There are many games from the first-person shooter genre that define how a single player experience should be implemented. It ranges from Bioshock to Half-Life to Halo to Doom and so many more. There are games that might try to create its own identity from the crowd and some might have obvious influences from other first-person shooters. But no matter what kind of first-person shooter you enjoy, I’m sure these factors are generally the keys to making a top tier first-person shooter that’ll be up there with noticeable titles like those titles I just mentioned.
- Exploration – I always believe this is a must if you want players to take your campaign seriously. It is fun to shoot many bad guys over and over again, but sometimes, I feel like you need to have that sense of exploration to build more depth and complexity in the game. It’s great to have exploration to compliment the sense of health and armor management or the excitement of discovering new weapons.
- Engaging Firefights – Combat is probably the most important thing to me for any first-person shooter to overcome. Whether it’s single player or multiplayer, I always want to get that sense of satisfaction when I shoot a gun or kill a target. However, there’s always cool ways to create firefights. There were a lot of memorable combat engagements in Marathon 2: Durandal which is my favorite Marathon game. The very first few fights of “If I Had A Rocket Launcher, I’d Make Someone Pay” is a prime example. It’s definitely challenging and relentless with the swarm of aliens you have to kill and shoot. On higher difficulties, it requires a much more strategic factor in this fight, so you cannot just simply kill them by just shooting and running around mindlessly. These are the fights that makes me smile.
- Level Design – In the world of first-person shooters, level design is so important to r bring the complex nature of the fun factor of this genre. It can affect the exploration, the flow, the atmosphere, and the combat depending how the level designer is crafting the map. I always like maps that are more complex rather than the simple and directed types of levels. I like levels that aren’t so linear and require a decent amount of exploration.
- The Feeling of a Hero – First-person shooters tend to put you in daunting tasks and generally when you accomplish them, you want to get that sense of feeling that you’re some kind of dominant walking force. Doom has always been extremely good at doing that by making players fighting excessive amount of monsters or just using overpowered weapons like the BFG-9000. Before Halo became an expansive universe, I always thought you were the only spartan in the original game. There was that sense of uniqueness to you compared to everyone within the game. I always loved how the marines would cheer you up if you were playing efficiently well or playing it on higher difficulties, you would have to play your absolute hardest if you didn’t want to see your marines suffer by getting overwhelmed by the Covenant.
- Memorable Moments – This might be a retread of what I typed in my level design section. However, I can’t help it because a lot of my favorite first-person shooters always have a lot of memorable moments to make me appreciate them so greatly. The original Halo had the introduction to the Flood to the Warthog run on the last level. Doom II had a lot of memorable combat due to the level of intensity was much higher than the original game. Duke Nukem 3D had the awesome city level designs which I still believe Duke Nukem 3D has the best city level design out of all the first-person shooters I’ve played. There’s much more, but I don’t think I want to type them all or else this blog post will take forever to read!
- Influential – Pretty obvious one. If a game is so well done, there’s going to be future developers trying to take inspiration from it. Who wouldn’t want to create a game that can be the next Bioshock or Half-Life?
That is all I have to mention in this blog post. I still love the single player aspect of first-person shooters as someone who also plays a lot of multiplayer games and enjoy them as much as well. I just love the simplicity of single player games. You only need yourself to enjoy these games and not have to worry about playing on a bad connection, playing with bad teammates, and so many things I could mention that does annoy me when playing multiplayer games.
For the new kids, single player might be a thing of the past, but to me, it’s here to stay and it’s not going anywhere since sometimes you want to play against AI by yourself. You need to have some variety in your gaming experience.