November 26, 2015

The Elite Four: First-Person Shooters

For someone who doesn't particularly care for First-Person Shooters, this list was quite crowded before I started weeding out titles. It goes to show you that if a game is truly good, one's distaste can be easily overridden. So let's get to the point: here are my Top Five First-Person Shooter Games.

5. Call of Duty
4. Battlefield
3. Titanfall
2. Destiny
1. Halo


We all know those games are crap. Okay maybe not, but they certainly don't pique my fancy. Here are some that do!

5. Half Life 2 (PC)

Half Life (2) remains one of the most iconic games ever made. The way this series weaved together imaginative characters, realistic and fictional plot, exciting environments and udder surprise make it more than worthy of its legacy. There is a reason HL3 is the most demanded sequel, and has been for over a decade now. Most of you know that I'm not much of a PC gamer, and in fact I've never owned HL2, but I have fond memories of playing it with friends. Something about the lot of us gathered around, taking turns playing, making pizza runs and barking orders and reminders of the previous title at each other just makes for a swell memory. I actually haven't played it since, but I also haven't acquired a memory quite like these. There's just a ton of nostalgia surrounding this game for me, but I don't think you need me to justify the glory that is Half Life anyway.

4. Perfect Dark (N64)
This is all gonna make a lot of sense once you check out number 3. Not only are the two developed by
the same studio - Rare - but many consider the two related, in a spiritual sense. I don't have anything to say about that, except that the games both handle just as well as each other so if one is fun to play, it's a safe bet the other is too! And that's what Perfect Dark has going for it. Due to its development period, there was a limit on how complicated the gameplay could be, and so the focus power for the game was spent elsewhere. Namely: having fun. But now that I'm thinking about it… I suppose PD is sort of like a James Bond game, just with a female protagonist and a slightly more ridiculous plot (for a Bond, that is). The story is fun, I'm a fan of science fiction, but the fun is had during any of the single missions you tackle to uncover it. PD also has a multiplayer mode. Three in fact. I've never played any of them. That makes PD one of the first shooters that I truly enjoyed all by myself, and that speaks volumes for me in this genre.

3. GoldenEye 007 (N64)
There is simply no argument allowed with the following statement: GoldenEye is the most iconic and fun (multiplayer) FPS there ever was. This game offers countless hours of both single- and multi-player enjoyment. It makes for better parties than birthdates, marriage, or winning sports teams. I'm not even going to sit here and try to justify this. If you haven't played GoldenEye, leave now and go play it.
Okay, but seriously? A James Bond FPS that offers fun gameplay and an abundance of challenge and surprise. This is truly a masterpiece made even more glorious by the fact that it was released for one of the first multiplayer systems. Not only is it a tolerable FPS, but one that I seek to play with friends! I have no words for the amount of fun I've had with this title.

2. Doom (Various)
Some of my earliest gaming memories involve Doom. That's largely my fault for having a shitty memory and a childhood best forgotten but when I think of Doom, all I can muster are feelings of happiness and pride. I remember the day my brother brought it home, and sitting on a less-than-comfortable chair for a couple hours watching his gorefest. Eventually, his "real life" came calling and he gave up his campaign, only to come home a few hours later to witness me beating it on my own. He accused me of using his file and cheating, but my mum was there to testify that I had, in fact, been glued to the screen since he left, cursing at foes and cheering when I completed levels. I know it's not the first, but it's one of the earliest games I fully remember beating on my own. Unlike PD, however, no story is really needed to enjoy Doom. It's a quick and straight-forward, blow-up-everything-that-moves-and-when-all-else-fails-break-out-the-chainsaw-packed few hours of otherwise senseless fun. And how fucking cool does that new Doom look?!

1. Bioshock (Xbox360)
If you've been here before, or are even vaguely familiar with me, this should come as no surprise to you. Bioshock has accomplished a couple of things that FPSs almost never do for me: 1) The design and environment alone made me want to play this game. When I first saw the teaser, I said to myself "I don't care what it is, I have to play it." and 2) It actually delivered. Bioshock has one of the most impressive stories in all of video game history, says I; its character development is phenomenal and the way the story unfolds is memorable, impactful and just plain amazing. The game incorporates so many unique methods that are almost never seen in this genre, while still being challenging and beautiful. You'll almost forget you're playing a shooter.
I can't get enough of Bioshock - I even bought the book (two, actually)! I've replayed this title over a half-dozen times now and will gladly pop it in again whenever I'm in need of a great atmosphere and incredible characters. If you'd like to know more, simply click over to my wrap up blog. I dissect it pretty thoroughly over there. Don't play Infinite, though. That game was garbage…

Honorable mention:
Quake - I've clocked a lot of time in Quake… at my dentist's. It always reminded me a lot of Doom (probably because it was made by the same people) but with a deeper tone and cooler tunes.
Wolfenstein - Pick one. Any one, really. Wolfy is another good, "mindless fun" type of shooter. I've never sunk a lot into it because I'm not sure there's a lot to sink into, but it's fun, nevertheless.
Counter-Strike - back to the PC club, CS is another game I've never owned, and I'm far from pro… but I did pay my dues while dating a fan (which should give you an idea of who I played Half Life with) of it back in CS's earliest days, so I know what it's worth, and appreciate what it's evolved in to.
Metroid Prime - I should really go back and give this series another go. I recently bought the trilogy on WiiU, actually, for just that purpose. I'm one of those people that associates the word "metroid" with one of the greatest non-shooter games of all time, so I had a hard time warming up to Prime. There's no denying what it has to offer though, and despite my initial feelings, I didn't hate Prime for being a FPS.


  1. I used to play so much Goldeneye in high school. Multiplayer when I had to be around people and single-player when I got to be alone. But I just can't play it anymore. The N64 controller and lack of right stick for camera feels so alien to me now. I turned it on a couple months ago and make poor James stumble around like a drunk for a bit before shutting it off.

    My favourite recent FPS is Wolfenstein: The New Order. The shooting is so satisfying and the guns feel really different. Plus it's got a good story.

    1. I can definitely sympathize with your N64 woes. It takes me a very, very long time to warm up to any game on that system now, it's often not worth it. Still, the gameplay and design was there for the time, and I've got a lot of happy memories attached to it, so it seemed only fair to include it.

      Also drunk James Bond doesn't sound THAT bad…

  2. FPS's are the olives to my gaming....

    I've said for years how much I've disliked the FPS genre, but after reading this, I'm quickly realizing that it's not exactly all. I grew up loving games like GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Doom and Duke Nukem. It continued into my 20's with Bioshock and Wolfenstein - and even more recently with games like Half-Life 2 and Metroid Prime (both thanks to the Cartridge Club). Hell, I even loved the first few (single-player) Call of Duty games on the PS2. And don't even get me started on my love for Fallout 3 and 4. Turns out I actually really enjoy [most] first person shooters.

    I guess it's kinda like olives. I love to say how much I dislike them, and don't think I'd ever pay full price at Safeway for a jar - and I certainly won't go 'sharing' olives with others out of a bowl....but once in a while, in the comfort of my own home, when no-one is around, I'll sneak a few...and they're delicious!

    1. I think the modern culture and dependancy for online components have made the genre lose some of its appeal, but there are definitely gems hidden throughout. Ever since I've posted this, I've been getting a ton of recommendations for some that I've missed! I guess sometimes, you just need to blow some shit up.

  3. Wow Lo, perfect choices. I've played every one of them and have a fondness for them all. I especially liked seeing Prime and Quake as honorable mentions. Great writing as always!

  4. Now this is a post I can relate to, played every shooter you listed. Loved every one (except Half-Life, booooooring =P though I did play a bit of Counter Strike and TF) and also agree about the N64 being hard to go back to. Thank god for the X360 port of Perfect Dark, they did a great job with that it's just a straight Resolution / Framerate bump with all the good blocky stuff in tact. I'd also add Timesplitters 2 and The Conduit 2 for local multiplayer funtimes. Also ROTT from the PC days, it was fun blowing shit up in that game. I just remember guts flying everywhere.

    Would love to see you give Metroid Prime another spin, Lo. Just go through the intro and take it all in. Technically it's an FPS but to me it just always felt like a Metroid game in first person... FPM... nah. It's still a "non-shooter" though as there is just so much more to think about, in fact there's less shooting than Super Metroid because of the scanning and reading. Metroid Prime Federation Force, now THAT'S a shooter.

    1. I think a lot of my enjoyment of Half Life was based on the people I played it with. On paper, it's not really my jam, but once we got going it was a good time.

      I'll definitely return to Prime some day, I really do need to replay it with fresh eyes. A lot of people would call it "first-person action" rather than "shooter," but it's really the "first-person" bit that usually puts me off. I'm down with doing non-shooty things!

      Still don't have a fuck to give about Federation Force.