If there’s one genre that’s guaranteed to have multiple sureshot hits in any given year, it’s shooters. The wide popularity of shooters make them an attractive prospect for developers and publishers, and we’re glad for it, because this year we got to play some really great ones. Here, as we bid farewell to 2019, we’ll be listing out ten nominees for our best shooter of the year category, before picking out one winner.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.
More is not always better, but in this case, it absolutely is. Borderlands 3 has no qualms with giving you more of everything, whenever you ask for it- more guns, more customization, more combat encounters, more content in general. It delivers a packed playing field for players to grind their characters and earn better loot in, and it’s all wrapped up in a quintessential Borderlands experience.
This is probably the most unique shooter we’ve played all year. Its blend of roguelike progression and first person shooting makes for excellent structure that keeps you raptly engaged, while the combat itself can be so rewarding for players that are more tactical in their approach. If nothing else, Void Bastards is worth playing for the visuals alone. It does start wearing a little thin by the time you’ve spent some time with the game, but even after you’re done with it, you’ll be glad you gave it a go.
The Metro series has always been excellent at telling heavy, intense stories in the backdrop of a harsh world, and Metro Exodus does that perhaps better than both of its predecessors. In spite of being a much larger and much more open-ended experience, it deftly balances that freer structure with its focus on guided storytelling. Every step of Artyom’s gruelling journey across post-nuclear Russia feels wrought with palpable tension, in what is yet another unforgettable narrative showcase by 4A Games.
The core strengths of Gears of War’s formula have never really been in doubt- what Gears 5 needed to prove was that this series is capable of growth. And it totally did that. The deeper progression mechanics, the greater focus on exploration within both, the smaller and larger environments- Gears 5 introduces a lot of new ideas to the series very effectively. The open world stuff could definitely do with some work in future instalments, but by and large, it’s clear that The Coalition have put the series and themselves in a very secure position with Gears 5.
THE DIVISION 2
Ubisoft’s The Division is one of many games this generation that turned things around from their disappointing launch with excellent post-launch support. After all that rebuilding, Ubisoft Massive needed to make sure that a sequel wouldn’t just do away with all that. Thankfully, The Division 2 started out in a great position. It launched with an excellent, meaty campaign, plenty of endgame content, and excellent combat thanks to varied and dangerous enemy design, tight shooting, and rewarding progression. Post-launch, things definitely could have gone better than they have, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that The Division 2’s base game is still ridiculously fun.
BLOOD AND TRUTH
Last year, Sony showed off what VR is capable of with Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and though no VR Sony game this year came close to delivering that sort of design and mechanical ingenuity, Blood and Truth came pretty damn close. Not only is the game a blast to play through because of well-designed combat encounters and set-piece moments, Blood and Truth also has a surprisingly engaging story, propped up by great writing and performances.
Overall, RAGE 2 is a pretty average (and thoroughly forgettable) game, and it has more than just a few problems. But all the problems in the world can’t change the fact that there is one key area where it is a wild success- the combat. Gunplay in RAGE 2 is absolutely fantastic. The weapons feel excellent to shoot, enemies crumple before gunfire in exploding fountains of blood, the powers you gain are incredible. Every firefight in RAGE 2 is chaotic, bombastic, and over-the-top fun. It’s a real shame that the game has so many problems in other areas, because when RAGE 2’s combat is in full-flow, the game can be unbelievably good.
HALO: REACH (PC)
Halo: Reach was made available to PC audiences for the first time this year, and it was well worth the wait. This is one of the best Halo campaigns ever, and it feels extra special because it’s also Bungie’s last Halo game. Clearly, Reach has aged excellently. The Halo combat is still as good as ever, the campaign is still a complete rollercoaster, and multiplayer is just as addictive as ever. It may not have Master Chief in it, but Halo: Reach is still the perfect way to kick off The Master Chief Collection’s PC launch.
EA and Respawn pulled off something incredibly brave at the beginning of this year, when they unveiled their free-to-play battle royale title out of nowhere, and then released it immediately after ward. But they did pull it off, simply because Apex Legends is that good. Movement and shooting feels tight and fluid, as you would expect from a Respawn game, while combining Hero shooter-like mechanics with the regular battle royale framework makes for a unique and engaging experience. The post-launch support for Apex Legends has also been pretty good, and has managed to keep the game extremely interesting (and hence, easy to keep coming back to) even so many months since its launch. It might not be Titanfall 3, but it’s still pretty damn good.
REMNANT: FROM THE ASHES
Remnant is like the perfect cross between FromSoftware’s Souls games and more typical loot-driven shooters. In its structure and its difficulty, it echoes Souls heavily, but at the same time, hunting for new loot grinding up and progressing your character, and exploring environments in search of better gear is also a big part of the game. Meanwhile, the level of randomization in play also makes sure that Remnant keeps things fresh across multiple playthroughs, and even within a single playthrough.
THE DIVISION 2
For those who’re looking for a looter shooter with plenty of depth to keep them engaged and plenty of content to keep them coming back, The Division 2 is an easy recommendation. In things such as build variety and the steady and rewarding progression, The Division 2 makes sure that you’re always developing the character you want to develop, and that you’re having fun doing it. With its excellent combat design and its endgame content, it makes sure that things are always kept interesting, and that firefights never feel dull. Even for players who’re just looking for a solid campaign, who don’t want to play co-op, The Division 2 has a lot on offer, even if it story falls flat. It’s a very well made, meaty game, that can easily compel you to sink dozens and dozens and dozens of hours of your life into it- and if you do, you probably won’t look back on that time with even the tiniest bit of regret.
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