First Person Shooter (FPS) games have been around for a long time, dating back to 1992 (Wolfenstein 3D, considered to be the first game of the genre), and we’ve had some very good games over the years. In this article, we take a look at what we consider to be the best 10 FPS games ever made.
Before we start our list, we’d like to include some games we consider to be among the greatest.
As we mentioned before, it was the game that kickstarted the genre. Even though there have been many games under the same name, there’s nothing like the patriarch of the family (yes, there were two Wolfensteins before this one, but they were focused on stealth).
The winner of the first ever “Game of the Year” award (back in 1998) was a pioneer for console shooters and was the first to ditch the on-rails system to prioritise a free-roam style.
This game included a twist in regular FPS mechanics by allowing the player to have a wider control of the situation, as time only runs (at its regular pace) when the player moves, allowing a combination of strategy and shooting skill. The white-black-red palette makes it much easier to focus on key elements.
Not considered to be a true FPS by many, BioShock drifts away from typical shooter settings (it’s set underwater) and focuses on morality and decisions. These, combined with its slight RPG and horror game feelings, earned the title the 2007 GOTY award and the recognition of being not only a piece of art, but also being regarded as one of the best games ever made.
Released only a year after Left 4 Dead, it was met with mixed emotions and skepticism before its release. However, it soon proved to be much better than its prequel, adding different types of infected and melee weapons. Furthermore, the nature of the game makes it especially indicated for teamwork (a.k.a. a good afternoon with the boys), as zombies can easily overwhelm players (not in strength, perhaps, but in sheer numbers).
#9 – Doom (1993)
There would be no list without Doom. As simple as that. The game that can be run on everything is, alongside Wolfenstein 3D, considered to be the father of FPS games (which were initially dubbed “Doom clones”). Even though it was criticised for its violence and hellish themes, it’s widely praised as one of the best games of all time and was also the creator of the term “Deathmatch” (forever linked to FPS games since then).
Inspired by Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six book, the game is the last installment of the R6 franchise (although another title was announced during the 2019 E3 conference). It combines tactical and first person shooter elements with an attack/defence operator-based system. One of the main points of praise of the game is its realism, with the developers having consulted counter-terrorist units around the world and the in-game operators belonging to real-life armed forces (such as the British SAS or the Russian Spetsnaz).
Blizzard’s failure to create Titan, an ambitious MMORPG, ended up creating Overwatch, one of the best games in recent times which heralded the return to hero-based shooters (such as Team Fortress 2). Its cartoonish style, which makes it more accessible than other shooters, and its hero variety have made it a fan-favourite, winning the 2016 GOTY award, and is considered to be among the best games of all time. The Overwatch League was founded by Blizzard in 2017, with the first season taking place a year later and making it one of the top esports of today (the 6th most watched in 2019).
#6 – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
The best-selling FPS franchise in history (and synonymous with first person shooter nowadays) has had many great games throughout the years, but CoD 4 tops them all. The first game in the series to divert from the WWII theme was set in 2011, so most of its elements (save weapon camouflages) were as realistic as you could get with Xbox 360 graphics. Even though the game’s campaign has been criticised a posteriori for its political implications, it was a massive hit back in the day, and it sparked the birth of what would end up being competitive Call of Duty.
#5 – Halo: Combat Evolved
When we first met the Master Chief at the beginning of the century, we couldn’t imagine the impact he would have in our lives (well, and the Covenant’s as well). With probably one of the best storylines in videogame history, the Halo franchise was synonymous with Xbox for all its cycle. The multiplayer mode lived up to the campaign and was one of the first games to prove that “FPS games don’t work on console” was as false a statement as could be, and is considered one of the best games ever made. Oh, yeah, and the Windows assistant, Cortana, was inspired by the Master Chief’s AI helper.
The predecessor of the most famous game to never exist (Half-Life 3) has been praised for nearly each and every one of its aspects, from its animation to the narrative, the physics, the AI… and not without reason. This game redefined what videogames should be like, emphasizing weapons physics and NPC behaviour, and an obvious change can be seen in popular games before and after Half-Life 2. Its success led to the release of the expansions “H-L 2: Episode 1” and “H-L 2: Episode 2”, as well as placing the title among the best to ever be released.
Even though it can only be run on a small number of devices, the game that would have been “Doom 4” has everything an FPS should have and perfectly captures the spirit of the original Doom. The campaign stood out over the not-so-popular multiplayer with its excellent gameplay and graphics. Despite not attaining the fame of it’s ancestor, it remains one of the best games of the last five years.
Even though CoD: Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 brought wall-running and jetpacking back into the spotlight, it was Titanfall 2 that got the most out of it, creating a game which was praised by everyone who could lay their hands on it. Despite not being a commercial hit (due to being released between Battlefield 1 and CoD: Infinite Warfare), the game was nominated for many GOTY awards, mainly for its solid multiplayer and its evolution from the first title of the series, as well as for the innovative campaign. And, well, because who doesn’t love piloting a mech and stomping enemies?
This entry needs no introduction. It’s THE game. The one everyone has heard about and nearly everyone has played. CS:GO, the 4th most watched esport of 2019 (and the top FPS), is on a league of its own: it was the second most played game on Steam (only 10k daily players behind giant Dota 2) as of September 2019, a record unmatched by any other game in this list. Even though Competitive is the best known game mode, there are another eight modes which you can play with your friends for fun. Except you don’t play CS:GO for fun; you play to win. This game, the descendant of what initially was a Half-Life mod, is the epitome of first person shooters: a combination of raw skill and toughness makes it one of the most difficult games to play, but one of the most rewarding as well.
What do you think? Did we miss any games? Or perhaps we messed up the order? Make sure to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.