Ok this is where I start running into problems because I've played less of the new FPS releases than usual this year.
This is due to three main reasons:
One - They're all looking fairly similar these days
Two - There are too many world-war based ones
Three - Half Life 2 Episode 3 was not released or announced
Seriously though I was only waiting for a handful of titles this year (one of which is a mod!), only three of which were released. So here we go:
I was a great fan of the first Fear game, which is amongst some of the scariest gaming I've ever played, saying that another is Daggerfall so that probably say too much...
Fear 2 had got some pretty average reviews before I'd even downloaded it from Steam, nearly all complaining about the ending of the game. Which kind of made me hope they were all being silly and that the ending was actually ok. Unfortunately they were right, it's one of the shortest full price FPS games I've ever played, feeling about the length of the Half Life add-on, Opposing Force.
The reason it's in my top 3 for the year however is to do with what they filled that time with. It wasn't just walk-aim-shoot but instead there were some memorable spooky moments, such as when you are walking down an ordinary looking corridoor and suddenly infront of you there is the shadow of Elma (the ghostly image of the little girl that this is all about) but very soon you realise that the shadow is being cast from behind you so you turn around and...well, that's something that you'd have to find out if you've not played it!
I never played FarCry one past the first big boat that you came across near the beginning. The corny one liners and uncomfortable feel of the game completely put me off, plus I was expecting something far more amazing after everyone I knew had talked it up so much.
So when I read a few reviews making out that this didn't live up to the first one I was quite keen to play it! And I wasn't disapointed at all.
There were some absolutely fantastic bits, the choice of weapons was wide enough to find something useful that you could use most of the time but small enough to have no pointless baggage. But the best bit is the actual gameplay - something missed by a great many developers these days. The driving is fantastic too!
I waited for this for years. Literally.
It features 4 player co-op, bazillions (famously) of guns and 4 unique playable characters. You gain experience and gain additional skills (dependent on the class you're playing as) so it's almost an RPG but not quite.
Playability is good, there are no surprises or loads of skill buttons like rpg's, it's very much a gun running game which is good. But the other plus here is that it has bucket loads of style and constantly shoves it in your face, and the worst part is you always want more. More of it's over sized locations and bandits shooting at you while hanging onto the backs and sides of dune buggy's mad max style and more of it's wild characters who nearly all look like the vastness of the planet has driven them completely crazy.
And so the winner is:
I really enjoyed all of these, but the winner by small rpg-like stretch had to be Borderlands. It's faults are restricted only to it's multiplayer side where it's almost impossible to create a game if you're behind any kind of firewall-y thing. Plus if you're a side mission freak like me it can get a bit easy. But the feel of the game is just marvellous.
Fear 2 however has a great spooky atmosphere, Farcry 2 has some of the most profound moments I've ever come across in a game (such as when one of your companions croaks it) but Borderlands is just such a blast it's impossible to ignore.