As technology advances, so too must the weaponry players use to defend themselves. This year's lineup of shooters features a number of familiar yet innovative takes on the weapons that took players to the top of leaderboards or made them the last player standing. Here are some of our favorite shooters that kept us coming back round after round.
Gears 5 (8.6)
While still staying true to its cover-based shooting roots, Gears 5 changed up its formula for the campaign in a way that surprised players. The open world acts that build up the core of Gears 5’s campaign was surprisingly polished with a lot of side content and locations to explore throughout the three-player co-op. Gears 5’s ending may not have had the satisfying conclusion that some gamers wanted, but there’s still plenty more to do with the Horde and Escape modes in multiplayer.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare
Activision’s annual shooter franchise once again reclaims a spot on this year’s list of top shooters on the merits of its campaign and the visual tech at play. Featuring real-time raytracing at a modest cost (a GeForce RTX 2060 could handle Modern Warfare at 1080p60) as well as NVIDIA-exclusive features such as Ansel and Highlights, Infinity Ward’s take on the Call of Duty franchise was a phenomenal return to form. It's no coincide that the game is breaking all kinds of sales and playtime records for the franchise, after all.
Borderlands 3 (7.5)
Gearbox Studio’s mayhem shooter-slash-RPG-slash-looter took players to more than just the vaults of Pandora, instead giving players five different planets to explore and conquer with friends. Some of the core changes to the movement made getting around the bandit-filled wastelands more fun and no game matched the adrenaline rush of unboxing your first legendary gun.
Metro Exodus (9/10)
Metro Exodus finally took players out of the subway tunnels of Moscow and into the open world by way of the Aurora. Despite moving away from the claustrophobic conditions underground, Metro Exodus still manages to retain the atmospheric feel that 4A Games has been known for across all three games of the Metro series. As Chris Wray mentioned in his review of Metro Exodus, “From tight gunplay to well-developed stealth mechanics, the game offers variety within the confines of its own rules.”
Far Cry: New Dawn (8)
Ubisoft managed to take what I loved about the open-world of Montana from Far Cry 5, scorch the earth with nukes, and turn the world into a wasteland that I still found to be quite enjoyable. As a shorter and more streamlined experience, New Dawn was a colorful campaign that didn’t overstay its welcome. Far Cry: New Dawn was both budget priced and shorter than previous Far Cry titles, yet both features work in its favor as a trend I’d like to see going forward with open-world games that can be enjoyed in a weekend or two.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep (7.6)
Bungie’s sudden shift to turn Destiny 2 into a free-to-play shooter at the same time a new expansion dropped was a move few gamers expected. Not only could guardians return to the Moon for the first time since Destiny 1 but now they could explore most of the past two years of Destiny 2 for free. At the same time, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep boasted the potential light levels to a staggeringly high 950 with tons of new exotic gear and raids to explore. By breaking up this year’s expansion into multi-week Seasons, Shadowkeep is another title on this list that gives players content to return to week after week.
Apex Legends (9/10)
The battle royale genre was fueled this year by the surprise free-to-play release of Apex Legends from shooter veterans Respawn Entertainment. By blending together hero characters with a forced emphasis on three-player squads (duo matches came and went as a temporary event), the focus on teamplay reached its peak in this year’s newcomer. Seasonal events and battle passes keep Apex Legends feeling fresh, with a new holiday event just recently announced during The Game Awards 2019, and I still keep coming back week after week for a shot of becoming the next champion of Kings Canyon.
As with any other category, the best shooters of 2019 list simply couldn't include all of the fun titles released this year in the genre. That said,