Ever since GoldenEye proved that first-person shooters are possible on a console, platform fanboys have been at each other's throats trying to prove that their platform is superior. Obviously, the argument is far from over, but this generation of consoles has made one thing certain; FPS titles can thrive outside of a PC.
However, the expansiveness of the console market is both a blessing and a curse, because for every brilliant first-person shooter there are a dozen terrible titles. So, before we waste our time going through the bargain bin at Walmart, let's take a look at a few of the best and worst first-person shooters of this generation.
Selecting a single Call of Duty title to crown king is a bit like selecting a favorite stage of cellular mitosis; they're all steps in a process and each has its own separate kind of importance. Sure, Modern Warfare 3 may have grossed over a billion dollars in sixteen days, but that wouldn't have been possible without the innovations that MW1 and 2 brought to the table. And let's not forget that Black Ops was one of the best-selling games in history, and included a perfected version of the precious Nazi Zombie Mode.
Shooter fans have been clamoring for the perfect zombie title ever since Wolfenstein 3D gave us the chance to kill a handful of zombies way back in 1992. Since then, the undead have been treated primarily as some kind of comedic sideshow or an excuse to shoehorn in a bit of horrific violence.
However, Left 4 Dead plays more like an adventure game than a horror title. Scenes are punctuated with the type of zombie-related gore that you would expect, but the film industry motif downplays the horror while elevating the adventure.
Plus Valve's timing couldn't have been better. L4D was released in the same month as Call of Duty: World At War, which also had a couple of zombies in it. Together, the two helped jumpstart the recent zombie craze that continues to grow in popularity.
When Battlefield 2 hit the scene in 2005, every nerd with a $500 video card instantly wet their pants with excitement. And what's not to like? The game has legs even by today's standards. But with the sequel finally hitting shelves last year, the crown has been appropriately passed to the next generation.
Many in the industry consider Battlefield 3 to be the most visually impressive title on the market today. Even on Microsoft's graphically impotent Xbox 360, the CG is unmistakably superior to what has become the industry standard. But when you crank up the visual volume on a PC, the game becomes something that almost seems impossible.
This, coupled with its expansive map design and an impressively balanced arsenal of weapons and vehicles, easily earns it a place in gaming history. Now, if we could only get people to stop comparing it to another title on this list.
The Halo franchise suffers from the same cellular mitosis problem that affects Call of Duty. Halo: Reach is arguably the most refined title in the series, but our hero, Master Chief, is noticeably absent, which knocks it down a couple of rungs. Even so, Microsoft has been letting the series distill for over a decade now, so you should probably get friendly with Santa, because Halo 4 should hit retailer shelves just in time for the holiday season.