There once was a time when simulators, RPGs and sports title dominated the video gaming landscape. Then a little game called DOOM came along changed everything.
Now, the first-person shooter is video gaming.
It’s not hard to see why: The combination of a first-person perspective, precision hand-eye coordination, keen spatial awareness and story elements like absorbing characters and detailed, expansive environments make for a genre that immerses like no other. And as each level, mission or chapter weaves those ingredients together, the more intense, absorbing and unforgettable the experience.
Here are some outstanding examples of those experiences; the levels that juggled their requirements best, that make you sweat with exertion, gape in wonder, or leave in you in deep contemplation.
The gems of first-person shooter level design that no FPS aficionado should miss out on.
Note: While multi-player shooters like Apex Legends and open-world titles like Far Cry now dominate the FPS landscape, those are very different beasts that require a list of their own. This will focus on the classic level-based single-player adventure.
10. Belly Of The Beast - Medal Of Honor 2010
This game deserved better. Critical opinion was lukewarm, but with its conscientiously authentic take on military shooters Medal of Honour won the respect of fans looking for something more thoughtful than Call of Duty’s relentless action-focus.
In Belly of the Beast, things go sour fast. Poor intel leads to an insertion into a hot LZ. Casualties are taken and require extraction immediately. Your mission is secure a second LZ and hold it.
It sounds simple. It isn’t.
Between you and exfil lies a punishing engagement against large-calibre AAA and tense close-quarters fighting amid cramped buildings. And when you arrive at the LZ, things get real.
RPGs methodically dismantle your cover as enemies pour in from all sides, laying down a relentless hail of fire so thick it’s near impossible to shoot back. It is savage stuff and few, if any, military shooters do as good a job of making you feel the kind of raw, unbridled desperation, and the immense, shattering relief when help arrives, as this one does.
What makes the mission all the more impactful is that it, and many of the game’s missions, were inspired by true events, events that often did not end as well.
Medal of Honor keeps it respectful, but that glimpse into the harsh reality of combat is what makes this level a powerful must play.