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In Traditional FPS developers are fond of a linear level & story design , players progress mainly in the "Run-Shoot-Run" way, as this genre evolves, more and more innovative ideas merge in and here come the FPS sub genres

Mario Hsu, Blogger

July 13, 2015

7 Min Read

In Traditional FPS developers are fond of a linear level & story design , players progress mainly in the "Run-Shoot-Run" way, as this genre evolves, more and more innovative ideas merge in and here come the FPS sub genres


1.Survival horror


    In this sub genre,enemies are scary and powerful , players have limited supply and ammo with which they have to be very careful to proceed and explore , the aura is intense and will never put a player into sleep , for example like DOOM 3,Zombie U,Left 4 Dead ,Bioshock and Alien:isolation


Detector in Alien:isolation, it's pretty realistic that the main screen blurs when player focus on this , or the detector screen blurs when focus on the main screen.It also exposes the location of player when use it too near an enemy



Though it's rare for placing your player into complete dark place , in Doom 3 it's common to find you've been surrounded by a herd of zombies after turn on the flashlight



In Left 4 dead 2,zombies will attack relentlessly the player that got spitted by a boomer



Crazy face lifting doctor "Steinman" , the bloody scenes in Bioshock visually cause great depression to players



2.Tactical FPS


  This sub genre combines gameplay of strategy games,except the main character,players can also give order to teammates to reach specific place,focus fire or change battle strategy , like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six/Ghost Recon,SWAT and Delta force series



The tactic map in Rainbow Six 3,also the core fun of this game , it's challenging to decide how each squad moves,players can even just observe how they perform in the real task with preordained route 




In SWAT 4,as team leader , player can give lots of orders to team members , equipping each member properly is the key to gain a high score



3.Role playing FPS


     In this type of FPS game , players may be able to to customize the look of their characters , allocate points to the skills that suits their playing style , choose dialog from multiple ones that can even effect how the game proceeds, collect equipment and items from a huge library or other things a player can do in RPG games .In the meanwhile , the game worlds are usually more open than in other types,we got typical role playing FPS like Fallout,Borderlands,System Shock,Deus EX,S.T.A.L.K.E.R series and Far Cry 3 etc.



As forerunner in this sub genre,System Shock set the standard with a complex of item and skill system for games followed



 Character customization section in Fallout 3



Like Diablo,There are massive equipement for player to collect in Borderlands 



Skill tree in Far Cry 3,player can choose her favorite depending on whether she is aggressive or stealth killing fun , similar to GTA , interest points in the map manage to create non-linear experience for player



S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl also features a open word to explore,under the backpack space and weight limitation , a player must consider carefully what to keep 



4.Miscellaneous FPS Derive 


    Because of the popularity of first person perspective game and the fact that it can produce more immersive experience , this camera perspective is also adapted by games of other type in the market ,like Minecraft and Mirror‘s Edge.Valve's Portal technically belongs to 3D space puzzle game ,with the setting of its portal gun,it also feels like playing a FPS to some extent


the Portal gun in "Portal" can also be zoomed to aim more precisely





5.Multiplayer FPS


     Most FPS have multiplayer mode , and there are also multiplayer-focus games like Titan fall,Counter Strike and Unreal Tournament,the multiplayer modes can be generally divided into the following categories:


  • Free for all:it appears in almost every FPS game featuring multiplayer mode ,games of this category are more entertaining than competitive and friendly enough for player who is still getting familiar to the game while would appreciate a bit challenge

  • Death Match:Survive as long as possible or kill the most enemies


Halo - oddball mode,holding a shinning skull can be very hard to ignore,for everyone wants it to score

  • Infection:A popular mode recently,players will be assigned randomly to survivor or infector camp , survivor can use guns and other equipment while infectors can only melee attack but have more health and move faster ,  a survivor will be converted to infector after getting killed , so the teammate standing next to you may become you enemy in the next second 

  • Teamwork:There are many modes in this category , testing how well players are familiar with the level and cooperate with each other , presenting challenges that require right balance between attack and defense 

  • Domination:Opposite sides fight for limited resource sites in the map, capture them to score and the winner will be the side that reach certain score first. Some derived rules can be seen like in King of the hill mode of Halo , a player has to enter a zone to score  ,and Chain Link mode in Battlefield 4, which needs more strategy consideration 

Battlefield 4-chain link mode , capture sites that can be linked will make them give more score than separated ones  


  • Capture the flag:Fetch opponent's flag  , deliver it back to the base , score one if your own flag is not taken by enemy. There are also derived rules like Extraction mode in Crysis 3 , it's non-symmetry , one side attacks while the other defends in a single round of game , then they'll exchange role to make it balance. Usually a flag bearer can only melee attack or fight with given weapon ,but in some games flag will be dropped if its bearer attacks

    • Target Driven:

    • Destroy Target:First a condition must be meet,like get a bomb or shut down enemy’s defense facility ,then the team destroying the target first will win,With derived rules ,the target can be set to a player ,as in VIP mode,players are required to kill opponent's VIP player ,the Pilot Hunter mode in Titanfall also belongs to this type

Unreal tournament 3 - Warfare mode,players attack the Prime Node first,if succeeded,enemy's energy core will be vulnerable to attack


  • Reach Target:Players will not destroy targets , instead they just need to enter or carry specific item into destination so as to score ,like the Blitz mode in Cod:Ghost,and Uplink mode in COD:Advanced Warfare

COD:Ghost - blitz mode,Slide action is useful in this mode


  • Team Death match:In this type ,player can not respawn during one round of game or can respawn only limited times , so it demands higher skills and  is favored in eSport matches .Except eliminate all opponent‘s players to win a game ,derived rules also combine the winning condition seen in above categories , like classic Hostage Rescue and Bomb Defusal mode in Counter Strike


Counter Strike - Hostage Rescue mode,it's essentially non-symmetry capture the flag mode


Counter Strike - Bomb Defusal mode has multiple winning condition ,that makes people play it again and again


Battlefield 4 -Squad Death match,Players are separated from two teams up to four squads

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