February 5, 2010 - It's no secret the first-person shooter market is fiercely competitive. Between endless sequels and new properties vying for a spot on the frontline, the genre's more cluttered than a Covenant morgue following a firefight with Master Chief. From alien attacks and modern military melees, to post-apocalyptic disasters and zombie invasions, players have been placed behind the crosshairs for all imaginable scenarios. Still, the ear-rattling sound of a shotgun blast and the blinding glow of a muzzle flash continues to keep us coming back to score head-shots, save worlds, and, of course, blow stuff up with unbridled abandon. 2010 is already shaping up to be another fraggin' good year. And while we'll still be subjected to the usual line-up of Call of Duty clones and Halo-wannabes in the coming months, we can also count on plenty of new reasons to lock and load. With that in mind, we shine the spotlight on five upcoming FPS entries that look more fresh than formulaic.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Electronic Arts, DICE)
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Sequel to 2008's surprise hit, this one reunites gamers with the ragtag B-Company crew. Joined by Sarge, Sweetwater, and Haggard, players again get behind the high-tech hardware of Preston Marlowe for explosive firefights in an all new modern-day Cold War conflict.
Sure, the title's modern military aesthetic will look familiar to anyone who blasted their way through Activsion's unstoppable Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but Bad Company separates itself from the me-too pack in some significant areas. For starters, the series brings back its chaos-causing Frostbite engine; turning structures into flaming piles of rubble, creating paths that were never there, and filling your HD display with plenty of eye-popping explosive effects are just a few things DICE's proprietary tech is really good at.
When you're not turning enemy cover spots into firewood though, you'll be tooling around in a variety of vehicles. This franchise is famous for putting players in the cockpit, and BC2 doesn't disappoint in this respect. From choppers and tanks, to boats and ATVs, well-armed transportation is never more than a bullet-riddled trek away. Take the wheel or hop behind a turret; either way, you can plan on unleashing hell on the bad guys. On top of its defining destruction tech and pilotable vehicles, this one carves its own path with pedigreed multiplayer offerings. Whether fragging friends online or thwarting evil-doers in the campaign, BC2 gives you plenty of reasons to jump into battle.
BioShock 2 (2K Games, 2K Marin)
Release Date: Release Date: February 9, 2010
This sequel to 2007's game-of-the-year garnering shooter invites players back to the soggy depths of failed utopia Rapture. It's ten years later, and a new threat has taken charge of the creepy underwater world. Crazed splicers, Adam-gathering Little Sisters, and dive suit-sporting Big Daddys all return to greet gamers in this atmospheric follow-up.
BioShock was as much about unspooling a great story as it was shooting baddies, and its sequel continues on this rich narrative path. An all new terrifying tale is complemented by the introduction of new enemies such as the hulking Brute Splicer and Big Sister, as well as a host of colorful new characters that'll help-and hinder-your journey.