Wars have been fought over the technical origin of the first-person shooter, but it's hard to argue about where they came into their own: on Windows PCs. Their history is so rich at this point thatmore
Wars have been fought over the technical origin of the first-person shooter, but it's hard to argue about where they came into their own: on Windows PCs. Their history is so rich at this point that two of our recommendations come full circle to the franchises responsible for the original boom. Here's a sampler of the best first-person shooters for Windows.
Id Software developed the original Wolfenstein and DOOM, but they haven't been resting on their laurels. Their new DOOM is a roller coaster ride that builds on the original and gives unexpected dimensions to the hero, the Space Marine. He takes the shape of a relentless avenging angel, rather than just an avatar for the player to blow up some demons. The gameplay style also rewards constant movement and combat; this is not a "cover shooter," where you take potshots at enemies ducking behind crates, because they're just as aggressive.
It was hard to play a game or watch a TV show in the 2010s without encountering a horde of zombies. Dying Light puts the concept in an open world like Grand Theft Auto, after the undead invasion. And if navigating such a world wasn't difficult enough during daylight hours, things get even hairier when the sun goes down and the real freaks come out. In the midst of this, you'll have to decide between recovering documents that are damaging to your employer and helping the people who have been left behind in the ruins of the city.
Originally released in 2010, this post-apocalyptic shooter set in the Moscow subway system was re-released four years later with updated visual effects, smoother performance, and an additional difficulty mode. It pulls its DNA more from survival horror (where you get limited ammo and deliberately long stretches between save points) than from traditional shooter action, and the subway is loaded with atmosphere and gloom. There's plenty of compelling story to go around, as the game is based on a successful book of the same name that began its life as interactive fiction.
It's hard to compile a list of shooters without a nod to GTA. The fifth game in the main series has not one but three protagonists, navigating through a crime epic inspired by Tarantino and Michael Mann and set in Southern California (referred to in-game as San Andreas). It's a vibrant world and an entertaining story. Bundled alongside it is GTA Online, a multiplayer-only version of San Andreas that can be fun but requires a lot of time investment to get the most out of it.
It's not made by the people responsible for the original Wolfenstein, but this modernized "reboot" is great in its own way. The world of W:TNO is surprisingly rich with narrative texture, and the struggles of its populace will resonate for a variety of reasons. Beyond just shooting Nazis, it's also about a single man leveraging a modicum of sanity to break the spell of a world gone crazy. If you like TNO, you'll probably also enjoy Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, which is set up as a prequel.