Top 10 Innovations FPS

Published on February 24th, 2011

This week sees the release of EA, Epic and People Can Fly’s , a shooter that actually threatens to do something a little bit new in a tired but incredibly popular genre. So what other innovations have there been in the history of gaming’s favourite violence simulators?

Charge Shield (Halo)
Single-handedly changed the concept of health in gaming, and completely altered the flow of the FPS. Skirmishes were now won through thought and tactics above attrition. The only downside? Not many games have giant floating rotisserie chickens any more. Oh well, you can’t have it all.

Iron Sights (Operation Flashpoint, Medal Of Honor)
Question. Do kids playing ‘army’ in the playground now hold their twigs up to their eyes with the butt stump pressed into their shoulder? If they do, then their parents shouldn’t be letting them play COD. Anyway, before Op Flashpoint, FPS games used to make you spray your load from the hip like some sort of hyper-accurate Fonz. Halo still does. Makes you wonder who really is in that suit.

Snap To Enemy (Call Of Duty 2)
To compensate for the lack of accuracy that comes from wielding two thumbsticks instead of a mouse, console FPS developers have sneakily made your gun ‘snap’ to an enemy when they’re in your sights. It means pop-and-shoot brain-funk like COD’s single player is that much easier, and that much more satisfying. Less good when your sights start following an enemy around a corner without you pressing anything. It makes you feel possessed. By a demon who is crap at shooters.

Free Look (Duke Nukem 3D, Dark Forces, Quake)
Before this holy triumverate, shooters pretty much aimed for you. Remember that Imp on the ledge on Doom’s first level? Yeah. He should have known better than standing on that ledge. Higher ground was about as worthy as an Amiga platform game. Suddenly, when Quake allowed you to look anywhere, the concept of real FPS aiming was born, and the multiplayer scene exploded. Not literally. This also led to a second analogue becoming standard on console controllers, and an entire generation of non-gamers who will now never be able to circumnavigate a 3D world. Sorry guys.

Skill Shots (Bulletstorm)
Time will tell what sort of influence this one will have, but Bulletstorm’s ‘kill with skill’ is a fantastic twist on an increasingly dull genre. The fact that it actively forces you to be creative in order to unlock the best gear is a masterstroke too. Helps if your sense of humour finds relentlessly creative dick jokes funny. You dick-fisher.

Levelling Up (Counter Strike, Call Of Duty 4)
Also known as ‘what you did with your life’. It shouldn’t be as compelling as it is, but getting those little numbers is like fast food for the brain; constant and never-ending rewards for basically doing very little. If real life was so thankful for us existing within it, we’d never stay inside. As it is, we never go outside. And when we do, we see numbers everywhere. Like Hurley from Lost, but thinner and poorer.

Gravity Gun (Half Life 2)
Or Portal Gun. Or at a stretch, Plasmids. Anything really innovative in an FPS that’s used for something other than murderisation. At the time, the Gravity Gun was the greatest thing ever because it allowed us to play with these new ‘physics’ things that were all the rage. And it let us play a game of catch with a giant robot-dog-bear-robot.

Weapon Limiting (Halo)
Back in the day, FPS characters could carry all the weapons on earth on their backs, or in their pockets. Halo’s 2 weapon system forced you to be selective with your death-dealing, and also limited certain sections to specific loadouts. Almost every game does it now, and it feels fresh to play something that gives you back the power of infini-pockets.

Destruction (Battlefield Bad Company, Red Faction)
This one is still in its infancy. Red Faction’s blastiness was good to look at but didn’t really change the battlefield (pun, unfortunately, intended). Bad Company’s, though, really did. There’s no use taking cover in a house if that house is about to fall down. Makes you think on your feet in a way no other FPS has managed.

Running (Counterstrike)
Running in FPS games is good, apart from the fact that most soldiers in these games can only run for about 4 seconds without coughing up a pancreas. The aforementioned tubbington Hurley-From-Lost can run for longer than that. And he doesn’t even need a special perk. Just fries.


Be Sociable, Share!
    Top 10 Innovations FPS

    GRID Autosport, The Evil Within, Valiant Hearts, Space Hulk, Supraball and Homefront: The Revolution star in this intriguingly varied issue of our free-to-read .

    Download Now!

    Related Stories


    1. Posted by MoogleEmpMog on June 1st, 2012, 08:48

      Reading this, I’m reminded of why shooters have grown less fun with every passing year. This list contains all of two things (mouselook and destructible environments) that I wouldn’t consider at best an interesting change of pace but nothing to make standard (regenerating health and skillshots), or just awful (everything else).

      • Posted by wootnessguy on July 4th, 2012, 23:19

        your fucking dumb

        • Posted by Chpt.VI on August 30th, 2012, 15:44

          You might want to go back to junior school and learn your grammar before calling other people dumb.

      • Posted by bagel on August 26th, 2012, 00:04

        Yup, Moogle, I agree completely. I think games of all genres have tanked. There are so many games now, and they’re all the same crap. Unfortunately, most people value graphics and flash over truly unique gameplay. I haven’t been a gamer for about 5 years, and I don’t miss it.

    2. Posted by biob on June 30th, 2012, 21:16

      um. you cant run in counterstrike. hav eu ever even played half the fuckn games u listed here?

    3. Posted by DFL on July 22nd, 2012, 02:34

      Not one mention of Tribes and the legacy Tribes brought to the fps genre. List is bupkis, zero credibility.

    4. Posted by Brian on July 27th, 2012, 02:22

      What about the first game to bring in alternate firing? Was it Unreal Tournament?

    5. Posted by David Miller on August 6th, 2012, 00:53

      The problem with these is that they are all being used to much. I don’t want every game I play to have everything in this list, but most games that come out do. Its almost sad that at this point in time having a health bar would almost be considered innovating.

    6. Posted by Luis on August 6th, 2012, 14:45

      Goldeneye 007 for N64 was the first FPS that different body parts received different damage. This means, it’s the first game where shooting on the head instantly kills, while limbs only hurt. It’s the most important change in FPS ever.

    7. Posted by Christopher S on August 10th, 2012, 01:05

      I fully expected to find Max Payne on here for Bullet Time.

    8. Posted by Skigress on August 19th, 2012, 04:53

      You could run in Doom II… that kinda annoyed me to see it not mentioned.

    9. Posted by Wintercell on August 28th, 2012, 09:44

      You only had 2 guns in counterstrike…Before HALO,
      BUT… you could run in HALO but not in Counterstrike.
      sorry mate… play more

    10. Posted by Blujacker on September 15th, 2012, 01:43

      HOLY SHIT, is the guy that made this retarded? Half of the fucking facts there are wrong or they just are not “TOP INNOVATIONS”. I mean really, look into the games before shitposting garbage like this…

    11. Posted by Sean on October 20th, 2012, 22:26

      Snap to Enemy is the single worst product of this console generation, Period. And I say that having played every single FPS and TPS with a controller, both on PC and console.

      It takes the skill requirement out of the game and literally turns combat into a mindless slog. It doesn’t require tactics, it doesn’t require dexterity, it just requires you to put your cursor vaguely in the general direction of an enemy and press two buttons quickly.

      As far as I’m concerned, snap to enemy should Never, Ever, EVER be implemented in anything.

      Charge Shield is another thing that, while fun for certain games flat out ruined others. The thing about charged shields in the original halo was that it was merely the crutch that prevented you from utterly failing if your health was low.

      It was an addition, not a standalone feature. It gave players just enough breathing room to salvage an extremely low health save without having to resort to painful, frustrating, useless trial and error in an attempt to inch their way forward until they found another health pack.

      You can plainly see what happens when you take charge shield to its logical conclusion with Halo 3; insanely overpowered, nigh indestructible Master Chief that requires vast quantities of bullet sponge enemies just to present a modicum of challenge and the inclusion of a difficulty modifier system (skulls) just to reach what the first game provided on its own.

      Why do you think Bungie returned to health packs in ODST and Reach? Because they’re smart and they saw what their mechanic did to their franchise.

      Skill shots and gravity gun/plasmids are both niche features only really applicable if you build your game around them. As such I wouldn’t really say they are true innovations in the strictest sense. Yeah they were innovative, but they can’t really directly benefit the industry as a whole. They can provide potential avenues for development, but when are you going to see a gravity gun in 70% of shooters and have it actually fit within the context of the game?

      Weapon limits is completely subjective. I like it for the tactical considerations it brings to combat but at the same time it dramatically reduces the variety of gameplay available to the player at any given time and in many cases, due to the scarcity of ammo, forces the player to just pick up whatever weapon they find lying on the ground rather than one they actually enjoy using.

    12. Posted by Brian on October 26th, 2012, 22:59

      Gears of War started the 3rd person view. I think that was an entire genre changer.

      This is honestly a pretty shitty list.

      • Posted by Jake on October 27th, 2012, 05:46

        First of all, I’d like to point out that you CAN run in Counter-Strike. It was always-on by default. You could either set to toggle or hold for walking or crouch-walking. But you could run. And it was always-on. Fucking dumbshit reply posters.

        Also, Brian, Gears of War didn’t have a single INNOVATIVE thing that I can recall. It stole everything it had from Halo or CounterStrike or wherever. As for third person view … Yeah, totally new, right? Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 Jedi Outcast didn’t have it? Most of the Star Wars games didn’t have it? COUNTER STRIKE EVEN HAS IT IF YOU KNOW HOW TO ACCESS IT. Dumbshit.

        As for the OP – the one who created this article… I’m not saying that Counter Strike STARTED the weapon limiting thing, cause I don’t know … But CS sure had it LONG before Halo did. Oh PS, most of the innovations that “counter strike” created… Wasn’t a creation of Counter Strike. Counter Strike was not made by a company, but by an individual – HALF-LIFE was made by Valve. Valve later claimed Counter Strike (which was a mod spawned from Half -Life).

        There are a few other problems with posters and even the OP on here.. So let’s just leave it at you are ALL pretty equally dumb shit talkers that don’t know what you’re talking about. Adios.

        • Posted by Brian on October 27th, 2012, 07:42

          my email is

          I’ll give you my address if you email me

          I’d like to hear you call me a dumbshit in person

    13. Posted by Brian on October 27th, 2012, 07:41

      Gears of War Innovations:
      ->Reloading requires more then one button press
      ->Reviving a downed squadmate
      ->Executing a downed enemy
      ->An intuitive cover system

      …. the list goes on

      You can’t compare counterstrike to Gears of War…. I bought Half-Life the day it came out and played Counterstrike before Gearbox got there check from Sierra to go on and make the games they do now
      Gears of War its entire own genre of third-person shooters…..

      What Counter-Strike and Gears of War do have in common is that they are tactical combat pick-up rounds…. Counter-Strike was a defining moment in FPS history in my opinion…. Gears of War being the next one

      And don’t call anyone names over the computer, I don’t know you and you wouldn’t say that to my face… so don’t do it here

      • Posted by pp pete on May 23rd, 2013, 14:58

        gears of war sucks, its a game where u just must to run, cover, grenade, shot, run, cover, greanade shot till u finish it

        and u suck… “u wouldnt say that to my face” pff… jerk…

    14. Posted by Jesus McSavage on November 2nd, 2012, 18:28

      Hey Brian, you’re a dumbshit because you posted your email address, real smart, D-U-M-B-S-H-I-T. Figured I would spell it out for you because you’re clearly a laymen.

    15. Posted by FrankenPC on March 29th, 2013, 17:37

      I would say the open sandbox was one of the greatest FPS innovations. Walking off the rails is incredible.

    Want us to email you when we publish a new magazine? Subscribe: