As the shooter genre continues to oversaturate and swamp the market like an enjoyably soulless plague, we see the third person shooter getting just as much attention these days as its first person sibling. Aside from a minor camera difference, it is the use of environmental cover systems that often define third person action games. As such, it’s about time we had a run down of ten games that have influenced and created the best cover mechanics in the genre.
Army of Two
Though the specific cover abilities in Army of Two were fairly derivative, it was the co-op elements that saved the game from being entirely forgettable. Whilst other single player orientated titles rely on players to just pop out and shoot occasionally, Army of Two introduced an aggro meter that players had to manage in order to cover their partner effectively. This, combined with a variety of cool co-op moves, makes Army of Two a showcase of interesting extensions to the standard cover mechanics.
A lot of games have Taito’s arcade classic to thank for their existence. Despite using a vertical 2D plane that is all but lost in today’s shooter market, Space Invaders was still one of the first games to present players with cover they could use to avoid enemy fire. It was even destructible as well! Though the cover system may seem rudimentary by today’s standards, Space Invaders was light years ahead of its time when it first launched back in 1978.
A game that was highly underrated and overlooked, in spite of its fairly innovative use of and reliance on a cover system that has since become a staple of the genre. Players were unable to move whilst shooting in Operation: Winback, (or just Winback as it was known outside of PAL regions) thus forcing players to set up roost behind effective cover before engaging the enemy. It’s just a shame the game was released after Metal Gear Solid, as I think it was largely overlooked as a copy of Kojima’s classic due to its unfortunate release date.