It's a Guy Thing

The 10 Best Shooters of All-Time

With the release of DOOM Eternal, we thought it only fitting to take a look back at some of the greatest shooters ever made, from genre-defining experiences to just plain “shooting your friend in the face” fun. Let’s go back in time and take a look at the best ever shooter experiences to ever grace our gaming machines.

GoldenEye 007

It’s hard to believe that at one stage, multiplayer shooters on consoles were merely a pipe dream. That kind of game was purely reserved for PC gamers, yet when Goldeneye 007 was released for the Nintendo 64 it changed everything. GoldenEye 007 was a pioneer and paved the way for future console shooters by deviating from the popular on-rails style and incorporating a free-roam element with varied maps. It was a fantastic shooter at the time and one of the few movie tie-in games that were actually good. 

Wolfenstein 3D

The game that many feel started it all. Id Software has become synonymous with first-person shooters and their first foray into the genre was also the gold standard. A world war 2 shooter where you played as meathead BJ Blazkowicz, a Nazi killing machine. It set the standard for other shooters in its tight gameplay, a plethora of secrets and over the top violence, yet it would be id Software’s next release that would topple the Nazi killing masterpiece.


Everybody has played Doom. Whether it was the violence, the perspective, or the exploration that got you hooked, it’s easy to look back now and realize this was never a novelty game. It’s been ported to every format from PC to mobile, and for very good reason: it still stands up as the epitome of first-person shooting. Wolfenstein 3D may have kickstarted the genre, but Doom distilled and refined it to the model that still influences new games to this day.

Duke Nukem 3D

The late ’90s was a golden era for first-person shooters, from the seminal Doom and Doom 2 to the lewd and crude over the top violence of Duke Nukem 3D. Yet this game was so much more than just crude jokes and badly rendered strippers. 3D Realms created masterful levels, never before seen in gaming, with a variety in level design and ingenious use of verticality that put other games to shame. It’s still seen as a massively influential game, even though its protagonist has not aged well.


Quake changed everything. Three-dimensional first-person shooting would never be the same. Quake’s pick-ups and puzzles flanked the first real glimpse of the future of action gaming, where the player was free to attack and kill with speed and aggression. Quake had grenade launchers and quad-damage. It was about destruction, and gaming leaped at it as a result. With its brutal gameplay and chilling Nine Inch Nails soundtrack, Quake blew everyone one out of the water.


In the late 2000s PC gamers around the world would become very familiar with the term “But can it run Crysis”. And for good reason. Crytek made a shooter so technically demanding it remained the mission of PC gamers to be able to run it at meaningful settings for years. Crysis would bring even the most powerful PC’s to its knees with its eye-watering spec requirements. But it was so worth it. Crysis looked amazing and used technology other developers could only dream of. Crysis might not have been the best shooter on the market but it set the standard of what games should look like.


F.E.A.R. was a game that had a simple goal, take scary dead Japanese girls and add them to a technically advanced shooter. It was genius. F.E.A.R. offered some amazing graphics for the time and used a physics engine that still holds up today, yet the true genius was in the horror elements of this military shooter. Combining truly horrific scares with tense shoot outs and a reactive A.I. that to this remains unmatched, F.E.A.R. was a truly unique shooter.

PlayerUnknown’s Battleground

It’s hard to think of a time when the Battle Royale genre was not a thing. Today every single game features some Battle Royale mode and it’s become an oversaturated market. Yet a few years ago, a Day Z mod came out that changed and challenged the status quo. PUBG was a breath of fresh air in a stale shooter market and offered gamers a simple yet highly addictive alternative to the tired COD formula. PUBG changed the pace, offering a shooter where hiding and surviving is as viable a tactic as murdering everyone. 

Halo: Combat Evolved

The game that made the original Xbox a must-have-console and made online shooters on console a viable thing. Halo was truly a revolutionary game that featured an epic solo player story and a genre-defining online component. Over the years the Halo series has become a bit stale but one should never forget the huge cultural impact the first Halo had on not just the shooter genre but on gaming as a whole. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

There’s no doubt there were good Call of Duty games before the release of Modern Warfare, but this is the tipping point where the franchise over-cranked into blockbuster territory for single-player, and it’s where the multiplayer became a household name. Underneath all that bombast and showmanship stands a grand shooter experience. Modern Warfare is one of the most influential games ever made.

Half-Life 2

Last but not least is perhaps the biggest and most influential shooter of all time. Half-Life 2 was and still is the game that many look to as the ultimate in first-person shooting. From a very well-crafted story, a physics engine that changed an industry and shooting mechanics that very few to this day can better, Half-Life 2 will forever be seen as the greatest shooter ever created. And with the release of the Half-Life: Alyx this month, many people may start to dream again of that ever-elusive third release in the series.