Way of the Gun: What Mechanics Should 2017's Shooters Steal?
For those of us with a love for shooting virtual characters, 2016 was one of the most exciting years in ages. Overwatch, Doom and Titanfall 2 were glittering gems in what was the best year for first-person shooters in recent memory.
This step forwards in quality isn't down to a new technological marvel or a new console generation making former ideas a possibility; this is a series of great ideas all coming from a variety of sources and platforms, meaning that some of the exceptional shooters we've seen in 2016 will see some of their finer mechanics repurposed, with the hits of last year 'inspiring' the hits of this year.
This is bloody great, as far as I'm concerned — I just want to make sure they rip off the right parts. Here are a few of the finest shooter mechanics in 2016, and ways I'd love to see them implemented.
Overwatch - Putting the team in sniper
I've got a bone to pick with sniper rifles. Years of being plinked at range by Battlefield snipers and up close by Call of Duty sniper rifles has left me bitter and angry about, well, pretty much everything to do with them and those who use them - sniper rifles are, for those not holding one, rather anti-fun.
Overwatch has two attacking snipers of its own — both of which I suck with — but the game has so many diverse ways to counter them that they feel like less of an issue than in other games. Better, the first extra hero released to the game was Ana, a sniper that can put rounds into teammates to heal them, while shooting the enemy to apply a damage over time effect.
She's not the hero snipers deserve, but she's the hero the rest of us need right now, an excuse to let those trying to show what an incredible shot they are prevail, while still contributing to the greater good.
Titanfall 2 - The Nintendo approach
It's probably a bold claim, but I enjoyed every level of Titanfall 2 from start to finish, and each for different reasons. Titanfall 2 feels like if Nintendo were to make a shooter. Each level includes a core mechanic that's clever and interesting, but snatches it away just before it outstays its welcome.
This could be brawls with wild animals, a level that sees you travel through time, or even your Titan load-outs, with new weapons for your armoured mech always popping up just as the last is starting to feel a little tired, so you get to blow your enemies to pieces with new weapons.
Yes, like many shooters, Titanfall 2 is a power fantasy. That doesn't change the fact that each individual level is a joy to play, introduced cleverly with a stand-out mechanic that then later gets a crowning hero moment — a situation in each level where you have to Alt+Tab out of the game to tell a friend what the hell you just did. Then, the game moves onto something new. It's respectful of your time — something I want to see a lot more of in 2017 after reviewing nearly 50 open-world games in 2016 — and gives you a good return for investing just eight hours of your time for seeing it through to its end.