The first-person shooter video game genre harkens back to the days of Wolfenstein 3D when strafing wasn’t yet part of the common vernacular and characters couldn’t jump. While technology, graphics, and game play have all improved drastically since then, the basic premise of one man fighting armies has stayed mostly the same. First person shooters are a consistently popular mainstream genre that does well on both consoles and PCs. The following are best of the genre on each of the modern platforms.
PC – Team Fortress 2 (Runner-up: Counterstrike) – In all fairness to Countersrike, it is the purest representation of the genre on any platform anywhere. But, as excellent a game as it is, Team Fortress 2 is the better game, due to the fact that it has the greatest widespread appeal. The design of the game is friendly to new players while also allowing veterans to excel. Furthermore, the variety of classes in the game allows every player to play whatever style they most enjoy, a feature that is basically non-existent in any other game of the genre.
PS2 – Call of Duty 3 (Runner-up: Timesplitters) – Compared to the competing Xbox, the PS2 had relatively few first person shooters. The best of the small list is undoubtedly Call of Duty 3 with its surprisingly faithful rendition of World War 2. Sharp controls and levels that highly reward tactics make this the game to play on the aging console.
Xbox – Halo 2 (Runner-up: Star Wars: Battlefront) – The original Halo is almost single handedly responsible for the prevalence of first person shooters on the consoles and the sequel improved upon the original in every meaningful way. For both multiplayer and single player action, Halo 2 is the Xbox game to play and continues to be one of the best first person shooters ever made to this day.
Wii – Goldeneye 007 – The major question about this game is why it took so long for a sequel to be made to one of the best first person shooters of all time. In fairness, the game may not technically be the best available on the Wii, but the Wii is the only system it is available for and the game is so good that it is basically a must play. In addition to simply being a good first person shooter, the ability to play as classic villains from some of the best James Bond movies ever makes every multiplayer game a memorable experience.
PS3 – Call of Duty: Black Ops (Runner-up: Resistance 2) – Available on every major 7th generation console, Black Ops is a masterpiece that combines the best qualities of just about every Call of Duty game that came before it. It has quickly become the standard by which future first person shooters will be judged.
Xbox 360 – Gears of War (Runner-up: Left 4 Dead) – Purists will decry that Gears of War is actually a third person shooter. Technically they are right. But, in truth, that is just semantics. Gears of War plays just like Halo or Resistance, but better. In addition to game play, the mind blowing graphics and heart pounding effects make the game an experience like few others.