Game review: Best ever FPS games (Part III)


Part 3, the FPS strikes back! Now we take a look at the years 2000 to now and into the future.

Right off the bat, this was my era of gaming and I have fond memories of many happy wasted hours being shouted at by my mother for spending far to long in front of the flickering screen.

Gaming took massive great leaps forwards in terms of technology, apart from obvious improvements in graphics there were major enhancements in AI and how they reacted to you within the game. Physics started to play a major roll not just in the look of the game but how it played, there was also major steps forward in story telling. On this last point I would say that have been some gains, a little muddying of the genre and in some ways it is worse.

Call of Duty has become synonymous with big game releases since it first came out in 2003.

Call of Duty has become synonymous with big game releases since it first came out in 2003.

Call of Duty and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warefare – Activision

I suppose the first game or game series I should mention is the all conquering sales behemoth that is the Call of Duty series. I will single out two titles, firstly the original game on the PC, created by the team who created the original Medal of Honour, it was at the time a brilliantly visceral experience. The cinematography was gritty, violent and emotional. There was no glory in completing a mission, only the realisation that you now have another battle and this brought home at least some of the emotion of what it felt like to be at war.

It was also unique at the time in terms of its protagonist, you played as not just one but multiple characters across three battle fronts. Working as part of a squadron become a feature; fighting among allies and friends. These unique elements followed the series though to the other Call of Duty game I’m going to single out; which as you can probably guess is the first Modern Warfare. It was this game which made Call of Duty the beast it is today. All the aspects which made the first game great were tweaked and moved forward to the 60 years or so into the world of modern high intensity combat. I feel I don’t have to day much about this game as you’ve all played it and know what makes it great.

Far Cry has always been a weird and wonderful addition to FPS combat gaming.

Far Cry has always been a wonderfully barbed-wire addition to FPS combat gaming.

Far Cry 2 – Ubisoft

Far Cry 2 is a simply superb game, with an amazing setting and a deep story. Set in a unnamed African republic on the brink of implosion, you play as an independent mercenary taking jobs from the government and rebel forces. As well as the main story missions you are also asked to support fellow mercenaries in their jobs, which naturally includes assassinations.

The extra underground missions are particularity important as their reward is medicine, which is crucial for reasons known to anybody who has played the game. Unless you have a constant supply of medicine you will die, you have to constantly listen to your pill bottle trying to detect when it is low so your not caught short. This constant need to maintain your well being adds incredible tension.

With 19 square kilometres of accessible terrain, navigation is done through the realistic use of a hand held map and GPS unit. I think what makes the game truly engrossing is the fluid environment – it has day and night cycles, accurate fire growth and vegetation regrowth. The way NPC’s react to the environment changes as well – for instance during the day, they will huddle in shade, but will be able to see you from much further away, however during the night they will be much more alert but can not see you until you are much closer. It’s the details that make this game great.

Bulletstorm-PC copy

Bulletstorm was developed by Epic Games and released in 2011.


Bullet storm is an unapologetically simple game – it is about shooting people in the face (yes, literally in the face), and in many other ways and places. It is one of the funniest and most entertain games I’ve ever played. Points are awarded for the skill and creativity for your kills, how you use the environment and where you shoot you enemy (and no, the head shot doesn’t always merit the best score). Additionally you have a whip, which is a futuristic beam of light or plasma which grabs objects or people and pulls them towards you. Your whip can also be used to launch enemies into the air and then slows their descent, this then allows you to either shoot or kick them into or over the environment. Highly amusing, the game is full of crass humour, and offers hours of entertainment. It is a shame that poor sales caused the planned sequel to be cancelled.

Borderlands_2_-_Ultimate_Vault_Hunter_Upgrade_Pack_2_-_The_Raid_of_Digistruct_Peak_Walkthrough copy

Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and released in 2012.

Borderlands 2

Some of you will have read my review of Borderlands Pre Sequel, and as you can tell I simply love the series. It is mad, multi-coloured and just so much fun. In a world where most of the gaming world is trying to be taken seriously by the rest of the creative industries, I’m not sure why it is still thought of as a bit of a second class art considering that GTA V made 800 million dollars on its first day of release and 1 billion dollars in 3 days – the only entertainment property to ever do so. Gearbox decided that borderlands should be fun above all. The writing is spot on with a cast of colourful characters, and with a range of mad cap schemes and objectives you have to complete. With Borderlands 2 the number of locations you have to explore is astonishing, all with a unique feel and look and unique monsters and enemies to kill, destroy and loot. It does have RPG elements but they do not detract from the game and you can reset all of your choices at certain machines spread throughout the game.

half_life_2_adepted_by_willhelmkranz copy

Half Life 2 was developed by Valve Corporation and released in 2004.

Half Life 2

I am going to single out Half Life 2 as my personal greatest FPS ever. The story is layered with a well written plot and dialogue which is read superbly by the voice actors cast. You start the game listing to the era voice of G-Man who introduces the present situation, at which point you arrive in a station in a dystopian future where the world has been taken over by a mysterious race called the Combine. At various points you are joined by Alex Vance, a helpful character that aids you, who is also a good strong female character – something that I think the gaming world is lacking, although this is slowly being remedied. You are given the gravity gun near the beginning of the game which is key to the game – problem solving of physics puzzles allows progression through the game and it allows you to chuck just about any small objects at any thing, from small cans to buckets, radiators, toilets or cars. It also generated its own range of t-shirts, and I can’t think of any other game weapon doing that. There is a wide variety of weapons available and they are all very different with unique uses and strengths and they are superbly balanced. 

So there you have it – my selection for the greatest FPS games ever made.

And now to the future. Many modern FPS games are taking on more of a role-playing style of play with wide open levels and character development, customisation and specialisation. While I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I do miss the simple things. However my wish might come true, during E3 2015 the ID software showed the first game play footage of Doom 4, the game which started it all. To say I’m excited is an understatement, my pre order is in and I’m saving for the new generation graphics cards so I can play it at max settings.


Author: Jon P, Cardiff store