First Person Shooters are a staple of gaming. They’ve been around for a long time and they don’t appear to be going anywhere. Many of the most successful game franchises are part of this genre, and it is easy to see why. They’re fun, fast-paced but relatively simple. Easy to learn but difficult to master. Here are my top five.
1. Unreal Tournament
The game that kickstarted my love of the genre, Unreal Tournament was revolutionary when it came out in 1999. It blew everything else out of the water with the spectacular graphics and fast-paced run and gun action. Of course, at the time I didn’t know any of this, I was only six when I first played it. All I knew was if you hit someone directly with a rocket launcher they exploded into little blobs of human and occasionally those one of those blobs might look like a foot. We had as many as six PCs hooked up together in one room so whenever we had a group of people over, 3v3 capture-the-flag on CTF-Face was always a possibility. Unlike many older games, Unreal Tournament is just as fun to play today as it was back then, and it doesn’t look awful either. The 2004 version is great too, with some new modes added which included vehicles.
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Modern Warfare was the game that really kicked off the Modern Military Shooter trend. Yes, there had been quite a few games to do it before Call of Duty, but nothing came close to the popularity of Modern Warfare. At the time the new setting was a refreshing change from the increasingly stale World War 2 era. Modern Warfare also introduced the now standard create-a-class system to Call of Duty, whereby you could choose exactly what load-out you would run. This was made more successful by the new perks added to the game which gave players the freedom to play exactly as they wanted. This was the first shooter I got properly into playing online. The Call of Duty series has had it’s ups and downs since, but there is no doubt that Modern Warfare is one of the best shooters ever.
3. Battlefield Bad Company 2
Battlefield had been somewhat of a staple in PC gaming for a while, but Bad Company brought it to the wider console market. The original Bad Company had an excellent campaign, but the multiplayer wasn’t quite at the level of it’s rivals. Bad Company 2 on the other hand, blew everything else away. The most innovative feature in the game was the entirely destructible environment. Literally every building on the map could be destroyed, allowing for some interesting tactics. Struggling to destroy that objective? Stick a bunch of C4 to a quad-bike and drive it at the building instead, collapsing the building. The maps were huge allowing for proper sniping as well, where you had to judge how much the bullet would drop and the speed your target was moving at. Vehicles were perfectly implemented too. They were tough, but not impossible to destroy as infantry, Bad Company 2 was, in my opinion, Battlefield’s peak. The following games have been good, but none quite lived up to it.
4. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Probably the newest entry on this list, this reboot of the Wolfenstein series was a welcome break from the endless stream of multiplayer focused shooters. It took a less serious approach to gameplay, throwing out realism for the sake of fun. This means you can dual wield assault rifles while mowing down robot Nazis. The fast-paced, bloody combat was core to the games appeal, with a great variety of weapons and awesome level design. The New Order also does an excellent job of drawing the player in and getting them invested in the story. The characters are all likeable and it is an interesting idea, an alternate history where the Nazis won the Second World War, but what I really love is the way there are snippets of story scattered throughout the game. For those interested in learning more about this alternate history, there are newspaper clippings and audio files providing context for how exactly the Nazis succeeded.
5. Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 had one of the best antagonists of any game ever with Vaas. Couple that with the fact that it was released just before the open world thing was done to death (particularly by Ubisoft) and what you have is an awesome first-person shooter. The gameplay may have been a bit repetitive, but if the thing you end up doing over and over is fun, who cares? It was a bit light on story, despite the aforementioned excellent bad-guy but the core gameplay was enjoyable, there was plenty to do and see on the Rook Islands and lots of different weapons to use. You could play however you wanted. Take a stealthy approach with a bow and silenced weapons, or charge in guns blazing. It is entirely up to you.
What are your favourite first person shooters? Let me know in the comments below. Also, follow me on Twitter @Andrew_H93.