• The Endangered Genre of Tactical Shooters

    Tactical shooters can be truly amazing games; intense tests of tactical planning, execution, and coordination, in a more high stakes real-time shooter game format, not giving you time to pause and think things through. Scenario planning and execution is what sets this genre apart from other shooters. "Tactical shooter" is a term that is used too loosely in the gaming industry today. In this article we will introduce you to some serious tactical shooters, and explore the endangerment this genre currently faces.

    Compared to tactical shooters, the opposing type of shooters are those filled with entropy. Entropy describes most of the Battlefield franchise, especially all of the recent ones. Entropy is the nature of Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes with lots of players. It is even inherent to Battlefield's Conquest mode and modes that strongly resemble it like Territory in Rising Storm/Red Orchestra 2 as well as Domination mode in Call of Duty. Yes, even Rising Storm/Red Orchestra 2 can hardly be called a tactical shooter. Join any server and you will see how entropic it is; players running around everywhere with only the most basic coordination thanks to the presence of a commander (something that was only recently reintroduced to the Battlefield franchise).

    In Battlefield's Conquest and Red Orchestra's Territory modes, the goal is to hold more points (small areas on the map) than the enemy. Two teams of players spawn on opposite sides of the map, with capture points being in between, so each team will generally pursue them linearly. A player in the role of commander tells the team which points to pursue (the exception being all Battlefield games released after Battlefield 2142 and before Battlefield 4, since these had no commander mode). So there is some loose suggestion of tactics here, but let's examine this further; the commander tells the team what point to pursue, but how they get there is a matter of sprinting around in no formation whatsoever. And there is the source of entropy and lack of tactics in these games, that along with the fact that this game mode (Conquest in Battlefield, Territory in Rising Storm/Red Orchestra, Domination in Call of Duty) is too simple to be very tactical.

    Battlefield does have a much more tactical mode though, and it is called Titan in Battlefield 2142, and Carrier Assault in Battlefield 4 is inspired by it.

    As you can see, this game mode is far more demanding of team coordination and tactics. Many steps have to be performed together in order to win the match by bringing down the enemy's Titan. You can't just shoot it down or anything, as it has a powerful defensive shield and it's massive. Even boarding a Titan is a process and first requires neutralizing the shield, which requires controlling missile systems on the ground.

    The battle will be fought on one or both Titans and also on the ground to control the missile systems. Balancing where to go at different times adds tactical complexity. Fighting your way through an enemy Titan is also not a straightforward process but an actual procedure.

    All of these elements add a type of complexity that is logical and increases teamwork and tactics. That is the difference between tactical Battlefield (Titan) and not so tactical Battlefield (Conquest and Rush). Then there is Project Reality mod for Battlefield 2, which has spawned a recent game called Squad.

    And this is just the beginning of the article using a common, popular example. As far as tactical shooters go, Battlefield 2142 on Titan mode is still entry level. Other specific examples will follow on the next pages. But just see this Battlefield example and ask yourself if you see games like this thriving today. You do not, especially when you consider the other positive attributes of Battlefield 2142 like its free customizable dedicated server included with the game, and its moddability, both of which are also totally removed from the franchise.

    The games presented on the next pages are all easily obtainable and playable today on modern systems. We want to introduce you to amazing tactical shooters, and we hope you give them a try. None of these games have any issues supporting modern systems and large resolutions (2560 x 1440 144 Hz tested for all, 3840 x 2160 tested for some).