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Top 10 shooters

Games that put a gun in your hand are undeniably some of the most popular, but which are the best? We list our personal top ten shooters



Probably the oldest the game on the list, but a stone-cold classic, and one that provides a rather different shooting experience to anything else. Part of Capcom’s epic zombie survival horror series, you needn’t play the other games to make sense of it, nor should you be put off by its clunkier pre-runners or less well-paced sequels.

The controls work like a hybrid of a shooting gallery, you can’t move while you’re aiming precisely, and a more-typical third person shooter. The plot is the usual hokey, campy, horror nonsense – but the tension as you play is remarkable, due to your inability to spin on the spot, and the perfectly balanced difficulty level. You must choose your weapon, your position and your targets with care to survive the toughest encounters.

Resident Evil 4

The laser sight lets you pick out limbs and heads, which react accordingly

It’s a big game too, with around 20 hours to the main campaign. During this time you’ll explore a wide array of environments, fight a huge array and baddies and buy and upgrade a fantastic array of firearms. Managing your limited inventory size and ammunition supply is also critical.

It’s looking a little old, admittedly, but you can pick up a PS2, Wii or PC copy for around £10. Plus there are lots of mods and textures for the PC version to make it look and play better. Well worth a look if you haven’t played it already.

6. HALO 4

We’ve never been huge fans of Halo’s fiction, the first game was neat enough with little backstory and plenty left unsaid, which formed a good backdrop to the action. After that they went downhill quickly with over-complicated narratives that had little to do with the game you were playing. Halo 4’s storytelling is a little clearer, but no better really. Thankfully, we don’t play Halo for the plot, we play it because it makes us feel like an ass-kickin’ superhero.

Halo 4, as with its predecessors, brilliantly balances your three methods of attack – guns, grenades and melee. All three are brutally effective if used properly, and to prosper at the higher difficulty levels (never play Halo on Normal) you’ll need to combine them all fluidly. Pair that with excellent AI, and even a small gunfight between you and a handful of opponents becomes an immensely pleasing few minutes of play.

Halo 4

Sumptuous graphics and polished gameplay – Halo 4 is an Xbox 360 swansong

The Halo series goes one better though, thanks to its ability to scale. The games mechanics work just as well in that little firefight as they do on a wide open vista using a variety of vehicles and allies to defeat a veritable army of opponents – or two armies fighting each other. In this respect Halo has always stood out from its competition.

The only downside is that’s its only available on the Xbox 360. Though given the age of that console, the quality of the graphics is outstanding, truly jaw-dropping at times.

For more details read our Halo 4 review


There’s nothing that hasn’t already been said about the Call of Duty games. They have become the de facto military shooters – their high-octane gameplay and set pieces are often impressive, but there’s a lot of filler too, with endless corridor gunfights that amount to little more than point-and shoot. The multiplayer, though, is refined but accessible – and so has attracted a huge player base.

We’ve chosen this instalment for two reasons. Firstly, it rebooted the series beyond the Second World War and provided a decent plot – before the sequels came along and endlessly rehashed parts of it. There are numerous stand out moments, though the sniper mission through the wasteland around Chernobyl has to be the best. The multiplayer introduced the create-a-class system, bringing RPG style levels and load-outs to the shooter genre; alongside killstreak bonuses that rewarded consistent play with additional firepower.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer built on its predecessors, and became the template for the modern competitive shooter

It was also the last game in the series that fully supported the PC gaming side of things. You could run your own public server, create your own maps and generally do things how you wanted. Further iterations locked out these features, forcing dedicated players to rent servers from approved suppliers, and buy map packs from the publisher.


Team Fortress 2 continues to hold its place as the ultimate multiplayer frag-fest. Valve has done an incredible job balancing the nine radically different character classes, with each one needing a different strategy or skill set in order to benefit the team. The fact that they all have their own personalities, thanks to the wonderful Meet the… animated shorts series, makes them even more of a joy to play.

Team Fortress 2 lineup

The UNusual suspects…

Jumping into the controlled mayhem that is a public game on your own can be intimidating, but practicing with bots can help learn of the role of each team member, from the life-sustaining medic to the fire-spewing pyro. The best games always involve rounding up a few friends – stick on your headsets and form a team to take on other players, or the new Mann v Machine horde mode. Best of all, TF2 is free to play on Steam, so you can get in lots of blasting at no cost.

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