The Top Ten First Person Shooters of All Time

By James Hawkins in Lists!
Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 9:03 am
CODListPic (570 x 348).jpg
The Best Shooters

First-person shooters have come to dominate the world of video games. Over the decades, these titles have been able to push platforms to their production limits while employing innovative storytelling and gameplay that brings the medium to a whole new level. They have also been the driving force in the integration of online elements that seem to come standard with games of all kinds nowadays. And with that, we would like to salute the shooters that we think changed the gaming landscape the most. I give you the Joystick Division picks for greatest first-person shooters of all time. Enjoy!

10. Perfect Dark 2000
Systems: Nintendo 64, Xbox Live Arcade
The 'spiritual successor' to 1999's GoldenEye 007 was able to expand and improve upon one of the greatest games of all time. Though it never enjoyed the commercial success of its predecessor, the critical acclaim Perfect Dark garnered when it was released has been almost unparalleled since. Featuring an enormous selection of customizable multiplayer games, a lengthy campaign, and a diverse arsenal, Perfect Dark is the gold standard for FPSs that want to offer a holistic experience to shooter connoisseurs as well as casual gamers. With goofy and likable characters, excellent production, and a then-remarkable physics engine, Perfect Dark marked the last great shooter for the Nintendo 64 -- a fitting swan song for such a robust and influential system.
Lasting Influence: The Simulants. Perfect Dark may not have pioneered the use of AI in multiplayer games, but what it did do was create diverse and relatively intelligent bots that could be added to games in need of a new dynamic.

cod (570 x 356).jpg
Current Status: Frosty.

9. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2007
Systems: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
The fourth installment in the powerhouse Call of Duty franchise added an intensity and realism to the world of first-person shooters unlike any title before it. It also moved the series out of World War II and into modern wartime situations, which allowed for a focus on military gadgetry and more varied weaponry. In the campaign mode, players are exposed to frantic large-scale skirmishes, intricate stealth missions, and frequent jaw-dropping moments of extreme badassness -- all with the unflinchingly lifelike presentation that has made the series famous. In multiplayer, Modern Warfare revolutionized the FPS genre, particularly for console games. Complete with an addictive experience system and dozens of masterfully crafted game types, Modern Warfare was able to build an online multiplayer experience that rivaled the reigning Halo giant.
Lasting Influence: Leveling up system. What better way to get users hooked than by adding an experience point system that allows players to slowly customize their characters? This is done so by feeding even more into the competitive nature of online gaming.

CSPic (570 x 428).jpg
Pow, right in the kisser.

8. Counter-Strike 2000
Systems: PC, Mac OS X, Xbox
At its peak, the Counter-Strike cultural sphere was a dark and disturbing place. It was a spot where hackers stalked servers and vitriol was spat over headsets with little abandon. But that didn't take away from the fact that after its release competitive PC gaming would never be the same. Counter-Strike spawned countless professional gaming teams and for years it dominated the PC community, exponentially outnumbering more recent popular titles like Unreal Tournament 3 and Quake III. It provided limitless hours of multiplayer combat and a brilliant physics engine, giving the player a constant IV drip of adrenaline. Players flock to it even to this day to experience the realistic and compelling gameplay of Counter-Srike that is seldom surpassed. With the constant updating and third-party game-crafting (many CS modders have gone on to become professional game developers), expect for this one to be around for a long, long time.
Lasting Influence: New level of professional gaming. Get good enough, and someone might actually pay you to play video games competitively. Best. Job. Ever.

Doom_gibs (570 x 428).jpg
Bang, bang, bang.

7. Doom 1993
Systems: PC
It can be argued that no single game has jump-started a genre to the degree Doom did when it was released nearly two decades ago. Though it wasn't the first first-person shooter, the game deftly mixed a breakneck pace with thrilling enemy battles, powerful weapons, and an unprecedented amount of gore. With its debut, the FPS bar was set sky high. The game also helped bring video games to the mainstream spotlight by catching the eye of some anti-gaming crazies, which sparked a well-publicized debate over censorship. We all know that any press is good press, right? As legendary as it is culturally significant, Doom is the definition of the FPS genre -- influential, controversial, and fun as hell.
Lasting Influence: Controversy. As long as FPSs are around, Doom will be the posterchild for violence in video games. And with Doom's balls-out approach, it made sure its voice was heard.

BioShock (570 x 321).jpg
Go big or go home

6. BioShock 2007
Systems: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
BioShock proved to a skeptical world that first-person shooters are a lot more than running-and-gunning. The first-person perspective has been utilized fully, allowing the player to be enveloped by the game's atmosphere -- the art deco architecture, disfigured lunatics, and mastermind politicos that appear in the game combine to create a truly unique and absorbing world. And while the game is a technical showcase, the innovations made in storytelling and character development put the title in a realm of its own. With breathtaking artistic vision, an engaging plot, and smooth mechanics, BioShock is a landmark title for the genre, providing a quality narrative package that has yet to be eclipsed. Would you kindly check it out?
Lasting Influence: Art direction. BioShock is a prime example of the importance of quality production and direction. See everyone, this is art. Art that you can play.

Email Print

Join The Joystick Division!

Become part of the Joystick Division community by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook.

More links from around the web!