If you grew up during the 80s or 90s, there is no doubt that you experienced the origins of first-person shooters when Wolfenstein 3D was released by id software. It was both simplistic and revolutionary at the same time thanks to the concept of putting gamers in the perspective of the hero. Only being able to see your own gun (or knife) added to the suspense of trying to take on the entire Nazi army by yourself.
Following its debut, other FPS were released to phenomenal success, sparking an entirely new genre in gaming. As time went on, they became less like their own genre and more like an entire category of games. Over the years we have seen first-person shooters implement other genres such as RPG upgrades, or horror elements to stir in some suspense.
However, like so many genres, first-person shooters periodically makes the mistake of taking themselves too seriously. Overhyping a game before release can lead to failure, or at the very least financial turmoil. Some FPS make such mark in their first few installments that their marketing department ends up going too far in ways of preconceived popularity.
The worst offenders vary in style, ranging from retro games to brand-new IP.
From the makers of Halo, Destiny was a highly anticipated release. The game centers around “Guardians” in a mythical science-fiction first-person shooter MMO. Destiny scrapped a traditional “campaign” mode and replaced it with an online-only story that could be played with friends at a moments notice. This was an exciting prospect, because slaughtering A.I. is always more fun with a buddy.
And then the bad reviews started pouring in. Some critics called it a shooter for Farmville fans — and that wasn’t far off-base. Players were constantly grinding for loot and XP. It was hyped for a long time before its release. Destiny is a great example of an overrated game that tried to combine too many genres.
14. Left 4 Dead 2
Over the past several years, zombies have been making a comeback after lying dormant since the days of George Romero. They have risen again as the scariest creatures around, thanks to graphic novels, TV shows, and the Resident Evil series. It’s only natural that an FPS would want to capitalize on this in an attempt to breath new life into a video game genre that was beginning to become stagnant. Left 4 Dead 2’s story can only be described as a cliché knockoff where you must fight your way through hordes of zombies while relying on your three AI-controlled companions — whether you like it or not.
The first game was successful because of its originality and because it’s just plain fun to kill zombies in multiple ways. However, the second installment suffered from an unimproved control scheme, moronic “helpers,” and zombies that seemed to have been bitten by Sonic the Hedgehog.
13. The Darkness
A few years into the 21st century, first-person shooters began to feel stagnant thanks to the rise of military shooters. It took awhile, but FPS finally started getting incredibly creative with their storyline. The Darkness centers are an Italian-American hitman named Jackie who has the power of “the darkness” which enables him to summon imps, creep around with his black tentacles, and even make black holes appear.
The game has been praised for its incredibly good story, but that could be because of its basis on a comic book. The gameplay, on the other hand, was incredibly lackluster. An abundance of powers distracted from the core shooter, and the result was a mediocre game. The Darkness tried to do too much and just ended up not being worth the hype; or the price tag.
Combining horror with the first-person perspective has been a popular idea for awhile now. An element of absolute fear can go a long to induce tension in an FPS. As the name would suggest, F.E.A.R. is a horror game. The protagonist has the ability to slow down time during intense shootouts which is called “reflex time” much like “bullet time” in Max Payne.
The game received rather high praise upon release, being called “the best single-player shooter” of the year. Across the board, the biggest complaint was against its one unique mechanic: “reflex time.” The mechanic distracted from what made the game interesting to begin with: the horror; F.E.A.R. could have lived up to the hype if it had only kept the suspense of the genre.
11. GoldenEye 007
The Nintendo 64 has some great first-person shooters such as Quake, Duke Nukem 64, and Perfect Dark, but none as widely played as their adaptation of the hit movie GoldenEye. The game should have been sold with four controllers, because that was the only way to truly enjoy it with friends. Remember, this was a time before broadband internet connected us across the globe.
Sadly, multiplayer is the only mode in GoldenEye where the game truly shined. The controls were horrendous, but it wasn’t all that bad since your buddies had the same handicap. The single-player campaign, however, was the game’s true downfall. The missions were overly tedious, or just plain didn’t make sense half the time. When you get down to it, despite it being extremely liked among teenagers, GoldenEye 007 was the most overrated FPS of the 90s.
10. Counter-Strike: Global Offense
Online multiplayer means everything today. It was only a matter of time until we got an FPS that dominated the scene. Counter-Strike: Global Offense, is played almost completely online except for the “practice” area which is used to learn how to play the game and use weapons. Originally, the game was intended to be played across all platforms with the same team, but the logistics just never worked out.
Counter-Strike: Global Offense received mixed reviews because of how similar it is to its predecessor. Not the mention the fact that it cost full price, for a game most players had already been playing as a mode for years and year. Global Offensive feels cheap.
9. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Eventually, you get sick of killing Nazi and demons on Mars with a shotgun, and you want something more. In Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, you are doing exactly what the name suggests: hunting dinos. In the comic book adaptation, you play as a Native American time-traveler sent to the barrier of Earth and the “lost land” to stop the evil Campaigner’s scheme to rule Earth.
Aside from killing raptors and fictional dinosaurs, the game really doesn’t have too much to offer. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is more of a novelty than anything and not even a convincing one. Granted, I’ve never touched the scales of a prehistoric beast, but I’m pretty sure you can’t penetrate its skin with a bow and arrow. The premise was a good thought, but in the end, it was just plain overrated.
8. Battlefield 3
Surprisingly, Battlefield 3 is the eleventh installment of the Battlefield franchise can also take place in the air during dogfights. The game itself is your run of the mill military first-person shooter with great graphics and lots of guns to kill people with. The game truly shines with the PC version which has a possible 64 players at once.
This game would not make my list if it weren’t for the plastering of ads all over the place for nearly a year leading up to its release. It could be understandable if it were something special, but it doesn’t exactly split the atom. Battlefield 3 is pretty much what you think of when you hear FPS; shooting and dodging bullets. This game is incredibly overrated because of the obscene amount of marketing that it threw in our faces until its release and quite a bit after too.
7. Doom (2016)
The first Doom in 1993 set the standard for non-military FPS. You play as a space suit-adorned marine who must fight demons on the planet of mars and eventually in the depths of hell. Originally named Doom 4, Doom (2016) began development in 2008 in a more urban setting until scrapped in 2011 when id decided to start again from scratch. The final product, released in 2016, returned to the roots of the first two games in the 90s where you gun down and chainsaw your way through imps, demons, and lost souls.
The game could have been the perfect reboot to the original if it weren’t for the overactive hype and the failed multiplayer mode which was critically slammed by nearly everyone. They spent eight years making this game, trying to remain real to the essence of the franchise, and failed by introducing an online element that has no business in Doom.
Halo debuted a “new generation” of first-person shooters at the launch of the original Xbox. At the time it was one of the only reasons to purchase Microsoft’s experimental console. Halo is a science fiction military first-person shooter that puts you in control of Master Chief. During the game, you will battle a plethora of aliens called the Covenant. When it was released in 2001, you couldn’t meet a person that hadn’t heard of Halo; even if they weren’t a gamer.
Despite triggering a televised tournament, this FPS was extremely overrated for what it was. Halo hadn’t exactly broken new ground in terms of gameplay or graphics. Let’s be honest, if it hadn’t been released immediately (or been released on other platforms) it and the Xbox itself would have floundered faster than the 3DO. Halo and all its kin are ridiculously overrated.
5. Alien Versus Predator
In 1994, long before the release of the AVP films, there was a slew of failed video consoles including 3DO, CD-i, and the Atari Jaguar. The highest grossing game of the Jaguar, selling 50,000 copies, was called Alien versus Predator. In one of the earliest of the AVP games, you get to choose between an Alien, a Predator, or a colonial marine (aka prey). Visually, the game looked like Wolfenstein 3D with a demonic skin and polished graphics.
The travesty in Alien versus Predator lies in the release, and it baffles the mind why they didn’t attempt to put it on multiple platforms. Jaguar would be Atari’s last console and perhaps they hoped that AVP would be enough of a reason for people to buy the console just for a chance to play as a Predator slashing up aliens and humans. Sadly, it was too overrated, and most gamers saw through the hype.
4. Resistance: Fall Of Man
About a decade ago, the gaming community was clamoring for the next-generation of gaming consoles, the PS3 and Xbox 360. Both consoles released their own iconic shooters, which they, in turn, plastered all over gaming magazines and televisions nationwide. PS3’s game was called Resistance: Fall of Man, which featured an alien force called the Chimera invading Earth in the early 1900s. The game itself was set in the early 1950s.
It was a rather interesting concept, having America moving into Europe to save the English from the alien force. The game received less than stellar reviews in Europe as the Church of England deemed it sacrilegious in nature thanks to its scenes in Manchester Cathedral. It is considered overrated because when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s just another military FPS with “a new threat.”
3. Borderlands 2
The Borderlands franchise set a new standard when it released, thanks to its revolutionary artistic style. The game is considered more of an action role-playing game with a first-person perspective than a straight up first-person shooter. The game crossed over to the PS Vita with dumbed down graphics and sloppy audio which profoundly affected the game’s quality.
Sadly, Borderlands is riddled with DLC that makes the game feel incomplete more over than not. One would think that a game with so many optional purchases would release the base game at a discount, but no.
2. Bioshock Infinite
In late 2012, you couldn’t turn on the TV or flip through a magazine (of any nature) without seeing the innovative art styling of the upcoming Bioshock Infinite video game. Commercials would play on television, and you’d have to ponder whether it was cutscenes or the actual gameplay since the game itself was so beautiful. Finally, the game itself released in March of 2013 and was greeted with phenomenal reviews.
Everybody praised the game for its story, setting, and artistic style. It even pushed the envelope by implementing edgy racism and religious elements. All these things make a fictional adventure fascinating. However, everything that’s interesting about Bioshock Infinite is locked inside a cutscene. From a gameplay perspective, Bioshock Infinite is lacking. The game was an overrated mess because of its odd need to be a FPS when it could have succeeded in a different medium altogether.
1. Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
When someone mentions the category of first-person shooter nowadays, you instantly think Call of Duty. They have been the front-runner over the past decade not because they are the best, but because of how much product they can put out; quantity over quality. But we all thought that would change when they first starting hyping Call of Duty: Black Ops II. It could because we anticipated a brand new chapter in the franchise or maybe because we were hoping for a first-person shooter as great as PS2’s Black.
Unfortunately, despite the three-hour lines that snaked around Gamestop’s entrance at 11:58 pm, the game itself disappointed their fans. It sold extremely well, but why? Many would argue that Call of Duty: Black Ops II is more of a yearly update than an actual sequel, and that makes it the most overrated FPS of all time.
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