FPS (first-person shooter) titles are some of the most popular video game genres out there. Video game history is simply peppered with them, starting with now-longrunning heavyweights like Wolfenstein 3D. The genre has evolved throughout the years, branching out into many renditions.
However, plenty of oldies still stand the test of time even decades after release. These titles also continue to inspire and amaze gamers and game developers today, which is exactly why the “boomer shooter” subgenre has resurfaced. Particularly among the indie scene.
Given how well these FPS games have aged, they are well deserving of the “best of all time” award
One of the most important games ever made, ID Software’s DOOM is a name most gamers are familiar with. It has been ported to countless platforms – including non-gaming electronic devices by DOOM fanatics.
The classic 1993 sci-fi shooter places players in the boots of the badass Doomguy on his rampage, mowing down demons and other baddies. The cathartic gameplay and nostalgic level design ensures it will live on in fans’ hearts for years to come.
2) Quake 3 Arena
1998’s multiplayer installment of ID Software’s acclaimed Quake series went above and beyond fans’ expectations. The arcadey, blazing fast gameplay, masterful level design and the sheer fun factor lives on.
From the iconic rocket launcher to the classic railgun, the guns are fun to use. To say it paved the way for PvP shooters on PC is an understatement. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say it rivals even modern shooters.
3) Unreal Gold
While ID Software’s Quake flexed its technical muscles during the 90s, Epic Games’ Unreal series emerged as the new kid on the block. The first Unreal too was a step forward for the FPS genre in the graphics department and boasted narrative driven set pieces to boot.
The fact that it could get a remake in the future should point to its importance. Are you ready to return to Na Pali and face off against its hostile inhabitants?
4) SystemShock 2
The late 90s was a revolutionary period for gaming. System Shock 2 from Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios is a sci-fi first-person RPG. The game is known for its survival horror elements, emphasized by the antagonistic AI Shodan as players explore the derelict starship Von Braun.
With a plethora of immersive sim mechanics to supplement the experience, it is hailed as one of the best games ever.
5) Halo: Combat Evolved
The first Halo dropped in 2001 for the original Xbox console as a launch title for the green team. The sci-fi FPS game featured the iconic Master Chief as he crash lands on a mysterious planet.
Aiming to keep the AI Cortana safe from the Covenant, Chief must face a variety of enemies throughout levels. It is one of the few games where both the single-player and multiplayer are equally legendary.
These retro-inspired FPS experiences pay homage to their inspirations with great vigor
New Blood Interactive is one of the best indie publishers to look out for fans of the ‘boomer shooter’ genre. Made by David Szymanski, this hardcore FPS was first launched in 2018. It doesn’t just nail the low-poly, low- textured aesthetic but also the zen-like combat loop.
As a treasure hunter, the titular town of Dusk must be investigated for reports of demonic occurrences. And as is the case with any great game, the solution always comes down to dealing with the problem using guns.
2) AMID EVIL
Another New Blood title, Indefatigable’s AMID EVIL promises to take players back to the days of fantasy FPS games like Hexen and Heretic. Initially released under early access, it was finally released in 2019.
As the Champion, players must take on evil forces that have corrupted the realms. This translates to utilizing varied mystic weapons to mow down anything and everything that stands in your path.
Part immersive sim and part pure retro-FPS, Graven from Slipgate Ironworks is another Hexen-inspired title. As an exiled priest, players are sent to a plagued town and must track down the culprits while dealing with hordes of undead and monsters.
Exploration is the name of the game as secrets hide around nearly every corner, from new weapons to collectibles. The game is still in early access and is scheduled for full release later this year.
4) Project Warlock
Buckshot Software turned heads with Project Warlock, a pixel-art FPS released in 2018 made by 18-year old Jakub Cislo. Taking a page from games like DOOM and Blood, it features a warlock who must stop a demon invasion of Earth.
It retains the classic loop of scouring levels for secrets, fending off challenging foes and a wide assortment of weapons and magic. However, it throws in minor RPG elements to further personalize the experience.
5) Post Void
YCJC Games’ Post Void differs from others on this list in one key area: that it is a roguelite. As an individual armed with an idol on the left hand and a weapon on the right, the game features tight, proceedurally generated levels with aggressive enemies.
Since the key gimmick revolves around the idol acting as a timer and the only way to refill it being enemy kills, the gameplay evolves into a satisfying loop of moving from one headshot to another. It is a speedrunner’s dream and certainly not for the faint of heart.