From Wolfenstein 3D to Overwatch, the first-person shooter has evolved dramatically over the last 25 years – and there has been absolute brilliance along the way.
Whether you like an epic narrative campaign, a raucous loot hunt, a run-and-gun multiplayer blaster, or an objective-based team experience, this genre has something for you. And even some of its earliest, most primitive entries still hold up surprising well today.
We've loved a whole load of shooters over the years, so trimming this down to 15 was no easy feat. But these are the shooters, PC and console alike, that have truly defined the experience and kept us happily blasting for hours on end.
15) Borderlands 2 (2012)
Shoot… and loot? It might've seemed an unlikely pairing, but the original Borderlands' promise of a bajillion different weapons kept players hunting together 'til the wee early hours, and Borderlands 2 amplified the experience to an incredible degree.
The pumped-up, cel-shaded look and over-the-top humour was matched by the equally over-the-top violence, and this remains one of the absolute best shooters you can play with pals – even in a post-Destiny world.
14) Unreal Tournament (1999)
To anyone that thinks Unreal Tournament is just a "poor man's Quake," we have two words for you: Facing Worlds (the map). Epic's frenetic first person shooter was at its best when you were strafe-dodging sniper fire, stolen enemy flag in hand, and turning simple corridors into tunnels of death with vicious flak cannon shells - all while the announcer screamed "MULTIKILL" at the top of his lungs. Other shooters were 1v1 affairs, but Unreal let you bring the whole gang along for the carnage.
13) Team Fortress 2 (2007)
Traditionally, first-person shooters were pretty grim and/or realistic-looking – and then Valve turned the genre on its head with Team Fortress 2. Updating the classic class-based approach and pairing it with bright, brilliant cartoon graphics, Team Fortress 2 became one of the essential multiplayer experiences of the late aughts, proving that intense gunplay and squad action doesn't have to be gritty or bland-looking to pack a huge punch.
12) Overwatch (2016)
And Team Fortress 2 undoubtedly paved the way for Overwatch, the current reigning champion in the multiplayer shooter world. Blizzard's first-ever attempt at a shooter is an absolute knockout, pairing a wide array of distinctive heroes with dazzling graphics and objective-based gameplay.
The result is an addictive concoction that we can't stop playing, and we have a hunch that this one will keep climbing up this chart as the years go by. It's a legend in the making.
11) Left 4 Dead (2008)
Has there ever been a first-person shooter as terrifyingly intense and equally fulfilling as Left 4 Dead? Valve's vision of a cooperative zombie shooter was spot-on from the start, as you paired with three other survivors to blast through an array of zombies and other freaky beasts through a series of tense campaigns.
We got a just-as-brilliant sequel a year later, but nothing since. Valve, why do you leave these incredible franchises on the shelf?