The Big Question: Third Person Or First Person?

I think this is sort of a silly question but I'm going to ask it anyway: do you prefer playing third person games or first person games?

It's a silly question because I can't imagine playing, for example, Alien: Isolation in third person. On the flip side I couldn't imagine playing Gears of War in first person. Which is really to say that specific games are built around these ideas. They can't easily be switched back and forth, unless that game is Skyrim.

But if I had to choose, I think I'd definitely sacrifice the quote-on-quote 'ímmersiveness' of the first person view for the advantages that come with watching a fully realised, well-animated character obey your every command in the third person. I've just always felt that the feeling of weight that comes from great animation play out in response to your direction is so valuable to an interactive experience. It really adds something for me.

That being said — most of my favourite games this year have been in the first person perspective. Metroid Prime, one of my favourite games ever was in the first person perspective. So it's undoubtedly a tricky one.

I'm going to ask it anyway: first person or third person, which do you prefer?


    I like the increased sense of assuming a character in third person, but there's games like Alien Isolation where immersion is that much better because of first person.

    While there are a few FPS games I enjoy, being a targeting reticule that just looks at things isn't really as thrilling as seeing the consequences of your actions on a fully rendered model. There are also perception advantages when it comes to jumping and hiding you can't immediately work out in a first person perspective. Plus, I want something interesting to look at for the entire game that isn't the barrel of a gun and maybe a hand or two.

    I've thought long & hard about this. Surely first person should feel more natural because real life is first person , right?

    Well, not for me. In real life, my other senses give me an idea of what's going on around my person & I am able to visualise in my minds eye where my body is in real space. So for me, using first person is like removing senses that I am used to.

    What does a "second person" game look like?

      Well in a novel, a "second person" perspective is when the novel has "You do ..." events, like "You open the door".
      So a second person game would probably be a first person but with no player control... Maybe?

      Screencheat's probably the most recent example of one where you have to looked through your opponent's eyes in order to win

      The Sims?

      Your actions are viewed through the eyes of another being interacted with or experiencing your actions and relayed to you. Like @cufcan616 said, Screencheat at this point is the best example.

      Last edited 12/11/14 11:55 am

      text based RPG's are probably the only thing that could be true 2nd-person.

    In terms of hours played, I've probably played longer in first person than I have in third and I'd say they have been some of my most enjoyable games.

    In saying that, I love being able to see my character, especially if they are heavily customisable, so I'll say third.

    I like third person if I have a say in the clothes and what not............I like First person view when they include feet and stuff. Ideally I love it when they have both options and I can switch between them but if I had to choose one over the other I would say third person is better.

    For me the interesting thing about comparing the immersiveness of first or third is for me the assumption that looking through the eyes of the character automatically makes it more immersive or more realistic.

    I'm sure people will disagree but I've always found third person more realistic because seeing the area around your character simulates the spatial awareness that most of us have in real life. (obviously that excludes people who stand in front of train or elevator doors before they open)

    Or maybe I'm just not that good at tracking what's around me in an FPS.

    GTAV! If it does the FPS well (and you can freely switch), anyway.

    I prefer third person for some things (stealth, platforming, driving, exploring) and first for others (shooting, picking up details in textures/environments). MGS2 putting in a button for first person aiming made that game incredible to me.

    I don't really care, except to say that anyone who played Star Wars Battlefront in 3rd person is an unbeliever who should be stoned.

    If I have the choice I will play first person. It just gives the option to look closely at world detail and fully immerse yourself. Elder Scrolls and Fallout I almost exclusively play in first person.

    What will be interesting for me is playing GTA V on PS4. Ask this question again when that's out

      Totally agree. I'm a junky for RPGs in first person, so Eldar Scrolls and Fallout are perennial favourites.

      Having said that, I totally love the Souls series so I can enjoy 3rd.

    I really have no preference since it depends heavily on the game. I play the new Fallout games exclusively in first-person even though I could play in third person, and I think a lot of game experiences benefit from the immersion of being in the first-person view, but for a lot of action games that 3rd person view provides a better situational awareness that feels more analogous to a "real life" experience where a first-person view would feel limiting by blinkering you (except in games like Halo where you're given a motion tracker to more readily be aware of enemies around you).

    I guess all things being equal I prefer to play games in third person. That feels like the "safer" more general option. It's harder to execute games strictly in the first-person perspective and some games suffer for it.

    I think I prefer first person gameplay, but I also really like being able to see my character.

    Either way, I prefer the camera zoomed in on the world so I can examine it up close. I find it hard to get immersed in isometric or birds eye view games.

    Actually, you know what, Deus Ex Human Revolutions is probably my most prefered game when it comes to view. Brilliant mix of first person and third person in combat. I wish more games would do that.

    Last edited 12/11/14 11:38 am

    I don't think I have much of a preference one way or another. I can find a third person game like RE4 just as immersive as an FPS like Red Steel. And I don't think I'd switch either of those games to be like the other kind.

    I'd probably give the edge to FPS though, just because I think there's games from that perspective that I love more than most of the third person ones. Even if they might be outnumbered on the other side.

    For me, it depends entirely on what type of game it is. I enjoy playing both equally as much, but some games just wouldn't work well in one mode. Like.. I can't imagine playing Gothic as a 1st person perspective. Or quake in third person..

    I'm starting to think that the whole 'first-person view is inherently more immersive' idea is not so accurate as people seem to believe. There are so many more factors which influence immersion than just the viewpoint.

    In answer to which I prefer, hrrrrmmm... Generally speaking, I think I have more fun with first-person games but on the whole, I prefer third-person.

    Last edited 12/11/14 11:51 am

    Hard to say, I play DAYZ with a mix of both to be honest...

    Shooters: First Person
    Adventure: Third Person

    always prefer 3rd person view, especially in open world games :)

    First person for shooters.
    Third person for action/adventure.

    If it is a shooter without a doubt first person. Mostly because I relate 3rd person with cover based shooters and boring shooting galleries.
    If you are more around a melee character that is when 3rd person works. I can't imagine the arkham games being any where near as good in 1st person

    It's very much a question of how the game is designed, some are built from the ground up to be 3rd person and would feel weird to go into 1st person which is why I'm kind of iffy about GTA5's 1st person mode since that feels at it's core to be so 3rd person a game.

    Conversely, can you imagine how dull and samey Mirror's Edge would have felt as a 3rd person platformer? It was the perspective that made that game special, the sheer level of physical presence that they managed to convey by virtue of the fact that Faith wasn't just a floating camera made me wish there were more 1st person platformers which was something that I never imagined I'd ever want before.

    In terms of immersion, play a game like Arma 3 with TrackIR, be stuck behind a tree, pinned down by LMG fire and desperately looking around for a way out, peek out using your actual head to see where the fire is coming from and formulate an evasion plan, pop a smoke grenade and use the concealment to pull back into defilade so you can move around to flank and kill the enemy all the while looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is following you and then talk to me about immersion in games... More games need TrackIR support damnit!

      I hated the first person platformy bits in Far cry 3 when you had to climb the towers...

      I seriously have to agree about Mirror's Edge. I thought it was weird to be first person at first, but then after playing it (oh so many times over) I feel like it's the first time that viewpoint has really felt oh so immersive. They did a lot of subtle things too to help that, primarily using depth of field and similar effects to give more "oomph" to landing on things or grabbing hold of ledges after a hair raising jump! It certainly made things like rolling a disorienting experience, which is really how it should be after performing a massive jump between buildings while trying to avoid being blasted away :P

    How many people play Skyrim in third person view?

    I thought so ;)


      I like seeing the changes in armour/weapons. Just wish it was better animated.

    While some games are built around and need third person, mostly platformer/brawlers such as assassins creed, I reckon first person is better for pretty much everything else.
    Especially shooters. Third person shooting is an abomination that should go away and quietly die imo.

      I disagree. Games like Max Payne, Uncharted, etc. would not be improved by a first person view. In my opinion the first person view has its own special feel, but it's fairly ineffective at expressing character.

        But then I also greatly dislike "Cinematic" games like those described.

        Matter of taste in the end.

    First person, like do you drive your car from the back seat?
    Can you see behind your self now?
    Play it like you are there......first person, cockpit view, dashboard view.
    All other is cheating!

    First person, But I think the best FPS experiences aren't just simply because it is just FPV.

    The more that I feel like a person, moving through the world (So say a game like Metro 2033, where I use my watch and hands to actually bring up and down items, weapons and my Notepad (I LOVE HOLDING A NOTEPAD, AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY))
    , and not a floating window like say, CoD. I also like the ability to look down at your own body, And small things like far cry 3, where when you get too close to a wall he brings his gun up so it doesn't clip. All those little things make the first person view so much more engaging, not just because it is in first person view.

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