Oddly enough, this year while pretty welcoming to RPGs and action-RPG as we’ve already covered, hasn’t been quite as unequivocally great for shooters.
While there are two shooters which received as close to universal acclaim as possible, we’ve had a bunch of somewhat divisive productions. It’s a bit of a mess, but there’s just one game to get the top spot, and it possibly isn’t what you think. And like six bullets in a revolver, here’s our TOP 6 shooters of 2017.
6. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Ryders of the storm
Depending on your ill will you may treat Mass Effect games as either shooters with interactive cutscenes or the shooty equivalent of more traditional “slashy-stabby” action RPGs. Mass Effect: Andromeda was incredibly divisive, and controversial around its launch for various reasons, but the shooting segment was pretty solid, probably the best it’s ever been in the series. The mix of weapons, jetpack manoeuvres, biotics, and tech abilities makes for a fun and quite spectacular combat, everything else be damned. If you don’t want to stay for the story, stay for the cool bits between that.
5. Destiny 2
Cosmic pirate rhinos
Yeah, there’s been some mess going around Destiny 2, but this is the kind of year we’re having, so instead of retreading the tested path, let’s see how it fares gameplay wise. Well, Destiny 2 is Destiny, but more polished, with a different loadout system and some new subclasses. If you’ve played Destiny before (previously only available on consoles) you know that Bungie knows how to do gunplay, and it’s shown quite well in Destiny 2 as well. There’s even a story, something that was sorely lacking in the previous game (but found in spades outside of it, because…who knows), and it features Nathan Fillion as the voice of one of the characters central to the plot. If you want to play in a sci-fantasy setting with tons of guns and space magic, Destiny 2 is a safe bet.
4. Call of Duty: WWII
Nobody gets a jetpack
It was a long road, but the Call of Duty franchise returned to its roots this year, letting the brave American soldiers save Europe once again. Jokes aside, it turned out that the singleplayer campaign is rather nice this year, and brings back the medkits, something from a bygone age when soldiers didn’t have mutant healing factors activated by slamming a shoulder into a chest-high wall. The story is also quite pleasing, even if it’s filled with the typical WWII blockbuster platitudes. As is stands, CoD: WWII is one of the more raw, classic shooter experiences of the year, a far cry from the futuristic settings of other games here, or, indeed, several previous CoDs.
3. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Out of the frying pan into the red zone
Yeah, PUBG came almost out of nowhere and turned a sort-of niche game mode modded into other games (what a sentence) into a worldwide phenomenon with millions of players. Brendan Greene struck gold, and PUBG stays as a permanent fixture in Steam’s sales and concurrent players top 10 lists. Plunkbat (it really does roll off the tongue better than the rather curt “PUBG”) is a Battle Royale type of game, with people getting dumped onto a large map with no armour and no weapons, all of the them to be found by good old scavenging empty houses and looting people you get the drop on. The final goal: surviving to be the last one standing (or two, or four, if you play coop). Complications: everybody has the same goal, the resources are scarce, the playable area constantly shrinks. The result is a deadly game of hide and seek and people are having a blast with it. Depending on your personal game genre classification rules you may deem PUBG to be a survival game, but shooting is also the vital part of the experience here.
2. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
You totally saw the pun coming
The not-so-sneaky alternative-history shooter (launched in October, so still fresh) maybe didn’t exactly take the world by storm, but turned out to be better than most people expected. Following once again in the footsteps of B.J. Blazkowicz, it takes place in an alternative history about United States as controlled by the Nazis (who apparently won the war) walking hand in hand with the KKK. Wolfenstein II: The New Order is a fast and brutal shooter. It runs full-speed along the bloody path carved by The Old Blood and The New Order. It’s heartening, really. First the glorious return of Doom, now one of the most classic FPS franchises gets a second life. Who knows, maybe we’ll get Quake 5 if Champions revitalises the interest in the franchise?
Aliens vs. Prey-dator
Yeah, it wasn’t really any contest. Arkane Studios design wizards coupled with Chris Avellone’s brilliant storyteller mind created an intelligent, atmospheric shooter set in a near future. Playing as Morgan Yu, a scientist with some dark stuff going on in their (you can play either as a woman or a man) life. Think Gordon Freeman with a much more visible personality. Cool guns? Check, with the constructive GLOO cannon at the forefront. Cool abilities? Check, although they carry narrative and gameplay consequences if you go too far. Cool enemies? Check. Weird, amorphous aliens serve as your primary targets and source of power, for reasons best discovered on your own. Prey isn’t the sequel everybody wanted, but it’s a game everybody should play.
There were two more shooters, which sort of fell between the cracks when the big players were talking.
Epic Games’ fort-building wave-survival, Battle-Royale-having shooter launched some time ago. It kind of ailed before adding a free update adding BR, but it remains an interesting game at its core, with a different brand of “survival” mixed into the proceedings.
LawBreakers. That game could have been something, but launched at a very bad time, that is: after Overwatch already grabbed everyone interested in playing a hero shooter and PUBG got everyone else. There was simply nobody left to play LawBreakers. Which is a shame, because as far as team-based shooters go it’s pretty neat.
Out of ammo, reload!
Six shooters which saw a new release (looking at you, Vanquish) in 2017. They may not be the best in the genre, but they certainly are easily among the best this year. How many of them have you played? Do you have other suggestions? As usual let us know in the comments.