A serious guide to helping you choose the best shooter of the season. Lock n load!
Shoot to kill! Between Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Destiny, Rainbow Six Siege, Halo 5: Guardians and Star Wars Battlefront and Destiny, you are just plain spoilt for choices when it comes to shooters vying for your attention. Four of them are relatively “newer” titles while Destiny has somehow managed to stay relevant, thanks in no small part to a steady stream of expansion packs which have managed to evolve its experience. Despite derived inspiration, all these shooters offer uniquely distinct experiences without seeming like a rip-off of the others. And we’re leaving games like Counter-Strike: GO and Battlefield out of this list because, let’s face it, if you’re playing those games even semi-seriously, you’re not really going to play anything else (or have time for something other than casual single player experiences to break “tilt”). So here’s a decent list of what we believe are the best FPS games right now.
THE BEST FPS GAMES
We know that you might differ on some of these games and we’re eager to know why. We’d like you to hold back till you’ve read the entire article before unleashing your opinion in the comments section.
For the battler
Call of Duty changed shooters forever. Before it came, players would spend at least half-a-minute trying to out-gun, out-think and ultimately outplay their opponents in games like Unreal Tournament, Quake, or even the early days of Counter-Strike. CoD, with its focus on quick skirmishes, dropped weapon time-to-kill to staggeringly low levels, peaking in Advanced Warfare. Even a game like Destiny has been guilty of this with dodgy weapon balancing. So if you’re the kind who likes long drawn-out gun battles or love sending “1 v 1 me, bruh” messages (a CoD phenomenon that is more at home in Halo in my opinion) to randoms on the internet on a regular basis, Halo 5: Guardians is your best bet, with higher TTK than most other shooters, and an emphasis on gun skill and positioning.
For the tactician
Rainbow Six Siege offers strong tactical gameplay. The matches hinge on the various operators’ special abilities, positioning, planning and using the various gadgets at your disposal. Ubisoft Montreal has done tremendous justice, however, with cramped maps, destructible environment, special abilities and utter feeling of helplessness when you know you’ve been out-played. Siege, to its merit, offers unique combat scenarios which you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. Add to this a character progression system that feels perfect for a game of this type—unlocks flow at a steady pace as you gain access to new operators and their associated abilities. Besides, which other game allows you to hang inverted from the outside of a building and clear a room with your trusty SMG?
For the collector.
There’s no game that glamorizes its gun and armour collection like Destiny does. It takes it to such extents that it can feel a little absurd at times. Players relied heavily on random drops for their loot in the past, often exploiting game mechanics to obtain it, but developers Bungie have evolved the system over the course of one year. There are now specific quests which need to completed to obtain weapons and armour—some of them long, while some are time gated. For most Destiny players, obtaining every bit of loot is their sole purpose of playing the game. There are even kiosks in the game’s social space, the Tower, where you can see your weapon, armour, emblem and shader collections. If you like to collect meticulously designed, awesome-looking loot, look no further than Destiny. Call of Duty: Black Ops III comes in at a close second with lots of stuff to unlock, and for this reason, it’s up next.
For the completionist
Character progression is now an integral and essential part of any shooter. Players need to be incentivised to keep coming back and playing every day, while game developers and publishers do their best to retain their player base during the period between major releases. And there’s no game that gives you a sense of immediate progression like Call of Duty games do—and Black Ops 3 is no exception. You feel like you’ve achieved something in literally every match that you play, even if you’re doing horribly. Weapons level up, you level up your character, unlocking new weapons, perks, wildcards, attachments and all those things you care about more than you ought to. With near-infinite progression (Prestige, Master Prestige), and silly number of achievements, trophies, weapon camos, emotes and lots more, there’s always a steady sense of evolution in Black Ops III. Stuff like Double XP weekends, more levelling to be done in player-versus-AI modes like game’s campaign (try playing it in the “Realistic” difficulty, for instance) and Zombies, will really make you want to come back—and the game offers flexibility in the sense that its games are really quick, so you can put in time into other games and use it as a filler if you intend to play it only casually, and yet feel the same sense of progression that dedicated players do.
For the adrenaline junkie
The obvious choice here is Black Ops III, thanks to fast paced gameplay at a silky smooth 60 frames per second. Added mobility options such as wall-running push the boundaries of getting as quickly as possible to a gunfight, while Specialist abilities lower time-to-kill even further with one-hit-kills from across what are mostly small maps. Engagement ranges are mostly kept close range as well and the map design, while not unequivocally loved by the community, offers the perfect playground for the kinds of weapons favoured by players. Rounds in tactical game modes such as Search & Destroy have the potential of concluding within fifteen seconds of them commencing.
The less obvious choices are Rainbow Six Siege and Star Wars Battlefront. Despite R6S’ more deliberate pacing, the sounds of explosions going off all around a building your defending team is holed up in contributes to a special sense of chaos-induced adrenaline that only impeccable sound design can deliver. On the other side of the galaxy, the shameless-yet-genius utilisation of Star Wars hype music during a tightly contested (or heavily one-sided) Walker Assault on Hoth is sure to get your blood pumping (and potentially bring a tear to the eyes of series fans).
For the team player
Be it PvE activities like one of its three Raids or limited time PvP events such as Trials of Osiris, Destiny offers a rewarding experience for team players—particularly those not born holding a controller in their hands. The game’s new King’s Fall raid in particular is such a teamwork intensive event, with defined roles for each of six Fireteam members. The game’s community is very well versed with player roles for each of the game’s many activities—so much so that finding a group of random teammates using an LFG site who are all familiar with what is expected of them for a Raid, Nightfall Strike or even PvP game mode and having a good experience is not uncommon. This is one game where being a “filthy casual” is almost a positive, given the supportive nature of the game’s player base. This isn’t to say that games like Halo, Black Ops III or R6S do not reward team play. They do, but the skill requirement for being an effective team player is higher, with the exception of certain casual modes in those games. It’s just “easier” to be a team player in Destiny than it is in those games thanks to the variety of activities and lower skill requirement for some of them.
For the space magician
What’s better than magic? Why, *space* magic, of course, and there a couple of games that deliver on this front. Destiny, with all sorts of superpowers, enemies who transcend the concepts of time and space and weapons which could just as easily belong to Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Then there’s Star Wars Battlefront (oddly enough) with its father-versus-son Lightsaber duels, lethal shock therapy (Palpatine’s got some anger issues), and Force powers. Granted, that your time with space magic in Battlefront will be limited outside of certain modes (Heroes vs Villains), but this is a good thing, because, like any pseudo-religion, space magic is best consumed in small doses.
For the reluctant grinder
Black Ops III will demand a few hundred hours of your life, while Destiny will demand a few thousand before your war chest is filled. Star Wars: Battlefront, however, will not demand more than a few dozens. Unlock an array of seemingly varied science fiction weapons and abilities from your favourite movie franchise all while experiencing the illusion of “grinding” for unlocks. The game rewards credits and experience for playing matches (a word of advice: play this game with at least one friend to avoid early burnout)—credits are used to purchase unlocks and charges for certain abilities, while levelling up gives you access to blasters and special abilities. Battlefront is the perfect game if you’re not fully willing to commit to the grind of elusive loot while enjoying the benefits of doing so.
For the happy camper
While everyone might hate on them, let’s face it: camping in any first person shooter can be extremely effective. If you like hard-scoping doorways of heavy traffic with your 1000-Yard Stare or camp way back in your spawn, Destiny is the game for you. Rainbow Six Siege has an entire team in every game dedicated to the art of camping, only they’re mistakenly called “Defenders”. Halo (to a lesser degree, admittedly) has a mechanic designed around camping: power weapon control. And don’t even get me started on those Rebel Scum on Endor—with their fancy camouflage, double grenades and Han Solo pistols.
For FUP victims
Games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Halo 5 demand very good internet connections. Games can often be decided not based on skill, but on how many players in a team have four-bar connections in Black Ops III, for instance. Everything from hit detection to movement are dependent on the quality of your connection—have a worse connection than another player and you’re pretty much a walking corpse. Halo can be similarly unforgiving to players with poor connections. However, the other games in this selection are not so picky. Rainbow Six Siege, in particular, is just as playable with a ping of 300ms as it is 60ms, with no clear advantage or disadvantage (at least in non-competitive play). Got a poor connection in Battlefront? You’re not going to ruin anybody’s experience outside of ‘rubber banding’ a little. In Destiny, on the other hand, having a terrible “red bar” connection gives you an incredible advantage over anyone who doesn’t. You’re basically a ninja with a lag-mask, teleporting all over the place, taking no damage, while performing no-animation kills on your helpless enemies.
So that’s pretty much it. We’re spoilt for choice right now, and I hope this guide has in some way helped you make your choice, or in the least, answered some questions you had about these games. Or it should be evident why we believe these to be the best FPS games. For time management advice, check out the accompanying table!
|How should I spend my time?
From the time management experts at Trigger Happy Inc.
|Weekends||Call of Duty: Black Ops II||Double XP Weekends are fairly common. Halve the time you spend levelling up weapons and character.|
|Destiny||Trails of Osiris runs from Friday night to Tuesday afternoon. It’s a great opportunity to score guaranteed high-level loot, but be warned: it’s a competitive mode so bring your A-game.|
|Weekday Mornings||Star Wars Battlefront||Science has shown that starting off your workday with the Star Wars theme ringing in your head will make you 500% more productive at the office.|
|Tuesday||Destiny||Game world resets on Tuesday afternoon. It’s the easiest time to find a Raid group if you’re looking online.|
|After you’ve had a good night’s sleep||Halo 5||You’ll need your mental and physical reflexes up to scratch for Halo. Assuming you’ve had a good night’s sleep, a late weekend morning would be best for a dedicated session.|
|Weekday Evenings||Rainbow Six Siege||Not too heavy, not too light. You can get in a few games without raging like you do when getting shot in the back in Call of Duty or when players with lag overshields introduce your face to their shotguns in Destiny.|
|All the time, every time||Counter-Strike Global Offensive||Because, eSports. GG.|