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
Look at the games in your collection - how many of them have a soldier on the front, armed to the teeth and staring out into the middle distance? The shooter is arguably one of the most popular game genres out there, so there's no shortage of titles to choose from. Unfortunately, not all of them are worth your time, but don't worry: we've cut away the chaff and narrowed down our list of the greatest. We've only listed games which are playable on today's consoles or a PC, so retro games haven't made the cut.
10. COUNTER STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE
The third major revision to one of the most popular online games ever doesn't play fast and loose with a winning formula – Global Offensive is every bit the Counter Strike you know and love, updated for the next generation with improved graphics, more weapons and new game modes that add some much needed variety to the original bomb defusal game type. All the classic maps are present and correct, along with a collection of new ones that breathe life into the old formula.
Putting terrorists down one breach, bang and clear at a time
Although there are bots to provide you with a challenge – or moving duck shoot, depending on your skill level – the real meat of the game can be found online. There are deathmatch modes, but it will take the right group of friends, effective teamwork and some well-placed grenades to guarantee victory against anyone that knows what they are doing. If all the kids are in front of the TV playing Call of Duty, this is where you'll find the real men.
For a more in-depth look, read our full Counter Strike: Global Offensive review
9. MAX PAYNE 3
Proving film noire is still as relevant today as it was in the 1950s, Max Payne 3 might dial up the brightness and move the action to Brazil, but it's just as dark and moody as it's New York-based predecessors. The story is jam-packed with action set pieces, there's an extensive arsenal to choose from and it has some of the best slow-motion gun battles this side of the Matrix trilogy. After all, the only thing more satisfying than swan-diving through windows to silence unsuspecting thugs is by doing it with a gun in each hand.
Re-live those Matrix fantasies as a balding fat man
Many gamers think first person games are more immersive than third person titles like this, but the beautiful animation system makes you feel every mistimed jump and leap of faith - as well as watch your enemies react realistically as your bullets fly through them. It's grizzly stuff, but its still the closest we've come to feeling like a true Hollywood action hero.
For a more in-depth look, read our full Max Payne 3 review
8. LEFT 4 DEAD 2
Shooters normally boil down to single player or multiplayer experiences, so it's rare that one comes along that's enjoyable solo or with friends. The Left 4 Dead series is one of those greats - fun alone, but even better with a team, thanks to a wealth of multiplayer modes and the need for effective cooperation in order to survive an unstoppable zombie horde.
Did we mention the zombie clowns?
The incredibly well-balanced Versus mode lets you choose a side, controlling one of four survivors or becoming a part of the horde, with some gruesome infected enemies that steal the show every time you encounter one. Drop-in multiplayer means there's no excuse not to join your friends and prevent (or cause) a zombie apocalypse.
For a more in-depth look, read our full Left 4 Dead 2 review