5. The Suffering
A solid year before Resident Evil 4 hit the scene and carved a chainsaw sized mark in the third person shooter genre, this horror/shooter hybrid went largely unnoticed by comparison. Taking place at a maximum security prison, The Suffering put players into the role of Torque, a convicted murderer seeking redemption (or revenge) the only way he knows how; by mowing down everything in his path. This particular path is made up of hellish, Clive Barker styled demons, many representing different execution methods. The prison provided a dark, claustrophobic environment that made for lots of close quarter combat, making each encounter as intense as possible. The combat was brutal, allowing for basic dismemberment while blood showered and even stuck to the main character. The game could be played in third person or even a limited, but functional first person mode, which helped show off the impressive creature designs. The game’s most memorable feature was the ability to turn into a demon and literally tear apart your enemies. It may have suffering in the title, but this was a highly enjoyable title that, outside of a single sequel, has been left to rot in its own personal hell of obscurity.
With one of the minds behind the Resident Evil series, Shinji Mikami, and a flourishing company, Platinum Games, working together, Vanquish had a formula for an incredible game. Combining fast paced movement, slow motion abilities and tight shooting mechanics, Vanquish became a shooter almost in it’s own genre. Despite these incredible ideas and mechanics, the game was paired with a weak story, poor dialogue and a short campaign with nothing else to really do besides try and get a higher level score in post game. Perhaps this led to the series beginning and ending with one entry? The reviews were all pretty well received but nothing has been mentioned in terms of a sequel. This could also relate to the dynamics of Platinum Games as they usually focus on creating unique games and then moving on to the next project minus the successful Bayonetta series.
MAG boasted one of my favorite Kevin Butler videos, which was only the beginning of how awesome this shooter was. Unfortunately, the company running MAG closed down, therefore eliminating all of the online servers. With that said, MAG set players on a battlefield that held 256 players! You read that correctly: 256. With so many players, maps were so large, you never saw half of your team (which is okay, because the half that you say was bigger than any normal FPS multiplayer). MAG required teamwork for victory, and the high octane adrenaline rush of such large military action served the game well. This is perhaps the last multiplayer shooter than I fully invested my time into.
2. Syphon Filter 2
The late 90s/early 2000’s had plenty of shooters for gamers to blast through, but few at the time offered as much diversity in the gameplay as the Syphon Filter games did. While all three PS1 games had something for players to enjoy, it was the second game that put the series on the map. The basic series plot revolves around a deadly bio weapon known as Syphon Filter, special Agent Gabe Logan and his partners Lian and Teresa. All three must shoot or stealthily make their way through several missions set in locations around the world. The controls by today’s standards are completely outdated, but back then it made for highly entertaining gameplay, largely due to an expansive arsenal players had at their disposal. From silenced pistols and shotguns to grenade launchers and crossbows, this game had plenty of fun murder tools. The most amusing one was by far the Taser, which when used on an enemy long enough, caused them to erupt into a ball of flames, screaming wildly as it happens. There was plenty of bonus content for players to gun for as well, with several unlockables in the form of cheats, secret characters and multiplayer maps. Unfortunately, several bad spin-offs siphoned all the good the original trilogy brought to the table. But in this age of remakes, remasters and rereleases, this is one series that completely deserves another shot.