Screen Critics Shaun recounts his favourite first person shooter campaigns of recent times. Which games make the most of the medium?
There’s a fair few gamers who call first person shooter out for their lack of impact. Compared to the likes of RPG’s, first person shooters can’t hope to compete with the emotional toils unleashed. Yet hold on a second there – that’s simply not always the case. While many mainstream shooters do follow a predictable course – some do leave an impression that runs deeper than others. I’ve decided to list the 7 single player first person shooter campaigns I believe are essential for any gamer who wants to see just how strong a single player experience can be.
8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Let’s just be honest, Modern Warfare’s single player was magnificent. For all the negative tropes this game would force onto the genre, it did so with such a strong single player campaign that it’s hard to be too angry.
Modern Warfare is an emotional rollercoaster – dragging you from pillar to post between battlefield and desperation. From seeing a nuclear bomb detonate all the way down to desperately escaping from a terrorist cell, the dramatic car chases. It’s an epic thrill ride that never relents – packing in as many epic set-pieces as possible into its run time. While the gameplay sections aren’t amazingly memorable, there’s a lot to love with Call of Duty 4.
7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Directors Cut, not the Original)
Square might have dropped the ball on the franchise again (Mankind Divided sold as well as week old bread) but don’t let that put you off discovering why people were excited for that one.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution brings the much-loved PC franchise back into the mainstream, with an action/stealth adventure that not only delivers in grand style – but also shows that a series can have its cake and eat it. The game retains the original Deus Ex’s open approach to challenges – letting the gamer work out their own path through set problems. It means you can go in all guns blazing, or work out the tactical path if the mood takes you.
It also helps that this game looks brilliant. Even all these later – it’s a treat for the eyes and easily one of the best solo experiences you can have in a modern shooter.
Just make sure to play the Directors Cut edition – they added a bunch of fixes and improvements in that make the game more fluid and fun (and you can sneak away from bosses, which is nice).
6. Battlefield One
Speaking of first person experiences, Battlefield One managed to have a great outing this year thanks to its shift to character focused narrative. The game allows you to choose which story you want to experience, with each leading in wildly different directions.
The focus allows for a deeper story, with some wildly varied experiences across the board. You’ll move from all out assaults to fighting against the odds – all engrossed in the unique experience. It was a bold direction for the series, but it works wonderfully in the Battlefield approach.
It’s a campaign filled with emotions and touching moments. While it might not have the grand spectacle of other entries on this list, it’s certainly well worth the experience.
For my money, the remake of Syndicate deserve much more love than it’s given by gamers at large.
The stylistic shooter is a loving send up to its source material. You can hack the minds of enemies, deploy all kinds of cool weaponry and get a thumping soundtrack to boot. Few games (Until DOOM) managed to infuse its soundtrack in such a way that it enhances the gameplay at large. It’s a gorgeously fun game and deserves to be experienced by those looking for something out of the norm. It’s sci-fi setting begs to be loved.
Just don’t come for the story, that’s arguably the games weakest aspect
Fun fact, this game was developed by Starbreeze Studios – the same guys that brought you The Darkness and both Riddick games.
4. Far Cry 3
Come for the Far Cry name – stay for the amazingly fun open-ended gameplay.
The game tries to tell the story of Jason Brody’s brainwashing and slow descent into madness – but you can ignore all that and just rush around capturing outposts. Use fire arrows, blow cars up and generally have a blast turning yourself into a one man tour-de-force. Laugh manically as you wreak havoc on an untold scale and bring down a small army in the process.
Far Cry’s brilliance comes in its ability to make you feel powerful. Most first person shooters force you down a corridor, Far Cry 3 practically begs you to scour every square inch of its tropical paradise. It wants you to have fun – and it’s hard not to. So awesome is the single player that almost makes you forget about how awful the storyline in this one REALLY is.
Irrational Game’s masterpiece not only holds up well all these years later, it arguably gets better with time.
The story of Andrew Ryan’s sinking bathtub is as beautifully crafted as it is endearing to experience. From the audio logs that littler Rapture to the ocean views outside your explore-able space. Bioshock is a game that oozes atmosphere and never loses sight of what it is, an amazingly engaging title with a strong cast of characters.
The original outing still stands head and shoulders above its sequels, which struggle with the weight of the topics they try to encroach. Bioshock on the other hand knows exactly what it is, and plays to its strengths. It’s a story of lies, deception and false Gods in a city engineered to be perfect. The game is still an experience worth taking – and returning to play t for this list only reminds me of how strong it is compared to modern shooters.
2. DOOM (2016)
Unlike a lot of games on this list, DOOM favors gameplay over an immersive story – and that’s all for the better. DOOM’s story is absolute garbage – but you won’t care after two levels.
The game is a magnificent blast to shoot through, a gorgeously furious assault on the senses that gets the adrenaline pumping. The heavy music fuses with the gameplay to create a unique sense of action – as you get right in the faces of enemies and blast them like crazy. The Glory Kills only add to this, giving you a chance to refill health and ammo by causing devastation – rewarding you for ambition.
There’s few pure gameplay experiences like DOOM in the modern shooting arena, a game that pushes you to try harder – and thanks to the Arcade Mode update, you can dive in and try to beat your friends scores. One of the more exciting options on this list, if you’re looking for a shooter with bite.
1. Titanfall 2
Titanfall 1 had potential, but without a single player campaign for players to work through – the game never truly grew into what it could be. Thankfully the sequel not only corrects this, it delivers one of the best single player experiences of modern times.
Titanfall 2’s core mechanics are hugely enjoyable – from the shooting itself to the platforming offered up. Unlike other futuristic first person shooters, it makes clever use of its wall running mechanics – turning what should be tedious platformer sections into genuinely fun and tense moments. Not only this, the single player helps to flesh out the titular Titans, who it turns out is a deep character all to itself.
It’s a wonderful experience, harshly overlooked in the torrent of first person shooters in the tail end of 2016. Titanfall arguably delivers the best all round single player experience of them all. Well worth a look, for sure if you want a great shooter experience.