We dubbed FPS games “Doom clones” before we knew what else to title them. When id Software’s pioneering work first became available as shareware over 20 years ago, it sparked a phenomenon, and since then, shooters have spread through mods, innovation, LAN parties, co-op, esports, and singleplayer masterpieces.
Their bread and butter is guns and enemies, but we don’t think of our favourite shooters as mere simulators of terror. We admire how they put our minds and reflexes to the test, the personal stories they create, the enthralling worlds they’ve created, and the social spaces they offer for lighthearted bonding or intense rivalry. Here are some of our current favourite first-person shooter titles.
For anyone who wants to sit alone and blast monsters or other worthy bad guys, we suggest the games below. While they may have multiplayer modes, we chose these games and included them in this section because we believe they have the best singleplayer campaigns available.
Dusk is a riff on classic FPS games, with strong influences from Quake, Doom, and Half-Life. It’s one of our top-rated shooters of 2018. If you were concerned that first-person shooters have been too sluggish since the 1990s, this is most likely the game for you. You’ll play with a fun and sometimes ludicrous armoury, such as the Riveter, which launches exploding rivets at your opponents, over the course of three campaigns. It’s more than a throwback, however, with unforgettable levels and a truly good little horror storey.
Titanfall 2 is a video game developed by Respawn Entertainment
Despite a slew of high-value multiplayer choices, Titanfall 2’s campaign ended up becoming the star of the show for us. The single-player portion of the game was treated like a game jam, with various members of the team pitching their ideas about what a singleplayer Titanfall 2 concept level should look like. The end result is a strange combination of exciting platforming tasks, one-off level-changing gadgets, and even puzzle elements, all accompanied by BT, a friendly mech pal who acts like a giant talking metal dog.
Storm of bullets
Bulletstorm is a fantastically well-made score attack shooter that stands out from the rest of the list. You can put together fun, flashy combos and use your armoury creatively thanks to the energy leash, the ability to kick enemies, and the quick player movement. Rick Remender, a comic book artist, wrote a sweary, intentionally childish script that perfectly suits the over-the-top action. On Steam, there’s an updated Full Clip Edition with an optional humiliating Duke Nukem appendage.
The 2017 reboot of Prey, from the creators of the Dishonored series, is a new virtual simulation classic. Prey is a thick, deadly sandbox for creativity and exploration, combining the best concepts from its System Shock predecessors with modern sensibilities and Arkane’s excellent eye for aesthetic design. Is there a lock on the door? You can either fix it yourself, push it open, rummage around an office for a key, warp into a coffee mug and roll through a crack in the glass, or fire a Nerf dart through the same crack to activate a button that unlocks it from inside.
Prey is Arkane’s most eloquent example of its “Play it Your Way” motto, and as a result, it can be enjoyed several times.
No one lives indefinitely.
Whereas many classics hold up better in our memories than on our current PCs, No One Lives Forever holds up amazingly well today thanks to its garish 1960s art direction, a fine arsenal (ranging from a tiny.38 Airweight with dum dum rounds to lipstick grenades and a briefcase rocket launcher), and remarkably sophisticated AI. Monolith ties it all together with relentlessly imaginative level design and regularly funny writing that spawned a new genre—comedy first-person shooters—that hasn’t been surpassed since. If only there was a simple way to get it now on digital channels.