Take aim with our top FPS games for PlayStation 4
Lock and load for a list of lead-flingers that'll fire-up your DualShock.
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The humble shooter has been popular ever since its birth in granddaddy FPS Wolfenstein 3D. Since then, shooters have grown in complexity, jumped between first- and third-person perspectives and in the case of the PlayStation 4 (and PC), stepped into virtual reality.
PlayStation VR is a great piece of tech, but we're now only just exiting the first-phase experiential approach to VR games and entering the second-phase of full-fledged gaming experiences.
Because of this, the first ten items in this "Best shooters on PlayStation 4" list don't include any PSVR titles.
Yes, I'm aware that PSVR games like RIGS and Farpoint are solid contenders (I like both of them), and step beyond the first-wave experiential design logic, but they're both a bit too generic for my tastes to take a spot in this first ten.
Shooter fans will likely notice other existing shooters omitted that aren't of the VR variety.
Not gonna lie to you – the Destiny series has been a very up and down franchise when it comes to quality.
That said, there's always been one constant in all these trials and tribulations: the enemy AI and kinetic gunplay have remained consistently sublime. Heck, I'd go so far as to say peerless in this genre.
Zipping about the battlefield as a guardian (a space-magic-infused warrior) never gets old.
Part of this joy comes down to finding your own niche in a well-balanced class system consisting of Warlock (support), Hunter (glass cannon) and Titan (tank).
Bungie also deserves props for an addictive loot system that tantalises you with must-have gats and armour that are awarded after super tough content.
Lastly, there's a suite of addictive multiplayer modes and a shared world storyline that offers grade A co-op, or it just seamlessly filters in rando allies for one-off experiences.
In 2016 powerhouse developer Blizzard turned its attention to a genre well outside of the team's wheelhouse, and then they did the unthinkable by totally redefining it.
Today, Overwatch is a celebrated eSport that has captured the hearts and minds of millions, thanks to the addictive gameplay that's delivered by its "hero shooter" antics.
What does this sub-genre even mean? Think: objectives-based team deathmatching crossed with a character roster that leans towards Street Fighter-like super abilities.
While it has continued to evolve, both in modes and characters, the core of Overwatch is essentially a 5 v 5 brouhaha where every team mate needs to become a useful cog (or defeat is all but certain).
This may mean using your time-warping speed to buy your defenders time. Or triggering an Ultimate attack to rain destruction from above onto an enemy team hogging a vital chokepoint in the map.
Communication is key and if you can find a posse who knows how to leverage their unique skills together, Overwatch can become all sorts of addictive.
Far Cry 5
I'm tempted to call this sequel a cult hit – mostly as a bit of wordplay owing to the subject matter taking you to take on a literal whackjob community – but the fact is Ubisoft sold millions of this.
How could they not have? Far Cry 5 is the riveting, rollicking tale of a rookie cop who's run afoul of an armed doomsday cult operating out of Hope County, Montana. In what may have seemed far-fetched in 2018 but now sounds like "just last Tuesday," these hicks are tooling up in a bid to overthrow "the gubmint" what done oppressed they's freedom.
Cue: an open-world shooter where you must slowly claw your way up from being an under-supplied, friendless fish-out-of-towner into an honourary local hero with an arsenal of attitude-adjusters.
This being a Far Cry game, you can expect to unlock your fair share of colourful AI buddies who can back you up in any high-calibre hoe-down. Ubisoft is also big on asking you to clear outposts to seize territory, and fight the occasional mid-boss fight. Typically against an especially dangerous whacko lording it over their own themed slice of Wako.
Basically, expect lots of freeform action with guns, vehicles and a pretty cracking classic rock soundtrack blaring out of any nearby radio. Oh, and fishing. Top shelf fishing.
Up until this point the Metro series has been primarily a subterranean affair. The dungeon to crawl through was always the Soviet-era tunnels underneath irradiated Moscow.
The monsters to hunt and be hunted by were mutated freaks and neo-Nazi scum.
While Exodus doesn't leave the stygian darkness and claustrophobia completely behind, it sure does take the blinkers off when it whisks you on a transcontinental train trip across Mother Russia.
As you'd imagine, the transition from linear passageway labyrinths to full sandbox is a breath of fresh air. (Not literally, though, as this is still a Metro game – fail to maintain your gas mask and you're a dead man.)
To put a finer point on it, the micromanagement of your very finite resources, intermixed with intense gunplay, is what elevates this game in an oversaturated shooter genre.
Basically, there's nothing quite like this apocalicious treat.
When Doom (2016) reinvented the franchise, it blew minds quicker than a hair-triggered super shotgun. It was straight from the book of remake revelations, a fast-paced FPS built on rather smart and strategic risk-reward arena encounters.
It also had a soundtrack so good, it could turn passing fans of Metal into full-blown air-conditioners.
Doom Eternal had some big spaceboots to fill, but id software answered the challenge with all the vigour of a blood-thirsty imp on red cordial. This is simultaneously the best and worst kind of sequel – one that adds something so good, you basically can't go back and play the old one you loved.
That secret ingredient here is movement speed and traversal opportunities. Where the Doomslayer ripped and tore in a largely terrestrial fashion in 2016, he's a double-jumping, 8-way air-dashing dervish of death in Eternal. The cherry on top: a new range of gratifying weapons that need to be smartly paired to demons who harbour a certain weakness to them.
You can couple that with a surprisingly decent narrative that delves into the lore of why our hero is such an absolute force of nature. If that's not enough, you can keep yourself busy with a range of asymmetrical 'invasion-centric multiplayer modes, you monster.
BioShock: The Collection
It's a testament to the forward-thinking skill of master storyteller Ken Levine and Irrational Games that the BioShock series holds up today.
The irony is that Ken and co were looking back to the past – at games like System Shock and Deus Ex – to help inspire BioShock's potent mix of tight gunplay, magic-like abilities, believable characterisation, engaging storytelling, and killer twists.
For BioShock 2, gameplay trumped storytelling, and while the second outing in Rapture lacked the connected elements of its incredible predecessor, the gunplay refinements and Big Daddy protagonist were fantastic inclusions to the series.
BioShock Infinite took the series back in time and up to the heavens, and while it skewed its story priorities above gameplay, it featured some epic set pieces, especially with the more open combat arenas.
The fact you can play all three games, with appropriate visual upgrades across the board in a single package, means BioShock: The Collection is a must-own title for shooter fans, whether you've clocked the series, or it's your first time discovering its rapturous delights.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Another year, another CoD. That would be my usual one-sentence review, had this entry not involved developer Treyarch and the keyphrase Black Ops. It's arguably the best "series" in this franchise. For those of you not paying attention to the less-than-optimal naming conventions here, yes, this is a direct sequel to the original and fan-favourite Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010).
In what is (very surprisingly) a non-linearly told and highly-replayable campaign, Black Ops Cold War will drop fans into the depths of the nutso geopolitical noodle that was the early Eighties.
This is like playing an interactive fever dream retelling of modern history. Nothing will be how Wikipedia remembers it when you come face-to-face with historical figures and hard truths. Expect to have a hand in secret wars and almost-flashpoints in East Berlin, Vietnam, Turkey, Soviet KGB headquarters and more.
Beyond the Campaign, you can expect to grind your way up through a ton of Cold War era gats and gadgets in the next generation of Multiplayer and Zombies experiences. Call of Duty really does provide a ton of content for the asking price.
The only major downsides: online idiots and the amount of harddisk space this sucker requires. Tally was up to 180GB, last I checked. You'd best make like a censurer of sensitive documents and get deleting.
Resident Evil Village
Don't let the misleading keyart fool you. This isn't a Chris Redfield-centric tale that involves him becoming a werewolf. Or coming out as a furry. Village is a continuation of the hardships of Ethan Winters (and apologies, but major Resi 7 spoilers will need to be mentioned from here on out).
Ol' Ethan moved to Europe, has shacked up with Mia and they've had themselves a little sprog named Rose. Like everything in this universe, nothing good can stay as it is, so fast forward a few days and Ethan is sans family and recently kidnapped. Thus begins a hunt to regain what's his in a freaky medieval estate + adjoining village.
Some Morticia Adams understudy called Mother Miranda is in charge of tourism here. Her four branch managers are a bunch of supernaturally gifted weirdos who don't exactly get along.
Played entirely from the first-person, Village's basic mission structure is to systematically enter four distinctly themed 'horror houses' that are run by the aforementioned flunkies. You'll then endure their various mindgames for roughly 8 hours as you make your way to the Queen Bee.
Other things to note: Village leans heavily away from the creeping scares of its predecessor. What's here is way more action-oriented. Case in point: the time trial blast-a-thon that is the Mercenaries bonus mode.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
While the Chimera from Resistance have yet to invade new-gen PlayStation screens, Guerrilla Games' shooter series (thankfully) launched with the PlayStation 4.
It copped a bit of stick at launch, as is the trend with console-launch titles, but it worked as a shooter that continued the series, while simultaneously showing off the power of the PlayStation 4.
The open-approach design to the larger levels is a treat, and there's a weightiness to the arsenal that makes the gunplay feel particularly "oorah" on a DualShock 4 controller.
Jump online to take on human opponents and Guerrilla Games shows its forward-thinking approach as one of the first new-gen developers to champion the importance of 60-frames-per-second multiplayer gameplay.
Even if the TV manufacturers at the time were still cottoning-on to the importance of higher frame rates and low input "game modes", it meant the 24-player multi feels more responsive than your standard 30fps fare.
Couple this with tight map design and dedicated servers for a smooth online experience, and Killzone: Shadow Fall ticks all the right boxes.
Welcome to Prey, the game that will ruin you for coffee mugs in the same way Jaws ruined 1970s audiences for large bodies of water. Basically, Arkane Studios' Prey, a Dishonored / System Shock hybrid, drops you into a near-future predicament where shape-shifting aliens stalk you.
We're not talking any old E.T.s, either. the shadowy TranStar corporation running this Aperture Science 2.0 is researching mimics, murderous headcrab-alikes who like to masquerade as the things you desperately need. Running low on health? Oh, hey, here are two medkits sitting side-by-side for you. Let's just go pick one u-NYAAARGH!
Bitten. Or, if your health was low enough, deadsville.
In better news, all of the pleasing "play-how-you-want" BioShock hooks are here and they dig in deep early. The more shooter-inclined gamer can sort out aliens with upgradeable weapons like a wrench, pistol, shotgun, plus a few cool sci-fi tools.
Alternatively, the more cerebral player can solve life's many problems with Neuromods (read: Plasmid super-powers) and Chips (aka Tonics). Failing that, just hack the various automatons and ship-wide systems on Talos 1 to do your dirty work.
Prey never eclipses its Irrational Games inspirations, but it's still gonna make like a mimic and latch onto you for a very, very long time.
Prepare to slide into the arse-imprinting boots of Walker, last Ranger of Vineland. Your day to day activities shall include surviving in a world inhabited by dangerous mutants and crazed bandits (something you can thank asteroid 99942 Apophis for).
Basically, the few survivors who could cobble together an excuse for a civilisation are now being harassed by The Authority. They're a faction who – and not to put too fine an N.W.A. spin on this – are out to kill a minority. (Essentially, anybody who isn't as roided up and mutated as they are.)
Honestly, though, you're really going to want to play this for the shooting. The plot's kinda pedestrian. The blastin', meanwhile, is not dissimilar to the high watermark set by Doom (2016) – as breakneck in pace as it is chock full of extreme boomsticks and gore. Better yet, that action-tastic framework eschews the linked arena stylings of Doom for a vast open-world that requires Mad Max inspired vehicles to traverse.
Speaking of 'overdrive', that's the name of a triggerable mode that turns this already potent power fantasy up to 11. One pump of it, and Walker's guns do more damage and enemies drop more precious energy. It's just one of the many reasons why this shooter is indeed all the rage.
I don't know how this injustice came to pass, because I sure don't remember ever losing a console war, but four-player split-screen co-op has been all but eradicated. Borderlands 3 is the exception to that rule, a beacon of four-buddies-a-blastin' that's also quite entertaining when played on your lonesome.
As you'd expect by now, the legacy plot continues with a new generation of planet plundering vault hunters. There's FL4K, a robotic 'beastmaster' who can spawn lethal creatures. Amara, a "Siren" who belts everything with her ethereal fists. Moze, a young "Gunner" who rides a mecha Iron Bear. And then there's Zane, an "Operative" who relies on a variety of gadgets.
The news only gets better from the character select screen, because a steady diet of earned XP can allow you to shape these colourful heroes into even more unique roles. Thanks to some sequoia-esque skill-trees, Borderlands 3 is the type of game you'll replay many multiple times with many multiple save files.
Even better, it has a loot game that's arguably the most addictive collect-a-thon since Diablo III. I'm talking well beyond several million permutations of procedurally generated firearms. That'll keep you busy.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
In a gaming era where big-name publishers are bemoaning the death of single-player, it's great to see a series that refuses to artificially tack-on a lacklustre multiplayer mode.
Case in point, the Wolfenstein series under the guidance of new custodians MachineGames. This studio is comprised of veterans who made some of the best left-of-field shooters of the 21st century.
The MachineGames name was new, but the talent were old hands at taking existing IPs and making something fresh.
With Wolfenstein: The New Order, MachineGames near-perfectly spliced old-school mechanics with contemporary shooter systems.
For The New Colossus, MachineGames escalated the sequel in all the key areas to one-up what they'd done before.
If you want to see what the new-age corridor shooter looks like, look no further than The New Colossus.
It's a brutally challenging (especially on higher difficulties) but incredibly satisfying experience that makes me glad MachineGames has already confirmed there's another game on the way.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
There's a lot going on in that game title. Yes, the game is set in the late Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six universe, but this is a very different beast to the slower Rainbow Six games of old.
The most important part of the title has been saved until last: Siege. There simply isn't a comparable shooter experience to Rainbow Six Siege, and whether you're playing as an attacker or defender, the tension of each besieged round is regularly off the chain.
Chat to the devs and they'll tell you the original inspiration was a painting of a medieval siege, which contains all the core elements of the game: attackers, defenders, asymmetrical weapons, and destructibility.
This latter point is what makes every round feel unique and, like the high-flying Quake games of old, means you have to think and fight in three dimensions.
Throw in MOBA-like hero characters with unique abilities, and Siege is a game that rewards the patient player in a multiplayer shooter experience where strategy trumps aim, but quick reactions and landing headshots certainly go a long way.
I was worried that the release of Star Wars Battlefront II would mean I stopped playing Battlefield 1. After the shaky launch of Battlefield II, I've never been so happy to be so wrong.
Battlefield 1 is a shooter experience that keeps on giving. There's no reason to play through the campaign more than once, but the vignette of individual stories means it tells a great story that's well worth experiencing.
As is the trend of Battlefield games, the real longevity is found online. Instead of feeling like an incremental upgrade – which was the case for the jump between Battlefield 3 and 4 – Battlefield 1 takes some big risks that pay off.
The World War I setting is a fantastic change of pace from the futuristic thrust of other shooters.
This means the military tech had to be rolled back, and in doing this, DICE created an even clearer delineation between the classes, forcing players to play to the specific range of each class's primary weapon category.
Naturally, it all looks and sounds amazing, which is the kind of polish that's easily forgotten when you're caught up in explosive moments that you can't find in any other game.
Battlefield 1 is all-out war at its best.
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