2012 was a particular good year for shooters, as long-established franchises attempted to shake up the formula by introducing significant changes. Then you have titles that presented dark and twisted stories on top of the core shooter experience. And of course, not every shooter has to be so serious, instead offering bonerfarts and the like.
Shooters are one of the biggest sellers in the gaming industry, and after a year of great games full of pew pew pew, these are our nominees:
If you are up for a good laugh while shooting things in the face, Borderlands 2 is a worthy game to add to your collection. Soon enough, you'll see numbers popping above people's heads in real life and will feel compelled to search every Porta Potty on the street for cash.
Read the full Borderlands 2 review
Spec Ops: The Line
There are better cover-based shooters, better multiplayer shooters, and games that deal with moral choice in a more open manner, but Spec Ops isn’t about any of those things even though it includes all of them. At the end of the day, this is a game that drives the player forth by proposing questions; some relating to the plot -- you’ll ask “why?” as often as Walker and company -- others relating to your own ethics, but all of which are much more compelling devices than anything offered by Spec Ops’ competitors.
Read the full Spec Ops: The Line review
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
It's a great game from a studio that's done everything it can with the tools at its disposal to reinvigorate Call of Duty, even if it doesn't refashion the series completely. You won't appreciate that just by playing its online mode, and you will be disappointed if you're wanting the property to be turned inside out and spun on its head. Those that simply love to play military first-person shooters, and were looking for something that finds what life is left in the genre, however, should find themselves perfectly catered to.
Read the full Call of Duty: Black Ops II review
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 aims for more fluidity in its gameplay and mostly succeeds. Fast travel points are spread liberally throughout the island, with zip-wires and hang gliders making manual navigation speedier, and players have enough combat options to be able to change tactics should something go wrong. Stealth has been improved tremendously, with players able to turn animals against the opposition, create distractions by throwing stones, and slay multiple opponents in a beautiful chain of surprise kills. Grass and buildings are as flammable as ever, while enemies react to any discord sewn amongst their ranks accordingly. When everything goes in your favor, the sense of cruel power is almost criminal.
Read the full Far Cry 3 review
At its core, everything still feels like a Halo game. While there are new some new elements that change the gameplay a little, that weight of playing as a super soldier is well balanced between the sense of speed and strength in the multiplayer. 343 Industries have done a remarkable job at continuing the Halo legacy. They've gone all out, creating a fantastic sequel that brought forth a major focus on storytelling while upping the visual and audio direction to a level that will be tough for anyone to rival with these few remaining years of the current console generation.
Read the full Halo 4 review
Congrats to all the nominees! We'll be announcing the official winner on Friday, December 14. In the mean time we want you to tell us which game this year was the best for shooter. Plus, be sure to go vote in our Community Choice Award for your favorite game of 2012.
Check out all our other categories and nominations: