Yes it’s still November, but, Hark the herald angels sing “Glory to the new-born king” …of Christmas gunplay games that is!
Damn, wouldn’t you know it but it’s nearly bloody Christmas again, and with the arrival of the festive season just around the corner our wish list is littered with all the pre-crimbo games we’ve been waiting for all year.
Whilst there are many games out there worthy of your desire, I’m going to look here at some of the top titles competing for your hard-earned cash or that elusive top spot on your Christmas list this year that are centred around gunplay.
First up, cult classic Call of Duty
I worked out I have spent nearly nine months of my life to date playing Call of Duty online. That’s just in game time. New little people have been conceived and born in the time I’ve spent on virtual battlefields under the CoD titles.
Ghosts and Advanced Warfare both failed to meet the mark for me, I found they lacked the holding power of previous versions. Black Ops III, however, has recaptured some of the series’ original magic. This game has pulled me back in big time.
Whilst the single player story doesn’t endear you to the cast as strongly as it clearly want to the new load-out system and skills means it’s actually really fun to play still. And of course with Treyarch producing it means more zombie action. Woo-hoo! They’ve nailed it with slick graphics and a wonderful 1940’s setting. I’m yet to get very far – my friends suck. I hope your reading this – but the Easter eggs keep me coming back for more. Zombie slaying is just as fun as in previous titles and this time a new array of weapons are available that can be customised pre ‘off the wall purchase’. Chuck me some gum – new perks instead of bottles – I’m going for the pack-a-punch.
As expected though it’s the multiplayer that really shouts out loud. Ultra quick paced play, maps that support fluid movement, great level design that gets you using the new jump packs and wall running as well as a neat slide all makes the running and gunning feel terrific. Tons of slick-looking and shooting weapons with strong variety allowing for many viable weapon setups to please most play styles, indeed the series has come back strong with this one. It’s highly addictive and well put together. Rather obviously, this will do well and I’m sure many of your mates will already have it.
I have a lot of love for the Halo series. It’s my personal favourite storyline in gaming – Halo 1-3 – and it’s been continued by 343 very well. They clearly want to put their own stamp on the series and it shows.
This is Halo at its core, the game you’ve always loved, but with some serious changes that go down well. A more fluid movement system with boost jumps as part of your standard load-out as well as a clamber ability, a whole new large game mode with vehicles and a REQ system. A classic Halo storyline – although a bit disjointed in places – powered along by a brilliant score.
I’ve always felt that Halo bridged the gap between old school first-person shooters like Doom and contemporary ones like Battlefield. The bright colours, timed power weapons and overshields make it feel much less of a ‘realistic’ shooter than the likes of Battlefield and even CoD. That’s not to say it isn’t believable, I straight up feel like a super soldier in a suit bossing around slaying, but the feel of arena is ‘war-games’ not just war. Again, a strong fan base will mean lots of people have already got this one, but if you haven’t it should be a serious contender for your stocking this year.
Star Wars Battlefront
Well, Hell! If you ever really wanted to be in the Star Wars films this is your best chance – short of getting a role in the next movie. The sounds and sights are spot on with this latest Battlefront title. I played this with my dad and he genuinely thought he was watching a trailer for the new movie. OK, he’s old, but the point remains the same: the graphics are siiiiick! It is truly beautiful; I was reduced to a gibbering state of awe as I couldn’t handle the Star Warsness of it.
It’s basically a Battlefield game in feel and game style but with a Star Wars skin. The people at Dice have gone to great pains to tell us that is not the case, but come on guys, It is, isn’t it. This isn’t a bad thing as such; this is full on multiplayer grandness. Big lobbies lead to big games filled with all the lightsaber swinging, X-wing dog fighting and rebel scum squishing/empire destroying – depending on your perspective – that you could possibly want. If you like Star Wars and you like videogames then you’re going to have a good time.
As a reminder though, there’s no single player story. There is a Wave mode in which you face increasingly difficult AI enemies but this is otherwise entirely focused on multiplayer. Despite this however, this is a must for the true Star Wars fan, and comes strongly recommend for everyone.
“Finally!” I hear you cry “a game that isn’t centred around online multiplayer.” Yep, and this is maybe the best single player experience currently out there, by a country mile in fact. A friend of mine got this on release day, his girlfriend has left him and he lost his job. But he’s over 50% completed and that’s all that matters, at least that’s what he mumbles with vacant awareness that only comes from the truly addict…dedicated.
Bethesda have done it again, despite some bugs that crop up – pretty expected from a massive open world these days – the game is wonderful. It plays very well, has a good combat system, and has some extreme depth to, well, everything. Skill trees, weapons, characters, and a build your own settlement; this game provides ample content for you to delve into. Think Skyrim with guns and set in a messed up, mutated future.
Whilst taking up days of your life, the solo play means you can jump in and out of it at leisure without feeling like you’ve been left behind. It has good graphics – not incredible though – given some room due to the vast open world it’s running as backdrop, it’s seriously immersive with its story and has lots of little things to keep you entertained, such as funny characters, side quest, interesting weapons, crazy mutants. This is another must have entry in the series.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Although out since September I’m still giving this an honourable mention as it’s just so friggin’ good! This is gaming done right. I’ve never really played the MGS series, but got tempted in when Ground Zeroes came out. I played it through again and again for weeks, now the Phantom Pain is out and I’m putting it up with some of the best open-world games I’ve played. The maps are very large and can be explored freely with the missions taking place within confined areas in the maps. The story is nuts, plain old out there crazy storytelling, which is great and everything I’d expect for the next edition in a series infamous for its convoluted plots.
If you played the Splinter Cell games you’ll get along with this. It’s ultimate stealth operations and you really do have a huge amount of options for how to do 99% of the missions. Konami said ‘the most strategically unparalleled game every created’ and I think they might be right. Fantastic graphics, good control system and menu access, and an abundance of weapons/equipment to choose from brings the open-world experience to life. I have spent hours on his game and will spend hours more. There’s also the addition of a multiplayer mode that, whilst quite different to a classic head to head, is also very good fun.
There you go, five of the top gunplay games out right now that you can get for Christmas. Slip on your slippers, grab your energy drink of choice and settle down. The weather is crap, perfect for melting into your seat for a few weeks.