As a modern gamer, I’m a fan of many various genres, including, the online multiplayer FPS. I’ve played/beaten every Halo, and damn near every Call of Duty. I even enjoyed each’s prospective online modes for months after they were released, although I make no claim to ever actually being any good at them.
That said, however, as the two most popular online FPS games I’d be remiss if I didn’t point something out; in pure multiplayer gameplay, neither Call of Duty, nor Halo holds a candle to the innovativeness and fun of Shattered Horizon.
It’s true. With both games being so overwhelmingly popular I feel like it’s my duty to point this out and not only tell you, but show you why this is as well. So if you are an ardent PC gamer, and you love yourself some Call of Duty (or Halo 2…) then it’s time to check out another online FPS; Shattered Horizon. Here’s why:
1. Truly innovative FPS gameplay.
Games like Call of Duty and Halo are fun, but they’re essentially the same thing we’ve bee playing since Quake came out. You’re in some sort of arena — even if it doesn’t look like an arena — and you run around killing guys. You can jump, shoot, maybe even drive some vehicles. It’s all standard stuff and has been for a long time, across dozens (hundreds?) of FPS games.
In Shattered Horizon, however, while the game still follows some standard gameplay modes, there’s a single thing that truly sets it apart from all those other games: zero gravity.
Shattered Horizon has no up, down, left, or right. Seeing as how the game takes place in space, there’s really no right way to go. You just follow the markers proceed to blast your way to victory, no matter if your shooting somebody who happens to be upside down or not.
Beyond even the unique perspective, however, this also alleviates one of the worst types of online FPS gamer: the camper. In a game like Halo, or Call of Duty a person can find a spot and just sit there waiting for you to walk by, which you probably will because chances are thats one of the only paths/corridors/etc. With Shattered Horizon, even if there is a camper (which there are) they’re much easier to avoid seeing as how you don’t always have to go the same route to get to your objective. Zero-G has a funny way of removing most objects that would otherwise be obstacles.
2. Free DLC/Content Packs
I’ve never, ever bought a DLC map pack/weapons pack for any of the online FPS games I’ve ever owned. Why? Because, to me, an added map isn’t something that’s really worth money. Honestly, it just doesn’t change the game in a dramatic enough fashion. New maps are just new set pieces, the game is still the same.
That said, however, I don’t have anything against them overall. In fact, I love the continued commitment to the game. Shattered Horizon developers, Futuremark Game Studios, seem to agree with me on both points as they’ve so far released one free DLC map pack and are following that up with another free DLC which will add new weapons to the game, something that was desperately needed when the game originally launched.
3. Server support
Call me old fashioned, but when Activision announced it was killing server support for the PC in favor of it’s Infinity Ward match-em-up service I was instantly turned off. Not to say, it was a deal breaker like others were pronouncing, but I do prefer to pick my own servers and follow around with that server for a long time. Some of my best internet friends have come about that way.
While this method seems to be going away, Shattered Horizon continues this time honored tradition allowing me to find and stick with a single server for the duration. While the server population lists aren’t as numerous as some other games, it’s still comforting knowing they are there.
4. An actual interesting setting.
It seems like damn near every FPS that gets released today focuses around three different settings: space marines (Halo, Aliens vs. Predator, etc.), modern combat (Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc.) or WWII (Medal of Honor, Brothers in Arms, etc.). Beyond that there’s very little variation. With Shattered Horizon, the setting is very different. While in the crudest sense, you are playing as a sort of “space marine” these aren’t the space marines you’re familiar with. If anything these are more like astronaut soldiers, where combat is actually taking place in and around Earth’s orbit.
As somebody who has played some of the greatest historical battles, as well as on the most alien of worlds, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to play in Earth orbit, simply floating around the big blue ball while fighting off hoards of enemies. It truly is breath taking.
So there you have it. My reasons for why Shattered Horizon ultimately provides a more fulfilling, and enjoyable experience than either Halo or Call of Duty, the supposed “big boys” of the FPS market. While both are fun and have their own merits, some of which are better than what Shattered Horizon offers, in the end they just don’t do enough that’s “different” from what I’ve been playing for the last decade. Shattered Horizon, on the other hand, does.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know below!
Speaking of Shattered Horizon…
Did you know we are currently holding a “Best Indie Game” tournament where you get to vote on various indie game match ups to determine the overall winner? Shattered Horizon is currently competing against Crayon Physics right now! Let your voice be heard for the first annual Indie Games tournament.
[buy via Steam]