First-Person Shooters are almost a genre in and of themselves. Call of Duty. DOOM. Duke Nuke ‘Em. Uber-Masculine and hyper-violent games that can be a bit much for those of us who lean more towards Role-Playing Games or other genres. Sometimes we dip our toes into an FPS, only to get our faces stomped and teabagged. It keeps us from diving into a genre of games that can be fun and stress relieving. So here’s a small list of more RPG-inclined FPS that focus on story, differing game mechanics, and unique experiences.
The Borderlands series is an insane ride. Developer Gearbox refers to it as a “role-playing shooter”, making it a perfect bridge between FPS and RPG. Fair warning, Borderlands is NOT child-appropriate! Borderlands focuses heavier on story than it does shooting things in the face, though that is still a very important part of the game. You can upgrade to better gear as well as find guns that shoot different kinds of ammo, like fire, acid, and others. There are different kinds of guns, from machine guns to rocket launchers to sniper rifles. Each caters to different styles of gameplay. Borderlands sets you on the planet on Pandora. The world is a colorful, post-apocalyptic-style landscape. Bloody psychos, bomb-throwing midgets, and grotesque alien creatures litter Pandora. You play a Vault Hunter, an intrepid anti-hero that searches for mysterious Vaults. There are rumors Vaults hold alien treasure, and you want your hands on it. The first Borderlands sets up the story. The characters are often kooky, if not outright insane. Living in a world like Pandora is hard, even under the best conditions. Borderlands 2 brings the characters you play in Borderlands back as NPCs. This gives you the chance to place new classes with new game mechanics. Borderlands: The Prequel, set between Borderlands and Borderlands 2, puts you on Pandora’s moon. You get new classes and characters, working as the bad guys from the previous Borderlands games. The Borderlands series is Mad Max meets Heavy Metal. While a stark tonal difference from your average FPS, the joyful violence of Borderlands will prep you for pwning noobs in other games.
BattleBorn is another Gearbox game. Less violent than it’s cousin, Borderlands, Battleborn is a bit more upbeat and less gory. Though it keeps the wacky, not-kid-appropriate humor of Borderlands. BattleBorn sports several different types of characters and maps. It also features online play as well as some small single-player content. The characters are larger than life and the story behind them keeps you engaged. There are different factions within the story and with each of the 30 characters tied to a different faction. Leveling up your character can be a lot of fun, choosing perks from their ‘Helix Tree’, as well as collecting cosmetic items. There are a few different play styles between characters, ranged, melee and support, with small variations even within those roles. All of which comes together to make Battleborn a great starter FPS game for RPGers.
Overwatch, from Blizzard Entertainment, who is famous for World of Warcraft, is another perfect beginner FPS. Far more appropriate for all ages, Overwatch has a wide array of play styles. The characters have a cartoon, anime feel. Coming from such a large company, Blizzard continues to push out new content on a regular basis. New characters are being added all the time and changes are constantly updated. Tank, Defense, Offense, and Support are the current roles, but many characters aren’t tied to those roles. It may take a bit to find a play style that fits you, but it’s there. Overwatch’s storyline is slowly unfolding in beautiful cinematics and holiday events. If you get bored with the maps in Quickplay, there’s Arcade, where they’ve assembled different game modes that play by different rules. Arcade is also where they house event modes. Events are often themed after holidays or moments in Overwatch history. There are lots of game modes. For example, Low Gravity makes your characters float when they jump. While Total Mayhem boosts your abilities, lowers cooldowns, and ramps up your health. The only downside is that’s its an online, Players vs Player only game. No offline, co-op, or story mode. Overwatch is pushing 30 characters, each with unique abilities and gameplay. Play hammer-wielding tank Reinhardt, heal by sniper rifle with Ana, shoot arrows with Hanzo, hack other player’s characters with Sombra, or try to stay airborne with rocket-shotting Pharah. While there’s little to no story during the actual gameplay, the characters abilities and voice lines can sometimes trick you into feeling like there’s a story going on as you play. Overwatch has the rich and developed characters and talented voice acting that RPGers can fall in love with.
The Destiny series has been immensely popular. With Destiny 2, sci-fi fans have a great opportunity to jump into the FPS genre. Not only does it feature things like live events, character progression, and different classes for different play styles, but the story and characters shine. With voice acting from none other than Firefly veterans Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres, it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with this game. Cayde-6, played by Fillion is the comic relief in a sometimes heavy and dire storyline. Set 700 years in the future, the player controls a Guardian, a soldier imbued with a mysterious power called The Light. After having their source of power destroyed, the player must find a way to bring it back and save what remains of humanity. Destiny 2 continues to push out new content, so new players will have plenty to sink their teeth into. Destiny 2 has PvP (Player vs Player) and PvE (Player vs Environment) modes. You’re not stuck only playing against other people of varying skill levels.
Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 is a game that gives you a bit more realism in the fights and the gun selections that in other games talked about here. Set in the fictional Hope County, Montana, Far Cry 5 sets the player as the local deputy sheriff as he works to free Hope Country from Eden’s Gate. Eden’s Gate is a cult lead by the self-ordained Joseph Seed who believes God wants him to save the people of Hope County. Eden’s Gate has turned into an oppressive doomsday cult. One of the shining accomplishments of Far Cry is the immersive story and voice acting. Greg Bryk plays Joseph Seed. Bryk is one of those actors that you definitely know his face, even if you don’t know his face. Dude has been everywhere. Far Cry 5 feels at home next to shows like Banshee or Sons of Anarchy. The dramatic and rich story is a good bridge into FPS.
Based on the Top Cow comic hit of the same name. The comic started lighter, more anti-hero. Top Cow decided to take things a little different direction, leaning harder towards the horror genre and the video game reflected that decision. Jackie Estacado inherited The Darkness, an entity with potentially limitless power. But as the name implies, it only works in the dark. The game differs from the comic a little for gameplay purposes, but The Darkness manifests as tendrils that end in horrifying mouths, capable of throwing enemies or ripping their hearts from their chests. The Darkness is also capable of spawning Darklings, mouthy little creatures that help Jackie along the way. The Darkness and The Darkness II are horror FPS games, with gore and foul language used liberally throughout. Fans of the comic will enjoy seeing a familiar property in a different light. No pun intended.
The Halo series has been around since 2001. Following the events of 26th-century humanity’s battle with an alliance of alien races known as The Covenant. While Halo is often credited with the invention of teabagging, the game has had numerous installations over the years with a rich story and characters that you grow to love over time. The general manager for the game says Microsoft, who owns Halo, wants the series to last at least 30 more years. From the sounds of it, Halo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s a game worth the time for XBox and PC players to invest in.
Hunt: Showdown is currently in Early Access on Steam and still in development with plans to end Early Access sometime in early 2019. Hunt takes the realism playstyle of games like the Crysis series by the same developer and puts the player in a fantasy version of the Old West. Mixing elements of Player Versus Player (PvP) and Player Versus Environment (PvE), Hunt is a more intense game than others on this list. In Hunt: Showdown, when you die you lose everything except your experience. You can apply your experience to new characters, called hunters, but once your hunter dies you lose everything unique to that character, including all of your sweet loot. The game matches two teams of five players, all working towards killing their enemy, usually something large and demonic. Once you kill your mark and receive your bounty you must make it off the map alive. The trick is, other players can see you when you have the bounty and the enemy team is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Designed to be high tension with lots of immersive story, Hunt: Showdown is a great game for those who enjoy horror and suspense.
Army of Two
Former U.S. Army Rangers turned private contractors, Salem and Rios, work to uncover a conspiracy in a post 9/11 world. Army of Two is a great co-op couch game, urging you and rewarding you for playing together. Instead of two people sharing a screen and working towards a similar goal, Army of Two lets you truly work together. At times you and your buddy’s characters can move back to back, to help take on a room or wave of baddies. Some game mechanics like controlling a hang-glider can be a bit tricky. Instead of giving one character the control, you’re forced to work together. Controlling up-down and left-right split between you. Even those who aren’t thrilled by the storyline can find fun. The game is different enough to keep interest and get you used to more military-like games.
Star Wars: BattleFront
There’s been a bit of turmoil with Battlefront II and the micro-transactions, but as far as the actual gameplay goes, it has a lot to offer. Having access to the Star Wars characters and its universe helps a lot. Being a Star Wars fan and invested in this universe and the people in it goes a long way towards being in love with a game. Playing Rebels or Imperial Troopers, or flying X-Wings and Tie-Fighters, Battlefront puts you in the universe we’ve all been watching since we were kids. Getting to play some of the characters you already know and love turns the game on its side and gives you an all-new rush. Battlefront II gives you a bit more story than it’s predecessor. Yet, when you already know these characters and worlds, less story is forgivable when you’re looking for an FPS.
While this list only touches on the vast multitude of first person shooters out there, these games are a surefire way into a gameplay style and genre that more casual gamers may shy away from. Are there games you feel should be included in this list? What First Person Shooters do you feel stand out in the genre? Leave us a comment below and let us know!