There was a period of more than a decade in the history of the game where almost everything was a shooter. It could even go back to Halo in 2001, but was more noticeable in the second half of the decade. The genre was hugely popular for both its competitive online scene and its high-end graphics and physics engines. FPS games (as well as third-person shooters) controlled the market at that time, and some of the best of the genre came out at that time.
However, with that came a slew of very average shooters. When every studio was trying to create the next Cod, many of them have not reached this level. The market was severely oversaturated and the genre lost a lot of steam in the process. This does not mean that these games had no value. Although many of them weren’t worth full price, they often had a level that illustrated the developer’s desire to push the genre in new creative directions.
seven NecroVisionN – Chapter 6 (PC, 2009)
One of the first titles published by 505Games, NecroVision was a World War I FPS that combined standard military action with a supernatural twist. Think Pain killer but slower. It was an extremely creative game – sometimes too much for its own good – but bogged down by being a grey-looking shooter without much visual appeal or gameplay.
Except for one moment, this one being Chapter 6. At the end of the previous chapter, players face a flying vampire that shoots fireballs, and killing him granted a weapon called Shadowhand. This weapon was a glove that took over the player’s left hand. It hit like a truck, sending enemies flying through the air and could extend a set of claws just like what Wolverine uses. Chapter 6 sent players into the world of vampires and unleashed them with Shadowhand on unsuspecting enemies, to tremendous and satisfying effect.
6 Killzone: Shadow Fall – The Patriot (PS4, 2013)
The PS4 launch title Killzone: Shadowfall was not well received by fans. Between an inconsistent story, terrible stealth cover and mechanics, and a limited two-weapon inventory where one slot is locked for the duration of the game, many fans found the game more frustrating than enjoyable, and those feelings are justified. .
However, just before the halfway mark of the match, everything fell into place. It was Chapter 4, titled “The Patriot”, where players had to scale a skyscraper to free hostages held at the top. This level capitalized on everything that worked in the game: gorgeous graphics, thrilling shootouts, environmental destruction, and set pieces. Players climb the tower while taking in views of a beautiful cityscape, they can shoot enemies through walls or fight their way through a squadron unseen, and it culminates in an epic sequence where the player is suspended by a rope attached to an airship while pulling those on board. It’s really awesome.
5 Rage – The Scorchers DLC (PS3/Xbox 360/PC, 2011)
When it was released in 2011, Rage had been publicized far beyond its capacity. It was Id Software’s first new IP in a decade, and in trailers and promotional material it looked like one of the most graphically impressive games ever made. Add to that state-of-the-art AI systems that allowed enemies to modify their behavior based on their surroundings and the expectations of the game. Rage were dizzying.
The result was a game that spread out too much. Concentration was broken between buggy racing (a very intended two-way), shooting, and a mostly empty open world, leaving all of those elements feeling half-baked. Burners Downloadable content managed to solve this problem by reducing the focus to the single shot, with excellent results. The game’s beautiful environments and unique weapons are showcased very well within the confines of the Scorchers’ tunnels. It all culminates in an epic battle at Scorcher’s Lair, an Old World stone temple set against the backdrop of the setting sun.
4 Doom 3 – Hell (PC, 2004)
Doom 3 got a bad rap when it was released in 2004. It wasn’t a bad game, it just wasn’t reminiscent at all Loss in franchise. The traditionally fast-paced shooting action had been replaced with slower, more methodical play akin to the Halo franchise. This angered longtime fans and resulted in the show being sidelined for over a decade, until Destiny 2016 took him back to his roots.
The thing is that in the void Doom 3 is pretty good. It’s scary, it has good gunplay and creative level designs for its time. This is best illustrated in Chapter 16, simply titled “Hell”. In it, players are thrown into unarmed hell, and while they quickly reach for a pistol and a shotgun, they’ll be constantly scavenging for ammo in the early stages of the level. Add to that a creepy, oppressive atmosphere (made all the more unnerving by a disembodied voice telling them how “doomed” they are), and some of the game’s toughest enemies appearing room after room, and “Hell is still a memorable level all these years later.
3 Red Faction: Armageddon – Roads Less Traveled (PS3/Xbox 360/PC, 2011)
Deep Silver Tracking Red Faction: Guerrilla was criticized for changing from an open-world shooter to a linear game. It is true that a large part of Red Faction: Armageddon takes place in narrow corridors, which limits the otherwise epic scale of the destruction physics that made the series so popular.
Although a little underwhelming, the game’s vehicle sections are fantastic, the best being Chapter 13’s Roads Less Travelled. Piloting the Scout Walker takes destruction to new heights with its extremely powerful laser cannon. He can also just walk through structures, which is nice. Eventually, the walker is destroyed and players set off on foot, allowing them to use the game’s magnetic gun to tear through both structures and enemies in brutal and satisfying ways.
2 FEAR 3 – Cooperation (PS3/Xbox 360/PC, 2011)
It’s not exactly a level, but more of a game mode. Nevertheless, FEAR 3 is a deeply disappointing entry into the franchise as a single-player experience. It removes the game’s tight limitations and dangerous enemies and becomes a low-grade FPS clone with nothing unique to its name.
Co-Op is an entirely different experience, and the best is, surprisingly, left to the second player. Player 1 gets the solo role of Point Man, the TO FEAR protagonist of the series. Player 2 discovers the game’s most unique feature: playing as the villainous Paxton Fettle. Gameplay as Fettle allows players to possess enemies, throw objects telekinetically, and suspend enemies in the air for Point Man to easily take out or for Fettle to explode if he gets close enough. It’s a fantastic game mode and the best part of FEAR 3.
1 Black – City of Naszran (PS2/Xbox, 2006)
When The black was released during the Xbox and PS2 era, it received much critical acclaim. What held it back was a painfully short campaign and a lack of online multiplayer in an era where shooters lived and died by their online capabilities. However, Black the physics of destruction and intense, visceral gunfights were unheard of for this generation of consoles, and few games have managed to reach this level since.
It all culminated in the game’s third mission, titled “Naszran Town”, which begins with players entering a huge graveyard with a sniper stationed in a tower at its center. Players move from cover to cover behind giant tombstones, dodging sniper fire. The intensity of Black the physics of destruction are on full display as the sniper’s shot rips through any tombstone players hiding behind after a few moments, forcing constant movement and adjustment. It’s an impressive firefight that is unique in its genre to date.
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