FPS Superiority - but which console rules supreme?
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In the last 10 years alone, we have welcomed some of the greatest FPS experiences of all time. However, which console is the FPS giant; the console that provides an unparalleled gaming experience...?
Ah, the First Person Shooter. Known by - and commonly refered too - as the FPS, there can be no doubt that in recent years, it is the genre that has reigned supreme. Month after month; year after year; quinquennium after quinquennium - no matter the length, the FPS has continued to evolve, pushing both its boundaries and the controversy surrounding to unparalled heights. In the last ten years alone, we have witnessed some of the most ground-breaking releases within the sector - from the console exclusives of Halo and Killzone, to the multi-platform favourites such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Bioshock - and, with the likes of Killzone 3, Crysis 2, and Homefront all due within the next few months, it would appear that consumer interest in the FPS remains high.
However, while the demand remains consistent, there is one particular question that has continued to cause debate and fan-boy rage online - which console provides the superior FPS gaming experience? So, to help settle this debate, three of Shadowlocked's proud videogame writers - Adam Jeffreson, Sam White and Luke Connolly respectively - decided to face off against each other through a battle of wits (and bad language) in an attempt to prove that their console of choice really is the dominant of the three. So, sit back, take in the arguments and see whether you agree with our choices.
Adam Jeffreson - PS3 and Killzone 3
Which console has the best FPS? Well, you probably don’t need to look much farther than the most powerful one. The PS3 is constantly outshining the Xbox in terms of graphics, processing and exclusive titles, and Killzone 3 is continuing the high standards of the console. The Killzone saga began on the PS2, with the game being given the aspirational title of a ‘Halo-killer’. These expectations proved to be a little high, and the game was given a lukewarm reception. The graphics were well above the standard of the time, but the game was hampered by awkward controls, inconsistent A.I. and visual glitches.
However, with the launch of the PS3, the Killzone franchise was given another chance to prove itself and meet the high expectations of the community. And this time it met them in style. When Killzone 2 hit the stores it was an instant success. The next-generation graphics, slick gameplay and gripping story lifted it above and beyond all the other shooters on the market. Its multiplayer mode also became instantly popular, with thousands of players battling it out online in intense and visceral battles, forming a diehard community that is still going strong.
But games have come a long way since KIllzone 2. 2009 was a long time ago, and a lot has changed. We have Call Of Duty: Black Ops for a start, a game that has singlehandedly raised the bar of what is expected from an FPS. The PS3’s answer to this is, of course, Killzone 3. Killzone 3 is set to be best FPS of this console generation. For months we have been teased and tantalised with breath-taking trailers and previews, slipped tiny morsels of information and speculation. But now, with the release of its full demo on the Playstation Store, and a torrent of new information from the developers, it looks like Killzone is set to rule the FPS genre again.
When you sit down and play Killzone 3, you immediately know you are in for something different from all the other FPS games on the market. What strikes you first about the game is the beautiful and detailed environments you are surrounded with. Killzone 3 attempts to squeeze virtually every drop of power out of the PS3, pouring it into creating an immersive and involving world, full of those little touches that make a game so complete. The controls have real weight behind them too, you feel like you are controlling an actual person, not just a hovering camera with a gun in front of it. This works magnificently with the combat system, and the intense, unforgiving fire fights with the Hellghast are even more frantic and brutal than before. Multiplayer mode also returns, and is sure to again attract a large and fiercely loyal fan base.
The beauty of the Killzone franchise lies in the experience of playing the game. It sounds obvious, but to really experience Killzone you need to play it. The weight and feel of the character, the satisfying and tactile guns, and the gripping and intelligent story all reel you in for an experience that cannot be matched by any other FPS, perhaps not even by any other game.
Luke Connolly - Xbox 360 and Halo...with a pinch of CoD
Killzone 3? Pah - where was the Killzone franchise when Halo first appeared back in 2001? Failing that, why - after all the hype and fanboy nonsence that saturated the web prior to its release - was the original Killzone title welcomed by only a lukewarm reception? After all, was this not the 'Halo-killer', the title that was to topple Microsoft's recent FPS dominance? Of course it wasn't.
Halo - whether you chose to accept it or not - redefined FPS history, setting a precedent that every release since has been trying to match. With its unique combat, enthralling multiplayer and beautiful storyline, the Halo series soon became the staple-mark of FPS superiority. To date, there have been six Halo inspired titles, from the original, Halo: Combat Evolved, to 2010's blockbuster Halo: Reach; and despite being over nine years old, the series continues to sell strongly. Furthermore, the Halo franchise has grossed over $1.7 billion, making it one of the most successful releases in gaming history.
Ok, so apart from the award-winning console exclusives, what does the Xbox 360 offer the FPS genre specifically? Well, let's start with the gameplay. I myself am a gaming veteran of the last 10-15 years and, in my honest opinion, the Xbox 360 controller pad is one of the most accessible, well-designed controllers I have ever experienced. Fitting beautifully in your hands, the control pad is simple yet rewarding; and the indents on its analogue sticks make pulling off those headshots just that much easier. As if this wasn't enough, games just generally play better on the 360. Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect 2 - I could go on. While their PS3 brethren are riddled with bugs and defects - affecting both offline and online play - the 360 versions of such titles run smooth.
Now, it would be unfair to say that the Xbox 360 had a graphical advantage because, as the hardware and specifications suggest, this mantle falls upon the PS3. However, how much does this really matter? Is Avatar a better film than Alien because of its 3D capabilities? Hell no; and this point is proven time and time again by the Xbox 360. Take Mass Effect 2 for instance. On the 26th January, 2010, Xbox 360 welcomed Bioware's sequel to Mass Effect, a game that is commonly referred to as one of the greatest follow up games of all time. Having initially missed out because Mass Effect was meant to be a Xbox exclusive, Bioware decided to exploit the game's favourable reviews and, at the Game Developers Conference in August 2010, announced their intentions to expand the game's availability to PS3 also; even offering better graphics and smoother gameplay. Yet, when the game finally made its PS3 debut on the 21st January 2011, very little appeared different and 360 fans across the world welcomed yet more firepower to their PS3-bashing back catalogue. A year of waiting - 365 days of false hope and promise - only to be told that very little had changed as the game still relied on the same Unreal Engine 3?
At the end of the day, the PS3 is nothing more than false promises and disillusioned beliefs. Sure it features better tech - with the built in Blu-Ray player a particular highlight - but at what cost? The Xbox 360 has more exclusives, a better established online network and is the console of choice for all FPS-related competitions. It's also worth noting that, as of 25th January, 2011, the PlayStation network has over 69 million registered accounts. Impressive. Conversely, Sony's official figures stated on the 31st December 2010, 47.9 million PS3s had been sold, a whole 21.1 million fewer consoles than PlayStation Network accounts. So, does this mean that 21.1 million PS3s were sold in January; or is it more likely that a shed-load of the apparent 69 million accounts are - and probably always were - e- inactive? Say what you will, but when you jump onto Xbox Live, you know that every account is well used and visited regularly. Can the same be said about the Playstation Network or the PS3? Hmm...
Sam White - PC and Crysis
If you’re a PC gamer, the ability to run Crysis smoothly on the highest settings was once a benchmark for how powerful your rig was, and was a popular boasting point for most incessantly persistent nerds. As well as being a showcase for what PC graphics are capable of, Crysis is also a highly decorated, varied shooter which offers unprecedented amounts of freedom in a first-person-shooter environment.
The main draw for most gamers in Crysis, apart from its audio-visual presentation, is the sheer amount of options at your disposal to be a super-soldier bad ass. Equipped with your futuristic Nano Suit, you have several abilities that must be put to use across the various levels. Amongst others is the suit's super strength, allowing gamers to kick their enemies around the battlefield; or its unique cloaking abilities, allowing gamers - in one of the most impressive displays of stealth prowess - to sneak up on enemies unseen. These abilities combine flawlessly and seamlessly with the gunplay and sandbox elements of the game to create a truly special experience; one which no other game, or console, has managed to portray with such effortless vibrancy. The beauty about Crysis was also its varied story which, while not as intricate as an RPG, was still compelling enough to invite a sense of immersion along with the presentation. At the beginning of the game you would be fighting through these lush, photorealistic jungles against a relentless enemy; before seamlessly being immersed in a frozen wasteland against an unknown alien force. The sense of scale in Crysis is also fantastically varied, depending on how you wish to play the game. The various abilities and sandbox style level design opens themselves to player freedom, a refreshing change from the linear corridors of death in a Call of Duty title.
All these gameplay opportunities, plus the game's open ended combat, combine to offer incredible replay value. Saying that, for anyone who has experienced Crysis on the PC, the opportunity to simply play through the game again - enjoying its relentless visual precision and unspoken beauty - is second to none. Of course, some may also argue that the superiority of a mouse and keyboard have far greater use than a game-pad, and for the most part in Crysis, this is true. Whether you’re darting around a jungle at breakneck speeds, or taking down an enemy silently from 300 yards, the PC control system is far superior to what any console could offer, and only cements the Crysis and PC experience to the head of the pack in terms of control layout and response. Both are fluid and satisfying - a commendable feat for either a game or console - and the reason why the PC offers the ultimate experience in FPS gaming.
Overall, Crysis is an absolutely stellar achievement, both as a showcase of the capabilities of a modern day gaming rig, and as an open ended, re-playable and enjoyable shooter which offers more than the standard array of weapons and abilities. It brings more in the way of fun and free gameplay than any other FPS on any other console, continually trumping all the visual capabilities of both the 360 and the PS3, and is why the PC offers an unbeatable, unique experience that no other console can match. With a sequel on the way in the next month on both PC and consoles, there has never been a better time to pick up a copy of Crysis if you haven’t already, and play what is arguably the best shooter of the last couple of years; on the greatest FPS console of all time...the PC.
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