A small number of very bold games had a big impact on a lot of the third-person shooter games we play today.
There aren’t that few third-person shooting games out there these days. In fact, it has been one of the most famous subgenres for a long time. However, developers didn’t know how to make a third-person shooter until a few ambitious games changed the way they thought about them forever.
Many of these games showed how fast-paced and action-packed gameplay could be made much better by switching to a third-person camera instead of a first-person one. In the early 2000s, third-person shooter games really started to make a name for themselves as something completely new, fresh, and different.
Many of the third-person shooters we see today are made up of systems and improvements from similar games that came before them. Each game builds on the next to make amazing games that show how much a fixed third-person camera angle can improve the quality of a game as a whole.
When the first Tomb Raider came out in 1996, it was the first time that moving in a 3D world was so smooth and natural. While the game’s visuals certainly show their age nowadays. It’s hard to argue that flipping between platforms and leaping around in tombs isn’t still as fun today as it was over two decades ago.
It’s easy to see this game’s influence in action-adventure third-person shooters like Uncharted. The Tomb Raider reboot series, which came out not too long ago, has also helped show what kind of game Core Design was trying to make with this first release.
Ratchet & Clank (2002)
The first Ratchet & Clank was a third-person game that was fast, crazy, and a lot of fun. It was made so that players could get back into the action as soon as possible. Even though Ratchet can buy new weapons and talk to some important NPCs, he will spend most of the game using unique and destructive weapons to kill hordes of enemies and get to the next checkpoint.
Many fast-paced third-person shooters use this gameplay loop now. But it was Ratchet & Clank that made it famous and showed that it could work as long as the story and fights were interesting from beginning to end.
The Evil Within 2
Before The Evil Within 2 came out in 2017, there weren’t many horror games that were able to successfully mix an open world with a strange story and a tense atmosphere. However, Tango Gameworks pretty much nailed it in the sequel to the cult classic original game.
With a tightly focused over-the-shoulder camera angle, players will control detective Sebastian Castellanos and have to explore the STEM system, looking for every last bullet they can get their hands on to stay alive and a few hidden weapons along the way. Evil Within 2 proved that open-world third-person horror games don’t have to be slow or boring.
Star Wars Battlefront (2004)
At the time, the huge battles that players could jump into when they turned on the original Star Wars Battlefront were truly amazing. The game was often called one of the best online games of all time. Because of how customizable it was and how great its Galactic Conquest mode was.
Halo had shown years before how fun a multiplayer mode could be. But Battlefront increased the size of the battles and gave the player a completely different view thanks to the zoomed-out camera. This meant that players could avoid explosions and bullets by rolling around or by strafing quickly as a powerful Jedi or Sith Lord.
Army Of Two
The Army of Two series is really underrated because the stories and personalities aren’t very interesting. However, the gameplay was very innovative for the time and has a few key mechanics that were very risky. But turned out to be very good.
This was especially true with the Aggro system, in which one player would shoot at targets to get their attention and let the other player quickly kill a few of them from the side. From then on, all third-person co-op shooters would have to have this feature. Army of Two was the first game to really try with the gameplay. And AI of the genre in a way that had never been done before.
After Basket Random was a huge hit, Shinji Mikami made a few very different and creative games, like God Hand and Shadows of the Damned, but Vanquish was the one that really blew gamers away with its fast-paced action and cutting-edge gameplay.
As soon as players become the cocky and quick-witted super soldier Sam Gideon. They can use Sam’s rocket boots to fly around the stages and slow down time with the Augmented Reaction (AR) system to get the perfect shot in the middle of all the chaos. Vanquish took what made the cover shooter part of third-person shooters so fun and added some explosive action to it. It also gave the “Bullet Hell” shooter genre from the 1990s a brand new third-person camera, bringing it into the current day.
Spec Ops: The Line
When Spec Ops: The Line came out, it seemed like there were already a dozen third-person war games. So many people thought it was just another basic shooter that wouldn’t be anything special. After all, the game’s marketing and cover made it seem like that was all it was. However, people didn’t know that this was a plan to totally change the third-person subgenre.
First-person shooters like Doom had been violent and bloody in the past. But after Gears of War came out of nowhere, blood and violence became more associated with third-person shooters. This was the norm for many years until Spec Ops: The Line. Which is mostly a criticism of the mindless killing players had become used to in shooter games. Since Spec Ops came out, many shooters have had as their main message that it’s hard to decide. If it’s right or wrong to kill waves of enemies without mercy.
Gears Of War
First-person shooters were the go-to for multiplayer games for a few years. Because they forced players to peek out of cover. This led to chaotic but fun gunfights, but Gears of War showed that “cover shooters” could be just as exciting or even more so than anything first-person games could make.
With the touch of a button, players could quickly hide behind cover. This made the game feel fast and fluid because players didn’t have to stay in one place for too long. The perfect repeat system and dangerous weapons that kill in one shot would make every fight very fast-paced. With skilled players being able to jump around maps and kill people with shotguns and revolvers that are incredibly powerful. Gears of War not only started the third-person cover-based style. But it also managed to perfect it in a way that no one could have predicted.
Resident Evil 4
Even though many third-person shooter games tried to be as intense and chaotic as possible. It was hard for them to keep a consistent camera angle that didn’t just wander around aimlessly. With the release of Resident Evil 4, Capcom found an angle that almost every third-person game would use from then on.
As players shot their way through swarms of dangerous Ganado to save the president’s daughter. The camera was close to Leon’s shoulder. Making it easy to control him and make shooting easier and more accurate than ever. This also let players do exciting melee attacks on enemies, which was never possible in first-person games. The game really showed what the third-person shooter subgenre was capable of. Even being able to totally change a classic horror genre.