UPDATE: FPSummer has ended! Check the bottom of this page for the wrap-up, and thanks for following along.
Seems I’ve made a habit of tackling different genres every year for my summer series, and this year we’ve landed on first-person shooters. I’ve got a bit of a gap in my reviews as far as this style is concerned, despite touching on some major players like DOOM, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. So for the month of June, we’re going to fix that.
Unlike my other series where I play fast and loose with the genre definitions, FPSes are such a broad and varied field that I’m going to lay down some rules for this one:
- I’m focusing on shooty games this month, so anything that’s not gun-centric gets a pass. Thief and Dishonored are some of my favorite games but I’ll get to them another time.
- I want to keep this one contemporary, so no classics like Half-Life or Unreal. I think the oldest title I’m reviewing this time is from 2004. If Quake is more your speed I reviewed nearly the whole franchise two years ago.
- We’re mostly covering single-player experiences, though some of these titles may have multiplayer components.
- I’m doing one major franchise, Far Cry, and a few older ones. Stuff like Serious Sam will be its own series someday.
Reviews will go up on the website every day at 8am PST, though they might not show up on this list or on Steam until later. I’ll tell you up front that I may have to cut this series short depending on how things go, as I got off to a rough start and I’ll be away on vacation for the last week of June. But the goal is daily reviews for the whole month, and I’m gonna do my damnedest to stick to it.
As always, if you enjoy the work that I’m doing then spread the word! Link my reviews, tell your friends about me, or repost stuff on the social media of your choice. You can follow my curations on Steam, like my page on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter. And if you really REALLY like me, you can donate on Patreon to help me secure new games for these series and expand my work in new and exciting ways.
Alright, plug’s over… Let’s get to business!
1. Bunker Punks (Done)
2. Far Cry
3. E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy (Done)
4. Immortal Redneck (Done)
5. Rise of the Triad (Done)
9. Far Cry 2 (Done)
12. Crysis Warhead (Done)
14. Receiver (Done)
15. Blood and Bacon (Done)
16. Far Cry 3 (Done)
18. BioShock Infinite (Done)
19. Prey (Done)
20. Call of Juarez Gunslinger (Done)
21. Crysis 2 (Done)
22. Burial at Sea – Episode One (DLC) (Done)
23. Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon (Done)
24. Sanctum 2
25. Day One: Garry’s Incident (Done)
26. Totally Accurate Battlegrounds (Done)
27. Shadow Warrior (Done)
28. Burial at Sea – Episode Two (DLC) (Done)
29. Medal of Honor (Done)
30. Overload (Done)
31. This Strange Realm Of Mine (Done)
32. Crysis 3 (Done)
33. RAGE (Done)
34. Far Cry 4
The FPS genre is such a vast and varied one that I’m not going to make any generalities about it, but I will say I’m glad there are so many titles that push past the basics of shooting dudes. Open-world and mechanically-complex FPSes are a real treat for me, and I played several for this series that you should make sure not to miss. With that said, let’s get recappin’!
The Top Five
Prey is easily one of the best FPSes I’ve ever played, owing to the open and immersive design of the lonely station you find yourself on. I have a similar fondness for Far Cry 2 and 3, which effectively marry tight shooting with vast open worlds to explore. Immortal Redneck is simply the new high water mark for roguelike FPSes, and Call of Juarez Gunslinger features one of the best-told stories in the genre.
The Good Ones
- Bunker Punks
- E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy
- BioShock Remastered
- Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
- Crysis Warhead
- Blood and Bacon
- Far Cry 3
- Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
- Crysis 2
- Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
- Sanctum 2
- Totally Accurate Battlegrounds
- Shadow Warrior
- This Strange Realm Of Mine
- Crysis 3
- Far Cry 4
Most of what I played for this series fell into extremely solid territory, good for just about anyone. The Far Cry and Crysis series proved to be excellent uses of time, and revivals of old franchises (not always officially!) like Shadow Warrior and Overload brought plenty of new action to the table. There were some older titles that held up well like Judge Dredd and Call of Juarez, and neat experiments like Receiver and This Strange Realm Of Mine that were well-worth taking a chance on. Overall, you can’t really go wrong with any of these.
The Okay Ones
None of these games are bad, per se, but they have some serious flaws compared to their compatriots. Honestly I don’t think the BioShock series ever managed to recapture the magic of the original, not with the flimsy-feeling sequel or the terribly stupid Infinite. The original Far Cry has always had issues with balance and challenge, and the remaining titles here never quite come together to form a fully satisfying package.
- Rise of the Triad
- Burial at Sea – Episode One
- Day One: Garry’s Incident
- Burial at Sea – Episode Two
- Medal of Honor
There are poor ways to spend your time on this list, though they are thankfully few in number. Do not, under any circumstances, waste your time or money on the insipid DLC for BioShock Infinite, especially if you somehow liked its mess of a story. Rise of the Triad cuts a little too close to the janky original, Medal of Honor feels a little too rote, and Steam has saved us all from the plague of Garry so no need to worry about that one at all.
I’d like to thank everyone for following along with this meandering, long-winded series. It took awhile to wrap up but it covered some good ground, which hopefully included a few titles you didn’t know or were unsure about. With no end in sight for the FPS genre I’m sure I’ll be returning soon, but until then, happy hunting!