Although we’re on the cusp of a brand new generation of consoles, with Sony and Microsoft targeting a 2020 release for the PlayStation 5 and the next Xbox respectively, now is a great time to look back on some of this generation’s best games. And for fans of the first-person shooter, this generation may have been the best yet.
That goes double for Xbox gamers, who thanks to Microsoft’s Play Anywhere initiative, can easily swap between playing the best shooter games on their PC and their living room console. But just how good of a generation was it for shooters on the Xbox? Whether you’re biding your time waiting for the latest consoles or just want to find out if your favorite made our list, be sure to check out our take on the best shooters for the Xbox One.
Gears of War 5
We’ll kick things off with the best Gears game to date.
That might sound like a lofty accomplishment, but we mean it when we say that The Coalition has painstakingly created the most fully-realized and immersive Gears of War experience yet. Gears 5 (officially dropping the ‘of War’ moniker) improves upon its predecessors in numerous ways.
Chief among them is characterization, something the series has always struggled with. While we love Marcus Fenix and the gang, it’s impossible to ignore how flat their characterizations are. Aside from the occasional one-liner, they’re just big burly dudes who run from concrete slab to concrete slab shooting things. And though Gears of War 4 introduced a brand new cast, it suffered from many of those same issues.
Gears 5, however, does a much better job of presenting Sera’s inhabitants as actual people and not just walking meat slabs. The writing in Gears 5 is so good that it even makes Jack the robot an interesting character.
As for the gameplay, Gears’ shooting has never felt more satisfying. You can easily spend hours mowing down wave after wave of enemies in the game’s horde mode or exploring the game’s pseudo-open-world landscapes. Even if you’re not a Gears fan, Gears 5 is worth checking out.
The best and worst things we can say about Borderlands 3 is that it’s more Borderlands. While it only feels like a half-step toward a new game, everything you’d hope for in a Borderlands game is here.
Looting? As long as you can navigate the game’s frustrating backpack system, yep!
Unique classes? For the most part, each character offers something unique and fun.
Humor? Well, we’ll leave that one up to you.
While Borderlands 3 might not be as big of an improvement over Borderlands 2 as people hoped, there’s plenty here to keep people satisfied. If you’ve yet to check out the series, Borderlands 3 is the perfect way to jump in.
Call of Duty: WWII
By the time Call of Duty: WWII rolled around, the best-selling shooter franchise was in an odd state.
Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3, and Infinite Warfare all saw the franchise take an odd, futuristic leaning featuring jet-packs, wall-running, and the occasional space battle. Needless to say, the series was pretty far from its roots.
Sledgehammer, seemingly noting fans’ frustration, took things back to the basics with WWII, which saw the franchise head back to the beaches of Normandy for the first time in around a decade. The result is arguably the best Call of Duty game in quite some time.
If you enjoyed the older Call of Duty games but find yourself unable to enjoy the latest entries, WWII might scratch that old-school itch.
You won’t find any jet-packs or Game of Thrones stars. But you will find tight, corridor-based shooting and a multiplayer mode that rewards skill as much as time and provides enough gun customization to make any Volquartsen gun lover happy.
It’s simply impossible to heap enough praise on Doom.
The latest iteration of id Software’s iconic franchise takes a few lessons from the past and incorporates new mechanics like skill trees that give the game depth that you’d never expect from a Doom game. The cherry on top, though, is the game’s fantastic soundtrack, which comes courtesy of Mick Gordon. Monstrous, metal inspired riffs and ambient chaos serve as the perfect companions on your journey through hell.
If you somehow missed this instant classic, do yourself a favor and pick it up as part of Game Pass before Doom Eternal releases next year.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
It seems wrong to write a list of the best shooters on Xbox and ignore Master Chief. After all, the first Halo game was a launch title for the original Xbox in 2001.
Whether you have fond memories of the older Halo games or you’re looking to experience them for the first time, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is one of the best deals in gaming.
The collection features:
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Halo 2: Anniversary
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo 4
And if that isn’t enough, Halo Reach is set to hit the collection within the next few months! This isn’t a simple cut-and-paste job, either. Each game features revamped graphics and audio, as well as full multiplayer components for each game along with cross-game playlists.
Apex Legends is tearing up the charts right now, but let’s not forget about Respawn’s previous game, the criminally overlooked Titanfall 2. Not only does Titanfall 2 feature similar, snappy gameplay, but Respawn created one of the most compelling narratives in a first-person shooter we’ve ever played. That’s a pretty far cry from Titanfall’s campaign, which was just a series of audio logs. For those worried about the game’s player base, don’t worry. Apex Legends bumped up Titanfall 2’s popularity, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a game.
Though it may be a while before we see a Titanfall 3, we’re happy to pass the time in Titanfall 2’s multiplayer.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
If you want a loot-shooter but can’t stand the colorful world of Borderlands (or its hit-or-miss humor) The Division 2 may be what you’re looking for. Think of The Division 2 as Ubisoft’s answer to Destiny. It’s an online, open-world shooter that rewards those willing to grind through re-playable missions to get the best gear.
While that won’t be every shooter fan’s cup of tea, The Division 2 is a great option for those who would rather take a tactical approach to combat. It isn’t a perfect game by any stretch, but it’s a rare game that keeps players coming back for more months after the initial credits roll.
BioShock: The Collection
Would you kindly enjoy this remastered collection of BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite?
Several games on this list feature story-rich campaigns. However, if it wasn’t for BioShock, we’re willing to bet that most of those campaigns would look radically different. The BioShock games are every bit as fun and enthralling as you recall and few games can match the wonder that overtakes a gamer when they enter the underwater dystopia of Rapture for the first time.
In addition to the full campaigns for each game, The Collection includes all story-based DLC for each game. That means you can finally play through BioShock 2 without having to slough through the tacked-on multiplayer mode! Even if you know the game’s intricate twists and turns, you owe it to yourself to check out BioShock: The Collection. And if you’ve already experienced each of the three BioShock games, The Collection is still worth picking up thanks to an included commentary option.
If you’re somehow not already convinced to check out BioShock: The Collection, you should know that the game routinely goes on sale, so you shouldn’t have an issue picking it up for $15 or less.
Admittedly, this list is pretty heavy on the blood and guts. We’re happy to report that not every shooter is full of doom and gloom! It’d be a horrible mistake to ignore one of this generation’s most adorable games, Slime Rancher.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Slime Rancher first hit the Xbox in the late summer of 2017 as part of the Game With Gold program. While the initial reaction to the announcement was one of skepticism, the Harvest Moon-like gameplay combined with the adorable aesthetic won people over immediately.
If you’ve yet to check out this hidden gem, the premise is as follows: You’re a young woman looking to start a ranch on a distant planet. However, instead of farming cows, sheep, or other livestock, you’re tasked with raising tiny balls of slime. Each type of slime has a unique personality, adding a layer of depth to the game’s deceptively simple concept.
So how does this relate to shooting?
Collecting slimes requires the player to use a vacuum gun a la Luigi’s Mansion. And before you ask, yes, you can shoot the slimes at each other. You monster.
The Best Shooter Games for Xbox Gamers
So there you have it, our take on the best shooter games of this generation. What do you think? Did your favorite make the list?
Be sure to let us know in the comments. And to keep up with the latest gaming news, be sure to check back with BagoGames!
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