“Deus Ex should be number 1.” You’re probably right, but you’re also wrong.
“What about System Shock 2?” I think ‘FPS’ sorely undersells it, don’t you? Also, rubbish shooting. We’ll hear more about it elsewhere on the site soon, I’m sure.
“What about Duke Nukem 3D?” The first level’s incredible, the rest is not and it’s sure as hell not as funny as it was in the 90s.
“What about (this mod)?” I really do think mods deserve their own list at some point (Action Quake 2 made it in here because I feared for my life). Watch this space, probably.
“What about Mechwarrior?” I very nearly stuck one in, but ultimately they lean too far into simulation – specifically, how you move.
“What about Portal?” Yeah, tough one. I mean, you do have a gun at all times, it is your primary means of interaction, and you even get to ‘kill’ some robots with it. But I decided it was a puzzle game more than anything else. Maybe the best puzzle game.
“What about SHOGO?” It’s number 51.
“What about Blood?” It’s number 51.
“What about Return To Castle Wolfenstein?” It’s number 51.
“What about Wolfenstein 3D?” It’s number 51.
“What about Kingpin?” It’s number 51.
“What about all the other Call of Duties?” They’re number 501.
“What about GTA V now it’s got a first-person mode?” That’s a very good point. Er, 51?
“What about Republic Commando?” I’m ashamed to say I actually did forget that one when compiling this monster, but the feature was already complete by the time it burst back into my mind. I hate myself. For the record, Star Wars: Republic Commando is at position 17.5, but I’ve decided to include it here because it’s entirely logical to do so. Yes. Also here’s why it’s a great Star Wars shooter.
“What about Daikatana?” Yes, yes, very funny.
Nothing’s going to make people fight more than a list of the best of the games about fighting people. I’m well aware there are so many others I could have included, some where I’ve flexed the definition too much or not enough, and that the emphasis has come down hard on mainstream games (as, like it or not, a good shooter usually requires a big budget). Please suggest additions and alternatives below: 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 that’s by the by.
The complete list is below – but first, some observations:
Quake III (as Quake Live), Planetside 2, Action Quake 2, Tribes Ascend, Team Fortress 2, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
It’s not a huge shock that Valve are the most prevalent developer here, at 5 games. id aren’t far behind at 4, while Monolith and DICE manage 3 apiece. Any or all of those could very easily have had at least two other games in this list.
25 are sci-fi, 5 are fantasy, 5 are historical and 10 are (approximately) modern day.
Oh look politics
I’m disappointed in shooters and in myself for this, but only 12 of these games allow you to play as a woman in some capacity. If we drill that down to purely singleplayer campaigns, only 4 star a woman protagonist (or the option to). Oof.
The Complete List
3 Thief II: The Metal Age
4 S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
5 Quake III Arena
6 Half-Life 2
7 Planetside 2
8 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
9 Battlefield 1942
10 Far Cry 2
11 SWAT 4
12 BioShock 2
13 Action Quake 2
14 Battlefield: Bad Company 2
15 Mirror’s Edge
16 Arma 3
18 Natural Selection 2
19 Wolfenstein: The New Order
20 Alien: Isolation
21 Left 4 Dead 2
22 Unreal Tournament 2004
24 Call of Duty 2
25 The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena
26 Rising Storm
27 Star Wars: Dark Forces
28 Star Wars Jedi Knight – Mysteries Of The Sith
29 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
30 Tribes Ascend
31 Halo: Combat Evolved
32 Aliens versus Predator
33 The Typing Of The Dead
34 The Operative: No One Lives Forever
35 Far Cry 3
36 Team Fortress 2
40 Metro 2033 Redux
41 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
43 Tron 2.0
44 Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
45 Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
46 The Darkness 2
47 Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
48 Zeno Clash