What makes a game stand out against its peers? Honestly? Often it’s because if how it resonates with the person more than how it may compare in a by the numbers game.
Continuing on our two week gush fest to celebrate Chalgyr’s Game Room’s 10th anniversary, here are what we each considered top of class from First to Third person Shooters!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
The game that got me into Call of Duty and really made it such a huge franchise. I still remember playing every night for weeks with my co-workers as soon as we got home and fired it up. For better or for worse, this title had a huge impact on the FPS genre for years to come. Sure, it has not aged particularly well, but the influence this was a title that really helped pave the way for Call of Duty to become the sale behemoth it is today. Also, on a personal level, it was the 2nd game review I ever posted here at CGR.
Dead Space 2
Sure, this could probably fall under adventure or horror, but shooting is the primary mechanic when it comes to the gameplay. Dead Space 2 improves everything I liked about the first game and made it even better. Now if only we can forget about the third entry into the series and get this franchise back to its proper, scary roots and rebooted, I would be a very happy space-camper.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
Admittedly, this could be seen as a bit of a cop-out. There’s better value to be had with the Master Chief Collection, which brings more titles into the mix while paying homage to the series’ past. However, it’s hard for me to completely get over the incredibly rocky release that game had, making a different (and terrible) impression on the gaming community back then. However, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition revisits the Xbox 360 original that has spawned some of the best shooters on the market today. I recently picked this back up for the first time in years because of the recent Gears 5 release, and it still works really well today.
Far Cry 5
Finally, while there were some rather crazy times with Destiny 2, Borderlands, Vermintide 2, the new Wolfenstein, Gears of War 4 or Halo Reach, my last entry goes to Far Cry 5. Being the first Far Cry I was shocked at how “nuts” it all was and how scary it could actually be since the northern US is basically Canada’s backyard. Excellent controls, crazy-ass story going from your typical shooter to a survival, to a Metal Gear Mantis get the hell out of my game! I fell in love with the series right then and there.
Bungie is, and has been, a household name since the 90’s, though rose to FPS domination in the early 2000’s with the original Xbox’s “Halo: Combat Evolved.” With Halo: CE we were introduced to everyone’s favorite tour de force, Sgt. Johnson, along with a hulking brute of a genetically enhanced supersoldier that coined the phrase, “Finish the Fight,” Master Chief Petty Officer Sierra-117 “John” (more colloquially called ‘Master Chief’), and who is to forget every teenage gamer’s artificial intelligence crush, Cortana. Halo: Reach though, breaks from the norm and is easily the crème de la crème of the Halo franchise. Taking place prior to the events of Halo: CE and largely during the events of Eric Nylund’s Halo: The Fall of Reach novel, with you donning the armor of Noble Six, the latest addition to Noble Squad. Here you will experience the emotionally raw events that lead up directly to Halo: Combat Evolved. With nearly-perfect gunplay, a brutally emotional and clearly loved story, and some of the most gorgeous set pieces in gaming history, Halo: Reach is Bungie’s farewell to the franchise and it shows in every. single. pixel. Halo: Reach is, without a doubt in my mind, the single best first person shooter to ever grace our digital libraries.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Few shooters stick out to me the way that Ubisoft’s always-online, drop-in MMO third person shooter, Tom Clancy’s The Division does. Set in the aftermath of a virally ravaged New York, The Division is a Tom Clancy experience through-and-though. Featuring dozens of hours that you can play co-op or go solo, wander the streets of an incredibly detailed rendition of New York. Garbage everywhere, Christmas lights, lightly falling snow, stunning fog as it burns off in the morning daylight showing the highrises and skyscrapers of the New York skyline, wild dogs, rats, and birds all over, hostile gangs, turncoat paramilitary groups, and a twisted political story are wrapped up into a bundle that spawned instant nostalgia. There is something eerily terrifying about The Division and a part of it, I think, is that it is a situation that is truly possible, and not only that, but the way that Ubisoft managed to portray humanity in a situation like that, is realistically terrifying. Even with the bullet-sponge bad guys, the story and discoverables within the pseudo-solo campaign are well, well worth the time investment.
After Bungie parted ways with the Halo franchise and struck out on their own they brought the full wallet of a new partnership with Activision to bear with Destiny. While I personally despise Destiny and even though it had an extremely rough launch (especially to those of us still hot-and-bothered in the best of ways with Bungie’s last outing, Halo: Reach), there is no denying the importance and overall end-product that is Destiny. Singlehandedly redefining shooter-looters, Destiny brought us a uniquely dismal world full of familiar voices like Peter Dinklage and Bill Nighy and slapped them together with some of the best first person shooting mechanics in gaming history. The end result? A litany of awards, a massively successful franchise, and the proof that listening to your community so they can affect change within your game is an extremely powerful and potent path to success. Though it had its warts to start, with community feedback and a lot of work, Bungie turned Destiny around to where it is today; a successful property that will spawn no end of clones. Destiny is the new standard in looter-shooters, and so far few have been able to approach its success and popularity.
Alright, so I know that some of you might debate whether or not Destiny 2 is considered a shooter, but I consider it to be one. As such, it is the only one in its category that I like and play. In fact, I play it a ton because of the new gear system, Gambit, the difficulty of the Moon, and the sheer amount of awesome people I’ve met because of it. I often play Destiny 2 to vent, relax, or just to help out my friends or clanmates.
While I once played a futuristic shooter-esque game called Warframe, I have found that Destiny 2 is much less frustrating and oddly doesn’t feel as grindy as most games (although yes, I am aware there is a grind in the game, but because I have a lot of people to run with, I actually don’t feel it, and that is an achievement!) Destiny 2 makes my list for best shooter of the decade because it’s the ONLY one I play, but because it’s a fun game, it has amazing and quirky staff (read: Luke Smith for reasons), and it’s pretty as heck (I mean, have you seen the Dreaming City?! It’s purple AND it’s shiny. Fine, fine… Call me girly for this ONE thing. BUT THAT’S IT!) Anyways, I would be remiss if I didn’t include it in my list. (Also someone find me a Cayde Funko Pop with a Chicken and ship him to Canada. I need this in my life. EDIT: A friend might have found one. WOO!)
Looter. Shooter. Shlooter? Borderlands was the go-to game for me and my friends back when it first came out. We’d roam into the high-level areas and spend hours trying to clear them out just to say “HA, WE DID IT” and boy did I love it. A shooter RPG with a superb couch co-op and whatever the heck you want to call claptrap, this shooter adventure across an alien planet in order to find the rumored vault was a great experience that my friends and I will still reminisce about and quote. With Borderlands 2 came even come adventures, and now with Borderlands 3 out, you know there goes a chunk of my time, because “I’M THE CONDUCTOR OF THE POOP TRAIN”, and there ain’t no brakes on this ride.
Metroid Prime Trilogy
These games are what I really needed to get back into the Metroid series, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Only lacking a higher position on this list due to the virtue of basically being a re-release, the Metroid Prime trilogy of games are a series I still return to about once a year or so to play through for 100% completion. With a diversion from 2D platformer to 3D shooter, the Prime trilogy really made a strong showing in my gaming experience. Except maybe 2 at times, but hey, it wasn’t that bad.
Resident Evil Degeneration (Mobile?)
Yes, there was a game of the movie. Yes, it was a “mobile” game. No, it wasn’t really the best game in the franchise, but I don’t play many shooters, and the Resident Evil 4 cut-off was a few years before the start of the decade list, unfortunately. The series as a whole has kind of waffled between good, passable, and disappointing, and while I’ve either missed the cut-offs for the list or haven’t played a few in between, hey, at least it isn’t RE6.
Never thought I’d love an online shooter with squid people, but somehow Nintendo made it work. I love how I can play with everyone around the world and never have to worry about someone yelling at me for screwing up or being boot out for poor performance. The matches are short and sweet and it keeps everything fresh with themed tournaments on a constant basis.
Left 4 Dead 2
Mass swarms of zombies? And not just your typical brain dead zombie? Nope! They are fast, deadly and special types. Now THAT would be a zombie apocalypse none of us would survive. However, it does make for a great multiplayer game with your best bros. Probably one of the only games I will INSIST I play on the hardest difficulty.
Why is it I tend to find all the best games after they’ve been out for a couple of years? Overwatch was just one of those games that didn’t interest me… Until my friend passed me her controller and said: “play a round.” I played… For 6 hours straight. Ok, so maybe I finally went out of my way to get PlayStation Plus just so I could join in the fun. And fun I continue to have.