Release date: May 23, 2016
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
What is it? Leave it to Blizzard to instantly restore my faith in a genre that I was ready to give up for good. Starting with the fundamentals of a class-based multiplayer shooter, the studio proceeded to sand off every little rough edge left over from games like Team Fortress 2. It then replaced whatever personality it lost in the process with an instantly beloved cast of MOBA-inspired heroes. Seriously, if you've been on the internet at all since May 2016, you've almost definitely seen at least one piece of Tracer fan art. It's impossible to divorce 's winsome characters from the game's appeal, but don't let them overshadow the endless smart design choices that Blizzard made for its first foray into action gaming since, er… Blackthorne? Now stop lollygagging and get on the damn point.
Best for: Online multiplayer, no doubt. Turning "a few quick rounds" into a night of teeth-gnashing defeats and miraculous victories. Connor Sheridan
4. Half-Life 2
Release date: November 16, 2004
Format: Xbox One (backwards compatible)
What is it? It's the one that lets you fight alien fascists by launching toilets at their heads. It feels trite to praise the many individual advancements of (physics-based weapons, keenly intelligent enemies, and characters that feel like more than walking quest-givers, to name a few) because pretty much every video game ever has tried to do the same ever since. Just compare popular games from before Half-Life 2 and after Half-Life 2 and its influence will be made immediately clear. But while many foundational games are a bit of a chore to play these days, Half-Life 2 continues to hold up remarkably well. It's just as fun to launch an explosive barrel into a room full of helmeted goons now as it was in 2004. No really, try it!
Best for: Singleplayer, of course. Also picking up that can and throwing it at the guard instead of in the trash. Connor Sheridan
3. Titanfall 2
Release date: October 28, 2016
Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
What is it? Bloody brilliant, that’s what is. The weightlessness that comes with perfectly mastered wall-running makes you feel like you’re doing some sort of deadly ballet, letting you sail past your foes at impossible speeds, catching them unawares. The unforgettable BT-7274 and unbridled creativity dominate Titanfall 2’s campaign, whether it involves you switching between decades in the blink of an eye, walking through a moment frozen in time, or simply ripping other Titans apart when you step into BT-7274. Rewarding you for using the environment to your advantage, you can feel the moment when you start thinking differently, realising the possibilities a map offers. Whispers of Quake-like, physics-twisting shenanigans in its multiplayer mode have emerged too. You can bunny-hop and strafe-boost to your heart’s content, plus grenades can catapult you to the other side of the map. A heap of possibilities are constantly being discovered, keeping Titanfall 2 awash with creativity.
Best for: Creative, no-obligation-to-EVER-touch-the-floor singleplayer with wildly different levels. Plus an online multiplayer that laughs in the face of physics. Zoe Delahunty-Light
2. Destiny 2
Release date: September 6, 2017
Format: PS4, Xbox One
No-one expected Destiny 2 to be as good as it is. And we really, really love Destiny. Instantly making the first game look like a set of prototypes, Destiny 2 improves in every area. Actually, scratch that. It evolves, taking the seed of the first game's MMOFPS idea and building a whole new, entirely richer, deeper, and broader experience around it. Now existing in a fully fleshed world, full of humanity, character, detail, and story, Destiny 2's campaign alone is enough to justify it. Entirely more curated, crafted, and built of great, in-the-moment narrative and set-piece design, it is a hell of a good Halo game.
But it's only the start. With a simplified, streamlined levelling system running through every one of Destiny 2's vastly expanded activities - from story-driven side-quests, to spiralling, multi-part Exotic Questlines, to treasure hunting, to exploration, to in-world lore hunting, to the brilliantly creative new Strikes and puristic, tactically reworked Crucible PvP - every single thing you want to do, however you want to play, will push you forward. And then there's the far more freeform approach to load-outs, further energised by more creative and expressive weapon design. And the new Raid, which is frankly extravagant in its ambition and imagination. Look, there's too much to talk about here, so just read our Destiny 2 review, okay?
Best for: When you want to experience some of the tightest, smoothest, most flowing FPS around in as many different flavours as you can devour. For 800 hours. David Houghton
1. DOOM (2016)
Release date: May 13, 2016
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
What is it? is it. The pinnacle of FPS. Doom is everything that the genre is about, distilled into one, glorious, searing, defiant roar. It’s a force of will. An expression of creativity, speed of wits, and the ceaseless, yet thoughtful, discharge of really big, cool guns that make demons explode real good. No other game excels so completely in the arts of moment-to-moment, incendiary spectacle and intricate, cat-and-mouse, environmental awareness. Doom's guns aren't just new ways of killing. Each is a multi-pronged key fitting a different situational lock, affixed to a different face of the whirling, ever-shifting Rubik’s Cube of Doom's none-more dynamic combat.
But that it delivers this alongside a multiplayer offering that finally brings the dream of Quake’s lightning-fast arena brutality to console, and a set of level design tools as powerful - yet fun - as the peerless SnapMap, secures its status as the top of the all-time greats. If you need to give anyone a lesson in what FPS is all about, you will not find a better or more complete one than Doom.
Best for: Drilling a crash-course in the most joyful, vital FPS fundamentals directly into your skull, and giving you reasons to scream and punch the air on an hour-by-hour basis. David Houghton