8 FPS Games With Plots That Actually Didn’t Suck

The genre can be so much more than just mindless slaughter.

First-person shooters have a pretty shoddy reputation when it comes to storytelling, and you can understand why. The genre began life - for all intents and purposes - in the early 90s with the release of Wolfenstein 3D and then Doom - which were so groundbreaking and novel at the time that people were perfectly content to blast their way through the games' hallowed corridors without noticing that the plot was essentially just 'kill, kill, kill'. Fast forward to today, and the FPS genre is defined by pretty much the same premise, thanks to the prevalence of online-focused, impersonal shooters in the Call of Duty and Battlefield series - both of which have about as much plot as an army recruitment ad. But amidst these genre-defining shooters are plenty of releases that tell some of the greatest stories in video games, albeit interspersed with sequences of mass killing. Some of them are unforgettable classics, while others got undeservedly drowned out by the domineering big-name releases. Then there's the big question: what exactly is a first-person shooter? While there are plenty of first-person games that entail shooting, for this writer an FPS is defined by the act of shooting to progress through the game. Stealth, player choice, branching dialogues and in-depth skill trees can all play second fiddle to the action, while the story is usually fixed, with few (though there are some) opportunities for the player to alter its course. So that means no Deus Ex, no Fallout 3 and no Thief for you. Now, when your outrage subsides, click on through.

Gamer, Researcher of strange things. I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.