The year 2017 was one marked by disappointment for shooters. There were already way too few games for the genre to have the strength to face controversies like pay to win elements and loot boxes. I wrote this article by carefully researching any shooters with redeeming qualities. I can’t promise that the games below will deliver, either way, let’s have a closer look at some of the more exciting shooters coming out in 2018:
Release Date: January 31 Early Access
Crytek has been struggling financially as of late, so I’m not sure what Hunt Showdown means for the company, but hopefully not a desperate attempt.
Hunt Showdown is pretty much a first person Battle Royale but with a PvE component. You are always part of a team of two and always have to face or avoid some Bram Stokery horrors that are creeping through the swamps of Louisiana. This is a game of high risk and high reward where dying means losing your hunter and their gear. On the other hand, banishing the evils haunting the swamp and getting out alive will provide generous payments to further develop the character with new and better gear. A persistent progression will make the experience less frustrating as the experience of a lost hunter is transferred into what the developer call a Bloodline. This mechanic allows players who died to even the odds by reusing the experience in order to equip new hunters.
For me, the setting of Hunt Showdown is the biggest selling point, but the gruesome visual style and the gameplay mechanics are not elements worth ignoring. At the end of January we’ll get to see if Crytek makes a strong comeback to the genre that made them known.
Far Cry 5
Release Date: March 27
By now Far Cry is a template for a series of adventurous first person shooters that keep changing the setting and the villain while retaining the series’ main elements. Far Cry 5 seems to make no exception from this formula, using the already established base and name to have us fighting a religious cult in Hope County, Montana.
Far Cry 5 will feature a countryside open world filled with enemy outposts awaiting to be liberated. Going guns blazing or stealthy is up to the player and there will be plenty of character customization to further enhance play styles. The fight against the Eden’s Gate cult will be ferocious and the players can do it alone or by teaming up with others in as a two player co-op mode. Another new feature is the ability to recruit locals to fight on your side, they will take some convincing, but each of them brings something unique to the table.
I’m not so keen on Far Cry, I acknowledge the series’ qualities but I’m quite aware of its faults. But Assassin’s Creed: Origins left me with a positive impression and I’m hopeful that we will see more changes for the better in Ubisoft’s future singleplayer games.
Release Date: Spring
What seemed like a WW2 mod for the military simulator Squad is actually a fully fledged game coming out this spring.
Post Scriptum is a massive WW2 military simulator set during Operation Market Garden. Build pretty much on the same gameplay mechanics as Squad, which works wonders for this kind of game, Post Scriptum is set on providing the most historically authentic WW2 experience we’ve seen in a shooter. Five historical maps amassing 140 km2 of terrain, 50 vehicles, 40 weapons and 50v50 battles over 3 different game modes are some of the impressive features of this game.
Post Scriptum looks great to say the least and I’m rooting for it as I’m sure it will provide a gameplay experience that I won’t be able to get from a mainstream shooter.
Release Date: Q2
I haven’t played System Shock, but the upcoming remake of the ’94 shooter will provide me with this opportunity.
System Shock might actually be the first game to bring FPS and RPG together, a design choice that has forever changed the video games industry. The reboot was made possible through crowdfunding and is developed using Unreal Engine 4 having behind a few developers from Fallout: New Vegas as well as the legendary writer Chris Avellone. The game will stay faithful to the original material, but changes will be made where they are due as some of the gameplay elements have not aged so well.
The grandfather of Deus Ex and Bioshock is being remade providing an opportunity for younger generation to experience an era defining game. I’m both excited and terrified to see the final product, but I’m sure that I won’t miss it.
Release Date: February 1st Early Access, Q4
If you like Counters-Strike and Call of Duty and you want a mix of the two in a WW2 setting, then Battalion 1944 is probably the game you are looking for.
Battalion 1944 is an old school style shooter focusing on pure fast paced 5v5 infantry combat. There are no enhancements, no gun customization or abilities involved here, just team tactics and pure player skill. The game aims to be competitive providing all the tools necessary for players to race for the top.
Despite a successful crowdfunding campaign, Battalion 1944 will go through an Early Access phase. A roadmap has been revealed to the players pinpointing the game’s release to Q4 this year.
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries
Release Date: December
BattleTech universe is returning in full singleplayer force this year. Harebrained Schemes’ turn based strategy called BattleTech is putting back the tactical spin into this universe. While at the same time, Piranha Games are awakening a franchise that has been dormant for over a decade.
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries is the continuation of a beloved series that hasn’t been forgotten by its fans. This mechs’ powered shooter takes place in the year 3015 with a campaign that spans over 35 years engulfing hundreds of planets into war. Take command of fully customizable BattleMechs and fight against entire armies to complete contracts and earn an elite status between mercenaries. The game can be enjoyed alone or in co-op mode and there will be full support for mods to further expand the gameplay experience.
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries might not be the best looking title coming out this year, yet I can’t help feeling a strong nostalgia and a desire to play the game when watching the few gameplay videos available. The year 2018 marks a new beginning for the BattleTech universe and I am excited to pilot or command a BattleMech again.
Angels Fall First
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
I actually forgot about this game until it popped up on Steam’s main page instantly boosting its popularity while showcasing the marketing power behind such a simple move. But that’s beside the point here. Originally an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, Angels Fall First has evolved into an overly-ambitious project where capital spaceships, ground vehicles and infantry troops fight alongside in the same battle scenarios. This is such an impressive feat that it makes the game’s outdated graphics feel like a small nuisance in a much bigger picture.
The game has been in the works for years now but the developers have kept pace with the times combining suitable mechanics, both old and new. There is a persistent ranking system which plays within the gun’s customization providing players with a sense of progression. On the other hand, old school features like commander mode and full AI support are also key features of the game.
At the first glimpse, Angels Fall First might look like a game stuck in time. But don’t get fooled by the visuals, there are more gameplay elements in synergy here than you’ll see on most online shooters to date.
Release Date: TBA
Atomic Heart is an adventurous first person shooter developed by Mundfish. The game’s action takes place in an alternative universe in the USSR. The protagonist, special agent P3, has to deal with the mad robots within the enterprise “3826” while backtracking what went wrong in the area. The reveal trailer or the official website don’t provide enough information, so we are pretty much in the dark. However, from the little material I’ve seen, Atomic Heart’s aesthetics and gameplay look very reminiscent of Singularity and Bioshock.
Atomic Heart promises a narrative driven experience mixing quests and horror elements while providing plenty of action. There is no release available as of yet, however, the game is expected to come out in 2018.
Release Date: TBA
Insurgency is a nice shooter that struck home with many players by using realistic gameplay elements into a competitive environment. Insurgency: Sandstorm takes this concept to a whole other level.
Sandstorm was initially meant to feature a campaign, however this aspect of the game has been scratched so the developers can focus on what the fanbase wants: the multiplayer. The game is now developed using Unreal Engine 4, rendering gorgeous graphics and improved animations that could put to shame some of the AAAs out there. While the campaign has been canned, Sandstorm won’t be lacking in content. The multiplayer features three competitive modes and three co-op modes some of which have been adapted to include fighting vehicles.
It’s a fact that the scale of Insurgency has been greatly expanded, however, the competitive aspect hasn’t been forgotten. Sandstorm will feature a competitive matchmaking as well as a ranking system and a much-needed anti-cheat system.
I enjoyed my 20 hours spent with the original game. But after I’ve seen the gunplay of Insurgency: Sandstorm and knowing the direction in which the game is heading, I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot more time with the sequel.
Release Date: TBA
Metro Last Light is one of my favorite first person shooters of all times. It’s a great mixture of atmospheric survival and solid shooting following a humane and compelling narrative. The announcement of Metro Exodus should only mean good news for me, however, there is always a but.
Following the events of the Redemption ending, Artyom leaves Moscow together with the Spartan Rangers, traveling east. The gameplay will accommodate this change in narrative by mixing linear and sandbox exploration areas while expanding on the survival elements. Dynamic weather and a day-night cycle point out towards an open world environment that’s propitious for new mechanics like scavenging and crafting. Opening the Metro universe for more exploration can be a great thing. But, there are very few examples of open world games that manage to retain their narrative quality without getting lost in a gameplay filled with meaningless details and this is what scares me.
Metro Exodus adds even more to an already solid base, promising a thrilling survival experience as well as the system of choices and consequences we got used with. We’ll have to wait and see how all these translate to a much more open environment and if the experience is enriched or diluted by this change.
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
I was never really good at arena shooters but I’ve always enjoyed this subgenre, this is one of the reasons why LawBreakers got me excited last year. But I have to say that I don’t really see a future for arena shooters in their old format and probably neither did id Software when they designed Quake Champions.
Quake Champions is a successor to the legendary Quake 3 Arena, but one that’s somewhat unified under Bethesda’s licenses. The game doesn’t deviate much from the original formula focusing on mobility and skill while bringing back fan-favorites guns and game modes. The gameplay is dynamic with constant hoping, mid-air shooting, proper timing and awareness being required to get good. The real addition here are the champions which are meant to make this new iteration of Quake survive into a gaming environment that has evolved in a different direction.
Currently there is a decent roster of champions to choose from, each starting with a different loadout while having a specific set of traits and a unique ability. The champions provide variety in play styles which is a good change for arena shooters while also providing the means for a cosmetic progression.
I have fond childhood memories attempting to get good at Quake 3. Now I’m much older and my hands have gotten a lot slower, but I’m not ready to give up on twitch shooters. This is why I’m looking forward to see Quake Champions’ final form. The game is currently in Early Access and it’s supposed to come out this year. The final product will include the option to play for free by renting heroes through currency earned in-game.
Scorn: Part 1 of 2: Dasein
Release Date: TBA
Scorn: Part 1 is another project that was made possible through crowdfunding. Like many other games I talked about in this series of articles, Scorn is rather unique. The game is a combination of adventure, survival horror and FPS that will put to test the mental strength and agility of the players. The action takes place in an open-ended world with interconnected thematic regions that will lead the players through a narrative journey without cutscenes. There is a purpose to everything and the gameplay is not keen on holding the player’s hand which means if you miss something you might get in trouble. The world isn’t friendly either being inhabited by some nightmarish creatures that will make you consider your actions given the limited resources and storage space.
Scorn’s few gameplay videos showcase a promising game, but there isn’t enough video content out there to have a properly informed opinion. However, the list of features provided by the developers does give us a rough idea about what we could expect and it sounds pretty promising. We’ll have to wait and see if the game delivers on these promises. Scorn will be split in two parts which will form the entirety of the story as the developers have firmly stated that no expansions or DLCs are planned.
The year 2017 might not have been the best for shooters, but with such a lineup filled with bold sequels and innovation, 2018 should be safe.