The Best Browser Based First Person Shooter Games
First: Quake Live/Arena
Quake Live from id Software has been completely playable in the browser for free since 2009. The game is based on the multiplayer shooter classic Quake III Arena from 1999 and is financed by advertising. Although it is based on a 12 year old PC game, Quake Live still looks much better than most browser games.
In Quake Live you compete against other players from all over the world. Goal: In “Free For All” and “Team Deathmatch” shoot down as many enemy players as possible and steal the enemy flag in “Capture the Flag”. In “Duel” you have only one opponent – whoever shoots down the most (“frags”) wins.
You need this: Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 are mandatory. The developers also recommend Internet Explorer or Firefox as browsers. But we were also able to play Quake Live in Google Chrome without any problems. The processor with at least 800 MHz for the lowest resolution (1024×600) or 2 GHz single core for 1680×1050 pixels is not a big hurdle. As a graphics card, at least an ancient Geforce 4 MX, Radeon 8500 or the Plug Intel graphics i915 into the computer. Id recommends a Geforce 7 or Radeon X1800. For smooth shooting pleasure it should already be DSL or at least DSL Lite.
After the free registration Quake Live installs a 2 MB small browser plugin and loads a game update. Afterwards choose a game you want to participate in – for the beginning you best click on “Training” or “Practice”. Then Quake Live will put some AI-controlled opponents in front of your shotgun. While the game is loading, Quake Live will display ads. The longer you play, the better the game can assess your skills and then select opponents of equal strength.
In Quake Live’s “Settings” in the upper right corner, you can choose a character (such as a clown or skeleton), adjust the key assignments, and adjust the resolution and volume. Tip: If Quake Live jerks, lower the resolution and set everything to low in the drop-down menus under “Game Settings, Advanced”, i.e. the first entry.
Quake Live also offers Premium and Pro Accounts for money. The advantages: Only Premium and Pro users can join more than one clan, play in the Premium arenas, collect exclusive rewards, create their own clan and turn off advertising. Only Pro members can start their own games and let up to three standard players participate in premium content. Premium costs $1.99 per month, Pro costs $3.99 per month.
Superhot looks very stylish, the Mirror’s Edge-like graphics are what the driving soundtrack for Hotline Miami is. Levels are as short as in that top-down shooter, but here you’re in a first-person perspective. One hit means death – both for your character and for the countless enemies who shatter into a thousand tiny shards of glass. That looks sensational.
One keystroke in Superhot rewinds time, and you start over at the level start. Without delay and without regret. There’s no frustration, even if enemies spawn in the back of your alter ego, where you don’t expect them at first. The typical “It’s got to be possible” mentality, however, spreads within minutes, even if Superhot isn’t nearly as tricky as Hotline Miami. Anyway, as soon as you don’t play it like a standard first-person shooter.
In Superhot everything happens in super slow motion – as long as you are standing still. If you move your character or the camera, the action is accelerated to normal speed. Players quickly get used to a rhythm that couldn’t be further removed from nervous speed shooters à la Doom. Reflexes only count as much as overview and spatial awareness: Where am I? Are there still opponents behind me? Can I swerve to the side to avoid these slow-motion projectiles from the enemy assault rifle?
Superhot plays fantastic with this trick and as a player you feel like the coolest action hero since Neo in the Matrix movie. For example, you can use a katana to split incoming cartridges or shoot them from the air with your own accurately placed shots. Also really impressive is the way bursting glass buzzes through the room in slow motion, reflecting the light as you jump through it.
Nice idea: Apart from weapons like pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, baseball bat & Co. you can also pick up and throw many objects lying around. For example, if you hit an opponent at the other end of the room with a billiard ball to stun him briefly, he will drop his weapon. Silly: The physics engine of Superhot doesn’t always play along with such throws. In the test we often had the problem that objects bounced off an invisible wall projection and the hoped-for hit went wrong. Luckily, this only causes frustration for a short time, because when we die in such a way, we simply restart the level.
In the course of the single player campaign (Superhot doesn’t offer a multiplayer mode) the player also gets the ability to slip into the bodies of enemies. Between two such transformations there are always some valuable seconds, so the whole thing doesn’t become overpowering. In addition, the later levels require the liberal use of this feature due to clever design.
Superhot feels unique thanks to this successful gameplay mix. Each of the 30 small levels is like a puzzle to be solved. The enemy AI has hardly any skills except “run up to players and shoot”, but it doesn’t have to. The little snapshots you get in each mission are far too limited for that. This also affects the total playing time; Supershot’s campaign is only two to three hours long at the most. If you’re smart, you’ll get through even faster.
In the course of the game, this story approach of Superhot makes some crazy blooms. We don’t want to give too much away out of spoiler anxiety! It’s just that we would have liked to experience more of the story than the short Superhot. The same goes for the levels. 30 maps sound like a lot at first, but most of them are completed in a few minutes, sometimes even only seconds. The design of many battle arenas is excellent, each scene sets a special focus and has a special feature. There are just far too few of them in their entirety. Superhot whets our appetite for its great slow-motion gameplay – and then leaves us hungry for more.
Third: Contract Wars (New Name: Hired Ops)
The Unity shooter Contract Wars, now named Hired Ops, is one of the best browser-based games we know. This year the project is planned to be released in version 2.0 as standalone on Steam; through Greenlight the developers have already made it.
Shooters are a dime a dozen, especially if you are looking for browser games. Quality is rather rare there – Contract Wars is a real insider tip.
The shooter – which you can play on Facebook, among other things – knows how to convince with his attention to detail, such as the weapons and reloading animations. For some time now the game also supports weapon upgrades – the number of weapons you can upgrade is constantly increasing.
A missing feature of the browser version will also finally make it into the standalone – the ability to sprint. On the other hand, Contract Wars comes with realistic sights; in most shooters, when you switch to ADS (Aim Down Sight) mode, the entire image zooms in. With sniper rifles, this unpleasant side effect is usually hidden by the fact that the entire screen turns black except for the sight. CW, however, offers realistic scopes, i.e. the environment is rendered twice – with the result that only the sight zooms. This looks great on the one hand, but on the other hand it’s a challenge because it makes aiming a little more complicated.
Unfortunately, the browser version also has its downsides, which the standalone hopefully does not take over. On the one hand, the menu is more than confusing – full of information, buttons, buttons. The first half hour of navigation through the user interface of Contract Wars is exhausting, and it’s not fun at all.
Secondly, the game is heavily based on designed to acquire weapons with real money. Unlocking the free weapons takes quite a while, since not only are the rewards per round very low, but the weapons are also categorized into level tiers. This means that each tier needs a certain level to unlock – annoying. In addition, there are many weapons that you can only rent with gold or buy permanently. This reduces the fun of the game considerably – as in most Free-To-Play titles.
Fourth: Critical Ops
Critical Ops was recently also published in the German App Store and can be downloaded free of charge to iPhones and iPads. The universal app requires a minimum of 76 MB of memory and iOS 7.0 or newer as a minimum requirement. It is available in English, Russian and Portuguese.
One thing has to be taken into account right from the start: The developers of Critical Force emphasize that their first-person shooter game is not a pay-to-win title despite the inclusion of in-app purchases. And indeed, although there are packages for credits in the game’s own store, these can only be used to equip your own weapons with new skins. Waiting times, advertising banners and expensive improvements are not to be found in Critical Ops – a commendable step.
Before downloading the game you should note that Critical Ops is a pure online multiplayer game in which you can either side with anti-terrorist units or the terrorists themselves. Together with a squad of players from all over the world, you will fight in four environments (Plaza, Bureau, Legacy and Canals) in different game modes, including deathmatches.
Password protected rooms for private battles in Critical Ops
To play, you simply join a room that is not yet completely occupied and then you are thrown into the action. However, you can’t hope for much mercy: If you are hit by a player of the opposing party, you will immediately sink to the ground with a fatal hit and will be made available again elsewhere.
The control of the own character is done genre-typically via virtual buttons on the screen, among other things with a D-pad for the navigation of the character, as well as some buttons at the right edge of the screen, with which you can jump, duck, change the weapon and also shoot. By means of simple wiping gestures on the screen the gamer has the possibility to look around in the environment.
In addition to worldwide competition via the Game Center, there is also an option in Critical Ops to fight your own battles against friends or other clans by opening a password-protected room. So there’s plenty of variety in this first-person shooter – and even if the graphics don’t come up to console level, this title offers plenty of excitement and action for fans of the genre.
The History of Online Games: Client and Browser-based
The Internet is not only one of the most important means of communication with flourishing trade, but also a great playground. The possibilities range from a little fun for in-between to diving into virtual fantasy worlds for months or even years. There is also a wide range of topics: sports games, board and card games, first person shooters or role-playing games – virtually all genres of computer games are also represented on the Internet. The most important two main groups are client-based and browser-based games. While browser-based games do not require any information to be stored on the user’s terminal device because the game is operated exclusively within the browser, client-based games are peer-to-peer architectures in which the software required to operate the game is stored on the individual terminal devices. The game must therefore first be downloaded.
The beginnings of playing on the Internet
Even before the introduction of the World Wide Web, the Internet was already being played in many different ways. Especially text adventures were very popular at that time. Some of these were even already prepared as so-called MUDs (Multi User Dungeons). In addition, board games like chess or go were played over the net. Since these games were played via mailboxes, they were hardly ever played against each other in real time. This only changed with the revolution of the internet through the World Wide Web. On the one hand, this led to a rapid increase in browser games. On the other hand, the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) were created in parallel. Here, the single-player series “Ultima” created by Richard Garriott played a pioneering role.
When Ultima Online was launched in the fall of 1997, it marked the beginning of a lasting change in playing over the Internet. To this day, role-playing games are the most successful genre among client-based online games. Many MMORPGs have used the basic structure and game principles of Ultima Online. Therefore, a closer look at this game is worthwhile. It goes without saying that the various MUDs had established further developments within the framework of the World Wide Web.
With Ultima Online, however, a graphical multi-player role-playing game has now come onto the market. This game had its teething troubles. For example, the main developer Richard Garriott’s character Lord British was already killed by a fellow player during the beta test phase, despite his actual invulnerability. Furthermore, too little attention was paid to the permanent motivation of the players. Many exhausted characters marauded through the virtual worlds of Ultima Online. From this and other developments, important conclusions could be drawn about the social currents within virtual worlds, which were used by the developers of other MMORPGs. After all, the success of Ultima Online quickly attracted imitators.
Other client-based online games
Another important part of client-based online games are sports games. In contrast to the fantasy worlds of role-playing games, there is a stronger differentiation between individual countries. While in large parts of Europe the football title “FIFA” from Electronic Arts is particularly popular, in the USA it is rather adaptations of basketball and ice hockey that achieve high sales figures. Car races are also increasingly being held over the Internet. For more and more of these games, a connection to the Internet has become a necessary prerequisite even for individual games, so that they can be used at all or in full.
Another genre of client-based games are first person shooters. The most influential title in this context is probably “Counterstrike”. In this game two groups compete against each other, one group representing terrorists and the other representing an anti-terrorist unit. Team spirit and the coordinated interaction of the groups are very important. In the console games it was above all “Halo 2” which helped the online game via X-Box Live to the decisive breakthrough.
If you want to play a client-based online game, you first have to download the game client and make space available on your own hard drive. Often this involves costs, as client games are much more complex and lengthy. In addition, many games have certain requirements for your hardware – but they score points when it comes to graphics. Also with client games, the gamer can communicate in a community and play with or against friends. The players are usually more motivated here, because they paid for the game and are more familiar with the game.
Play directly on the Internet: Browser games
Since browser games, as the name suggests, are played in the browser, they are often much less elaborate than client-based games, and the time required to play them is often much shorter. However, there are now also a large number of browser-based MMORPGs which are designed for a permanent game. The same is true for quiz games, in which you as a player can climb further and further in the rank by collecting points and other forms of games in which you have to register as a player before you can start the game. The basic type of the browser game is still the small and from the principle fast to learn game. The individual rounds of such games usually last only a few minutes or are even shorter. They are preferably played during breaks at the computer or during waiting times at the doctor’s office or in the office via smartphone.
Advantage of browser games: They are almost all free to play as long as you don’t buy any extra content. So you don’t have to decide on one game, but can simply try out several. With every browser game there is also a community with which you can communicate or measure yourself. However, browser games also have disadvantages. Unlike client-based games, the game does not end with the logout – it usually continues in the absence of the players. This puts pressure on the players, who have to play as often as possible in order not to lose their score overnight and get ahead. In addition, the gamer often has to cut back on the graphics in browser games.
Client-based games, on the other hand, require a higher level of activity in the form of installing the necessary software and learning the rules of the game (even the tutorials for many of these games take longer than several game rounds in a classic browser game). Furthermore, these games are usually designed to require a regular higher level of time. So if you just want to play a little bit in between, browser games are usually the right choice for you.