Absolute Xbox GOTY Awards – Shooter Category

Despite the popular perception of Xbox as the ‘shooty shooty gun gun’ console (copyright IGN), 2018 wasn’t a vintage year for the shooter. No Halo title of course, and no new IPs emerged – at least none that captured the popular imagination.

Discussions at Absolute Towers reflected the drought in the shooter genre; a solid case was made for recent Game Pass addition Strange Brigade (which you should most definitely try out if you’re a subscriber), PUBG came up, and arguments were made for Red Dead Redemption 2. As supreme arbiter of the category, I considered that blasphemy (and let’s face it, RDR2 will get enough plaudits in other categories). But the very fact it was part of the conversation demonstrates what a thin year it’s been for shooty shooty gun gun. Diverse titles on Xbox? Whoda thunk it?

So that’s a long way round to saying that our, ahem, shoot out for shooter of the year came down to the two perennial big hitters. Much like the sports categories, our reviewers have found comfort in the annual release of two mainstays; in this case Call of Duty vs Battlefield.

Battlefield, had it launched with the promised Battle Royale mode, may have won more friends. That said, it has a campaign (and a pretty solid one too), which is sorely lacking in Black Ops 4. But it seems that BLOPS developer Treyarch has surfed the Battle Royale wave to success; sales are solid, if unspectacular, while Battlefield, campaign and all, is languishing in a distant second place.

And so it was with our team. One lone voice made an argument for Battlefield’s greater depth and story line, but was drowned out amidst the clamour for COD. As our reviewer Brian said in his review
‘Treyarch have jumped fully on board the Battle Royale bandwagon, but not content with that, have jumped into the driver’s seat and changed up a gear to give the best and most fun version of the genre. If fast and varied action and plenty of firepower is what you want, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is going to be right up your street.’

You can read his full review right here; but suffice it to say that Brian makes a strong case for this year’s iteration being fun, frantic and the best version of Battle Royale available (suck it, Fortnite fans). Battlefield will launch its Royale mode in March 2019, missing the boat completely. Had they made it available at launch, would the outcome have been different? Who knows, but I’m pretty confident that releasing it 6 months after BLOPS won’t move the dial back in their direction.

So there you have it, after much gnashing of teeth and a pretty flat year for the genre, Absolute Xbox names Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as shooter Game of the Year.

Next year, it’s gotta be Crackdown – right?

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