This was a great year, but it was hard to select a #1. There are 32 games this year and many of them I would highly recommend…with one I’d say just avoid altogether and try to forget it even exists. Let’s hop right in!
007 – Nightfire (Multi)
And another fun looking Bond title for several platforms. Never got a chance to try this one, but it does look fun. It’s not based on anything, but much like Quantum of Solace and From Russia with Love, there are Bond moments, lots of action, gadgets, and all kinds of FPS goodness. Definitely a must have for any Bond fan.
America’s Army (PC)
I am not a fan of tactical shooters, but this one is very promising. Backed by the actual U.S. Army, America’s Army is a shooter that attempts to depict 100% realistic field combat. If you’re into tactical shooters, I’d check it out, but again, I’m really not.
Arx Fatalis (PC)
I almost didn’t want to include this one because effectively it’s like another Elder Scrolls game. However, because of the way it’s set up and how things revolve in the game, it really is closer to an FPS at times. That said, if you like games like Elder Scrolls, definitely give this a shot. Sadly, it’s not going to stand up very well to the other titles this year because this is a year of some GREAT titles.
Battlefield 1942 (PC)
Did you play BF43 for XBLA? Of course you did. Oh, you didn’t? Well, it’s basically a massive online WW2 shooter that involves not only multiple classes, but also vehicles. Pretty cut and dry, really. Very fun stuff if you got a bunch of buds to play it with, but again, what usually wins me over isn’t the multiplayer and this doesn’t have a single player campaign. At all.
Command & Conquer – Renegade (PC)
This is the reason I love doing these lists. Yet another FPS I never knew existed based off a franchise I actually really like. It’s nothing brilliant, but it’s pretty fun. It really has very little to do with the main series, but hey, it’s an FPS set in the C&C universe. Can you really complain?
Delta Force – Task Force Dagger (PC)
Military tactical shooter. No thanks.
Delta Force – Urban Warfare (PS1)
This one actually looks pretty fun. Really, though, that’s only because it’s a PS1 title in 2002 and it’s attempting to be something similar to Syphon Filter and failing that, which is especially funny because that was THE system for Syphon Filter.
Die Hard – Nakatomi Plaza (PC)
While this one looks fun, it’s definitely not very high quality and definitely not the best Die Hard game of all time.
Elite Forces – Navy SEALs (PC)
I couldn’t find a video for this on youtube, but by this point, have you really been impressed by the Elite Forces series? Me neither. Pass!
Ethnic Cleansing (PC)
Yes, I mentioned it. And that’s all I’m doing. Yes, there’s a video attached to that pic and yes, it’s highly offensive. You’ve been warned.
Global Operations (PC)
So it’s basically a combination of Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six with the ability to go either single or multiplayer. CS is cool, but this game seems more tactical than anything, so ehhh.
Gore – Ultimate Soldier (PC)
A fairly generic FPS that focuses on gore and very little else. Used to be hyper violence would be all I needed…well, if you go for super violent games, check it out. Otherwise, I’m giving this a pass.
Hired Team – Trial GOLD (PC)
Yeah, I’ve played Quake 3 Arena, thanks. Pass.
Iron Storm (Multi)
An alternate history where WWI never ended and it’s in the 60s. Pretty cool stuff, actually. It’s kind of a mixed bag when it comes to presentation, but the concept’s pretty cool. Might have to check this out later.
Medal of Honor – Allied Assault (PC)
I’ve never really gotten into the Medal of Honor series. It’s not because I don’t like them or whatever, it’s just that most war games don’t really appeal to me. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I started checking out stuff like Call of Duty and Battlefield and only then because you guys were doing it. Yeah, peer pressure. That was my in. Not a great way to get into a niche of videogames.
And it’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed them either, it’s just that I would not have willingly gotten into them without that push. In any case, it’s pretty cool to see how accurate some of this shit is, but seriously, how many times can we watch the intro to Saving Private Ryan before it gets old? I may check it out, but again, merely for historical accuracy.
Mobile Forces (PC)
So it’s basically Counter-Strike, but with the addition of vehicles. There are all kinds of user mods and stuff, too. Not bad, but not enough to really be better than CS either.
New World Order (PC)
…and this is just a straight rip-off of Counter-Strike. Pass.
Operation – Blockade (Multi)
This game was available via PC or arcade via goofy VR helmet. It’s not a bad game, per se, but it’s little more than a stationary arcade shooter. Fun, sure, but not much of an FPS.
Red Faction 2 (PS2)
Yet another series I really haven’t gotten into. Looks like some good old classic run and gun gameplay, but I can’t tell if it’s got the same “blow everything the fuck up” engine going for it. Looks a little more stable than that. Definitely looks pretty fun, though. I’ll have to give it a shot later.
Wow, this is pretty fucking cheesy. I mean, at first it looks like it’s going to be some kinda cool cyberpunk looking thing…then it turns into a crappy version of Quake 2. It just fails to be anything interesting or exciting. Pass.
Shadow Force – Razor’s Unit (PC)
Tactical FPS. At least it attempts to have a running story and give you some varied environments, but it’s the same old shit. Pass.
Sniper – Path of Vengeance (PC)
You have to give the studio credit for trying something interesting, making a FPS with on the fly RPG elements…however, it’s a cheesy fucking piece of crap. Still, the scene where you get to beat up the prison guard with a nightstick…okay, that’s priceless.
Soldier of Fortune 2 – Double Helix (Multi)
A lot of people incorrectly define many games as being “gun porn.” This is the true example. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a bad game, but goddamn. It’s just ridiculous. I mean, if Mortal Kombat had guns, you’d get this game. Seriously. And no, Stryker doesn’t count.
Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 – Jedi Outcast (Multi)
Beyond the original Dark Forces, I really didn’t play a lot of Star Wars titles. I know this is linked somehow and I feel stupid for not knowing 100% exactly how (might actually be part of the series itself). It certainly looks very fun, especially if you’re a fan of Star Wars. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but if it’s anything like Dark Forces, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Sum of All Fears (Multi)
Rainbow Six – The Shittier Edition. Big motherfucking pass.
Tactical Ops – Assault on Terror (PC)
So effectively it’s a more refined version of Counter-Strike. And don’t get me wrong, I like CS, but I really hate it when it seems like all a game does is rip something off without really being its own thing. No, I’m not going to soapbox about it, but suffice to say as impressive as this seems, I just don’t see any reason to play this if you’ve already played CS.
TimeSplitters 2 (Multi)
Look, it’s TimeSplitters. Do I really need to say anything more? You will want to play this game immediately if you haven’t already.
Tribes Aerial Assault (PS2)
Basically this is just a port of Tribes 2 for the PS2. Unfortunately, Sierra shut down the PS2 servers in 2008, so that ship has sailed. But there’s plenty of other Tribes goodness on the PC, so there you go.
Turok – Evolution (Multi)
You know, when the original Turok came out, it was something special. There were guns, dinosaurs, aliens, bows, and all kinds of cool shit. It also had an interesting new control system that I don’t think any of us expected to be modified and become the standard of the modern FPS. This is just…tragic. It doesn’t look old or even dated…just bad.
Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)
UT has always been a major contender as a monster multiplayer FPS, but again, that usually won’t win me over for game of the year. All the same, I highly recommend it because it’s goddamn fun if you get a bunch of friends to play with you. Or enemies. Or goddamn anyone.
U.S. Special Forces – Team Factor (PC)
So it’s UT, but with really crappy army dude models. Pass.
Winner – No One Lives Forever 2 – A Spy In H.A.R.M.’s Way (PC)
The original NOLF was hilarious, fun as hell, had great visuals and sound, had excellent level design, and had lots of atmosphere with each and every environment. The sequel improves on this in nearly every aspect leaving you laughing and loving every second of it. This is Monolith in their element. There’s also an interesting upgrade system that allows for several things to be improved from health to armor to cloaking to all kinds of nifty stuff.
Nevermind that there are returning characters, an overall engaging story, steady difficulty level, plenty of weapons and gadgets as well as puzzles, and in general this is exactly what an FPS should be. The only one negative thing you could say about it is the multiplayer mode is somewhat lacking, as was the case in the original NOLF. Of course, if you know me by now, you know that’s a null point and that the single player campaign is more than strong enough to warrant this to be played by any FPSer ever.
I literally cannot speak highly enough about this game. While it’s not my favorite FPS of all time, it’s still one of the finest I’ve ever played.
While not the best year for FPSs (and I won’t pretend to know what would be the best year), this was definitely a very fun year. There are some pretty damn good games this year amongst some really awful ones. And the racist one. Yes, that. In any case, I apologize for taking so long to bring this one out, but I hope you enjoyed and here’s to hoping 2003 comes out sooner!