The FPS: Falling out of Favor With the Critics

The first Modern Warfare scored off the charts but since then...

The first Modern Warfare scored off the charts but since then…

The first-person shooter is often a hot topic of conversation among gamers, primarily due to the immense popularity of Call of Duty. This generated a new obsession with the genre in the industry.

However, maybe nobody has noticed, but shooters haven’t exactly been dragging down the highest review scores lately.

The game that arguably started it all the previous generation, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, holds an average Metascore of 94 (Xbox 360 and PS3) and 92 (PC). Battlefield: Bad Company and the follow-up, Bad Company 2 average in the low-to-high 80s, with many major sources handing out high 8s to the sequel. Killzone 2 has a Metascore of 91, and Resistance: Fall of Man has an 86.

Battlefield 4 didn't manage to score as high as previous entries...

Battlefield 4 didn’t manage to score as high as previous entries…

If you look at subsequent entries in all these franchises, scores have declined steadily, especially in the CoD and Battlefield franchises. Last year, Ghosts only managed scores in the high 60s and 70s, for instance, and Battlefield 4 fell to around 80. Killzone: Shadow Fall registered a 73 overall Metascore.

The interesting part is that it seems to becoming very difficult for a shooter to land a 90+ average critical score (for the record, we don’t count games like Bioshock as “shooters” when discussing this particular genre). So, what will it take to wow critics again? What will it take for a FPS to pull down reviews like the original Modern Warfare?

Killzone 2 was fantastic, the critics liked Killzone 3, too, but Shadow Fall...

Killzone 2 was fantastic, the critics liked Killzone 3, too, but Shadow Fall…

Perhaps the better question is: How much more innovation can we infuse into that particular game style? Many say Respawn Entertainment did a good job with Titanfall, but even that has failed to top the lofty 90+ plateau (it’s averaging around an 86 or 87). The next obvious question is, what would it take for an FPS to be considered a legitimate Game of the Year threat?

Can anyone remember the last time a FPS really ran away with a lot of the end-of-year awards? The closest would be one of the Far Crys or Borderlands 2, but you can see how those are a definite twist on the standard military shooter formula.

…perhaps it’s this formula that’s starting to fall out of favor with the critics, and not the more general FPS category.

7 thoughts on “The FPS: Falling out of Favor With the Critics”

It’s just because shooters, especially military shooters, have grown stagnant.

Contrary to popular opinion, critics aren’t all idiots who just like anything that’s popular. In fact, many times, the opposite is true.

Exactly this.

It really is just the military shooters that are scoring lower these days, and rightfully so.

Maybe this is a sign that developers should try something NEW.

I know Titanfall is supposed to be all sorts of refreshing but I dunno…I’ve seen plenty of gameplay and it doesn’t look like much more than a glorified shooter.

I really just think it’s a matter of boredom. Once we had the first few CoDs set in modern times (a modern military shooter), I think gamers and critics were just like, “Okay, can we move on now?”

Exactly. It’s flat-out boredom.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

I’m not sure critics had such a problem with the repetition and lack of innovation in FPSs. I just don’t remember seeing a lot of reviews that complained about this, so I can’t be sure the critics even deducted points for such flaws.

And remember, to some people, those AREN’T flaws. Know how Final Fantasy and Resident Evil fans freaked out when those franchises changed? Well, I doubt FPS fans want their favorite games to change, right…?

I just think developers aren’t doing enough with the admittedly standard formula, that’s all. And that’s what critics have a problem with, IMO.

It’s sort of a double-standard, but I think you’re over-complicating things. FPS fans don’t want their favorite games to change, of course, but the games themselves aren’t offering much in the way of innovation (while staying within the genre formula).

I think that’s what annoys critics.

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