of the enemy team too seriously – at the end of the day, it is just a game!
Strategy and Skill
Along with the other aspects of an FPS game we’ve already mentioned, there is one other thing about first-person shooters that makes us excited to keep playing them. Often, the learning curve may be steep when first stepping into a game, but once you’ve developed a skill set all your own, that feeling of achievement is certainly fun! Sure, this is a part of many genres in video games, spanning in everything from platformers to racing. Yet the strategy of learning to perfect an FPS game is different, because it is combined with that aspect of the first-person experience and the desire to win. If you’re still not seeing the differentiation for FPS games, put in the hours of grinding needed to develop a surefire strategy for 7 Days to Die, and you’ll see what we mean!
We can also look at more structured multiplayer games like Overwatch for a clear example. When you first start to play, it takes a while to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the different characters, as well as which characters/class best fit your own play style. The more games you play, practicing with different strategies and honing your own skills as certain characters, the better you will become! And because this game is entirely focused on multiplayer interactions, the ways that you improve your own strategies and skills will only help your team do better. The same goes for other FPS games like CS:GO or even Team Fortress 2. No matter what the FPS game is like, learning different strategies and improving your skills at the game are a big part of the enjoyment!
First-person shooters are popular for many reasons, but most of all for the things they do that keep us wanting to play more of them! The games are fast-paced and exciting, drawing you in with the promise of more action and the improvement of your own skills as you practice more. It gives us a look into the game’s world through our own eyes, putting us inside a shooter to compete as ourselves, which is a highly personal experience. With the rise of large eSports competitions in games like Overwatch and CS:GO, we will only continue to see FPS games gain in popularity as fans try to make their own mark on the games that they love!
So what are your thoughts on first-person shooters? Do you think they deserve the popularity they get from eSports, or are these games just overrated ways for companies to gain more money from a franchise? Please share your thoughts down below in the comments!