What happened to epic WWII FPS games?

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Where have they all gone?! It would seem that since the success of the Modern Warfare franchise, developers have wanted to keep things out of the past. Modern world-based shooters and futuristic, Halo-inspired efforts are now the rage, perhaps understandably but also disappointingly. Games like those above – the earlier Call of Duty’s and Brothers in Arms – are all but gone. The best recent WWII game has to be Sniper Elite III, and that is a third person game. I’m a big fan of some of some of the games that have been released to fill the void left by WWII first-person-shooters; Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 in particular were outstanding! These games only satisfy cravings for so long though.

There is a whole heap of praise that the Modern Warfare series, Battlefield and sci-fi epics like Halo, Bioshock and others deserve, but the issue I take with many of them is the lack of factual base they include. For sci-fi games set in distant or fictional worlds, this is excusable, but this for me is the making of many of the best FPS games. As what can easily be seen as the benchmark for such games, let’s take Call of Duty as a great example. The best parts of the games set during the Second World War are the battles set in factual battles that occurred during the war (World At War alone included the Battles of Peleliu, Stalingrad and Berlin). These scenes served not only to offer the player a quality gaming experience, but also represented the largest and most brutal conflict the world has ever seen in, what was in 2008, probably the best and most shockingly accurate portrayal of it’s kind. There is always an acute awareness when playing a game based on real events that the real thing must have been terrifying.

Yet, Call of Duty chose to evolve as a series towards a more modern approach. What began in the Second World War with World At War became Black Ops in the Cold War; the Black Ops sub-series has itself now found itself set in 2065 with imaginative ideas about the future of armed conflict. Despite the advancements in graphics and rendering that have occurred in the last 10 years or so since the beginnings of the series, no amount of greater immersion and realism (not even augmented reality) can replace the thrill of being thrown into a Second World War battle scene where the outcome will effect the entire world.

Even Battlefield 1943, the online only mini-version of the full game was fantastic. I spent so many hours on that game and collected all the achievements available on my Xbox 360 and it was a only a few quid. These games don’t need to be huge, or even to have the best graphics – although it must be said Battlefield as a whole series is incredibly pretty. They only need to be an accurate representation of the war they depict. The storyline is already written.

A lot of very good games there. But no World War II FPS epics. Get it sorted out!

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