The first-person shooter, or FPS, is one of the most popular genres in video games today. In this type of game, the player is viewing the action through the eyes of the main character, and the setting of the game is a combat situation. While guns are usually the main weapons in this genre, there are often alternative weapons as well, including swords, grenades, crossbow, melee weapons, and hand-to-hand combat.
The Halo series consists of six games: three games in the core trilogy (Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3) and three spin-off games (Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach). The Halo series takes place in the 26th century, long after humans have begun colonizing other planets. The colony of Harvest is attacked and conquered by an alliance of aliens called the Covenant. You play as a soldier known as Master Chief (in the original trilogy), and it is your job to stop the Covenant from reaching Earth.
In Halo, you have the ability to use various types of guns, both human and Covenant, and grenades, as well as special deployable shields. The Halo games also have an online multiplayer element, in which you can battle other players alone or as a team. Halo 3 is also one of the biggest titles in professional competitive gaming.
I recommend Halo, especially Halo 3, to newcomers to the FPS genre. With easy-to-master controls, smart AI team members, and a clear, defined plot, this is the game that turned me from hating FPSs to loving them.
Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D and L4D2)
The Left 4 Dead series is a great FPS for gamers who love horror and zombies. You play as one of four survivors of a zombie outbreak. Your goal in each level is to make it to a safehouse at the end of the level without being killed. One of the biggest draws of this game is that while each level played in order forms a cohesive story, you can also play levels in whatever order you want, or play the same one over and over again while looking to gain Xbox achievements. Left 4 Dead is also best played in 4-player co-op online.
Not only can you use a multitude of guns in Left 4 Dead, but you also are given a vast array of melee weapons, from a cricket bat to a guitar to a guarden gnome. In Left 4 Dead 2 you even have the ability to use a chainsaw against the zombie hoarde.
If you have friends to play the game with online. then you might want to try Left 4 Dead 2. However, if you don’t want to play online and would rather play solo, the computer-controlled team members often get in the way, which can be pretty frustrating. Also, these games can be very challenging and overwhelming (mostly due to being surrounded by endless hoardes of zombies), and are easier after having become familiar with another FPS first.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty is a simulated historical combat series set mainly during World War II, with the exceptions of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which is set in a fictionalized 2011, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, which takes place during the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Currently there are seven main Call of Duty titles, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 currently in development and scheduled to release in November 2011. There are also a large number of console adaptations and hand held titles that are not considered part of the main series.
Call of Duty is known for its realistic combat situations, graphic violence, and adult themes. As a result of its realism, the weapons in the series are based on current and historical military artillery. While assault rifles are a standard weapon, you’re also given rocket launchers, submachine guns, sniper rifles, and grenades.
Call of Duty: Black Ops is one of the best-selling games of all time, and it’s easy to see why. It is a great game to try if you’re into historical combat and love a great campaign mode and impressive team-based multiplayer gameplay. While the game is challenging, it is so entertaining that it doesn’t become frustrating and unplayable.
While there are many other FPS titles that deserve a mention, I don’t have time to cover them all here, and these are ones that I have played personally and recommend to beginning gamers who want to play a popular title. Another series that I highly recommend in this genre is BioShock, although that series crosses into a few other genres and I will probably cover that game elsewhere in the future.
While the FPS genre is not for everyone, there are a large number of people who enjoy it, and it is one of the biggest genres in competitive gaming. Online multiplayer gives you the ability to match your wits against players from around the world, so, if you have a competitive spirit, make sure to take a look at a few of these games.