FPS games of 2014
We’ve updated the list with COD: Advanced Warfare which was revealed a month before E3, with an amazing reveal trailer and is being developed for Xbox One and PS4 as the lead platform.
Imagine a world without first person shooters. Two hands holding a gun, shooting poor virtual people in the face forever. A world without that? Unimaginable. In the next year too there will be a lot of new and probably fantastic shooters out to bedazzle us all.
We will be shooting men, women, dogs, cats, aliens, zombies and robots. And all the other things We will use guns, knives, rifles, rocket launchers and strange contraptions that launch kittens. It will be a lot of fun. Here’s the ten games we look forward to the most in the coming year:
10. Halo 5
Just as we know that there will be another Call of Duty next year, we all know there will be another Halo, probably this time exclusive on Xbox One. The developers of Halo 4 had announced that Halo 4 was supposed to be the first part of a new trilogy of Halo games, and the next part of said trilogy is overdue.
Chances are it will arrive next year. 343 Industries is a big studio, and Microsoft needs another hit for the Xbox One platform. So prepare to finish the fight a bit more once again.
The 25 best FPS games on PC to play in 2021
The best FPS games stick around. While other genres warp beyond recognition, there's something so solid as the first-person shooter that makes it as dependable as a weighty AK-47 in the hands. I reckon it's the simplicity of pulling the trigger and watching things fall down. And in the strongest of these games, there's often great heft to what you're shooting. To help you decide what shooter to get on next, we've put together a handy 25 strong list of FPS games you should try right now.
This was once a list of the best 50 FPS games, and while more is sometimes merrier, in this case we decided to trim it down to avoid bloat. With this in mind, everything on here has a playerbase, is good, and we'd recommend it right this second. Our old list didn't have this punchiness, but now it does - which is great.
Of course, you may get to this bottom of this list and be like, "Hey, where is my favourite [insert FPS title here]? Huh?!". This is totally valid, but please remember that we can't include absolutely everything. We know there's a bunch of gems out there, but alas, there is limited space in this exclusive inn.
The 25 Best FPS games on PC
Below you'll find a list of the 25 best FPS games we think you should play, and what do you know? Here's a handy list of links that'll blast you to a specific game with the speed and precision of a 360 quick-scoper.
25. Boomerang XWhere can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing:Give Amid Evil a shot, or Ultrakill a try. The latter has you drench yourself in the blood of your foes to regain health, and is an absolute rip-roaring time.
It's safe to say that I was blown away by Boomerang X. As I said in my Boomerang X preview, it's the DOOM game I've always wanted and it may have ruined FPS games for me. Gun are overrated - boomerangs are the new hotness.
Boy does the boomerang feel good to fling, and you'll quickly get access to a handful of superpowers that'll only make the wooden spinner even more fun to use. Like the ability to teleport to it mid-air, or the ability to slow-time to a crawl as you line up that perfect shot. Combat is remarkably fluid and there's barely any downtime. It's fast, frenetic, and a whole heap of cool. String together a flawless succession of moves, and trust me, the feeling is unrivalled.
24. Far Cry 4Where can I buy it:Steam, uPlay.
What else should I be playing:Try Far Cry Primal if you want this with fewer guns and more mammoths.
Far Cry 2 was excellent, but Far Cry 3 stripped out much that was awkward about the game - its grim setting, its protagonist's malaria, its respawning enemies - for something that was less interesting but more purely fun, thrilling and silly. Far Cry 4 goes further still, stripping out the wrongheaded attempts at colonialist critique from Far Cry 3 and creating something that's even more fun, even more silly. The Himalayan-inspired setting of Kyrat is a gorgeous location, and it's even more eager to give you toys to play with than its predecessor. Liked the hang glider in Far Cry 3? This sequel gives you one almost immediately. Then it gives you a wingsuit. Also a gyrocopter. Also a physically-simulated rope for climbing cliff faces. Also you can ride elephants.
It is ridiculous, of course, but there's still wonderfully smart design here, too, mainly in the return of outposts. These are enemy-controlled villages which you can take down separate from the main storyline, challenging yourself to outwit different kinds of AI enemy using the box of toys the game has provided. They're always the best thing about Far Cry, and here they're joined by Forts - bigger, harder versions of the same idea - and enhanced by the ability to team up with a co-op partner in the same open world for the first time. Want to use your grappling hook to hang from the bottom of a gyrocopter being piloted by a friend? Yes, you do.
23. F.E.A.R.Where can I buy it: It's sitting pretty on Steam, though sadly the multiplayer has been deactivated because someone was dumb enough to base it around Gamespy.
What else should I be playing:The Condemned games if you want more spooky horror-times mixed in with your action, or No-One Lives Forever if you want to see more from developers Monolith.
This horror/action hybrid lost some of its lustre as a result of the series increasingly disappearing up its own plot-rectum, but it's important to push J-horror tropes and everyone-is-related-to-everyone blather aside and look at what F.E.A.R. brought to the shooter table. So often, this genre is just about what a pair of hands do, but in F.E.A.R. so much more of your character's body was involved. The reason we don't see much first-person kicking is that it's very hard to get it right, due to the innate preposterousness of a pair of legs appearing somewhere near your nose. F.E.A.R. got it right. Is such a physical-feeling game.
F.E.A.R. also pre-empted Mirror's Edge by making the visible body related as much to movement as it was to combat. As a gun game, it was also an early proponent of the idea that any weapon can be equally deadly in the right circumstance, which is still a refreshing move on from the arms race of most shooters. Also, spooky little girl with hair over her face wooooooooooooooooo.
22. Left 4 Dead 2Where can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing: GTFO is similar, but with aliens. Warhammer Vermintide is also worth a shot if you're after that 4 player gore fest. And Back 4 Blood should be on your radar too.
Zombies: in 2008 they were still very exciting. They still are today when blessed with Valve's magic touch, which in a few, brief, cyclic co-op skits adds more life, wit and hinted-at history to its characters and its world than most of the 8 hour+ singleplayer campaigns in this list stuck together. Including L4D2 in the list was complicated, however, given most of what makes it to strong was work done by the previous year's Left 4 Dead. It's a sequel not that different to the original, and not a game that I felt, on its first outing, really changed anything. However, it's clear with time that Left 4 Dead 2 was a major under-the-hood upgrade, both closer to what was intended for the zombie-blasting horror game, and also a bigger move in the direction of pure co-op, which wasn’t something that even seemed possible before the let's-all-die-together first Left 4 Dead came along.
Another strong reason to choose this over L4D1 (which still has a more memorable cast of Survivors, to my mind) is how much it's been expanded by mods. You can stick Deadpool in there, expand it from a 4-player game to a 16-player one, turn everyone into a dinosaur or recreate pretty much the entirety of L4D1 within it. Get thee to the Steam workshop and indulge.
21. Wolfenstein: The New OrderWhere can I buy it:Steam, Microsoft Store, GOG, or for free with Xbox Game Pass for PC.
What else should I be playing:Half-Life is a clear inspiration for The New Order, in terms of being another resistance tale with dramatically changing environments. There's also the earlier Return To Castle Wolfenstein if you want to shoot fantastical Nazis without having to worry about feelings.
Of everything 21st century in this list, The New Order puts the lie to nostalgia goon claims that shooters ain't what they used to be. Pairing up pure pulp with surprising heart, then earning both by underpinning the sci-fi gloss and melodrama with super-solid, impressively flexible combat, this alterna-history Nazi-shooter is the complete blockbuster package. The latter-day follow-up to all-time granddaddy of first-person shooters even boasts a stealth option. It takes you to all sorts of wild places too. Some misfire, some are exactly what you'd want, and the result is a shooter which knows exactly what it's doing, and while it's too happily dunder-headed to earn the breathless adoration of a BioShock or Half-Life, as a single player action game it just doesn't compromise.
20. Bioshock 2Where can I buy it:Steam, GOG
What else should I be playing: BioShock 1, because it's also the best BioShock game.
Oh, it's hard. So hard. People who say BioShock 1 is the best BioShock game are right. People who say BioShock 2 is the best BioShock game are right. (People who say BioShock: Infinite is the best BioShock game should be buried at sea immediately). But they're both best for different reasons. BS1 has one of finest videogame openings of all time: the architecture, the mystery, the deftly immediate creation of an effective antagonist without his first having to attack you or yours, the introduction of the unquestionably iconic, darkly nuanced Big Daddy/Little Sister pairing, the sea-life, and at least two of the finest mid-game moments too - the eventual encounter with the aforementioned antagonist, and the horrifying art installation of Sander Cohen.
Sadly, so much of what's around BS1 seems plodding in the face of BS2's crunchier, more open and responsive combat in a decaying city beneath the sea. If what you're looking for, first and foremost, is an action game, BS2 wins outright. What it lacks in big moments it makes up for with consistency.
19. Stalker: Shadow Of ChernobylWhere can I buy it:Steam, GOG
What else should I be playing: The Metro series isn't a bad shout, especially as it captures that apocalyptic, rusty vibe of the Stalker games pretty nicely.
When we think of open world games, especially shooters, we tend to think of wide-open spaces in which you can hare around attacking anything in sight. The maudlin, post-apocalyptic, bombast-free sci-fi shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R. isn't that. It's so much more. It's a world game. Its environments are more constrained, sometimes infuriatingly so (I'm still angry about the barbed wire in the first area) and progress is to some degree gated, but they are living and they are convincing. A world divided into factions and monsters and worse, deadly outdoor spaces and terrifying indoor spaces, dark life in a land of ruin, but a real land, that breathtaking modern-day Mary Celeste that is the abandoned Chernobyl and Pripyat area of the Ukraine.
Life left it suddenly, and new life has slowly moved into the ruins. Fearful life, the Stalkers who patrol it alone or in quiet groups, wandering through the thunder and the distant sound of unspeakable horrors. The sad mutants who scurry and slope through the wasteland, mad and afraid, as much a victim of this place as you are. Small signs of hesitant community, as wanderers gather and play songs around a campfire. You're on a quest, yes, but you can choose when to engage, who to engage with, where sympathies lie, what your status and purpose in the Zone is. There are no rules in the Zone, really. It can grant your greatest wish. The wish to be somewhere else, being who you want to be.
18. Far Cry 2Where can I buy it:Steam, Ubisoft or GOG.
What else should I be playing: The fatalistic horror of STALKER, the sober realism of the Arma games, or if (like many) you can't stand FC2's icy aversion to 'fun' and want to invert matters entirely, there's Just Cause 4, fully embracing the super-heroic, super-destructive implausibility of more traditional open world action, rather than trying to have it both ways.
Far Cry 2 is a semi-open world shooter (this time in a dirty and oppressive Africa rather than a paradise island) which actively robs you of power, rather than festoons you with it. The dark beauty of this FPS is the extent to which it places you in danger, creating a truly hostile world in which you are hamstrung and hated rather than a playground in which you are mollycoddled and lionised. It inverts conventional wisdom as part of an astute observation that it is more satisfying and meaningful to succeed in the face of great adversity than it is to grant you more and more toys until you just can't help but be victorious.
It took several more years of power fantasies before I realised that. Far Cry 2 also seeks to embrace the truth of a world of guns: it's nasty, it's really about money, people do die, you are not a hero, and no-one's coming to bail you out. Well, maybe the pal you met in that last hideout is...
17. SUPERHOT / SUPERHOT VR (2016)Where can I buy it:Steam, direct from devs ; Oculus store for SUPERHOT VR.
What else should I be playing:There are a lot of other VR shooters out there, but not much else compares. Play SUPERHOT.
There ain't nothin' new under the sun - a miserable claim that SUPERHOT Team disproved twice in one year. First there was SUPERHOT itself, a shooter in which time only moves when you move (or shoot) (or throw something) (or punch). Then there was SUPERHOT VR, which singlehandedly redeemed the whole concept of virtual reality and easily made it into our pick of the best VR games.
SUPERHOT is both maximum-adrenaline thrills and highly tactical - transforming the first-person shooter from a game about precision aiming and reflexive movement into one in which every twitch counted. The world is super-slow-mo until you do anything, which grants you the time to plan the move but leaves you subject to a devious puzzlebox construction in which one action leaves you vulnerable to some other threat. It is sublime, and it is impossibly cool.
Particularly in VR, where you are making those movements yourself - the ducking, the punching, the throwing, the shooting. The Matrix fantasy without any of the bilge - just superhot action. A glorious, glorious reinvention of first-person violence.
16. Borderlands 2Where can I buy it:Steam, Humble, Epic Games Store.
What else should I be playing:Destiny 2 for more heft gunplay, loot, and numbers. Otherwise, Borderlands 3 really isn't a bad place to turn once you're done. The writing is a bit more tired, and the story isn't as compelling, but it provides more of the same gleeful gunplay.
A brilliant looter-shooter to play with mates, is Borderlands 2. There's a tonne of zany weapons to wield and plenty of skill-trees to sink points into. On that note, the classes aren't only a lot of fun to play, but add replayability too. I particularly liked Gaige who summons a big robot who clunks enemies to death. She comes with the DLC, which I'll get to in a sec.
The writing and humour won't be for everyone in Borderlands 2, but the story motors along at pace and takes you to some interesting spots. It's also lifted by Handsome Jack, whose brilliantly voice-acted and infuriating in equal measure.
Oh and I'd say Borderlands 2's DLC is essential. If only for Tiny Tina's Dungeons and Dragons themed one. It transports you to this unpredictable fantasy world and has you blasting wizards and skeletons with guns that fire swords.
15. Team Fortress 2Where can I buy it:Steam. It's free these days.
What else should I be playing: Overwatch, you fools.
That Team Fortress 2 is a sequel and a remake of a sober-as-a-nun multiplayer mod seems almost irrelevant now. But it’s part of what makes the game so important. Valve took years and years to settle upon a model for what has become one of the firmly-entrenched favourites of the PC gaming fraternity, and that they did so allowed it to prove that a multiplayer first-person shooter can be funny, even witty, and that constant experimentation and progression can keep a game alive and evolving long after it should have ground to a halt.
Team Fortress 2 felt like an experiment, and it still feels like an experiment, and that experiment was a success. A move to free-to-play and a hat-centric economy has kept TF2 thriving. The cost of this is that something of the original spirit was perhaps lost in this translation to gimmee, gimmee, gimmee, but we can forgive that.
14. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare RemasteredWhere can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing: An infinite number of other Call Of Duties, I guess. There's also the Battlefield series, now COD's arch-rival. If you want an alternative to this Team America stuff, there's Spec Ops: The Line, which some people think is an inspired deconstruction of battlefield trauma, while others think it is simply mediocre. Guess which camp we fall into.
The tipping point between Call Of Duty as a World War II shooter for quiet PC gamers and what it is today, an increasingly sci-fi shooter for very noisy console gamers. Modern Warfare was one of the first post-Half-Life 2 shooters to be a true blockbuster. With its dramatically shifting locations, timelines and perspectives (admittedly much more commonplace today), it successfully destabilised the idea that shooters were about one man running through a bunch of tunnels until he killed the big nasty thing at the end. With some shock outcomes, it also introduced a new sense of mortality to our usually superhuman shooter protagonists.
While later CODs overplayed the role of NPC buddies and embraced a numbing cacophony, Modern Warfare managed to retain a sombre, fearful quality despite all the explosions and whatnot. It also set the standard for present-day shooter multiplayer, albeit without quite so much focus on unlockable gizmos.
13. Hunt: ShowdownWhere can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing: Escape From Tarkov, Stalker, or the Metro games share that hardcore, dingy DNA.
Hunt: Showdown's this mixture of PVP and PVP, underscored by serious tension. You take on the role of hunters with the express aim of assassinating an AI "boss" tucked away somewhere on the map. Trouble is, there are other squads also attempting to do the same thing. Die and you lose your equipment forever. Survive, and you'll not only keep your stuff, but get some of the spoils too. That's the tension for you - every single foray into the dark could spell disaster.
The audio design's also sterling in Hunt: Showdown too, with gunshots that ring out from miles away, and the clang of chains could help you locate an enemy that's stalking you nearby. Even swapping your weapon or reloading in quiet moments might give away your position. It's an FPS that's unlike anything out right now.
12. Amid EvilWhere can I buy it:Steam, Humble, and GOG
What else should I be playing:Dusk, Ultrakill, DOOM, or even Quake will satisfy your desire for throwback FPSing.
Amid Evil's a throwback FPS that's best described as a DOOM-like, but make it fantasy. So instead of pistols and shotguns, you've got staffs that belch blue blobs and swords that sling arcs of mana. It's also quite crafty with some of the usual FPS suspects that hinder fluidity nowadays. There's no fall damage and you can breathe underwater without a worry. The focus is entirely on smashing skeletons with your spells, and I like that.
Wipe out enough enemies and you can turn on Soul Mode that'll turn your weapon into a hose of pain. Enemies aren't your usual aliens either, but often strange beings from astral planes. And I appreciate that the environments are dark and dingy like other throwback FPSes, but colourful and riddled with secrets.
11. Half-Life: AlyxWhere can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing:Half-Life 2, for more of that Gordon Freeman goodness.
Alright, yes, you'll need a VR headset for Half Life: Alyx, alongside a powerful enough rig to run it nicely. But, if you've got both of these things, then you're in for a treat.
Graham said in his Half-Life: Alyx review that this is "the Half-Life game you've been waiting for, even if it's not the one you were expecting". And this is because the game's been designed with VR in mind. You're now able to reach out and touch City 17, and the motion control shooting "feels better than Half-Life's combat ever has".
And Half-Life: Alyx embraces horror too, with moments where you're cowering in corners or chucking objects to distract enormous monsters. You're even able to cover your mouth with your actual hand, and have it replicated in-game. It's very much been lifted by VR, and not harmed by it.
10. Titanfall 2Where can I buy it: Retail or EA's Origin.
What else should I be playing:You could slam all the way into simulation and seek out Mechwarrior 4, or if it's the high-speed, ultra-fluid, wall-running movement that most pleases you, give Mirror's Edge or Dying Light a try. Apex Legends also works.
This could have been the best singleplayer FPS of 2016, if it hadn't been for the new Doom. Nonetheless, if you want straight-up action thrills with a whole lot of flash, some particularly glorious movement and impressively stressful mech-based boss fights, this is going to make you very happy. And hey, there's a robust soldiers vs giant robo-suits multiplayer mode in there too, building on what the multiplayer-only Titanfall 1 already established.
That is, assuming you can find opponents. Titanfall 2 suffered from something of a failure to launch, having resolutely lost the marketing wars of late 2016. It may stay alive over time thanks to word of mouth, but even if it doesn't, definitely check it out for that singleplayer campaign. It is, however, on the brief side, so we strongly recommend playing on Hard difficulty - as well as making it last longer, it makes the mech fights particularly feel that much more satisfying once you finally claim a steel scalp.
9. Halo: The Master Chief CollectionWhere can I buy it:Steam, Microsoft Store, or for free with Xbox Game Pass for PC.
What else should I be playing:Destiny 2 might fulfil your hunger for sci-fi shooty bang, alongside Doom Eternal and Titanfall 2.
Halo has some of the weightiest, most wonderful shooting out there. The story's also not half bad, for those into John and his quest to stop aliens from doing nasty things. But it's really the action and the moreish multiplayer that'll keep you coming back.
And come back you shall. As the Master Chief Collection contains a whopping six Halo games: the HD remastered versions of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo: 2, alongside your usual editions of Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach and Halo: 4. No Halo: 5, should I add, although you can pick that up separately if you'd like.
The remasters of Halo 1 and 2 are faithful to the originals,and then you've got Reach and ODST which are just *chef kiss*. Matchmaking is also smooth, so you'll have no trouble finding other players to tango with if you're feeling competitive.
8. Destiny 2Where can I buy it:It's free to play on Steam, but that's excluding the Beyond Light expansion, which also includes previous DLC.
What else should I be playing:The Borderlands series will give you a similar loot-scavenging runabout. If you want to dip into third-person, The Division 2 is another solid looter shooter.
Few shootybangs feel as fluid as this MMO bullet-hoser. There is a grace to Bungie shooters that have been around since Halo: Combat Evolved, and whatever that secret formula is, it’s here by the barrel. By the barrel of a big energy rifle, that is. Gotcha.
Since Destiny was only for console creepers, PC players will have to catch up on the story for this one. Short version: aliens are bad, shoot them. In many ways, we’ve benefitted from jumping in after Bungie refined things for the sequel. There are fewer spongey enemies, and a bit more humour and brightness to proceedings. The story itself is still a bit pants. But this is more about having a gorgeous, free-wheeling target range painted across the solar system than following any grand tale. You have special powers like the ability to swing a ludicrous sword around, or batter multi-limbed baddies with a big electrostomp. But most players will tell you the fun only starts with the multiplayer raids and dungeons, tough battlehells where teamwork and timing are as important as they are in any classical MMO.
7. Rainbow Six SiegeWhere can I buy it:Steam and uPlay
What else should I be playing: Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is another series highlight, particularly in terms of poppy, glitzy co-op vs AI. If you want real tactical action, you'll want to be back to the original Rainbow Six trilogy.
Rainbow Six Siege does what Battlefield games have thus far only pretended to do: provide a multiplayer world which is destructible at a granular level. Instead of buildings collapsing when scripted levers are pulled, in Siege almost every door, window, wall, ceiling, and floor can have a hole poked in it via gunshot, grenades, battering rams and breaching charges.
It feels like technical wizardry and the consequences ripple throughout the entire experience, creating tension from the ability to be attacked from any angle, encouraging teamwork through asymmetric missions which force one team to defend themselves against the other's attempt to breach their compound, and forcing traditional Rainbow Six tactical awareness without a planning phase by requiring you to hold a perfect mental map of the building around you at all times.
It's equally impressive for being a team-based multiplayer shooter that feels fresh, offering something different from the Counter-Strikes and Call of Dutys while staying true to the spirit of the Rainbow Six series.
6. Devil DaggersWhere can I buy it:Steam, GOG, Humble, direct from the devs.
What else should I be playing:Thumper - similar values applied to rhythm action.
2016 was in many ways a vintage year for first-person shooters, and the reason for that was because they understood their past. DOOM, obviously; Overwatch returned to Team Fortress rather than COD; Titanfall 2 was the big sci-fi silliness of the noughties again and Devil Daggers... well, Devil Daggers is from an alternate timeline where Quake changed everything and was never forgotten in favour of military men and careful plots.
A beautiful hellscape of big square pixels against a midnight backdrop, monstrous things looming at you from the darkness, and the dance, the endless dance. A pure test of everything that first-person shooters ever taught us. Reflex, awareness, movement, practice, true grit and no surrender. It is about your own time and only about your own time, because that is all that matters - everything else that shooters ever added is mere fluff.
5. Half Life 2Where can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing: So many shooters deliver the story as you roll now, but BioShock is perhaps the best example of this philosophy taken to its peak.
Of course. So much is in Half-Life 2, from an unprecedented level of architectural design to facial animation which rendered anything else obsolete overnight, to a physics system which transformed shooter environments from scenery into interactive resource, to some of gaming's most striking baddies in the Striders and a huge step forwards in making AI companions believable and likeable.
It's also a long, changeable journey through a beautifully, bleakly fleshed-out world, and although of course you are on the hero's journey, it's careful to keep you feeling like a bit player in a wider conflict. That this, plus the cliffhanger ending of Episode 2, left so much more to be told leaves PC gaming in a perpetual state of frustration that the series has, publicly at least, ground to a halt. I don't think all of it is as striking as it once was - particularly, much of the man-shooting feels routine and slightly weightless now - but Half-Life 2 gave us more than any other first-person shooter before, and maybe even since.
4. Apex LegendsWhere can I buy it: It's free to play on Origin
What else should I be playing:Playerunknown's Battlegrounds is the other titanic battle royale, as is Fortnite. As is Call Of Duty: Warzone.
Oh my, Apex, what excellent bumslides you have. What solid shootsing you offer. What a delightful bunch of canyons and swamps you’ve plonked us in. We should have known better than to doubt the makers of Titanfall 2’s robot antics. Since its launch Apelegs has added plenty of new characters, new maps, and even a new Arenas mode.
It's a solid murder hike every time you dive into Apex Legends, and there really is nothing that matches its pace in the Battle Royale realm.
3. ValorantWhere can I buy it: It's free-to-play through Riot's launcher.
What else should I be playing:CS:GO is a very similar experience, just without all the wizardry.
There's no elegant way to put this: Valorant is Counter: Strike but with wizards and ninjas. One team wants to plant a bomb, the other needs to stop this from happening. How? By inching around corners, having decent aim, and making strong callouts in the team chat. Patience is rewarded here, as is coordinating with your team to control each map.
If Valorant sounds like Counter: Strike, that's because the gunplay is pretty similar. However, where it differs is in ability usage. You can choose from a roster of Agents who each have special powers that'll let them do stuff like teleport across short gaps, flashbang around corners, or heal allies. If this sounds aggressively unbalanced, don't worry, almost all of these abilities feel like useful tools, as opposed to pain-bringers.
I'd say I prefer Valorant to Counter: Strike nowadays, purely because it feels more current. There's regular updates and some invaluable tools - like an aim training map - are baked into the game, as opposed to being buried away in a "community creations" section of a store.
2. Doom 2016Where can I buy it:Steam
What else should I be playing: Its sequel, Doom Eternal. Or the many other Dooms. Even Quake.
Yes: 2016's do-over of the quintessential first-person shooter is a gory triumph in its own right. Classic weapons and a familiar bestiary help, as does it being so open about the fact we're all here for bloodshed, but it's the momentum system that makes it so damn good. Killing is movement is killing is movement: the more you kill, the faster you move, and this builds and builds in tandem with your learning how to play and how to survive.
A roomful of enemies that seems intense and unfair near the start of the game is like a country ramble compared to what comes later on - but rather than this being a simple matter of difficulty, it's because DOOM trains you on the job, expertly and effortlessly. You don't hit walls here. You punch right through them, cackling and grinning, having the time of your life. A completely unexpected, brilliant comeback. Doom still matters.
1. Call Of Duty: WarzoneWhere can I buy it: It's free-to-play on Battle.net.
What else should I be playing:I'd recommend Apex Legends if you're after a more arcadey experience, although it plays very differently. Otherwise, I suppose you could opt for PUBG, although it feels ancient in comparison.
Out of all the battle royale games I've played, Call Of Duty: Warzone is by the best paced. Little things, like the way you scoop up loot automatically, and the lack of having to worry about a backpack filled with attachments - it all adds up to make a shooter that doesn't feel cumbersome. It cuts the faff of usual BRs, and lets you focus on the good stuff, which is its wicked gunplay and that oh-so-sweet hit marker sound.
Warzone's loadouts - care packages which contain your own custom weapons - also add another dimension to proceedings. Not only does it give you something to chase during matches, there's this desire to toy around with different weapon builds to create the perfect gun for you.
The truth is, though, that the meta is constantly evolving in Warzone, so you may never find it. But this is what makes it so engaging to play. Whenever I hop in, there's always some event going on or new broken weapon, and Raven Software are doing an increasingly good job of making sure the game's balance is just right.
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The 50 best FPS games ever
What are the best FPS games? It’s a hotly debated topic, and one that, once the debate initiated, made the VG247 office erupt in an impromptu nerf war.
Luckily, when the dust settled, we managed to land on our top 50. Just so you can have a bit of insight into our process, here’s how we narrowed them down.
First off, we favoured new stuff over older games. While you will find a few retro shooters in this list, we prioritised newer releases simply because they hold up better today. GoldenEye might be a classic - and it still made our list - but it controls like a shopping trolley with a broken wheel.
Likewise, we thought about how to classify an FPS and decided on the simplest measure: a video game that plays from the first-person perspective and contains guns. That’s why you’ll also find this list stuffed with the odd immersive sim. Sorry.
Other than that, we just had the near-impossible task of ranking them all, and no doubt you’ll disagree with some of our placements. For that, we can only apologise, but please remember that opinions are subjective. Your favourite FPS didn’t make the list? It’s at number 51.
So load your gun, go prone, and take aim at the 50 best FPS games.
50. GoldenEye 007
One of the best movie tie-in games of all time, GoldenEye was released during Rare's glory years. The four-player split-screen deathmatch is gameplay of legend. GoldenEye 007 was a pioneer and paved the way for future console shooters by deviating from the popular on-rails style and incorporating a free-roam element with varied maps. It was a fantastic shooter at the time, but it’s aged very badly.
49. Planetside 2
Few games can match what Planetside 2 has to offer - a vast battle across Auraxis with thousands of other players online, where teamwork and skill are essential to winning the war. Its free-to-play model isn't intrusive or unwelcome, and it still looks very pretty during those day and night cycles - jump on it if you haven't already.
48. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
A reboot of Wolfenstein 3D, RtCW contained one of the craziest single-player story-based campaigns ever, based on the occult dabblings of Nazis during World War 2. Built around stopping the SS Paranormal Division from resurrecting an undead Saxon warrior named Heinrich I, the game is packed full of enemy soldier fodder, devout ladies of the occult dressed as borderline dominatrixes, occult ceremonies, super soldiers, and zombie knights - all to the accompaniment of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Für Elise.
47. Serious Sam: Second Encounter
An unrelenting alien slaughterfest, Serious Sam games are pure fun. With ‘80s action flick sensibilities, time travel, and a ridiculous arsenal of weapons, it was like stepping into the shoes of Ash Williams, only without all the drama packed in your suitcase. Serious Sam games are in no way serious, and in a world of po-faced shooters, that's something to be celebrated.
46. Wolfenstein 3D
We associate the classic id Software designers - Carmack, Romero, Hall - with Wolfenstein 3D, a widely copied, much-respected and endlessly influential run-and-gun through a distorted view of the Second World War. BJ Blazkowicz is one of the true meat-headed heroes of video gaming, and his legacy is a billion smoking bullet holes, Nazi corpses and a robot Hitler.
45. Perfect Dark
Was Perfect Dark a great first-person shooter on the N64, or was it just a decent one that has been elevated because of the Rare brand? The female protagonist, the auto-turrets, and Elvis the alien makes it stand out. If it took balls to have a female lead in a shooter in 2000, it was downright reckless to throw in a comedy alien sidekick. The addition of a customisable multiplayer mode shows the sort of ambition on display here. Especially telling considering it released in the early days of first-person shooters on console, when many were trying (and failing) to emulate the heavy hitters on PC.
44. Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem is an asshole, and that's why this game is remembered more for an idiotic lead character rather than the surprising gameplay subtleties. It's not as linear as it first appears, and there's a handful of fun, experimental weapons to toy with. You even get a co-op mode and level creator. It was superseded forever ago, but it still deserves a mention for being more than just a dickhead simulator.
43. Medal of Honor: Frontline
Up until Frontline, Medal of Honor on console was unexceptional. But with Frontline, MoH finally arrived, and it felt like the PS2 could hold its own against the blistering first-person shooters leaving such huge scorch marks on the PC. This was a time when Medal of Honor meant something, and Call of Duty was only a challenger. How things have changed.
Quake changed everything. Three-dimensional first-person shooting would never be the same. Quake’s pick-ups and puzzles flanked the first real glimpse of the future of action gaming, where the player was free to attack and kill with speed and aggression. Quake had grenade launchers and quad-damage. It was about destruction, and gaming leapt at it as a result. Shoot stuff. That’s what we’re here for. Quake was the first game to nail the urge.
41. Mirror's Edge
Another game that dared to experiment with the first-person formula with mixed results, Mirror's Edge is more about traversing the environment than it is about planting a headshot. It's hit and miss. When the parkour flows it feels exhilarating, but when it comes to an abrupt stop it's a slap back down to the reality of an average, clunky FPS. It's worth persevering because these games are so uncommon, and it's an interesting ride despite being fundamentally flawed.
40. Unreal Tournament
When review screens of this went out, people in VG247 founder Pat’s office couldn’t believe it was real. It was true that Unreal Tournament, or UT99 as it became more widely known, pushed some beautiful visuals, but elements such as the Shock Rifle and anti-grav levels gave FPS players something differentiated enough from Quake III to ensure success.
Black was Criterion’s attempt at doing for the FPS what Burnout did for the racer. The result was a playable blockbuster where you could literally bust blocks. Over the top destruction was the order of the day, and I can still remember how cool it felt to toss a grenade into a window before witnessing the rest of the windows in the building blow out from the pressure. That silent pistol is an all-timer, too.
38. Quake III
Quake III pitched off against Unreal Tournament when arena shooters were en vogue, and Carmack's team turned out a furious, timeless take on the concept of space combat. Id’s final instalment in the Quake series featured map design so perfect it hurts your brain and a weapon set forged in the fires of genius.
Quake III was the King of Twitch, a stripped-down racing car of a shooter guaranteed to leave you with hypertension and carpal tunnel syndrome. A platinum beast. It’s still played competitively today, which is no small feat considering it released in 1999.
37. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s an odd game - a difficult fusion of shooter and role-playing set in the radioactive wasteland left by the Chernobyl disaster. Completely unforgiving and relentlessly frightening, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. carved itself a place in the annals of shooter fame with challenge and technical finesse. It’s buggy as shit and virtually impossible to play when the lights go out, but if you ever moan you’ll always get people saying the fault is yours. Try it. Horror shooting at its best.
36. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
A game so big it needed an N64 Expansion Pack, Seeds of Evil reminds us that Nintendo's old console had more than one really good FPS. So much of Turok 2 seemed fresh at the time: riding dinosaurs into battle; underwater weapons; upgraded abilities and targeting specific body parts for dismemberment. Why on earth haven’t we got a modern one?
“Can it run Crysis?” Crytek made this shooter so technically demanding it remained the mission of PC gamers to be able to run it at meaningful settings for years. The alien mountain stuff kind of fucked the entire thing up halfway through, but there’s no denying Crysis still looks the part over a decade on. The game itself’s middling in places, but at its best, it’s a sensational collision of evolved shooter mechanics (remember all the fuss made of the suit?), outpost clearance, and extreme technology. You should have played it.
34. Killing Floor 2
What’s better than killing zombies in a game with friends? Killing zombies in slow-motion in a game with friends, of course. Killing Floor 2 is like Call of Duty’s Zombies mode split out into its own game, bolstered by some great features, and bathed in buckets of gore. It’s ridiculously fun.
33. Borderlands 2
The second Borderlands was a force - a honed RPG-shooter that captured many players for many months. The wasteland sci-fi offered here has never been bettered, and Borderlands 3 is just as wild as its predecessors. Based on Borderlands 2, the answer is “very”. Essential stuff, if you can hack the humour.
There’s something moreish about the way an engram spills out of an alien like you just bust open a meaty pinata. There it goes, a colourful dodecahedron rolling down a hill. Never mind those other aliens shooting at me, I must chase it. Destiny is a game you play because it feels good and stimulates your lizard brain. Everything is polished, and there’s no thinking needed unless you’re raiding. The first one is still the best.
Superhot is unlike any other FPS in existence. Its visual style is minimalist, it’s an indie game that was born from a game jam, but it’s an essential buy. In Superhot, time only moves when you do. This means you can dodge bullets, grab guns out of the air, and finish every encounter like you’re John Wick after a ballet class. Once you’re done, the level is played back to you in real-time to show you how cool you are.
Why didn't anybody buy this? It was stupid, crude, violent, and dumbass in all the good ways. But more than that, its skillshot approach to gunplay - rewarding players for the more unusual, gruesome, and complicated deaths - added tension and encouraged gung-ho, ballsy tomfoolery. Throw in an electric whip and a kick harder than Anderson Silva and you'll laugh your way from beginning to end.
29. Dying Light
While much of Dying Light is focused around melee and fluid movement, the gunplay isn't to be sniffed at. Dying Light nails the feeling of tearing into the undead - chunks of rotting flesh flying off with every hit and every bullet. It's a joy just to wander around its world, and the stupid zombie AI makes for some hilarious moments. You haven't lived if you haven't seen a zombie fall from a rooftop when trying to chase you.
28. Fallout 4
Fallout has never been a series that focused on the shooting. In fact, the slow-motion V.A.T.S. targeting system felt like a way of making up for the subpar gunplay initially. Fallout 4 changed all that, however, bringing on id Software to help make the gunplay sing. You can really tell. Fallout 4’s gunplay is punchy and violent, while the AI - particularly the ghouls who climb through windows and grasp from crawl spaces - makes the encounters feel fresh.
Insurgency is like Call of Duty for people who loved playing on Hardcore mode. It’s not quite a sim like Arma, but there’s no hud, you die easily, and the only way to confirm a kill is to see the body drop. It’s a stripped-back shooter where there are no distractions from your HUD - you just look down the sights, aim, and squeeze, hoping to get a glimpse of the pink mist.
26. Far Cry 2
Ubisoft went all-out for immersion with Far Cry 2, a valiant mission which resulted in one of the most borked, fascinating, and ultimately unforgettable first-person shooters ever made. Set in a footnote African war in a plot not dissimilar to A Fistful of Dollars, Far Cry 2 forces you to play two factions off against each other in a bid to capture the man flooding the theatre with weapons. Some terrible NPC respawning marred an otherwise spectacular game, but there’s no question Far Cry 2 was hugely influential.
25. PAYDAY 2
PAYDAY 2 is as close as we’ve come - outside of GTA Online’s heists - to a playable version of Heat. Four friends team up to rob banks and stores, fighting off waves of police attempting to foil the robbery. It’s fast-paced, fun, and features deep customisation that keeps you playing for weeks.
24. Timesplitters 2
Co-op, primates, arcade cartridges, gangsters, cowboys and space marines - there's nothing Free Radical Design was afraid to throw at TimeSplitters. They seemed such innocent times when going off the rails was saluted instead of following such a constrained view of what an FPS should be. We'll never be able to go back to the madness, but we'll always have the memories.
23. Arma 2
Not just the game that spawned DayZ, ARMA 2 is the hardcore shooter experience. Muzzle velocities, simulated ballistics, stadiametric rangefinding and other intimidating concepts are simulated by ARMA 2 around an arsenal of realistically modelled weapons. With multiple expansions and modding, it's almost impenetrable and not for the faint of heart. Try the free version if you're brave enough.
22. Alien Isolation
Listen, we know this is more about hiding in lockers and shitting your pants than it is about shooting, but there are prolonged sections where you’re blasting android faces off with a shotgun so shut up. Alien Isolation is one of the best horror games ever made, it’s in first-person, and you have a gun. Nothing else on this list makes you feel as vulnerable as this.
Another, more recent immersive sim, Prey is much more about shooting than most of its brethren. You would struggle to get through Prey without firing a shot at the inky aliens attempting to kill you. The setting, a space station called Talos-1, is one of the best game environments in the genre - a giant, persistent puzzle box that becomes a second home during your stay.
20. Deus Ex Human Revolution
Everything from the bold, angular, black and gold art style to the freedom of choice makes Human Revolution such a memorable game. Human Revolution is a thinking person’s shooter, where shooting is usually a last resort and rummaging through people’s houses is just thrilling.
It's a simple premise but one that works well; add creepy Japanese horror influences to a first-person shooter and overclock the gore, with plenty of bullet-time thrown in for good measure. The fact that the horror sequences were well-placed means there are scares amongst the gunplay, and slowing down time makes headshots and one-hit kills a mini-game to master. Later sequels didn't really expand on what the original F.E.A.R. offered, but this game is still so much more than the novelty it appears, and the reactive A.I. is still impressive today.
18. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
While we’re all a bit worn down by the current battle royale craze, there’s no mistaking that PUBG captured the zeitgeist. People were sick of the same kinds of shooters, and PUBG changed the pace, offering a shooter where hiding and surviving is as viable a tactic as murdering everyone. With the introduction of first-person servers, this makes the list because of its sheer popularity.
17. Halo: Combat Evolved
Come on, now. You loved this. You can blather on with your “it’s just Halo” rubbish until you’re green. You played it to death just like everyone else. Microsoft changed “FPS doesn’t work on console” to 10/10 in Edge and shut everyone the fuck up with its next-gen tale of high science-fiction and power-armoured space opera.
Halo is one of the most successful shooter franchises ever made, and rightly so. The Warthog; the MA5B; the AI; escaping the Pillar of Autumn. The co-op alone stuck it smack in the middle of indispensable territory, and future Halo multiplayer would go on to define a generation. Halo: Combat Evolved features on the playlist of any shooter fan.
16. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
The first chunk of Escape from Butcher Bay isn't about shooting at all, but more surviving in a prison by avoiding conflict. You win by fashioning a shiv and sticking it in someone's neck while the guards aren't looking. When the guns do eventually come out, it doesn't make space jail any less brutal, but it's such a relief to finally pull the trigger up close. Who would have thought that something associated with Vin Diesel would be one of the best single-player, story-led shooters available?
15. Metro 2033 Redux
The deformed, post-apocalyptic child of a Russian novel, Metro 2033 has to be the grimmest shooter on this list. Packing glowing balls, ghosts in tunnels, pneumatic weapons, ghosts, and an ending so bizarre you’d swear you’d booked a trip to happy town with Captain Mental, the first Metro was flawed but never boring. This package remasters that along with the sequel, Last Light, which improves upon the original game in almost every way and has some of the best weather effects in video games. This can still melt a PC in 2018, too.
14. Team Fortress 2
What started life at Valve as a military shooter based on a Half-Life mod eventually emerged as the cartoon classic half the planet plays today. Team Fortress 2 is one of the greatest free games ever made - a hopelessly addictive, endlessly deep take on the team shooter which never fails to surprise. And it’s free, for god’s sake.
13. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
There's no doubt there were good Call of Duty games before the release of Modern Warfare, but this is the tipping point where the franchise over-cranked into blockbuster territory for single-player, and it’s where the multiplayer became a household name. Underneath all that bombast and showmanship stands a grand shooter experience. Modern Warfare is one of the most influential games ever made.
BioShock may toy with the concepts of choice, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty action it's about taking apart a lumbering mechanical beast with traps and every last bullet you can scrape together. Imbuing your character with increasingly lethal Plasmids, that include sending deadly bees and cyclones at enemies, adds a tactical layer on top of the tight gunplay. Don’t let the lofty pretensions of Bioshock fool you: this is very much a first-person shooter, just one with a fantastic setting, beautiful style, and unique weapons.
11. Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 caused rivers of tears when it released a year after Left 4 Dead, with many angered at Valve’s apparent dropping of the original despite assurances it’d be supported forever. Everyone stopped moaning when they realised the sequel was significantly better, adding melee weapons, new characters, crossover missions and more. We still play this game. If you can’t have fun with Left 4 Dead 2, there’s something wrong with you.
The first-person shooter's first-person shooter. You play Counter-Strike to win, not for fun. What started as a Half-Life mod has spawned a handful of great sequels and got the creators a job at Valve. This is the mod by which all other mods are measured. You might not play it for raw enjoyment, but you need to play it to understand the basics of how a competitive FPS works. It's not a game; it's an education.
Heroes never die. Overwatch is a shooter where every character feels completely different to play. While Timesplitters 2 might have got there first with character-based shooting where you play the objective, Overwatch cranked it right up and polished the formula to a mirror shine.
We didn’t want to add two shooters from the same series to this list, but there’s no escaping the classic Doom. Everybody has played Doom. Whether it was the violence, the perspective, or the exploration that got you hooked, it's easy to look back now and realise this was never a novelty game. It's been ported to every format from PC to mobile, and for very good reason: it still stands up as the epitome of first-person shooting. Wolfenstein 3D may have kickstarted the genre, but Doom distilled and refined it to the model that still influences new games to this day.
7. Half-Life 2
Few games will ever claim to carry the weight of Half-Life 2. The shooter stretched all the boundaries of physics and storytelling when it released in 2004, and became a precursor to Half-Life 3, the most famous game never made. You can love it or hate it, but Gordon’s second adventure changed the world. You'll never forget your first dabble with the gravity gun or a renewed feeling of confidence as you're joined by Dog. Half-Life 2 is the first-person shooter that changed the rules.
6. Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege is a shooter built around a gimmick: destruction. But it’s done in such a way that it’s more than something to stick on a bullet point on the back of the game box. Siege is one of the most tactical, deliberate online shooters around, and it’s all thanks to how you can rip up the maps to make every breach unpredictable. Just mute chat, yeah?
If you’re not into all the talking in modern games, Doomguy is right there with you. New DOOM leans into the seething anger bubbling under the surface of the mute protagonist and focuses on fast, madcap, arena-based gunplay that’s all about gibbing demons. It’s good as hell.
4. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
While Wolfenstein: The New Order has an arguably more varied campaign, Wolfenstein 2 takes the lead because of its angry, angry guns. Every weapon in Wolfenstein 2 feels powerful, and every shot does terrible damage on scenery and skin alike. Add in the fact that it has some of the best writing in a modern game and you’ve got yourself an all-timer.
3. Dishonored 2
While not a traditional first-person shooter, Dishonored 2 is the best immersive sim since Deus Ex. The first-person viewpoint pulls you into its detailed, complex world, and the freedom on offer to approach each objective allows you to play creatively. How many other first-person games let you decapitate a man, place a mine on his severed head, and lob it like a grenade?
2. Titanfall 2
It turns out wall-running and double jumps - you know, like in a platforming game - can change multiplayer shooters considerably. Combining two different types of gameplay into one shooter - the stomping mayhem of piloting a mech across the map and the weasel-quick shooting as an on-foot pilot - Titanfall 2 never has a dull moment.
Not only is the online portion of the game fast, frenetic, and fluid, the single-player managed to deliver one of the best campaigns of recent times. Every mission has a new gimmick or twists to keep you sprinting to the credits.
1. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DICE struck gold with the second Bad Company game. Not only did we finally get a military story with a sense of humour, but this spectacularly idiotic shooter became one of the first games not to over-promise on destruction: it actually worked. When Bad Company 2’s elements pull together towards the end of the game, the result is beautiful chaos.
Take it online and it’s even better. Bad Company 2 offered something different to other shooters at the time, placing tactics above twitch skills. Despite the size of its maps, it also had some of the most memorable and varied arenas ever created for an FPS. It's still the best online shooter ever made.
Battlefield 5 is probably the best Battlefield game since Bad Company 2. Yes, the union jack face masks were a bit tone-deaf, but you can't deny that Battlefield 5 is an excellent shooter.
You have your single-player War Stories that take you across different theatres of war and place you into different perspectives and a solid multiplayer experience which values tactics and positioning over twitch skills and a keen focus on team-playing and support classes that makes you feel like your role in the team really matters.
It captures the camaraderie described by those who survived through the war, whilst giving you a taste of the horrors that would have ensued on the battlefield. War is hell, after all.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout
Black Ops 4 released in October to rapturous success and introduced the first battle royale mode in the series, Blackout.
Blackout is by far the best battle royale mode out there, taking all the best bits from the previous Call of Duty multiplayer modes and creating a map filled with easter eggs, zombies and a collapsing circle. What else do you really need?
It's a much more mature version of the mode popularised by Fortnite and PUBG, and hardcore Call of Duty fans are revelling in how much fun Blackout is to play. Just watch out for that zombie horde when you're searching the Mystery Box.
The best games of each platform
Best of genre
Best of series and misc
Top 5 FPS Games of 2014
Last year was a fantastic year for games. The new generation of consoles started pushing away from last gen and developers started to take advantage of the new hardware, moving away from the limitations of the old systems. First Person Shooters are still going strong and last year brought us the release of new IP’s, sequels and surprising additions to current franchises. Here are my Top 5 FPS games of 2014.
5. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Yeah, I know, a Call of Duty title. If it was 2013’s Ghosts it’d be dead in the water in my books and certainly wouldn’t be put anywhere near my list - that was a game that truly showed the decline in the franchise. Then, all of a sudden last year’s entry to the franchise arrived; Advanced Warfare, which was a long time coming, actually brought something refreshing to the franchise. Created by the new third developer in the pack (other two being Treyarch and Infinity Ward) and with a three-year development cycle, SledgeHammer Games. These guys used this time to its fullest with the introduction of the Exo-suit. The game gave players the ability to boost upwards, forwards, side to side and even backwards to create a unique way to play Call of Duty. Not only that, the campaign is actually pretty decent, almost as good as the original Modern Warfare. Plus Kevin Spacey, can’t forget about Kevin Spacey. Multiplayer with the exo-suit adds more verticality which takes getting used to, but once you get your feet off the ground, you’ll be boosting and shooting your way through in no time. Not only that, but the excellent pick 10 from Black Ops 2 makes its return in the form of pick 13.
4. Far Cry 4
I admit, I have a soft spot for open-world games. I love to get carried away in an open-world brimming with content with plenty to do and Far Cry 4 ticks all the boxes. Far Cry 4 is the next step in the franchise - it retains all the great open-ended gameplay established in Far Cry 3 (which I also enjoyed the hell out of) and kicks it up a notch; more beasts to hunt, more weapons, more challenges and of course; outposts to wreak havok upon and take control of. The story is better than 3’s and has more diverse missions as well as choices that affect the story. Even if you're not interested in the story Far Cry 4 is still a fantastic open world game that you could waste tons of hours just doing random stuff around the country of Kyrat either solo or in co-op, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Only worry now is Ubisoft milking the franchise like Assassin’s Creed...
So many times people have said this and that will be the next Call of Duty or Battlefield killer and all have usually turned out a failure, except Titanfall.Titanfall came very close. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella (the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise, under Infinity Ward). Titanfall is a new generation of multiplayer; featuring awesome verticality, wall running and mechs! It was a big game changer and it was a huge amount of fun. Playing as a pilot allowed you to move across the battlefield taking down mobs and other pilots to gain the ultimate weapon;your titan. The titan adds even more fun to the mix. Jumping into your titan gets you into some epic fights and changes the playing field, especially compared to other more traditional first-person shooter. The only downfall? It died too soon. With not enough content (entirely multiplayer only), and only releasing on Xbox consoles and PC. The groundwork has been laid and with a confirmed sequel on the way it might just knock Call of Duty of it’s pedestal, unless of course the next game copies…*cough* Black Ops 3 *cough*
2. Alien: Isolation
The Alien games haven’t had much luck in past few years. Just like their movie counterparts, they’re just not that good compared to the originals. So after the announcement of Alien: Isolation was made, many still had the bitter taste of Aliens: Colonial Marines in their mouths. Colonial Marines, being an abysmal glitched butchery of something that when first shown looked amazing. Alien: Isolation on the other hand, took a whole different direction and brought back the fear and daunting that made the original Alien movie great. The single Alien on-board a space station, you can not escape from. Alien: Isolation is a survival horror title, where you have to hide and flee from the Alien before it kills you. It’s on my list as it is not only an excellent atmospheric first person survival horror, but also a solid shooter, that’s if you do decide to be brave and take on the other threats on board the space station. What's interesting as well, the game was developed by Creative Assembly who are more well known for their Total War series. Great job Creative Assembly for making the best Alien game in years.
1. Wolfenstein The New Order
My number one is a game that totally caught me by surprise. The return of Wolfenstein, but not how we knew it. Set in an alternative 1960s where the Nazi’s have won the war, the game brings a more human side of our war veteran B.J. Blazkowicz as he finds himself trapped in a world corrupted by the ruling new order (see what I did there) of Nazis. He and the resistance must work together to kill every last one them. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a fantastic new vision for the franchise, helmed by new developer MachineGames. It has hard hitting, powerful gunplay alongside a well-paced story that keeps you playing till the end. It may only be a single-player experience, but it’s an experience that's memorable and worthy of any first-person shooter fan and that’s why it makes my number one.
Finally, I couldn’t finish without at least a couple of honourable mentions...
I would consider this being placed in the Top 5, if it weren't for the fact that, well, let’s face it: Destiny was a disappointment. It was a grind-fest of just rinse and repeat and had you playing the numbers game with the whole dropping of engrams which was luck (especially if it’s a purple). Taking it to Cryptarch would then spoil your fun, by giving you crap. It all just ruins the enjoyment of it all. Destiny does have its merits though, the multiplayer PvP was a lot of fun and I found it to be, for sometime, my go to multiplayer title. It’s just a shame that the content provided wasn’t enough to hold on to. Even with the expansion packs, which in no way worth their asking price, it wasn’t enough to hold me or other players. Unless you were really, and I mean really into grinding. Its not like there was a story in it to keep you playing...
Grand Theft Auto 5 - PC / Current Gen
Wild card bitches! That’s right, Grand Theft Auto 5. Now, for those who haven’t played the recently released PC version or the current gen editions (PS4 and Xbox One) you can ignore this. For the those have, you’ll know that Grand Theft Auto 5 can be played as a fully fledged First Person Shooter, with all the bells and whistles. The whole GTA5 experience can be done in this mode, with a simply switch of the camera, whether it be driving, flying or just popping caps in asses on the streets, you can enjoy it in a first person mode. I would place this in my Top 5, but as this is games of 2014 and GTA5 originally released in 2013 and the PC version didn’t arrive till this year, it doesn’t get a spot; but still well worth a mention.
A bearded fellow whom spends most days gaming and looking at tech he can never afford. Has a keen eye for news and owns a dog that's a bear.
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[DNP]Games of 2014 - FPS
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: March 2014
Link: Titanfall site
Any game that lets you call in a pet mech from orbit is worth a look, but that's just one of the reasons to keep an eye on short-session multiplayer shooter, Titanfall. Developers, Respawn Entertainment, have spent years trying to find a balance between fast-paced, jetpack-powered footsoldier shootouts and lumbering mech duels and, based on first impressions, may have totally nailed it. Soldiers can boost and wall-run through its cityscapes, hitching rides on friendly mechs before calling down stompy doom-machines of their own. Firefights flow freely from streets, to rooftops, to giant robots with rocket launchers. Titanfall promises the speed tactile satisfaction of Call of Duty's multiplayer mode, but with greater variety and an engaging futuristic setting.
Find out more about how Titanfall's frantic fights feel in our hands-on
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Release date TBA 2014
Link: Wolfenstein: The New Order site
It's 1960, and free love and music festivals have been replaced by robot dogs and Nazi shocktroops. As Captain B. J. Blazkowicz it's your job to single-handedly undo this alternative-history screw up using big guns and shouting. At first glance, The New Order looks like an old fashioned corridor shooter quite suited to the “Wolfenstein” name, but this frivolous mass-blaster promises a few interesting new ways to dice up robo-Nazis, like a laser that lets you slice through cover with pixel-perfect precision. Carve rude shapes out of concrete barriers, and then snipe your foes through the gap. It's being developed by MachineGames, made up of some major figures from the Darkness and Chronicles of Riddick team at Starbreeze, which means it might just be good.
For a taste of Wolfenstein: The New Order's trademark absurdity, check out our hands-on account, about fighting Nazis in a moon-dome.
Developer: Vostok Games
Release Date: TBA 2014
Link: Survarium site
STALKER 2 was never to be, but most of its former developers are keeping the dream alive with Survarium, though a free-to-play arena shooter is hardly the form you'd want a spiritual successor to take. Fortunately, the maps they've shown so far are laden with the dilapidated beauty of STALKER's irradiated wasteland, and Vostok eventually want to turn Survarium into something much bigger and more emergent, with a co-op mode that riffs on DayZ. The prospect of a 40-person server set in a STALKER-esque zone built in a modern engine is worth getting excited about, even if it has to start life as a relatively restricted competitive shooter first. Alpha sign-ups are available if you want to get in early.
Developer: Code Avarice
Release Date: 2014
Link: Steam early access
Paranautical Activity is a fast paced roguelike FPS. At first glance it looks like a blocky version of Doom, but the use of three dimensional space reminds us more of Quake 3. More importantly levels are procedurally generated for short, frenetic gunfights. Developers Code Avarice had a pretty rough time earlier this year when they signed up with a publisher in order to bypass Steam Greenlight, only to be told that they would still have to go through the process. Thankfully they eventually succeeded and are now in early access.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Patriots
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Red Storm, Ubisoft Toronto
Link: Rainbow 6 site
Domestic terrorism on American soil is a fairly brave subject to cover when it comes to mainstream videogames and probably requires delicate handling. Perhaps that's why so many of the development team have jumped ship following the rather cold reaction to its early trailers. It may have undergone a total overhaul - as do so many of Ubisoft's big budget releases. We can probably still expect rappelling out of buildings, vision modes and co-operative door breaching to make an appearance, but as to the game's structure, little is known. Alas, there's little reason to hope it will ditch the cinematic action nonsense of latterday Clancy games for the series' origins as a supremely tactical squad shooter. We can but hope that Rainbow Six will one day re-emerge, but don't expect it anytime soon.
Developer: Human Head
Release date: TBA
Link: Human Head site
Early previews of this game showed a tremendously appealing vertical slice of sci-fi opening world shooting, with the player taking on the role of a human air marshal accidentally transported to an alien planet during the events of the first game. Here he becomes a bounty hunter, clambering and diving all over the Blade Runner inspired cityscape with some rather tasty firstperson parkour tricks, and no small amount of gadgetry. It looked exhilarating to play, with a wealth of combat and traversal options available to you, as you pursued your quarry through the neon and gunmental of a dizzyingly vertical environment. Alas, some sort of kerfuffle between devs Human Head and their publishers at Bethesda has halted production – although rumours emerged recently that Arkane have now picked up the baton.
Link: Gearbox's site
Originally set to be the fourth entry in the po-faced, pseudo-reverent WW2 shooter series, Brothers In Arms, early trailers for Furious 4 took such a divergent and whimsically vicious tone that the project was hurriedly hived off on its own. Since its initial reveal, however, the Tarantino-inspired action caper has been little seen or heard, with Gearbox claiming that there's been a substantial facelift in the interim.
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Link: id homepage
(NOT PICTURED: Doom 4)
We've known Doom 4 was coming for years, but during that time very little information has dripped out about id's return visit to hell. Will it have a shotgun? Will have a blue keycard? Will it have a BFG? These questions haunt us. Production of id's follow-up to Rage has been completely restarted at least once, with the words “development” and “hell” being thrown around recently. id's John Carmack left the company in 2013 to work full-time at Oculus VR - how will that affect this troubled sequel to the divisive Doom 3?
Developer: Zero Point Software
Link: Steam early access
Interstellar Marines has been in development in some form or another since 2005 and is now in beta, but we're certain it's going to get released in 2014, honestly. It's an ambitious four player co-op shooter that takes its inspiration from the likes of System Shock 2 and Rainbow 6. The current build boasts some very impressive lighting and weather effects, but is still some distance from the dream game Zero Point are pitching.
Developer: Xitol Softworks
Link: Xitol's site
Initially set for release in the middle of 2012, this multiplayer sci-fi shooter's release date has been in hasty retreat. According to Xitol's Twitter feed, the project is still alive, but there's still not much to go on beyond pre-alpha screenshots and promises.
Developer: City Interactive
Release: Mid 2014
Link: Enemy Front
Remember when all first person shooters were set in World War 2? City Interactive do, apparently, and want to revisit that era with CryEngine 3 powered FPS, Enemy Front. It promises larger, more sandboxy environments than Call of Duty offered back in the day, along with scenery destruction and other modern engine gubbins. You play as a US war correspondent called Robert Hawkins, covering Nazi resistance movements across World War 2's major European theatres of war.
Sniper Elite 3
Release Date: 2014
Link: Sniper Elite 3 teaser site
As enjoyable as Sniper Elite's shooting has been, the series' level design has rarely taken advantage of the methodical, almost clinical nature of long-range warfare. Sniper Elite 3 wants to increase your tactical options, presenting a more open African sandbox filled with Nazis to shoot and military hardware to disable. As always, your power is in your ability to avoid detection, confuse the enemy, and set traps to silently but violently even the odds.
Developer: Blackmill games/M2H
Release Date: 2014
Link: Steam early access
World War 1 is an underused game setting, perhaps because it was far messier and more morally ambiguous than the smash hit sequel, World War 2. Verdun goes against that grain, setting a squad based multiplayer shooter in the trenches at that famous French battle (the origin of the phrase “They shall not pass” - Trivia Ed). It's on steam early access right now and reminds us very much of Red Orchestra. Also this year players re-enacted the famous World War 1 'Christmas Truce' and stopped shooting to throw snowballs at each other, which is just adorable.
Developer: Monochrome LLC
Link: Contagion site
The spiritual successor to the Zombie Panic: Source Half-Life 2 has you and a few friends battling randomly spawning zombie hordes, carefully watching your ammo reserves as the undead menace gradually overwhelms you. Even worse, bitten friends can turn and become zombies themselves Think of it as a less frantic but equally dangerous take on the Left 4 Dead formula with plenty of randomisation to keep things fresh.
Rambo: The Video Game
Developer: Reef Entertainment
Release Date: 2014
Link: Rambo site
“Oh hey remember me, Rambo? I was in the games of 2013 list!”
“Oh yes Rambo, what have you been doing since then?”
“I've been delayed till 2014”
“Okay, did we learn anything new about you?”
“Not really, but I did release a trailer with lots of explosions in it,”
“Aren't you supposed to be based at least partly on the first Rambo film? The one that was about a traumatised veteran suffering from PTSD.”
“But wait! I'm using the original sound tapes from the film to do voice acting!”
Developer: Final Boss Entertainment
Release Date: TBA 2014
Link: Wrack site
Borderlands rather brought back the idea of the cel shaded shooter, once the sole dominion of the oft-overlooked XIII. Wrack goes back in time to an era of extremely fast movement, plentiful but not especially intelligent enemies, jump pads and sweet shotguns. It's on Steam Early Access , after the fashion of the day.
Tower of Guns
Developer: Terrible Posture games
Release Date: TBA 2014
Link: Tower of Guns website
Tower of Guns is all about power ups. It's designed to be a quick burst of procedurally generated FPS action that lasts as long as a lunch break, and over the course of that lunch break you'll acquire a crazy mix of power ups and gun upgrades. Shotgun Rocket Launchers? Centuple Jump? All are possible with the right combinations of power ups.
Release Date: TBA 2014
Link: Super Hot website
Originally made for the 7 day FPS gamejam, Super Hot exploded in popularity when a Unity version was made available earlier this year. The smart take on bullet time (time only moves when the player does) immediately caught on, resulting in a full sized version being Greenlit near instantly.
My 7 Favorite Shooters of 2014
This year has been amazing for first person shooters. The genre has languished, recently, forcing players to mostly settle for shooting galleries with the occasional twist.
Prior to 2014, many shooters featured design that was intended to slow players, encouraging them to hide behind cover and focus on shooting enemies that did the same. The shooter became a kind of virtual whack-a-mole. But seven great shooters in 2014 defied expectations. Here they are.
Titanfall - March 11
Few games, on launch, are mechanically perfect. Titanfall was. The controls were fluid and intuitive, the maps looked great, the game sounded incredible, and Respawn's support of the game has been top-notch. Titanfall stood out because of its unique player/mech mechanic, which Respawn polished to a shine. Switching from Titan to Pilot back to Titan again was astonishingly fluid. A host of other design decisions rounded out the experience: having AI bots that lead players around the map, turrets that could be hacked, and, of course, the game's deep-yet-intuitive free-running system that brought old-school movement focus back in a big way.
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Titanfall was not perfect. The decision not to release on Steam hampered the game's multiplayer community on the PC. Players were unable to select upcoming maps or change their settings, and that, coupled with long load times, hampered the experience. Until the horde mode patch, the game featured no single-player or co-op content, leaving some consumers feeling that they hadn't got their money's worth.
Still, Titanfall offered some of the most fun I've ever had in a competitive shooter, even if that fun was short-lived. I can't help but think that, had its mechanical perfection been combined with solid co-op or single-player content and a launch on Steam, Titanfall might have been considered one of the all-time great video games.
Betrayer - March 24
Former Monolith designer Craig Hubbard, has been responsible for some of the best video games I've ever played, including No One Lives Forever and F.E.A.R.. His latest game, Betrayer, doesn't disappoint. It's a visually-striking horror title set back in the 1600s; you play a man shipwrecked near an abandoned colony, and it's up to you to set things right.
Betrayer is one of those games I couldn't put down until I finished it. Much of the game's horror comes from the mechanics; players are encouraged to sneak around the Betrayer's world, but any arrow missing its mark or breaking on enemy armor will alert your foes, who quickly outnumber you. The guns in the game are all single-shot muzzle loaders. While you can use these guns to shoot, they're slow to reload and loud enough to alert even more enemies to your location. In other words, guns are best left for moments of desperation. Having guns actually makes this horror game scarier than it would have been if it tried to be a simple Amnesia clone.
Betrayer also excels as a detective story, utilizing a cool sound mechanic to help a player listen for and find clues on its large maps. As the player journeys through the game, they're given opportunities to help out the island's many ghosts, eventually receiving the chance to judge them. Without spoiling it, I'll say that the moral choices in this game are a lot more satisfying than I've encountered elsewhere. Betrayer is a special game, one I believe everyone should play, given the chance.
Wolfenstein: The New Order - May 20
Single-player only. Linear campaign. Untested studio. These aren't exactly the kinds of things consumers want to hear. Fortunately, MachineGames didn't seem to care much about that with their debut title: Wolfenstein: The New Order.
A great deal of chronological snobbery surrounds shooters. Many people assume that regenerating health, aim-down-sights mechanics, and the like are better than older shooter mechanics simply by virtue of being newer. Wolfenstein proves these ideas wrong: the limited health and armor system of older shooters is back with a vengeance, motivating players to explore and control maps far more than traditional modern shooters. There's no weapon limits either. Dual-wielding is back and alternate fire modes provide a depth that many other shooters do not have. Mechanically, it's a breath of fresh air.
Shooters aren't known for their writing, but if Wolfenstein is any indication, they should be. MachineGames' writing is some of the best I've come across in video games, a perfect blend of pulp and seriousness. The characters are deep, if not deeper than any you might find in your favorite RPG, and they're wonderfully varied too. The closest comparison I can think of is Half-Life 2, except that Wolfenstein: The New Order is better than it in every way, including replayability.
Destiny - September 9
Kotaku's own Jason Schreier called Destiny "a video game in which players roam the solar system getting angry at Destiny," and he's not wrong. Bungie had rocked the world with Halo. Their first new creation in thirteen years had been marketed as the next Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately, the finished product has been heavily criticized, and with good reason. Many of the updates to the game's design have been implemented in ways that impede player progress for no reason other than a shameful lack of content .
Despite this, however, I have put 345 hours in the game, which makes it my second-most played game of all time, behind Unreal Tournament 2004. Despite the lack of content, Destiny features a wonderful back and forth between players and enemies. Its combat arenas harken back to the days when strafing mattered. Rather than waist-high barriers, Destiny's use of rocks, pillars and other structures encourages players with a way to dash around the combat space in a Halo-esque dance.
Plenty of games rely too much on their investment and not enough on their core gameplay, but not Destiny. Bungie has developed a great tug of war between player and enemy. The shooting is great, and enemy communication and feedback is exemplary. If you're looking for a co-op shooter with great combat that actually requires teamwork and cooperation, Destiny is it. Raiding in Destiny is some of the most fun I've ever had in a shooter.
Shadow Warrior - October 21 (re-release)
You might not expect a game about shooting and swordfighting demons to be remarkable, but Shadow Warrior certainly is. Originally released for PC in 2013, Shadow Warrior is a reboot by Hard Reset developers Flying Wild Hog of a franchise from Duke Nukem creators 3D Realms. It hit consoles this fall.
There's a hint of Bulletstorm here, not just in the humor, but in the point system, encouraging players to be creative with their kills. The game's secrets and enemy variation encourage players to spend more time looking around the map than a traditional shooting gallery game might. Shadow Warrior's swordplay is astonishing—after years of games like The Elder Scrolls, players might get the impression that first-person melee combat isn't any good. Shadow Warrior's deep combat system melds swordplay and magic spells with its shooting. It is so good that I hope Bethesda looks to it for inspiration on all future titles. This is how swordplay should be done in first-person games.
Oh, and it's well-written. At first, the game's all about funny jokes, but it quickly turns into a game about the relationship between a criminal enforcer and his demon buddy, Hoji. The cutscenes reveal a mythical undercurrent to the narrative that plays off in the game's finale, which I won't spoil here. Shadow Warrior is, suffice it to say, the first game I've ever played that handled tragedy really well, infusing it with a sense of powerful inevitability.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - November 4
When you're on the eleventh installment of a video game series, it can be hard to innovate. The audience expects a game that is both like and unlike what came before it; change too much, and they'll wonder why it's in the series at all. Change too little, and they'll accuse you of churning out the same thing year after year. Sledgehammer took on this challenge with gusto; the resulting game is the best Call of Duty since Modern Warfare.
In many ways, it's the same sort of Call of Duty game you know: regenerating health, samey weapons, breathtaking set pieces, and untold amounts of distilled heroism. The futuristic aesthetic, however, uses a variety of gadgets to make the game's pacing a lot more fluid than the start-stop-repeat pacing of so many games before it, especially Treyarch's entries in the Call of Duty titles. You get seeker grenades, sights that ID enemies, grappling hooks, magnetic climbing gear, and exoskeletons that give players a double jump. They all work together in a way that makes AdvancedWarfare feel as fresh and innovative to the formula as Modern Warfare did back in 2007.
Previous games used multiple viewpoints to spice up the map choices, which occasionally made the series' narratives hard to follow. Advanced Warfare's story is clear about what happens, using the new in-game technology to allow for more varied experiences. One moment you're flying a drone around a tower, sniping guards to allow friendly forces to advance. The next, you're walking a heavy mech suit underwater in order to infiltrate a missile silo. But you're doing all of it with a cohesive, interesting plot driving you forward. It's great.
Far Cry 4 - November 18
Like many, I was worried that Ubisoft's approach to the Assassin's Creed series would find its way over to the Far Cry games and we'd receive something more akin to Far Cry 3.5 than Far Cry 4. I was happy to be wrong. Far Cry 4 is a good sequel, changing much of what needed to be changed while adding new bits that broaden the experience.
The guns feel and sound better. The first-person camera they use is still one of the best in the business, with all sorts of little quirks and tics that make it feel far more alive than cameras in other shooters. There's a bit more depth to hunting, though still not enough. Navigating the world feels quicker and more fun. Like Destiny, Far Cry 4's world is just so fun run to around and shoot things in.
Unfortunately, the writing's still as bad as it was in Far Cry 3, with inconsistent characterization, poor use of motive, and a laughable attempt to make everyone a single dark shade of morally grey. Disappointingly, the PC version, though having a great deal of options, isn't very good. The FOV slider, for instance, occasionally gets stuck back at the default FOV. Performance is subpar, especially compared to Far Cry 3, and the map editor doesn't feature multiplayer maps.
2014's shooters were awesome, warts and all. Most of them focused on increasing the movement options available to the player, and in some cases used health systems that actively encouraged player motion. As a result, we got a lot of game worlds that were, for the first time in quite a while, fun just to run around and shoot stuff in.
I wish The Master Chief Collection hadn't been rushed to market, because it deserved to be on this list: Halo 2's multiplayer is still some of the best there is, especially when compared to 343's disappointing push towards mechanics that don't fit the series or the audience—aiming down sights and sprinting, to name two. Playing Halo in 60 frames per second is absolutely wonderful.
This was also a great year for randomized shooters. Fancy Skulls, Tower of Guns, and Ziggurat all released on Steam. Each one has loads of great guns and enemies for players to find as they make their way through deadly randomized dungeons. I think I've spent as much time in Fancy Skulls as I have in Far Cry 4.
Wolfenstein proved that single-player shooters still had what it took to be great games. Destiny proved that great gunplay is still the foundation for a good shooter. Betrayer reminded us that horror games with weapons can still be scary. Each of 2014's great shooters paid special attention to the way players interact with both their environment and their foes. Mechanically, they excelled in ways that shooters haven't.
Next year, we'll see even more diverse shooters, from the upcoming tactical Rainbow Six: Siege to the four-on-one multiplayer Evolve to—if we're lucky and it comes out in 2015—Blizzard's hero-focused shooter Overwatch. The future is bright. Hopefully the success of 2014's shooters inspire more developers to break new ground.
GB Burford is a freelance journalist and indie game developer who just can't get enough of exploring why games work. You can reach him on Twitter at @ForgetAmnesia or on his blog. You can support him and even suggest games to write about over at his Patreon.For more of his Kotaku work, check out the GBB tag.
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