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Why Shattered Horizon is a Better Online FPS than Call of Duty or Halo

Shattered_Horizon_keyartAs 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.

Shattered Horizon vs. Crayon Physics
The Bracket

[buy via Steam]


  • Rob

    hells yeah. Love this game, just wish more people played as well. I get the impression that 0 g is both it’s biggest strength and it’s biggest weakness – many people seem unable to get their heads around true zero G gameplay.

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  • Jigs

    I don’t think you really backed up your argument very well, and you’re also completely ignorant of the history of gaming. Lots of games like Shattered Horizon existed in the past, and they were far better made.

    SH also lacks the incredible depth COD and Halo have. I too am personally getting really tired of COD and Halo among many other games, but I don’t think SH is anywhere near the answer either.

    • Geoff Gibson

      Incredible depth that CoD and Halo have?

      Care to elaborate?

      Also I won’t pretend to assume I know every single FPS ever released so if you can show me another, better zero-G FPS then by all means, Share it with us.

    • Dalus

      I sure would like to know which other games in the past were made exactly like Shattered Horizon, except better. Making such a broad generalization without backing it up isn’t really helping your point. You can’t say “Descent” because all the maps were essentially underground complexes with nothing but rooms and corridors, not to mention you couldn’t lock onto a surface and walk across it as you can in SH. You can’t compare it to a space sim, because of the exact opposite – none of them contain structures that you routinely enter and navigate through as part of the core game play. The closest thing I and other people I’ve talked to have been able to compare it to is Tribes, because of the emphasis on flight, and the detailed physics to go along with it, but even that is a stretch.

      So please, share with us the list of games that I seem to have forgotten about in all my time as a PC gamer, that did all the exact same things that Shattered Horizon does, and better. :p

  • calvin

    it has no real storyline or single player and its way to hard on your graphics card and not many people play it anymore. Halo and Cod have thousands of players at any given time but this game usually has less than 100 players.

    • Tokamak

      SH has actually a far better multiplayer narrative than COD. Sure it has no singleplayer, but that’s hardly an argument against it’s multiplayer, which is what we’re comparing.

      The low playerbase is it’s weakest point, that’s what this article is attempting to change, something which I can only applaud.

    • Dalus

      Yeah… The whole “More people play this game, so that means it’s better” line doesn’t fly with me. Usually, the most popular games are *far* from the best ones, because in order to appeal to such a huge amount of people, the game has to be more generic. More vanilla – something everyone can accept. Everyone can understand a modern or WWII-era military-themed setting, which is why they appeal to people on a large scale. Even Halo, as far as sci-fi themed shooters go, is generic. Faceless soldiers in futuristic armor shoot guns and drive vehicles. It’s not a revolutionary concept, and if it really tried to do anything that hadn’t been done before, people would have had a much harder time accepting it.

  • Josh

    well said Geoff. The developers of this game deserve a big ass pat on the back. I hope they don’t sell out to some big publisher. I can see some corp like EA or activision feeling threatened and trying to buy out their competition.

    Truly a gem worth saving, futuremark.

  • Jeff

    The 0-Grav Idea of SH was pretty awesome..

    anyway I(and most of my friends)did only play this game for about 5 days.Why?
    only 5 weapons..and they´re pretty similar
    The maps do ALL look exactly THE SAME <_<

    and I think the game would be much more fun if the weapons would just more accurate way more damage

    but the way it is its just BF2 without vehicles but with 0Grav in space..

  • InsidiousBoot

    I’ve played this game 11 months, and all the maps ( 8 ) do not all look the same. It takes a while to get used to them and clearly discover all the unique features of each of the maps, how its possible to flank from almost every angle, I’ve put 313 hours into this game. And I will always love the game and the community. Its a great game, don’t let anyone fool you otherwise. Check out the forums, buy the game today!

    - InsidiousBoot