Let me start off by saying that these are not the most influential FPS games of all-time. With the new DOOM out, I thought it’d be fun to look back at the FPS games that have withstood the tests of time in my memory. These are the 10 FPS games that have had a major influence on my gaming career, if not my entire life. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, all of these games bring something unique to the table. Enjoy my trip shooting down memory lane!
10.) Command & Conquer: Renegade
Graphics? Terrible. Story? Outrageous. Gameplay? Strangely satisfying. Having poured more hours than I’d care to admit into Red Alert 2, one day I decided to expand my C&C knowledge and picked up a collection of games. They were all standard RTS Command & Conquer, with one exception: Renegade. A story-based FPS set in the Tiberian Sun universe, it was an absolute blast getting to see the C&C universe from the ground rather than from a bird’s-eye view. Not to mention the guns were a hell of a lot of fun.
9.) Red Faction 2
Honestly, I can’t remember much of this game’s story. What I do remember, however, is the game’s dark, gritty presentation and how fun it was to start the game off with a grenade launcher. The weaponry only got better from there, providing a host of sci-fi guns and lasers to take down the government (or something like that). That church sniper scene will always stand out in my mind.
8.) Wolfenstein 3D
The first FPS I’ve ever played; what a way to start. I would play this on my dad’s computer in his office whenever I went into work with him. Was it wise to let a 7-year-old stab and murder his way through hordes of Nazis? Definitely. What better way to raise a red, white, and blue-blooded American? Although I was never good enough to actually beat the game, thanks to the God-mode cheat (ledoux- still haven’t forgotten it), I’ll never forget stabbing Mecha-Hitler to death. Only took me like… a half hour.
7.) Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
While we’re on the topic of killin’ Nazis, this game was huge for me. I played that D-Day assault an innumerable amount of times. Mostly because my 3rd-party memory card for PS2 didn’t let me save my game. But also because that level was incredible. From storming beaches, to sneaking through a Nazi ball, to close-quarters submarine combat, this game had it all. To me, there’s no better entry in the WWII FPS genre.
6.) Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
This was my first Bethesda game, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I didn’t believe the kid at Best Buy when we were waiting in line for our Xbox 360s that you could go anywhere, do anything, and kill anyone, and I’m glad I didn’t- it made my revelation of his wisdom that much more impacting. My friend let me borrow this game; I played for 60 hours, unlocked every achievement, beat every guild quest line, and gave it back- all within a week. Oblivion was the best medieval fantasy game I’ve ever played.
5.) TimeSplitters 2
From its humor to its gameplay, TimeSplitters 2 had it all. It played like an enhanced Goldeneye; the weapons were incredible, and its levels were all so fresh. Not to mention the replay value of going back and trying to figure out and accomplish all the objectives on the hardest difficulty. Throw in the robust and addictive multiplayer component (someone, anyone, please bring back bots!), and you have one of the best FPS games of all-time. Besides, who doesn’t want to play as a gun-wielding monkey?
You knew it had to be on here somewhere, right? While seemingly everyone collectively loses their shit over Half-Life 2, the first game is what really had an impact on me. I was so used to FPS games just being mostly-mindless shooters, but this game made me think. It took 13-year-old me a whole year to beat this game; I still get sour when I realize how simple it was to get past those damned silo pincers. Half-Life opened my mind to the potential of the genre, making brains just as important as bullets. I’ve never looked back.
3.) Metroid Prime
I had never played a Metroid game before. Blasphemy, I know. I was familiar with Samus thanks to Super Smash Bros., so when Metroid Prime hit the Gamecube, I figured it was time to give her a try. Today, I still lament my lack of a Nintendo console just for this game alone. The visuals were incredible, the music amazing, and the story was totally engrossing (even without a voiced protagonist). I’ve never been so invested in learning the lore of a game, and its lock-on FPS gameplay was both unique and challenging. Bloody space pirates.
2.) Perfect Dark
It was really hard for me to decide which was more influential, Goldeneye or Perfect Dark (I thought it cheating to put them both on here). After much internal debate, Joanna Dark came out on top. For starters, she’s one of the coolest characters in gaming. She’s dry, witty, smart and capable; the perfect female counterpart to James Bond. The gritty, dystopian-esque sci-fi world the game inhabits is still stand-out, and the guns… Oh man, the guns. Each one felt unique, and all the secondary modes of fire certainly didn’t hurt. Getting kills from around corners with the Mag-Sec was just plain awesome. It also has one of the best “wtf?” moments in regards to its story. And let’s not forget about Elvis.
1.) Halo: Combat Evolved
This is it, baby. Hold me. The reason pretty much anyone bought an original Xbox, Halo: Combat Evolved changed the game. I still go back and play through the campaign at least once a year. My buddy Colin and I would play the co-op for literal days. The moment I touched down on Halo and hopped in the Warthog, it was all over for me. The levels were all standout, the gameplay was immaculate, and the multiplayer was the absolute best around. There’s something about the frantic, tactical, almost arcadey feel to its gameplay that I just can’t get enough of. I also still believe that the story in Halo is one of the best stories in all of sci-fi (at least, before Halo 4). The series has gone on to become far more competitive and “refined”, but the first game is still the best. It set the bar for my expectations of the entire FPS genre, and so far, nothing’s managed to take the crown.
What are some of the most influential FPS games you’ve played? Any hidden gems that time has left forgotten? Let us know in the comments below!