Net Ten: The 10 Most Important Modern Shooters (page 1) Subscribe to this RSS feed

Quake, Doom. Duke Nukem 3D -- all senior citizens! It's time to make room for new blood, and these are the first-person shooters to do it. Here are the ten most innovative, influential, and downright important shooters of the modern era.

#10 Far Cry (PC) - [ PC ]

Widely considered to be the "Grand Theft Auto of shooters," Far Cry changed the way gamers approached their FPS games. Because Far Cry's enormous tropical environment is open and unrestricted, you're free to approach the game using any strategy you like: trigger-happy, stealth, and sniping techniques are all equally viable. And the game's sprawling jungle island is a vast departure from the tightly controlled corridor trudges of contemporary shooters like Doom 3 (and even Half-Life 2 at times).


#9 Prey (PC, Xbox 360) - [ Xbox 360 ]

The baby of the group, Prey has good reason for being included on this list. Its mind-bending portal tricks and wall-walking gameplay are only half the equation; Prey's gripping tale of alien abduction and bloody revenge are satisfying thanks to unusually vivid storytelling and characterization.

The unique spirit-walking and deathwalking features are just gravy -- quick saving is officially passe! We expect that Prey's gameplay innovations will make their way into plenty of upcoming titles -- you can already see the influence in Valve's Portal.


#8 System Shock 2 (PC) - [ PC ]

About 15 people have played this immensely influential survival-horror shooter, but its design elements are infused in countless other games. The chilling sci-fi tale is told almost entirely through scattered audio clips and live-action cinemas. And get this: the writing and voice acting are actually good.

Then there's the endlessly absorbing role-playing side, which lets players upgrade their weapons, their bodies, and even their minds through advanced cyber modification. It's a pity the game is so underappreciated by mainstream gamers, but the good news is that the Xbox 360 shooter BioShock is designed by the same crew responsible for System Shock 2. Score!


#7 Deus Ex (PC, PS2) - [ PC ]

System Shock 2 and Deus Ex: the twin barrels of modern FPS innovation. Where System Shock 2 innovated through its deep and intricate role-playing gameplay, Deus Ex pushed the boundaries of storytelling and player morality. You starred as a super-human soldier who is charged with wiping out a worldwide terrorism ring. The only problem is, your superiors might pose a bigger threat than your quarry. Deus Ex's thoughtful storyline subtly responded to your moral choices. The end result is an endlessly replayable, socially relevant game that's as close to "art" as any video game has ever come.


#6 Thief (PC) - [ PC ]

Yeah, yeah, you don't have to tell us -- this game isn't technically a shooter. But that's because, like all truly groundbreaking games, Thief pioneered its own genre: in this case, the stealth-action title. Thief's core gameplay elements (minimize noise, strike from the shadows, avoid combat) have made their way into literally dozens of smash-hit sneakers from Splinter Cell and Tenchu to Assassin's Creed and Hitman. Face it: Without Garret, Sam Fisher just wouldn't exist.