Ah, the noble FPS. It’s been one of the most popular genres in gaming since hardware first allowed first-person running and gunning in the early 90s, and for good reason: with no barriers between you and the action, it’s one of the easiest ways to be slung head-first into whatever immersive world the developers have created, whether you’re dodging aliens five light years from Earth or experiencing the horrors of trench warfare first-hand. 

Some of the most memorable experiences in all of games have come from the first-person shooter genre, and narrowing the list of must-plays down to a mere dozen is a daunting task indeed. But we’ve given it our best go, and this list of the best shooters for you to play in 2017 has something for everyone – from stealth and strategy to all-out Bay-hem.

Doom

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One PC

Pros:

  • Unremitting demon-slaughter action all the way
  • Brilliant Glory Kill mechanics
  • All your favourite Doom enemies and weapons
  • Solid multiplayer and DIY SnapMap modes

Cons:

  • Repetitive level design
  • Semi-useless map

How do you reboot the most influential shooter of all time without upsetting anyone? Turns out it’s simple, if not easy: you hit your USPs – stoic, murderous main character, inventive monster design, and Big Flonkin’ Guns – with absolutely merciless precision, wrap it all in a flawless score from Wolfenstein’s Mick Gordon and unleash hell.

Fast-paced combat and open-plan levels make the solo mode a brutal, joyous romp, even if the multiplayer’s ever-so-slightly disappointing compared with the competition. Remember: in other games, you’re trying to survive. In Doom, the monsters are trying to survive you. 

Bulletstorm

bulletstorm


Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

Pros:

 

  • Superb leash and skillshot mechanics
  • High-octane action all the way
  • Has never looked better
  • Stupid, gruesome fun

Cons:

  • Humour can be dubious
  • Duke Nukem DLC a waste of time

With its tongue-in-cheek, finger-constantly-on-the-trigger approach, Bulletstorm seemed to epitomise the most dumbass elements of the FPS genre back in 2011, disguising an elegantly-designed experience full of inventive gameplay elements and genuinely brilliant boss fights.

The smart ‘Skillshot’ system discourages anything as simple as shooting its feral adversaries in favour of decapitating them with grenade-bolas or kicking them into carnivorous plants, and even the plot’s surprisingly compelling. Regretting that you were one of the literally millions of players who didn’t buy it?

Don’t worry: 2017’s remastered edition adds a rejigged campaign mode and revamped graphics, making it the perfect way to play an underrated gem. 

Far Cry 5

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pros:

  • Spectacular action in stunning scenery
  • Four great villains, each with their own style
  • More immersive and organic than previous Far Cries
  • Brilliant specialists and animal allies

Cons:

  • Sometimes sticks too closely to old Far Cry templates
  • Loses pace when the Seeds aren’t around

Get past its off-kilter politics – turns out, the doomsday-prepping gun-lovers are the good guys – and Far Cry 5 is a brilliant retooling for the series, tossing tired elements aside (watchtowers are switched out for prepper caches, for instance) and doubling down on the mayhem with a team mechanic that lets you recruit the perfect squad for your goals (Shotgun dude and helicopter? Stealth-lady and sniper? Ah, sod it, rocket-man and bear again).

The way you’re snatched from its sandbox world to do story missions is absolutely maddening and the post-endgame vibe is oddly unsatisfying, but once you’re done with the main game a never-ending array of user-submitted Arcade mode levels is the way to go. Oh, and you can throw shovels at people. Redemptive! 

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Pros:

  • Emotionally compelling
  • Better stealth
  • Great endgame content

Cons:

  • Weapons could be more creative
  • Animations and character models occasionally feel ropey
  • Tonally inconsistent at times

Some things never go out of style, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus’ central premise – shoot loads of Nazis, preferably with the most outlandish gun you can loot – is as compelling in 2018 as it was back in 1992.

This time, of course, it’s backed up with blockbuster-level set-pieces, exemplary shooter mechanics, and a genuinely engaging story, with its alternate-history backdrop providing some chilling examples of the consequences of fascism.

It’s not all moralizing, of course: blasting giant Panzerhunds with a triple-barrel shotgun or pinging a grunt’s helmet off with a perfect sniper shot would be seriously satisfying even if they weren’t on the Reich side of history…but since they are, it’s all the sweeter.

Call Of Duty: WWII

Call of Duty WW2 War Machine

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pros:

  • Powerful campaign
  • Immersive visuals
  • Tense and thrilling gunplay
  • Strong multiplayer options

Cons:

  • Few really new situations or ideas

Yes, the Call of Duty WW2 template is well-established by now – on-rails missions packed with spectacular action sequences, mixed with a healthy disregard for historical reality – but in this installment, Sledgehammer has gone back to what makes the series (occasionally) great.

Intense shootouts force you to duck, scrape and improvise, while a rare-for-the-genre departure from the old hide-to-regain-health dynamic keeps things fraught pretty much throughout. Even the multiplayer mode harks back to classic CoD, with the objective-based modes stomping all over straight deathmatch for an experience, unlike almost any other game. A heartening return to form.  

Battlefield 1

Best pc games: battlefield 1

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pros:

  • Incredible campaign
  • Multiplayer feels built for the WW1 setting
  • The moment-to-moment action is excellent
  • Looks absolutely gorgeous

Cons:

  • Long load times
  • Campaign over too soon

It’s rare that an FPS pulls off the double-whammy of crafting a satisfying single-player experience alongside a must-play multiplayer mode, but Battlefield 1 does both with style, combining a short-but-sweet campaign that takes on five different perspectives with an online mode full of emergent moments so good they almost seem scripted.

The action shifts to WW1 this time, and the atmosphere’s never been more on point, with battles ranging from muddy trenches to a palatial chateau in the standout Ballroom Blitz map. If there’s a downside it’s that the single-player mode’s going to leave you wanting more and the sheer bloody horror of war portrayed in the solo mode’s undermined somewhat by the fun of the multiplayer. 

Alien: Isolation

alien

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC 

Pros:

  • Tense hide-and-seek gameplay
  • Captures the mood and tone of the film
  • Vicious, unpredictable AI
  • Genuinely scary

Cons:

  • Human survivor gangs a nuisance
  • Facial animation can look stiff

This might stretch the definition of first-person shooter – you spend most of the game hiding from the unkillable title character, and severely restricted ammo puts a limit on how much shooting you’ll be doing – but its use of the FPS dynamic to create a claustrophobic, terrifying stealth experience makes it a must-play.

Playing as Ellen Ripley’s daughter, in Alien Isolation you’re forced to be extremely creative to avoid the alien while taking out lesser adversaries, using everything from improvised Molotov cocktails to noisemakers and welding gear to traverse environments undetected. Not one for anyone in the mood for running-and-gunning, but you won’t find a better spiritual sequel to the first film anywhere. 

Overwatch

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pros:

  • Fun and diverse cast of heroes
  • Deep and engaging lore
  • Addictive and endlessly rewarding to play
  • Seasonal events are a regular treat

Cons:

  • Progression system relies on random cosmetics
  • Bad team composition can be frustrating

It’s rare that a developer’s first foray into a crowded genre goes quite so right as Overwatch, a multiplayer ‘hero shooter’ that encourages smart teamwork and creative gameplay via a variety of characters and classes.

It’s also a ray of cartoonish positivity in a genre that’s often mired in blood, mud and heavy metal, with costumes and character poses that foreshadowed Fortnite’s mega-success alongside the frequent introduction of new maps and events. Even casual players often log hundreds of hours, and it’s not hard to see why. 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Platforms: Xbox One

Pros:

  • Four classic games looking better than ever
  • Play what you like, as you like it, the way you like it
  • Multiplayer maps and modes from all four games
  • Worth it just for Halo 2 and Halo 4

Cons:

  • You still won’t love the Flood
  • Halo 3 looks and feels surprisingly dated

Fine, picking a four-games-in-one bundle feels a little bit like cheating in an FPS roundup, but since almost any of the Halos could make this list in their own right, the chance to nab them all, with a fresh coat of HD paint, is too good to ignore. The Master Chief Collection is also due an Xbox One X update in the near future.

The original’s more than a decade old but still has enough standout moments to be worth a blast, while 2 improves on the formula to make for one of the most fondly-remembered FPS games ever. Part four looks even better with an update, and the chance to blast through the whole set’s well worth the bargain price. 

Destiny 2

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pros:

  • Great solo campaign
  • Strong and addictive multiplayer
  • Absolutely gorgeous
  • Plenty of content

Cons:

  • Takes away your time
  • Loot system could use some tweaks

After a shaky birth – the first Destiny came with a plethora of problems that were eventually fixed by downloadable expansions – part two really delivered on the promise of the franchise from Halo-creators Bungie, with a campaign mode that’s really just an on-ramp for a looting, shooting romp packed with player-versus-environment set-pieces.

The six-man Raid dynamic is one of the high points, and while it can be a touch unwelcoming if you haven’t got friends to play with – the game really encourages it – it’s still a worthwhile experience. 

Prey

prey

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One PC

Pros:

  • Excellent level design
  • Great visual style
  • Super soundtrack
  • Typhon abilities are great fun
  • Creative puzzle solving

Cons:

  • Mainline story is lacking
  • Lead character feels entirely passive in narrative
  • Closing stages suffer from aggressive ramp in difficulty

Although the story’s intriguing and the level design’s always inventive, perhaps the most impressive part of Prey is its willingness to accommodate multiple play styles – from run-and-gun to stealth – as you explore its richly-crafted environments.

You’re a test subject in an experiment gone horribly wrong – do they ever go right? – and from there things get genuinely intriguing, with several endings and ways to tackle the game’s key missions offering an experience that differs from player to player. Like your shooting off-the-rails? Here’s your choice. 

Titanfall 2

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pros:

  • Impressive, inventive solo campaign
  • Superb combat and movement mechanics
  • BT is an ET for the Modern Warfare generation
  • Excellent multiplayer improves on the original

Cons:

  • Some ideas shuffled away before their time
  • Visuals are strong, but not the best you’ll see this year

The premise of the first Titanfall – in the future, warfare’s conducted by mecha-style exoskeletons and their agile, parkour-loving pilots – was pretty compelling, but it was really in this sequel that it reached its full potential, with a creative single player campaign and frantic, tactical multiplayer matches.

Platforming elements mesh brilliantly with some excellent level design and innovative weapons to create a thinking man’s shooter that allows for plenty of freedom in the way you tackle different challenges. More into pulse knives than pistols? This one’s for you. 



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