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Top 10 FPS Games of All-Time

VO: Dan Paradis

Script written by Dan Paradis, Mathieu Pinsonnault & Kurt Hvorup

KABOOM! Welcome to and today it’s finally time to draw our series of the best first person shooters to a close with our final countdown of the Top 10 First Person Shooters of All Time!

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The best of best in terms of FPS. Welcome to, and today we’re concluding our series on the Best First Person Shooters with our final list of the Best FPS Games of All Time.

In case you haven’t been following along, we’ve been doing a series on the Top 10 FPS Games Per Decade, going from the 90s to the 2000s & 2010s. Today, we present to you the culmination of our series by skimming the top & counting down the Top 10 of all time. An entry had to have made the previous lists to qualify & if you don’t see your favourites here, be sure to check out the preceding three videos to see where it stacked up. Now, lock & load and prepare for some nasty comments.

#10: “Metroid Prime” (2002)

Nintendo and first-person shooting – who would’ve guessed this would turn out well? Released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002, Newcomer Developer Retro Studios went about the unenviable task of conveying the “Metroid” franchise’s take on atmospheric action-platforming in a first-person perspective. Yet to this day, the grim yet visually varied locales of Tallon IV remain ingrained in gamers’ memories, with combat and exploration carefully balanced. “Prime” found a way to maintain an often-haunting mood and engage in thoughtful world-building while still remaining true to the series’ fundamental elements. Even now, it’s hard not to admire the craftsmanship here.

#9: “Unreal Tournament” (1999)

Though the Arena shooter has basically gone the way of the Dodo these days, Unreal Tournament had basically perfected the formula over 15 years ago. Taking the famous Unreal engine and its amazing graphics even further, it offered a bevy of game options that offered the player more variety than usual, outstanding bot AI that could hold their own against seasoned human players, and brilliant weapon and level design. The game was remarkable for being a polished final product offering smooth gameplay, almost flawless performance and functionality, and, most importantly, offered an incredibly exciting and fun experience. With multiple sequels and community mods following it, it's no surprise that Unreal Tournament is still going strong after all this time.

#8: “BioShock” (2007)

If there’s an art to the construction of an FPS, then this is quite the masterclass. “BioShock” took the gaming world by storm, enchanting players with its art-deco design sensibilities and the tragic beauty of its underwater setting. Yet beyond the blend of grotesque imagery and classical influences, the game proved exciting in its gameplay, which emphasized using superpower-esque abilities called Plasmids in tandem with normal weapons. From the visceral combat to the plentiful modification options, from the top-notch vocal performances to the intriguing themes at play, this is an experience worth remembering.

#7: “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” (2007)

The first “Call of Duty” may have helped to define first-person shooting in the new millenium, but this modern military shooter was the fireworks show that changed everything. “Modern Warfare” upended the series’ norms at the time with its shift to the present day, focusing on a large-scale political conflict very much ripped from the headlines. Its truly intense action set-pieces and effortlessly shocking story turns made for a outstanding campaign, remaining a source of many people’s favourite gaming moments. On top of that, “Call of Duty 4” propelled online console playing securely into the mainstream, securing once and for all that PC games no longer had a monopoly on online gaming.

#6: “Quake II” (1997)

Quake was a great first foray into 3D, but it was Quake II that ended up making it's mark in the gaming world. For starters, Quake II simply looked better, particularly in terms of colour, lighting, and architecture. Ditching the dark castle theme for a sci-fi military setting on another planet, the game also expanded the single-player experience with a more story-driven focus with multiple objectives per level, something used in many shooters to this day. With a rebalancing of weapons, well-designed maps and a vast mod community, multiplayer deathmatches were never more intense. 20 years later and the fragging is still going strong!

#5: “GoldenEye 007” (1997)

Anyone who grew up around video games in the late 90s will tell you that Goldeneye 007 is probably their favorite game of all time. Rare made history by trailblazing the first console first-person shooter that gave PC shooters a run for their money. The realistic and atmospheric single-player experience was without equal. Stealth was a big part of the game as well, a first for an FPS of any sort. People will no doubt have fond memories of the endlessly fun and intense split-screen multiplayer matches as well. Goldeneye 007 revolutionized the genre and it's no wonder it's considered one of the greatest games of all time.

#4: “Halo 2” (2004)

No one can deny that “Halo: Combat Evolved” was a great title, yet it’s difficult to argue its sheer quality and ubiquity could compare to its first sequel. Narratively, “Halo 2” picks up not long after the original game, but chooses to expand the series’ mythos by offering two parallel storylines to follow. Switching between the Master Chief and the newly-introduced Arbiter, thereby providing two different perspectives on events, made for an intriguing and surprisingly deep story. Beyond that, “Halo 2” made worthwhile tweaks to its predecessor’s already exemplory gameplay, adding in features such as dual-wielding and the ability to board vehicles in motion. That the game was also built for intuitive online matchmaking should not be surprising. Where would Xbox Live - heck, where would Microsoft be – without this flagship titan.

#3: “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (2012)

Sometimes all you need is a lean, mean, fighting machine. Case in point: “Global Offensive” opted to refine the “Counter-Strike” games’ time-honored tactical shooting and emphasis on quick play. It presents maps familiar and unique to this game, introduces new modes such as Arms Race, and brings in a handful of new weapons like the firebomb. However, the main priority of “Global Offensive” is polishing the formula; the gunplay is tighter, maps benefit from cleaner visual design, and swift reflexes and knowledge of one’s weapons remain key. Plus, there’s a certain amount of fun to be had messing around with cosmetic items and additional content courtesy of the Steam Workshop.

#2: “Doom” (1993)

It's hard to find any video game that has had more of an impact on popular culture than Doom. The significance of Doom, both as a video game and first-person shooter, cannot be understated. While Wolfenstein 3D may be the “Grandfather” of FPS genre, there's no question that Doom put them on the map and kept them there until this very day. For much of the 90s, the term “Doom clone” would be used until the term “First-person shooter” became solidified, which goes to show how Doom overshadowed everyone else in the market. From movies to comic books and to real world controversy, Doom's impact was felt well beyond the world of video games and shooters wouldn't be the same without it.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Duke Nukem 3D” (1996)

“Crysis” (2007)

“Overwatch” (2016)

#1: “Half-Life 2” (2004)

Turns out the right man in the wrong place really does make all the difference in the world. Released in 2004, “Half-Life 2” carries forth its predecessor’s immersion-first approach to gameplay and expands upon it in astounding ways. Front and center were the physics. Whether using the iconic graphic gun or not, the physics on display in Half-Life 2 allowed for puzzles that made real world sense and a world that felt reactive and alive like nothing players had ever seen. But the brilliance of Half-Life 2 was more than just fancy technology: it taught you it’s system without tutorials, it told it’s story without giant swathes of exposition, it let you behave like a real thinking like a real person using real world logic. It was smart, it treated players like they were smart too, and it’s our choice for the best FPS of all time.

Well, that’s it for our countdown. We’re sure you have numerous disagreements with our choices – but be sure to check out the original lists to see if your favourites made the top spot in its respective decade. Of course, for more great content published every day, be sure to subscribe to Watchmojo.

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