While this generation of gaming has been utterly dominated by first-person shooters, you may find it hard to believe that on the whole, it has been rather stale in terms of innovation. While many have featured epic stories, memorable characters of blazing online features, will they be strong enough to hold any real influence on the next generation of shooters?
Here's our list of the ten most influential first-person shooters, a genre that may be over-crowded but isn't short of any true gems.
10: Crysis | Crytek, 2007| PC, Xbox 360
On the surface, Crysis could be considered a glorified tech demo showing of the prowess of the CryEngine; most people at launch couldn't even run the game on their expensive rigs, but those who could found an expansive environment that pushed the limits for exploration and open-world shooters.
9: GoldenEye 007 | Rare, 1997| Nintendo 64
Not only is in contention for the best movie-based game of all time, but there is no denying that GoldenEye 007 paved the way for shooters on the home console. While many developers had tried, GoldenEye 007 was utterly perfect at the time, ushering in a whole new genre onto home consoles that spawned many great games such as Perfect Dark.
8: System Shock 2 | Irrational Studios, 1999| PC
The grandfather to BioShock, System Shock 2 was the first game to truly blend first-person shooters, role-playing games and horror elements into a compelling experience. The story still holds up today, and despite it's age, it still offers a chilling adventure.
7: Quake 3: Arena | id Software, 1999| PC, Mac, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox 360
It's been released on almost every platform known to man, and that is a true testament to how influential this game really was. Quake 3: Arena was the first Quake game not to feature a single-player component, forcing players online to compete in fast-paced deathmatch gameplay. This helped nurture an entirely new element of competitive online gaming, and became the benchmark for online shooters for years to come.
6: Halo: Combat Evolved | Bungie, 2001| Xbox
GoldenEye may have brought first-person shooters to the home console, but Halo: Combat Evolved perfected it for modern controllers. Featuring an epic space opera story, blistering multiplayer, and a control scheme that became standard for shooters on every console, you can't deny Halo's impressive reach (see what I did there) in the industry.
5: Unreal | Epic MegaGames, 1998| PC
Unreal was the first shooter to feature a truly open terrain map, allowing the player to go off the beaten path and explore. It also helped to usher in the Unreal Engine, a powerful tool that powers some of the biggest games in the industry today. Cliffy B also worked on the project, marking one of his finest moments in his career.
4: Half-Life | Valve | PC, PS2
Half-Life simply blew everyone away when it appeared out of thin air in 1998. Valve's first major release would go on to become widely regarded as one of the best PC games of all time and help shape the future of the FPS genre. Scripted sequences backed up by impressive and visual and audio design, the game was destined to lead the industry for years to come.
3: Wolfenstein 3D | id Software, 1992 | PC
How could this list be complete without the founder of the entire genre? id Software created the first-person shooter overnight with the release of Wolfenstein 3D, the first true shooter from the perspective of the player character. Featuring some truly magnificent design choices, the influence this shooter has had on the gaming industry is more than words could ever describe.
2: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare | Infinity Ward, 2007| PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Mac, Wii
Before Call of Duty 4, the series was known as a decent competitor to the Medal of Honor franchise from EA. However when the series dropped the World War II setting in favour for something a little more modern, the industry was blown away. It single-handedly changed the online shooter market, employing a deep and engaging unlock system based on XP that seemed more at home in an RPG over a shooter. The rest is history, Call of Duty is the biggest selling video-game in the world, and this title started it all.
1: Doom II: Hell on Earth | id Software, 1994| PC
Wolfenstein 3D may have fathered the genre, but Doom II gave it life. This horrific shooter set the standard for all shooters moving forward, tightly integrating fantastic gameplay mechanics, expert level design, intense sound and a modding community that has seen the game survive for well over a decade.
By Stephen Heller