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A sequel to New Order, this keeps the basic formula of gunning through fascists, careful to take out a special officer enemy before they get a chance to raise the alarm and call more stormtroopers. In one scene, the black woman leading your resistance group breastfeeds her baby while planning to overthrow the Nazi regime and simultaneously taking the time to tell you that the phrase having balls is a thoughtlessly male way to describe bravery. Is this what a hero looks like?
Where can I buy it: Get it on Steam. Read more: Our Wolfenstein 2 review , How Wolfenstein 2 takes the white dudebro hero apart. A scene as much as it is a game. It was an amazing piece of work for the creative folks among us, and it spawned amazing things like Air Buccaneers.
However, it was also an astoundingly well-engineered piece of gaming technology. The Unreal engine was, at this point, as smooth as a marble, and it clocked up the core super-fast deathmatch of its predecessor with the addition of vehicles and more modes than a very expensive hairdryer. It still plays like a perfect fever-dance of competitive death, with finely-tuned controls that purr in the hand.
The melting pot of aesthetic styles means it shows its age. But this is like complaining that a Lotus Esprit looks "a bit 80s". It's still a bloody Lotus Esprit, y'know? Notes: For a far prettier reincarnation, Epic are currently providing an alpha version of a new UT's infrastructure for free, with content primarily provided by the community. It's nothing like as a rock-solid as UT , nor does it have the variety or player-base as yet, but hey, graphics.
Also, freeness. What else should I be playing if I like this: Quake Live, the semi-free reincarnation of UT's uber-rival Quake III, unless you believe in being entirely partisan even when it comes to pretending to shoot people, in which case the other Unreal Tournaments are the only acceptable answers. Another definition-stretcher, given the first truly great Aliens game since involves a whole lot more hiding and quivering in terror than it does the firing of weapons.
In fact, the primary mechanic is movement. It does have some traditional shooting sections if you demand them, and finds a way to make a very different and non-titular foe unsettling too, but it's the cowering from Giger's indefatigable giant-penis-with-teeth that really makes it. With environment design that borrows from the austere whites of Alien's sci-fi structures, rather than the oft-imitated more industrial design of Aliens, Isolation creates a strong sense of place as well as a strong sense of absolute terror.
Notes: A disclaimer: I know one of the writers on Alien: Isolation. Please seek alternative number 22 placements in Best Shooter Lists if this concerns you. What else should I be playing if I like this: If you're into avoiding nasties and deciphering a sci-fi catastrophe, SOMA is a very good shout.
The standalone sequel to a beloved Half-Life mod, this asymmetrical multiplayer shooter ended up doing space marines versus aliens far more successfully than the contemporaneous disaster Aliens: Colonial Marines. It's so much more than mere deathmatch though: its rare mash-up of FPS and real-time strategy sees players building bases and defences as well as battling each other directly.
Each team has a commander — a single player who directs the action and builds structures — while the rest of the gang run around the sci-fi corridors, battling the opposing team and attempting to support the actions of the commander. A few games have taken similar positions in the time since Natural Selection first appeared, but few of them have done it with as much vigour as this.
The huge differences between the sides - humans with guns, aliens with tooth and claw - saves it from the routine and predictability of standard multiplayer shooters, but be warned that you may struggle to get too much out of it without seriously committing to long-term play with a similarly-minded team. Notes: The Natural Selection 2: Combat mod dispatches with the base-building stuff in favour of straight-up asymmetrical murder, with a touch of RPG-style levelling.
What else should I be playing if I like this: Valve's asymmetrical multiplayer shooter Evolve might interest you. There's no shortage of community chest-thumping that says Natural Selection 1, a mod for the first Half-Life, is the better game. Read more: The devs on why they introduced a donation system , our Natural Selection 2 review. We're talking about the PC version specifically, the Gearbox port of which didn't manage to be as iconic as the original Bungie version was on console, plus had a whole bunch of technical issues.
Still, we got a good taste of what's been so popular in Xbox land: the wide-open spaces, the vehicles, possibly the most solid and recognisable arsenal of guns in videogames, and that sense of a great escape from the lone, tunnel-bound skirmishes of shooter tradition and into a wider war. The PC version also brought official online multiplayer to Halo for the first time, which a few people continue to play to this day.
Halo multiplayer may be inextricably mentally associated with brightly-coloured robo-men teabagging each other, but it's such a tight, well-balanced affair which deftly weaves both land-based and airborne vehicles into the core of the combat. There's also no denying the massive influence this alien-murdering rampage has had on shooters, from limiting the amount of weapons you can carry, to mapping explosives and melee attacks to a single key, rather than cycling through the weapons you're holding just to find your frag granade.
Where Halo went, others followed. It's possible half the games on this list would look very different without it. Notes: Be sure to grab the Custom Edition add-on, which among other things enables support for fan-made maps, as well as introducing a tool with which to make 'em. Gearbox provide it for free. You'll also need a very recent patch to get the multiplayer working in wake of Gamespy's demise. Where can I buy it: Nowhere digitally, but it's cheap enough second-hand be sure you get a working CD key.
What else should I be playing if I like this: Destiny 2 is the spiritual successor to the balletic firefights of the first Halo, and they are faster and shinier too. 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. What else should I be playing if I like this: There are a lot of other VR shooters out there, but not much else compares. This pure multiplayer shooter, starring weapons which are the very archetypes of simulated violence, was deathmatch elevated to, if not an art form, then certainly high science. No frills, no superfluous weapons, almost nothing between you and movement, a pure test of skill and accuracy, great fing maps.
It might have had these gothic sci-fi trappings, but Quake III could be colourless squares sprinting and bouncing around untextured paths and it would still be the complete, perfect shooting game it is. Developers Id, after creating the first-person shooter, perhaps also had the final word on it.
That's why they, as much as anyone else, so struggled for relevancy in its wake. Quake III still feels amazing, have no doubt. Quake III still makes otherwise unused parts of my brain spring to life; faster, more aware, more engaged, more awake. Quake III is good for me. And for you. Notes: Quake III itself remains popular enough that you won't struggle to find a match, but it primarily lives on as the free-to-play, browser-based semi-remake Quake Live.
While this retains the majority of Q3A's appeal and folds in a host of technical modernisations, if you're a purist you may struggle with the changes it's making in order to try and attract a less experienced audience. Of course, if you're a real purist you'll just play the original Q3A demo. Many still do. There's been an overblown quality to recent games in the core Battlefield series, not helped by being saddled with turgid singleplayer campaigns trying too hard to butt heads with Call Of Duty, but the Bad Company spin-offs found new verve and focus.
By which I primarily mean "you get to trash a load of stuff. You can use it to gain access to a building, to remove cover from the enemy, or just to feel like you actually destroyed something. As well as that, it simply feels tighter, more direct and more exciting than your vanilla Battlefields. Bad Company 2, the series highlight, is the Expendables rather than Tom Clancy, with a cavalier quality that injects it with far more life than more recent military shooters.
Okay, why is that? It's hard for people to articulate what that is, which is actually hard for us. It would be hard to remake something like that. Where can I buy it: Steam , Origin. That Team Fortress 2 is a sequel and a remake of a sober-as-a-nun multiplayer mod seems almost irrelevant now. 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. Notes: A big part of TF2's success and enduring appeal is the work Valve put into fleshing out a cast who would otherwise simply have been shootymen with funny accents.
The Meet The Team video series is perhaps game marketing's finest hour. It's free these days. 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. Notes : Now has a cheap Starter edition if you want to give it a try without going all in.
You can pay to add bolt ons if you want the full package afterwards. What else should I be playing if I like this: 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? The size of the maps stretches into kilometres, allowing a freedom of movement nothing else here can beat, but PS2 doesn't come up short in terms of what it gives you to use in those vast spaces.
Stealth suits, mech suits, jeeps, dropships, light assault aircraft, tanks, APCs, all vying for control of bases and outposts, and colliding in huge battles outside of them. The fight rolls seamlessly from massed outdoor battles to tense indoor skirmishes and back again, and fortunes can turn on a dime as reinforcements roll in or a well-time flanking operation pays off. While PS2 does require a team to come alive, it is not the exercise in infinite patience and dedication of something like EVE: you can drop in, get involved, be useful and feel you were part of a war effort without having to set aside large portions of your life.
Nothing else aims for simulated conflict on this scale, let alone achieves it. Notes: A mediocre battle royale spinoff called Planetside Arena has been released , arguably stripping away the one thing that made the game unique among shooters - it's grandiosity. Where can I buy it: It's free-to-play with optional microtransactions from Daybreak. What else should I be playing if I like this: It's spaceship-based and an MMO, but EVE Online is the logical step upwards if you want more scale, more unpredictability and more flexibility.
Battlefield 1 is probably the way to go if you want a more focused war, or one which requires less dedication to a team. Or Plunkbat, as it is universally and uniformly known. Plunkbat drops you from a plane full of screaming, hollering murder fans onto a massive map filled with tiny houses, trundling cars, and dangerous bridges. And guns. Guns everywhere. In that plane full of hatenoise, you have a 1 in chance of being the last person standing.
Notes: Plunkbat is definitely the correct nomenclature. Read more: Has Plunkbat been improved by its updates? One fine day, Blizzard decided that they wanted to take over multiplayer shooters. And so they did. From afar, Overwatch's sudden dominance seems effortless, although it's powered by a budget and expertise that almost no other game can dream of.
A team shooter that owes much to the venerable Team Fortress 2, put pushes for far more variety of characters and skillsets even if it feels a bit less tight for it. This is MOBA values applied to the online shooter, with a heavy focus on each character having a very particular set of skills and personality. You find your favourite, you learn them well - and then you switch gleefully to a new one once they're released. It's all backed up by extremely well-planned lorefluff and cosplay inspirations that has made this a darling of wider game culture as well as the hardcore.
The polished to the nth degree sheen to Overwatch can be a bit of a turn off, but even if that is the case for you, it's such a tight, enjoyable and accessible without being dumb online shooter that it flat-out doesn't matter. Blizzard totally owned it.
Notes: Overwatch has been consistenly adding new characters and maps since its release, including a hamster in a giant ball. Where can I buy it: From Blizzard. What else should I be playing if I like this: Team Fortress 2 for your history lesson. Apex Legends for a battle royale shooter where hero skills matter slightly less. Read more: Has Overwatch been improved by its updates? Jay's regular column on the Overwatch League , our Overwatch character guide.
Yes: '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. Notes: Thanks to this, we really don't need to think about Doom 3 any more.
Also: Doom remains a going concern, thanks to a trickle of updates and user-made 'Snapmap' levels, so it most certainly doesn't end when the campaign does. And here's the other side of the coin to Crysis - 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 Far Cry 2 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 Notes: As steely-focused and uncompromising as it might be, there's no denying that Far Cry 2 made some frustrating design decisions - most notoriously the respawning guard posts, who'd chase you down every damn time and hold up travel around the map in a way that was irritating rather than appropriately unforgiving.
Several mods remove it, but I've got my eye on Dylan's Realism Mod , which also adds in a bunch of other hardcore stuff, hopefully resulting in a game which is just as, if not more, unfair but without being grindy about it. What else should I be playing if I like this: 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.
Timeless, deathless. Broadly speaking not much in Counter-Strike's fourth major iteration is that different to its first, because it simply doesn't need to be. Terrorists vs counter-terrorists, locked in eternal, easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master war. The once, present and future king of team multiplayer is as fiercely competitive and strategically twitchy as it's ever been, and CS:GO is all the more loved for being a little closer to the legendary Counter-Strike 1.
Straight-faced and minimalist, it's a perfect collision of pursuing objectives and fighting to stay alive, with maps that can never be bettered. By this point it's entirely reasonable to assume that Counter-Strike will never fade, let alone die. Notes: There are purists who won't leave the original Counter-Strike, and there are purists who won't leave Counter-Strike: Source. There are probably even a couple of madmen who won't leave Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.
With the exception of the latter, it doesn't really matter which you play, but GO has matchmaking, interesting new modes, looks flashier, is more customisable and has a growing library of mods and add-ons. 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. But they're both best for different reasons. Sadly, so much of what's around it 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. The people who say BioShock 1 is best really are right too, though. Notes: Another reason I eventually plumped for 2 rather than 1 is thanks to the Minerva's Den DLC , an even more self-contained tale of technology wars under the sea. It has moment-to-moment finesse that the longer BioShock 2 or 1 just can't beat, and while the later Infinite expanded the BioShock mythos into overblown fantasy, this far more effectively dials it down into a vignette which fills in another corner of what already works.
Read more: Colourblind gaming: is it in his eyes? 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. Devil Daggers is purity and perfection. An eternal creation. The only surprise is quite how long it took us to realise that this was what we really needed from gun games.
What else should I be playing if I like this: Thumper - similar values applied to rhythm action. Read more: It was our game of the year , our Devil Daggers review. As every boring old fart has observed over almost 20 years, Half-life is Indiana Jones. The unexpected dangers, the daring escapes, the semi-comic deaths of anyone who isn't the hero, the quest to stay alive as the situation becomes more and more disastrous, the threat which comes as much from a trap-filled place as it does from your foes.
But what foes. Like Doom before it, Half-Life has an iconic rogue's gallery not simply because it was early, but because it wasn't following any rules. Great visual ideas went in because they were great visual ideas, so it's the hodge-podge of monster tropes which somehow seems like it belongs together. The pinnacle of this is the tentacle monster, a boss fight that isn't a fight, but which has an entire level built around it and turned into one giant environmental puzzle in the process. No slathering maw, death ray or gruesome decapitator has ever been as threatening as the sad tap, tap, tap of a lost, blind giant trying to escape its metal prison, and undiscerning about who it blames for it.
It's just one example of a story which tells itself as you play, often wordlessly, almost never interrupting you. Even Half-Life 2 has lessons to learn from that. Let us not forget, too, that Half-Life might just be the greatest gift there ever was to modding , with the exception of DOOM.
An awful lot of PC gaming as we know it hinges upon Gordon Freeman's first adventure. Notes: In truth, Half-Life has been superseded by its own, second remastering, the fan mod gone standalone Black Mesa. Where can I buy it: Steam , or second-hand. What else should I be playing if I like this: Linear story-telling aside, it took shooters a long time to pick up Half-Life's baton. Of Valve's own back catalogue, first-person puzzler Portal is almost closer than Half-Life 2, due to its focus on conundrums, hinted backstory and sight gags.
Other than that, BioShock is your best bet for a voyage through a collapsing construct with excellent environmental story-telling. It also spawned the most intense use of the mouse-keyboard control system to date with the astonishing multiplayer. Quake, perhaps more than anything else, is the template for what a first-person shooter is today, especially in terms of deathmatch. That said, overlook the single-player side of things at your peril: it remains fiercely playable, with superb monsters, ingeniously cruel level design, and a reminder of how brutal and thrilling things could be before the transformations of Half-Life.
What's particularly fascinating with Quake is that, over the last couple of years, it's reached the point where it's looking better rather than worse with age. Its wild mash-up of sci-fi, medieval fantasy and gothic architecture and creatures, all so physical in their blockiness and pixel-grid textures, now seems highly stylised rather than dourly retro. Quake is an aesthetic as much as it is a game, and that glorious aesthetic shines like a new sun in the grim quasi-photoreal darkness of But, mostly, it feels so damn good.
Fast, crunchy, spooky, a blistering death race through a twisting, tortured place that is all its own. Notes: The Steam version is missing the soundtrack due to license wrangling. One way to get it back is Ultimate Quake Patch, will also introduces an improved engine which may offend your eyes a little less. There are also a whole bunch of new clients thanks to id open-sourcing the engine if prettiness is your main interest. What else should I be playing if I like this: A lot of games have looked to recreate the old-school feeling of this monster.
Amid Evil and Dusk are two of the better ones. 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. 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. Beauty and horror. A world barely clinging to life, and all the more alive for it. Unmatched aesthetic and architectural accomplishments, paired with broken English and half-broken technology. Notes: I settled on the first game because I love it for being uncompromising and how deep it reaches into strangeness and unhelpfulness, which for me is key to the wasteland mercenary fantasy it seeks to evoke, but without doubt third game Call of Pripyat is more approachable, more comparatively slick and stable and even more fully-featured.
Play both, quite frankly. You'll also want to explore the mod scene, starting with graphical mods such as STALKER Complete then moving onto the survival sim ones which further increase the wonderful, terrible experience of life in the Zone. Where can I buy it? It's on Steam and GOG. Read more: How gamers experience the real Chernobyl , S.
Zombies: in they were still very exciting. 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. Notes: 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 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. You can get keys from elsewhere, but you ain't escaping Steam. What else should I be playing if I like this: The Vermintide games are a direct inheritor of the format. And the Killing Floor games offer a more frenetic and weapon-focused take on primarily co-op zombie-bothering.
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 manshooting feels routine and slightly weightless now - but Half-Life 2 gave us more than any other first-person shooter before, and maybe even since. Notes: If it matters, Half-Life 2 itself is the most memorable instalment of its own mini-series, but Episode 2 the tightest and most thrilling.
I can understand why Episode 3 didn't come to pass: this was a game constrained by its own limitations, having polished them to a new gleam in Episode 2, but with no place left to go. Let's see what happens next. On Steam , duh. What else should I be playing if I like this: So many shooters deliver the story as you roll now, but BioShock is perhaps the best example of this philosophy taken to its peak. The alpha and omega of first-person shooters. The origin story of mainstream videogames, a violent end to what games might otherwise have been, a gateway to so much more than otherwise might have been.
The maniacal Star Wars of games, the blockbuster which changed everything and the Super-8 camera which handed the tools of invention to anyone. A never-bettered including by its own creators collusion and collision of vision between John Carmack's technological purity, John Romero's attitude and Adrian Carmack and Kevin Cloud's lurid, no-rules creature design. In , DOOM arrived fully-formed and self-contained, said all that first-person shooters really needed to say, and without pretensions to be anything more.
It embraces being a videogame, in its violence, its somehow perfectly complementary aesthetic mish-mash, its celebratory tone, its rejection of exposition, its high-speed, slip-sliding movement, its impossible levels, its escalating firepower, its increasingly titanic bestiary. It does whatever it likes because there was no perceived wisdom to say what was right and what was wrong. It was The Gun Game, the game that would always have been and the game that would always have set videogames on a certain path, because the world needed it, whether it wants to admit it or not.
It needed DOOM not just to scratch a bloodthirsty itch, but also to provide a canvas on which to create and to warp, without having to be part of the games industry to do this. Its modular nature enabled amateur-made content to be switched in and out, and resulted in a community gleefully making DOOM into anything and everything. Maybe we didn't get to talk to the monsters, but the game opened so many doors for so many people, and gave so many experiences to so many others.
Its shareware distribution made it all the easier for anyone to lay hands on it too, unbound as it was by the limited stock and high prices of traditional retail. Trust me on this though: this is not number one merely because of historical importance. Improbably, DOOM has aged exceptionally well, and in fact improved over the years.
What was at the time relatively plodding and mechanical in its controls and intended horror tone has, thanks to the unintended addition of mouselook and strafing, grown into a high-speed, brightly-lit dance of death, pure momentum, a thundering snowball of combat against iconic threats where you are invader rather than defender, and whose faux-3D sprites upscale beautifully, perhaps even timelessly.
A tireless community still creates endless new and sometimes deeply strange deviations upon it, while its infrastructure, still after all this time the shared foundations of any first-person game, can be and has been turned to so many other purposes. DOOM was both the inevitable corruption of gaming's innocence and the necessary expansion of its horizons, and its blissful perversions continue unabated.
Play Demonsteele. Play any of these. Watch John Romero's commentary. Take selfies. Live DOOM. Where can I buy it: On Steam , on almost any platform known to humanity, or just grab the original shareware. These are the games which were in the top 50 back in but got bumped out for something else. We still like 'em loads, though. Shadow Warrior 2 was a worrying prospect. Quite frankly, so was its predecessor.
When Flying Wild Hog announced they'd be revisiting one of the nineties Build engine games that seemed best left in the past, hopes weren't particularly high. Lo Wang's adventures were a gory good time, ditching elaborate level design in favour of slick melee combat and a fancy skill tree to work through.
Slicing enemies into pieces was a joy and the pleasures of carving the flesh were potent enough to make even the feeblest jokes tolerable. More of the same would be fantastic. In a way, that's precisely what Shadow Warrior 2 delivered. More swords, more guns, more gore it's the best dismemberment and disemboweling system around, for what that's worth and more monsters.
But it did all of that in randomised maps, taking notes from Diablo and the like with minibosses scattered around with tricky little minions. Half ARPG, all first-person hack, slash and shooter, it could have been very messy indeed. But it works. The combat system is better than ever, the chainsaw is a delight, and there are more weapons, enemies and quests than you can shake a wang at. Against all reason, a foul-mouthed muddle of dad jokes and infinite demons is precisely what modern shooters needed all along.
What else should I be playing if I like this: Other than the predecessor, Serious Sam or Bulletstorm are probably your best bet for 'not taking this seriously' OTT action. Shadow Warrior? The post-apocalypse as imagined by the East rather than the West, imagining a future-Russia where what's left of the population ekes out a fearful existence inside Moscow's subway system. On the surface, cold and radiation prevents all but the most monstrous life, while below ground various factions violently vie for control.
While Metro is deeply uneven as an action game, with wildly spiking difficulty, an over-reliance on annoying monsters and infuriating quick-time events, it gets away with it thanks to its careful world-building best underground pig farm in games? Notes: The Redux version offers a decent graphics boost, as well as improving the frustrating stealth somewhat, but you're not missing out on a vast amount if for any reason you opt for the original instead.
Where can I buy it: Steam , or disc. What else should I be playing if I like this: STALKER offers a less linear, wilder and frankly far superior take on the Eastern European apocalypse, but it's a tougher nut to crack if you're coming to these things from glossy American shooters. Rage 2 is probably your best bet if that is the case.
Read more: Metro Redux review , Metro review. If Jedi Knight was the Skywalker game, its forerunner Dark Forces was the Solo game, or at least as close as we'll ever get without someone hiring Harrison Ford to sound exasperated for hours. This was Star Wars doing a more ornate Doom, and having replayed it just this morning it's still the best recreation we've got of the pew-pew gunfights and starkly industrial sets of the original trilogy.
It's breathlessly quick, Stormtroopers are useless and fall over brilliantly, and basically you get to just dash around shooting slightly unconvincing laser guns without anyone ever having time for more than a few bon mots. It's pretty stupid, it's very Star Wars. Notes: The XL Engine project moves Dark Forces into a slightly more modern renderer, including 3D accelerated ooh, doesn't it feel lovely to say that again?
An alpha version is available and has most of the requisite bits and bobs in it, but progress towards a planned beta seemed to stall around a year ago. A tough multiplayer slog through World War II that feels like a treasure rescued from a time capsule. In the studio of New World Interactive, killcams and minimap radar never took off. Omnipresent voice communications was shunned. And the fatal danger of friendly fire never went away. You could call Day of Infamy old-fashioned and it is based partly on the nostalgia of Day of Defeat but that would ignore how much it refined the atmosphere of first-person WWII warfare.
Here, you can take the usual role of assault troopers or medics, but also the specialist roles of radio operator and commanding officer. The latter two have to work together to provide artillery, and to give the other players direction and purpose. Here, bad leaders call in smokescreens on the wrong hill, or order an assault at the worst possible moment.
But good leaders shout at you from the top of a trench, telling you to get the hell out there, into the fray. Although this warlike atmosphere sometimes falls apart in tight corridors and choke points, which become grenade spam hells. However, each respawn happens in tandem with others, and this forces everyone to move together in waves. It's as demanding of your reflexes as CS:GO. Valve liked it so much they hired the creators and published the game for real monies.
What else should I be playing if I like this: Insurgency , by the same developers, has a similar no-hands-held attitude. The Red Orchestra games are also punishing war zones. Read more: Our Day of Infamy early access review. Nothing's going to make people fight more than a list of the best of the games about fighting people. There are so many others we could have included. Please suggest additions and alternatives below.
Remember, the point of this whole exercise is to help people find new games to play, not to browbeat anyone into accepting The One Objective Truth. By sheer coincidence, this list does happen to be The One Objective Truth, but never mind that.
Be good. Doom 2. Half-life 2 3. Left 4 Dead 2 4. Quake 6. Half-Life 7. Devil Daggers 8. BioShock 2 9. CSGO Far Cry 2 Doom Overwatch Planetside 2 Rainbow Six Siege Team Fortress 2 Battlefield Bad Company 2 Quake 3 Arena Halo: Combat Evolved Natural Selection 2 Alien: Isolation Unreal Tournament Wolfenstein II: New Colossus Battlefield Apex Legends Rising Storm Crysis Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Far Cry 4 Star Wars: Republic Commando Arma 3 Destiny 2 Prey Aliens versus Predator Fallen Empire: Legions.
GarageGames , InstantAction. The Glorious Mission. Online multiplayer. Developed with the People's Liberation Army of China for use as a recruitment and training tool. Gore: Special Edition. Illusion Softworks , Take-Two Interactive. Aleph One. Released as freeware and source code. Linux , OS X Linux , OS X , Windows. Point Blank. Red Eclipse . Contains content and features cut from the final release. Has a number of bugs but contains a full, playable single player campaign.
Savage: The Battle for Newerth. Linux , OS X commercial , Windows. Savage 2: A Tortured Soul. Linux , OS X , Windows commercial. Dynamix , Sierra Entertainment. Futuristic team based combat, released for free to promote Tribes: Vengeance. Multiplayer only. Linux , OS X unofficial , Windows. Aliens vs Humans multiplayer team combat with some RTS elements.
OS X , Windows. Unreal Tournament. Unvanquished . Fast-paced, Hollywood tactical shooter. Originally a Quake 3 mod , now a standalone game. Warmonger: Operation Downtown Destruction. Qfusion id Tech 2. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Activision , id Software , Splash Damage.
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Most importantly, it delivered a gripping political tale that will act as a sufficiently mind-bending chaser to the safe and boring campaigns often tacked on to most modern shooter games. Just make sure you play the Remastered edition… and save all of those Little Sisters, you monster! In this exciting gem from , that holds up effortlessly today, you push through carefully crafted gauntlet maps whilst an AI director places new zombie types, hordes and items to challenge teams of four in a procedural fashion.
Every round is unpredictable and full to the brim with a special kind of chaos, one that is only exacerbated in Versus mode, where teams of four can face off against each other, swapping each round to play as the zombies and the humans. It is, however, a colorful, competitively focused first-person shooter from Blizzard featuring different classes incorporated across a variety of different heroes.
Pitting two teams of six players against one another, Overwatch is all about teamwork and cooperation with their respective squads. That said, you'll want to make sure a healthy balance of offensive and defensive characters is secured if you ultimately seek survival. After all, you wouldn't want to be demolished by the opposing team just because you have too many healers and not enough tanks or vice versa.
Rainbow Six Siege isn't just a technical marvel, it's an ongoing tactical endeavor. Like a handful of other titles on this list, Siege is about teamwork. Without it, it's your standard deathmatch shooter, save some impressively realistic destructible environments. Acting on the goal of either defending or challenging objectives, the five-on-five online co-op game is certainly no Call of Duty.
Instead of running around swiftly across maps, dodging bullets and taking headshots, characters are given abilities and limited resources, such as wall reinforcements, barbed wire, traps, and explosives, to overthrow and denounce victory over the opposing team. As you'd expect from the creators of Halo, Destiny 2 features world-class shooting with a variety of increasingly exotic, collectable guns. The game's been around for so long, now, that it's amalgamated an absolute ton of content, including five story campaigns of varying length and quality across many different worlds.
The seasonal content fluctuates wildly in quality, with the player base's perception of the game shifting all the time as a result, but there are potentially hundreds of hours of shooting to enjoy here if you get into it.
Just note that the loading times on consoles now are extremely long, making us all the more excited for the SSDs that'll come with both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. It is admittedly one of the more demanding titles found on this list but, thanks to great performance optimization, it runs surprisingly well on low-end rigs, especially if one dabbles with the graphic options a bit. Graphics card Nvidia: DirectX It features a massive variety of game modes, a staggering 30 to be exact, ranging from the familiar Team Deathmatch and Battle Royale to the bizarre Boss Battle Mode, which let players demolish each other as weaponized monsters.
As a free-to-play game though, CrossFire does include some annoying pay-to-win elements such as upgraded weapons that can only be bought with monetary currency. Warface is a solid free-to-play FPS multiplayer with a very Call of Duty-ish edge, providing you with the opportunity to either play strategically or go in guns blazing, the latter being the norm among its fan base heashot!
While the game also does have a healthy dose of microtransaction systems, you can easily just jump in without putting down any money and still have a decent time. It puts emphasis on slow-paced and thoughtful combat, with respawns taking up to a minute and that is only if your team even has a spawn point under control. Connect with us. Fortnite Battle Royale. Team Fortress 2. Heroes and Generals. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm. Left 4 Dead 2. Battlefield 3.