While fans of the shooter genre had a banner year in 2016 thanks to games like Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and Battlefield 1, 2017 also delivered a strong selection of fantastic titles. Not only that, but 2017 also saw the rise of a shooter sub-genre that has taken the industry by storm.
The Battle Royale style shooter rose to new heights in 2017, headlined by none other than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Seeing such success in such little time also inspired a host of other studios like Epic Games, who decided to follow suit by adding a similar game mode to Fortnite.
Building on the already solid shooter foundation established last year, 2017 delivered a ton of memorable experiences fans will no doubt continue to play well into 2018. Without further ado, here are the best shooters of 2017!
Even though Destiny 2 seems to make more headlines these days due to glitches and controversies, it’s still one of the best shooters of 2017. Destiny 2 features rock-solid shooting mechanics, building off of the first game in a number of interesting ways. The first game got dinged pretty hard for lacking a compelling narrative campaign and with this sequel, Bungie clearly took that to heart, with a new focus on story. While Destiny 2 isn’t perfect by any means, Bungie continues to support the game through updates, expansions, and seasonal events such as The Dawning, which is currently underway. If the life cycle from the first game is any indication, Destiny 2 will likely continue to evolve over the next couple of years.
After underperforming in 2016, Activision tasked Sledgehammer Games with switching up the recent Call of Duty formula of futuristic settings and jetpacks. Ultimately, the studio decided to take the franchise back to its roots with boots on the ground infantry action set within World War II. The change of pace has paid off considerably as Call of Duty: WW2 is now the best selling game of 2017.
Competitive multiplayer appears to be the major draw as it is every year, though the package also includes an infantry-focused campaign and a completely redesigned Nazi Zombies mode as well. Taking inspiration from Sledgehammer’s past experience with the Dead Space franchise at Visceral, Nazi Zombies features more horror elements than ever before as well as a new progression system that helps players feel like each playthrough is accomplishing a larger goal. 2017 appears to be a return to form for the long-running franchise and with more updates and DLC on the way in the coming year, Call of Duty: WW2 will likely be on the minds of shooter fans for quite awhile.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus takes that wonderful formula from the first game and pushes the franchise forward even further. Picking up after the events of the previous game, the Nazis have won World War II and expanded their empire to include the United States of America. Taking place in 1961, players step into the shoes of longtime protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz as he joins up with the American Resistance to fight back. Primarily being a shooter first and foremost, The New Colossus succeeds in marrying a strong narrative with fast-paced, first-person shooting. Presentation and interesting NPC characters also drive the game forward, helping the game to receive positive reviews from critics and fans and win the award for Best Action Game at the 2017 Game Awards.
It’s been a wild ride for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, an early access game on PC that has transformed multiplayer shooters. This year alone, the game broke a number of sales milestones including legendary Steam records that have not been touched in years. Although the game finally left Steam Early Access this month and gave players a new desert map to rampage through, PUBG is likely to be remembered more for kicking off the Battle Royale craze. Gameplay revolves around large scale, last man standing player versus player combat where players fight to survive against one another. In addition to having to scavenge for supplies, ammo, and weapons, the map also becomes an issue as it continually closes in around those left alive every few minutes. Depending on the game mode, the last person or squad standing wins.
Fortnite launched in Early Access this past summer as a paid access co-op shooter, where players worked together to build bases and defend them from waves of zombie-like husks. It wouldn’t be until the game launched its Battle Royale style mode that it really took off, however. With the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on PC, console players flocked to Fortnite to get their competitive fix, which in turn helped the game reach monster player numbers. With Epic continually improving the experience through updates and seasonal content, Fortnite doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
While Splatoon 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel on the Switch, it does successfully continue to build on the already strong foundation established by its predecessor. Unlike the previous game, however, Splatoon 2 offers more content for the player right out of the gate. A lengthy 32 mission campaign offers respite from the fun and frantic chaos of multiplayer, while the new horde-like mode called Salmon Run challenges players to work together to see how many salmon eggs they can steal either online or offline. Switch players looking for a fun and different style of shooter should look no further than Splatoon 2.
From the studio that brought fans the Dishonored series, Prey promised something a bit different from not only the studio but what fans expected to see out of this franchise. Ditching the bounty hunter concept that Human Head Studios had planned for its sequel before it was unceremoniously cancelled three years ago, Arkane has opted to make a sort of spiritual sequel to the original System Shock with the new Prey. Mixing first-person shooting with role-playing mechanics, Prey places players in the shoes of a scientist trapped aboard a sprawling space station with hostile aliens known as the Typhon, and manages to deliver one of the best shooter experiences of the year in the process.
Though Battlefield 1 originally launched in 2016, In The Name of the Tsar is the most robust update the game has seen to date. What made this expansion special is that it brought in more than just the addition of new weapons and maps. Though the major content from the pack includes Russian-themed weapons and maps, the DLC also included many quality of life updates which went a long way into improving the experience for all players. With two expansions left on the calendar, Battlefield 1 looks to continue its strong 2017 into next year.