Shooters have evolved heavily over the years. Each developer has done different things to make their game standout whether it be a new mechanic, more enemies, a unique story or just bigger guns. As the industry has grown and the fan base has changed, some shooting IPs were left behind. Perhaps their setting or mechanics did not transfer well to later generations, or the developer closed down. Either way, there have been losses in the shooting genre. Here are our Top 10 Best Shooters You Forgot About.
10. Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
Before the wonderful team at Monolith brought us F.E.A.R. and Shadows of Mordor, they set about making some tremendous first person shooters of varying degrees. The one closest to my own heart was the anime-style FPS Shogo. Shogo was a hybrid first person/mecha shooter that followed the story of Sanjuro Makabe on his mission to take out the rebel leader Gabriel. You split time between on-foot combat and in-mech combat. Either way, the controls played out the same, which is why I think the mech combat worked so well. With an interesting story in tow, the excellent gameplay of Shogo cements this PC gem as one of my most memorable games I’ve played and kindled my love for Monolith (which subsequently created my favorite FPS shooter of all time). I still find and install this game on my PC from time to time.
Syndicate was originally a tactics series and EA decided to transfer it over to the FPS genre. The trailer was paired with an original Skrillex song and managed to garner some hype from fans. The final delivery of the game was lukewarm. The parkour elements, hacking and shooting did not flow together well and the story did not take full advantage of the extremely interesting world of corporate warfare and cyberpunk that the series was known for. There was a 4 player co-op mode for Syndicate which had players controlling class based characters with unique abilities. With a limited player base though and little support beyond the initial set of missions though, it did not get a strong following. I stated my grievances before about how I felt the setting was not fully taken advantage of and it was clear that it did not capture fans of the series or newcomers as the sales were low for the shooter, especially for an EA backed game. It is a shame the series has likely died with that entry as it has so much to offer in a industry that is still struggling to get a grasp on the cyberpunk setting.
Rage was a special game for the industry. id Software had not put out anything too impressive during the PS3/360 generation and Rage had been in the works for quite a while as their next big thing. The DOOM/Quake developer released Rage in 2011 in a post Borderlands world. Borderlands had set the bar high and Rage unfortunately was plagued by being compared directly to that series. The relatively short single player campaign and awkward pacing caused it to fall off of the radar rather quickly. It is a shame because it was a damn fine game. With tight controls and an intriguing world, it had some great ideas in it’s combat and world traversal with a strong focus on vehicle combat. The graphics were a true accomplishment as id Software used every byte of data to their advantage to give life to the post apocalyptic world they created. It had strong reviews and received many awards for it’s groundbreaking graphics. Unfortunately, the series did not catch on with the industry and has been left to the wayside with id Software switching focus back to DOOM with their latest release this year.
7. The Getaway
This crime ridden romp through London began its development cycle as nothing more than an open world driving game, originally slated for release on the PS1. After several delays, the game was finally released on PS2 instead, but with the unfortunate timing of having to go against GTA: Vice City. Apart from being open world and crime oriented though, these were two very different experiences. While Vice City went for a fast paced, over the top style, The Getaway went in a far more grounded and gritty direction. The developers goal was a very cinematic and immersive approach, and they accomplished this by removing all HUD elements. Leaving players to use nothing but situational awareness and reflexes made the combat far more realistic and visceral than many games of that time. The game used a simple lock on system for shooting along with a fairly clumsy manual aim mechanic while damage levels were gauged by the amount of bloodstains on the two playable characters. While the game is technically open world, much like L.A. Noire, this wasn’t needed by any means and is likely what caused the comparison to GTA and ultimately resulted in this game being overlooked. Which is a shame, because despite its wasted map and clunky driving, the combat, story and acting made for a bloody worthwhile experience.
6. Army of Two
Released in 2008, Army of Two was an above average shooter per reviews but when it came to it’s best mechanic, co-op, it was one of the best in it’s field. The co-op in Army of Two was so reliant on teamwork. It used aggro as a way to encourage players to communicate and flank the enemies as a player would equip with heavy weapons and draw the attention of the enemies while the other would sneak through the well designed maps to unleash a hail of bullets on the in cover enemies. Another fun feature for the co-op was going back to back. It was a little gimmicky but it was entertaining to go into slow motion and literally have your teammates back as you mowed down waves of enemies. The story had all the cliches of espionage, military jargon and testosterone infused threats… but it had lots of fist bumping and bro talk. While playing this game on your own was a chore, playing with a friend was masterful. The initial release was followed up by two mediocre sequels (40th Day & Devil’s Cartel) but nothing will match the excellent co-op of the first game and not many games since then have been so reliant on those kinds of mechanics.