Mass Effect 2
The game that defined the Bioware RPG, mixing an expansive, wonderfully-realised universe, engaging dialogues, and a hefty dollop of genuinely affecting moral choices with hardhitting third-person shooter action.
Call of DuTy 4: moDErn WarfarE
From its set-piece-driven campaign to a silky 60fps multiplayer that constantly rewarded players with perks and rank-ups, you can thank this classic for shaping almost every multiplayer shooter – and any non-shooters – ever since.
Today it seems every game is a mongrel, and first-person titles in particular are often hybrid blends of RPG levelling and open-world influences. It was this cyberpunk shooter that set the precedent for today’s creative cross-breeds.
“Shooters, meet physics” – that’s what Valve said with Half-Life 2. It gave every body and object physical propeties, meaning you could fling saw blades with a Gravity Gun and, to a less violent end, play on some swings. At a time when other FPS games were inert movie sets, this was a world you could influence.
There’s never been a gaming phenomenon like Minecraft. From bedroom project to global sensation, the blocky builder has truly taken the world by storm, and established itself as the defining game of a whole new generation – not just to play, but even to watch, with so much of YouTube dedicated to it that it’s putting cute cats out of business. Procedural generation, crafting, exploration, survival, tools for allowing players to create their own content – Minecraft has established these concepts in gaming more strongly than ever before. Microsoft didn’t shell out $2.5 billion for nothing – it’s nabbed a share of the future.
Wolfenstein 3D may have laid the groundwork, but Doom was the game that brought the first-person shooter firmly into the mainstream, establishing the genre not only for players, but for money-minded publishers. And while the first-person perspective may be practically ubiquitous in games today, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when practically every FPS that came to market was dismissively labelled as a ‘Doom clone’. How fortunate, then, that the game that galvanized parsimonious publishers seeking return on investment should have been such an excellent, energetic exercise in supremely satisfying shooting.