On the rare occasion some developers decide to put a bit more thought into using the first person perspective in games, and to a great and very immersive effect. Below is a list of 9 games of recent(ish) years that have managed the first-person perspective in a totally original and exciting way, and therefore require a playthrough by anyone even mildly interested in trying out something different. The reason is just so more people are enthused with encouraging innovation within the first-person perspective, rather than being overwhelmed by what is essentially the same game with a different setting and enemy to shoot. There really is a lot of space to work with in the first-person perspective outside of the crammed FPS genre, we just wish more developers would spread into this.
Let’s start with an easy one. Portal took the first-person puzzler genre and gave it a right royal kick in the backside, grabbing just about everyone’s attention in the meantime. Although the game is probably remembered most for its antagonist GLaDos and her deceptive promise of cake, Portal managed to bend everyone’s mind with its confusing and intelligent design. Adopting a minimalist aesthetic realised by the Aperture Science labs, Portal is one of the best environmental puzzles to date just because of its simple yet complex premise. The first-person perspective enhanced the whole experience by allowing players to feel the adverse effects of momentum jumps, and then of course you had to shoot portals both accurately and hastily at the same time. The result was a mild headache and a fantastic gameplay experience that still remains unique.
Minecraft is probably the hardest game to define on this list, simply because it works solely on allowing the player to create whatever they want from a bunch of 1x1 blocks. The first-person perspective may not be the most logical or user-friendly for the building blocks style of game that Minecraft is, but it adds a dimension of scale and a further challenge to actually creating your structures that a god-like perspective would not capture. In the shoes of your crazy-looking 8-bit character, you can grasp a sense of the huge space that you are given to work within. Digging into the ground to then meet face-to-face with a Creeper or Zombie would not be the same in a different perspective. Then of course you have the challenge of creating tall structures; having to teeter on the edge of perilous drops just so you can place another block into your creation. Many game designers would have disagreed with the design principles of Minecraft, but that was before it took over the gaming world.
3. Zeno Clash
When there are no guns around it seems that using our fists is the next logical step towards satisfying our primal bloodthirsty cravings. Zeno Clash is a marvelously crafted game, especially when looking at how it uses the first person perspective. The game is essentially a first-person brawler and is one of the most satisfying melee combat focused games…ever. The camera movements may induce seasickness in some, but it certainly provides a genuine portrayal of a fistfight, adrenaline included. The animations of your character and visibility of their body provides a sense of realism, and bruising up your opposition certainly feels rather rewarding. Outside of this, the game offers a colourful and imaginative world for players to delve into and explore. The exotic locations and bizarre cast of characters only go to further enhance the experience, especially when you are beating the crap out of a bizarre bird-headed guy.
4. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The great thing about the first-person perspective is that it can be used to scare players to great effect, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent does just that. And then some. The first-person perspective is the most limited point of perspective, and it is this that can be used to a developers advantage when making a survival horror game. The team at Frictional Games have utilised the viewpoint in an unmatched way. Not only do they place you in a very horrifying castle (including some terrifying dungeons) with sound effects that can easily reduce the hardiest of people to tears, but there are a number of gruesome creatures lurking around as well. These creatures are deadly and the player is given no way to fend them off. Their only option is run and hide in the dark. Not only this, but when cornered the player must turn their back to them as staring at them rapidly reduces their sanity, and you really do not want to go insane in this game. These very clever design choices that play on the restrictions of the first-person perspective are utterly genius, and the results are undoubtedly one of the scariest games ever made.