1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
For the first time in a few years we can say that it’s worth buying this installment of Call of Duty. Coming back after the disappointing 'Ghosts' release in 2013, Advanced Warfare looks to the future, changing the way the game is played with the Exo Suit, which gives you both fun and useful abilities. From climbing up walls with your robotic hand to double jumping, the suit adds a new aspect to the series, one that it desperately needed.
The campaign is fun, with a huge variety of locations (we love doing battle on the snowy mountains of Antartica) and in Kevin Spacey’s Jonathan Irons there’s a well acted, interesting character.
It looks great too, especially on the PS4 and Xbox One and sounds even better.
What are friends at totalxbox.com think: ‘Kevin Spacey might take top billing, but it's the array of powerful PMC tech that's the real star of the show, making the stalest formula in contemporary videogames feel remarkably fresh. Move over, Infinity Ward and Treyarch - COD has a new king.’
2. Halo: Master Chief Collection
If you love Halo then the Master Chief Collection is the game for you this festive season. Comprising of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 (which has been completely redone for this release), Halo 3 and 4, along with about as much multiplayer as you can shake a stick at.
What are friends at totalxbox.com think: Astonishing value for money for newcomers, that goes without saying, but those that have already finished the fight(s) on previous Xboxes should think hard about whether they'd be better off investing their money on new experiences.
3. Far Cry 4
Set in the beautifully realised fictional country of Kyrat, Far Cry 4 doesn’t change much that made Far Cry 3 so great, so expect excellent fps gunplay, a bevy of side missions and whole host of wildlife to interact with.
What are friends at gamesradar.com think: Far Cry 3 remains the series’ peak, but Far Cry 4 is a lovely looking, accomplished offering that suffers from lacklustre writing and an odd lack of purpose.
4. Halo 4 (2012)
Although we’ve looked at Halo: Combat Evolved in this list already, we can’t help but give Halo 4 a shout out. The game marked the long awaited return of the series’ iconic protagonist, Master Chief.
He’d been locked up tight in a cryo-tube since the end of Halo 3’s campaign back in 2007, an ending which had been left pretty open ended until 2012. Prior to Halo 4 he’d been on board a ship hurtling through deep space with little to no hope of being found, only having given his A.I. assistant Cortana specific instructions to "wake me when you need me."
Turns out that time came in 2012 with the awakening of an ancient evil, pitting Master Chief and Cortana against a whole new level of peril.
The saga following the character was resurrected by ex-Bungie Studios members, under the newly formed outfit of 343 Industries, doing a ruddy good job indeed. Beautiful campaign, emotive story, glorious settings, and a well balanced and savagely intense selection of multiplayer games. Just how any Halo game should be.
£12 | Xbox 360 | Buy it now from Amazon
5. Killzone: Shadow Fall (2013)
We can’t look at the best FPS games without looking at the flagship title for Sony’s Playstation 4. Killzone: Shadow Fall, similarly to Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts, marks the coming of a new generation of gaming. Unlike the others mentioned however, this one is a next-gen only title, making it the first true next-gen FPS.
In breath-taking high-definition, Killzone: Shadow Fall paves the way for FPS and next generation gaming. Considering at this stage developers have just scratched the surface on what both the PS4 and Xbox One are capable of, we’re in for a hell of a good time with these consoles.
£27 | PS4 | Buy it now from Amazon
6. Crysis 3 (2013)
Beautiful, paced, gripping and intense. These are the words that come to mind when playing any Crysis game. With the first game proving to be a success on PC, Crysis 2 and 3 have both been welcomed onto the console platform. Crytek’s latest offering puts the player through an intense storyline battling through a post-apocalyptic world.
The primary character works in a bionic suit, capable of adapting to any situation, while the player has the luxury of being able to control this on the fly. Because of this, the game can get very technical, which can make it a lot of fun, as it means there is always more than one way of doing things.
With the ability to use the suit’s active camo, or the ability to become stronger, or run faster, you’re a walking Swiss army knife of pure death. A futuristic Predator. And boy is it fun.
£11 | PC, PS3, Xbox 360 | Buy it now from Amazon
7. Battlefield 4 (2013)
Ushering the next generation of gaming in style, Battlefield 4 set a new standard for shooters with its multiplayer modes. Killer graphics and fast paced action, at its best Battlefield 4 works as a 64 player shooter, complete with choppers, tanks, jets, explosives, jeeps, boats and a truck-load of weapons. The arsenal this game packs makes it one of the biggest shooters around, and looks glorious on next-gen.
To add to this, DICE’s ‘Levelution’ feature triggers game-changing events that, depending on which team you’re fighting for, can make life much easier, or a complete misery. The crumbling Shanghai skyscraper above (you know... The one spelling crushing death?) is just one of those events, changing the way the game is played.
£28 | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC | Buy it now from Amazon
8. Half-Life (1998)
You can point to a ton of reasons as to why the first Half Life is one of the best shooters ever made, but for the purposes of being brief, we’ll pick out our favourite: the immersion factor. Unlike a ton of other FPS games, Half-Life’s plot and environment conspired to make players feel they were starring in their own action film and made them feel a part of a world they could affect in immediate ways. That may not sound revolutionary today – since that aspect of shooter is now industry-standard – but back when shooters like Quake and Duke Nukem didn’t give a hoot about things like narrative or plot, Half Life seemed not only fresh, but vital too.
From £6 | Windows | Buy it now from Amazon
9. Red Faction (2001)
Being the first shooter with a truly destructible environment could have been a gimmick; instead THQ layered it into a darkly adult storyline that had more than a little Total Recall in its blood. Great vehicle levels and insane weapons were just a cherry on top. Long live the rail-gun.
£12 | Windows, PS2, Mac | Buy it now from Amazon
10. BioShock (2007)
As shooters go, BioShock isn’t particularly innovative. The reason for this is because its primary purpose is to tell a gripping story while enveloping the players in one of the most bizarre, yet believable and spine-chilling environments ever made. Set in a sunken city where a society founded on the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand has become a madhouse filled with crazed gene-splicing addicts, BioShock not only rips Rand’s potboiler hokum apart in a brutal 15 hour story, it even mocks the agency of the shooter videogame as a genre. It also happens to contain one of the best plot-twists in any game ever made.
£18 | Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, Mac | Buy it now from Amazon
11. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
Its campaign is mostly remembered (unfairly) for the No Russian level, in which the player could gun down innocent civilians. This is a shame because between the twin plotlines involving US soldiers repelling a Russian invasion and a band of SAS hardmen tracking a global terrorist cell, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 boasts enough eye-popping action set-pieces to send Michael Bay into orbit. Not only that, it was the perfect shooter package of its time; the chocolate box of Spec Ops and the gruelling, layered multiplayer provided never-ending battlegrounds for FPS fans to test their mettle.
£18 | Windows, Xbox 360, PS3 | Buy it now from Amazon
12. Doom (1993)
Wolfenstein may have arrived first, but Doom was the game that cemented our love for the first person shooter. The basic premise wasn’t much to write home about, but it offered players endless enemies to frag. The first poster-child for video game violence and was also the best shooter made at its time of release.
From £9 | MS DOS | Buy it now from Amazon
13. Duck Hunt (1984)
Arguably the beginning of first person shooter games, though not as we know them now. As with most games released in the 80s, Duck Hunt had a pretty simple premise - shoot ducks with the Nintendo Zapper lght gun to earn points, if you don't shoot enough ducks, you don't pass the level. So you can thank Duck Hunt for all the FPS fun you've had recently. And for the hundreds of pounds you've spent on Time Crisis.
From £1 | NES | Buy it now from Amazon
14. Far Cry 3 (2012)
The youngest shooter on this list is arguably the best FPS we played all of last year. Far Cry 3 mixes RPG progression and shooter mechanics with aplomb, but its trump card is the wide open world of Rook Island it give the player to explore. Shot through with a story that combines elements of Fight Club and Heart Of Darkness and characters that linger in the memory, Far Cry 3 is destined to be recalled in the future as fondly as any title on this list.
£13 | Windows, Xbox 360, PS3 | Buy it now from Zavvi
15. Half-Life 2 (2004)
Building on the impressive foundations of its predecessor, Half Life 2 is shot through with crushing atmosphere from its opening moments. Valve’s shooter contained some great shooter action, fantastic vehicle-based sequence and a couple of genuinely terrifying encounters. But above all, it told a gripping story, making players truly connect with their characters and surroundings.
£14 | Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, Mac | Buy it now from Green Man Gaming
16. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
Halo’s legacy is pretty well-established by now. This is the game that built the Xbox’s brand and established Microsoft as a player in the console wars. It sold by the truckload and it turned Master Chief into an icon. It was also an absolute blast to play with your mates as anyone whoever lugged their console to a friend’s house for a multiplayer session remembers.
£17 | Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac | Buy it now from Amazon
17. PlanetSide (2003)
The gameplay was basic, the graphics were average at best and it lagged like hell at peak times, but the scale alone made PlanetSide an incredible experience. FPS's have always been about creating single player experiences that feel engaging and real. But in PlanetSide, when you were running towards an enemy base surrounded by friendlies, with tanks rolling past and Mosquitos flying over your head, they were all real people playing around the world, not just a bit of code. And now PlanetSide 2 has improved on the graphics and latency, it has a real shot at being a superb FPS.
From £1 | PC | Buy it now from Amazon
18. Quake (1996)
Coming on like the slicker, smoother and altogether better younger brother to Doom, Quake plonked the player into a Gothic Sci Fi killbox and hurled monster after monster at them. The multiplayer was awesome, the campaign was a sprawling Cthulu-inspired nightmare and God Mode was a particular favourite. The staff member who selected this game for the list recalls they used to play for so long that they’d get a migraine, and occasionally throw up. Thankfully this was rare, and he survived to tell the story.
MS DOS, Sega Saturn, Commodore Amiga, Nintendo 64, Mac
19. System Shock 2 (1999)
This forerunner to BioShock is a chilling, claustrophobic and genuinely unsettling way to spend an evening. Mixing RPG and Survival Horror elements together, System Shock 2 traps the player on a darkened spaceship and forces them to explore its halls filled with infested crew and creeping horrors that send tickles down the spine. We recommend playing this one with headphones on…. in the dark… if you’ve got the nerve.
£25 | Windows | Buy it now from Amazon
20. GoldenEye 007 (1997)
The best movie tie-in game ever made is also the reason that shooters took off on consoles. Before Rare’s shooter came along only PC wonks enjoyed FPS games. Then this monster came out; the campaign was fantastic and rather faithful to the movies and the multiplayer was a rambunctious and addictive joy. Its legacy is also the reason it’s included on this list of games we’re all nostalgic about over here at T3; like everyone else, we played GoldenEye to death.
£7 | Nintendo 64 | Buy it now from Amazon