While we mostly tend to think of the PS3 era as being responsible for igniting the FPS console revolution, credit must also be given to its predecessor (the PS2) for helping to usher in the genre. Because the PS2 was capable of processing more complex geometry and physics, developers were finally able to fashion more creative and detail-oriented shooters (much to the delight of gamers worldwide). If you are a fan of shooter games, then this large list should tickle your fancy. Let’s begin.
Before there was Black Ops and Modern Warfare there were the mostly WWII-themed CoD games. Simply put, “Call of Duty 3” is a heck of a game. Not only does it place you in the shoes of various soldiers (across national boundaries), but it also was one of the first CoD games to actually feature a multiplayer element. Similarly, we saw environmental physics, graphics and the general level of gameplay evolve with the release of this title – all of which helped to make it one of the more popular PS2 games.
Created by the same team that brought us the legendary N64 title, “Goldeneye”, “Time Splitters 2” is a behemoth of a game. Aside from its storyline, which has you jumping around throughout history in order to thwart some evil plans, this title possessed one of the most amazing multiplayer modes of all-time. Quite simply, you could spend hours upon hours completing the various challenges as well as fashioning your own. It should also be noted that the A.I. / Bots in this game will test even the most battle-hardened FPS veteran out there.
“Black” on the PS2 epitomizes what constitutes a “shooter” video game. With its destructive game world which allows you to take out targets that might be hiding behind something and excellent graphics, it truly is a credit to the PS2 library. Where the focus in most other gun-happy games is to stealthily creep around and perhaps outflank your opponents, Black is centred around action – the kind that involves heated gun battles that are nothing short of exhilarating.
THQ’s “Red Faction” is a really great first-person shooter, period. It places you in the shoes of an unruly space miner who signed up for the wrong job with an unscrupulous company that’s more than abusing their staff. Packing destructive environments and a slew of very levels featuring some truly great designs, you’ll be on the edge of your seat as you attempt to right the wrongs and spur on the revolution.
Yes, one could easily say that it’s better to play “Half-Life” on the PC, but all things aside, it looks fantastic on the PS2. If you’re new to the HL series, you definitely want to start with 1 (the first game). In fact, great care was taken to enhance the graphics for the PS2 version, so players are probably better off attacking the campaign on a console, after all. Seriously, this is one shooter that you simply cannot afford to miss out on, it’s amazing.
There’s a reason that the “Killzone” series has been able to maintain a following – its first outing on the PS2 was a huge success. All in all, “Killzone” is perhaps the best FPS that you’ll find on the PlayStation 2 (although that’s up for debate). From great graphics and an intriguing storyline to nervous gun battles and online play, this game has a bit of everything and has served as a template for other titles as well. For the hardcore shooter fan that’s looking for something to sink their teeth into on the PS2, Killzone is a must-buy.
While remaining relatively obscure on lists of the most influential PS2 games, “Project Snowblind” shouldn’t be avoided. Armed with a 16 player multiplayer experience and the ability to drive vehicles, PS is one of those shooters that offers gamers a bit of everything, to say the least. Moreover, it looks great and isn’t too shabby in the replay value department either, which many will find to be particularly interesting. To put it another, way – this game is probably way better than you’re expecting it to be.
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
It’s fair to say that, as we got towards the end of the PS2’s cycle, World War II fatigue was setting in. We’d gone through a slew of Medal of Honour and (admittedly excellent) Call of Duty sequels, not to mention a series of imitators.
Just as we thought we couldn’t possibly play another WWII game, however, “Brothers in Arms” showed up. It took an innovative approach to the sub-genre, choosing to prioritize tactics over pinpoint shooting. You commanded a small team of soldiers, with the emphasis being on strategically suppressing your enemy whilst the rest of your team flanked them. “Road to Hill 30” was an innovative breath of fresh air in what had become a stale sub-genre.
Peter Jackson’s King Kong
Okay, so only part of this game is a shooter – at other times, you play as the big fella himself – but what a part it is. In those shooter sections you play as Jack Driscoll, leading a small film crew across the terrifying Kong Island. It’s a genuinely cinematic and immersive experience, made all the more effective by a nicely stripped-back UI, and the restriction of only being able to carry a single gun and a spear at any one time. To this day, this remains one of the few examples of a movie tie-in that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with its cinematic counterpart.
There might not have been anything revolutionary about the gameplay in “XIII”, but the art style was simply astounding. The developers opted for a stylish, cell-shaded look which still looks gorgeous to this day. The way in which they actually used this was imaginative too: nail a headshot, for example, and you were rewarded with three comic book-style windows popping up, and stylishly displaying your success in all its glory.
Quake III: Revolution
The PS2 had more than its fair share of great multiplayer shooters, but “Quake III: Revolution” stands right at the top of the pile. Its fast-twitch, non-stop action is both exceptionally exciting and incredibly moreish, and the speed at which the combat takes place remains blisteringly quick to this day. Add in a genuinely engaging single-player mode, and this actually becomes a surprisingly well-rounded package. Question marks were raised over whether “Quake III” could make the jump from PC to the PS2, but these were more than answered in the end.
What seemed a clichéd conceit – Area 51, aliens, blah blah blah – actually ended up as a truly great shooter. The story, revolving around government conspiracies and alien mutants as you’d expect, was surprisingly skillfully told. The moody graphics were excellent, and the music adapted nicely to action-packed shootouts and creepy, sneaky sections. The intelligent AI also ensured that the gameplay was constantly challenging and engaging. The voiceover from “X-Files” legend David Duchovny might have been a misfire, but that aside “Area 51” is undoubtedly one of the PS2’s most underrated shooters.
Timesplitters: Future Perfect
Yes, yes, we’ve already included a Timesplitters game… but come on, it’s Timesplitters! In our defense, we’d also argue that both games more than hold up today on their own merits.
The multiplayer in “Future Perfect” was as excellent as ever, but it was the single-player section that really distinguished this entry. The plot was brilliantly bonkers, with your main character travelling back from 2401 to various points in the past, including 1969 and, strangely, 1994. The developers play gleefully with the concept of time travel, with your main character – Cortez – meeting himself time and again, and even battling alongside his future/past self. It’s a glorious, fun adventure while it lasts, and easily represents the single-player pinnacle of the series.
Whilst there have been three other entries into the “Deus Ex” series, fanboys will tell you that none of them has come close to matching the original’s genius. With its open-ended approach to missions, which offered players an unprecedented level of freedom, this was a game that was truly ahead of its time. The plot – which twisted and turned like a slippery eel – helped to cement this game as utterly unique, and an absolute, no-doubt classic of the shooter genre.
James Bond 007: Nightfire
There have been many attempts to bring Bond to the world of video games over the years. These have provided… mixed results, to put it kindly. That being said, “Nightfire” is easily one of the best efforts. Previous developers mistakenly made their Bond games all-out shooters, but “Nightfire” represented a turning point. An emphasis was put on plot, with a shadowy corporation, evil villain and – of course – Bond girl all present and correct. Rather than slaying waves of identical goons, you got the chance to engage in some good old-fashioned sneaking around, and utilize a variety of gadgets that went some way towards making you feel like the Suave One himself. Whilst it might not have dethroned the N64’s revered “Goldeneye”, “Nightfire” is inarguably one of the best Bond games ever made.