One of the most famous and well-regarded FPS developers has to be Valve. Titles like Half-Life and Portal were incredibly impactful to their respective genres and influenced how games tell their story. Valve also has several excellent non-FPS games in their catalog and created Steam, which is still the most used PC gaming digital storefront.
The company doesn’t have as big of a catalog, though, in comparison to other developers of its age. Games made by the studio are notorious for taking way longer than expected, and it seems almost like a curse that they can’t make a third installment to a series. Regardless, Valve has still made some of the best games ever created.
8 Dota 2
Valve has a knack for turning community-created mods into full-blown projects, and the latest example is Dota 2. The original Dota was a mod for Warcraft 3, and it was so popular that Valve acquired the rights and began developing a sequel. Dota 2 remains one of the most fun and well-designed MOBAs on the market right now and also boasts a huge esports scene.
Outside of League of Legends, Dota 2 is the biggest MOBA period. To showcase how much of a big deal the success of this game is, when Warcraft 3 Reforged launched, the end-user license agreement specifically stated that all custom-made content was now owned by Activision Blizzard. They clearly didn’t want another success story to happen out of their hands.
7 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The latest entry into the Counter-Strike series is Global Offensive, and it’s rather refreshing to play compared to most other FPS games out at the moment. Similar to Rainbow Six Siege, the game’s primarily a team-based FPS with a focus on completing objectives. What makes it stand out to Siege is the more old-school movement and shooting of days gone by.
That old-school feel is hardly around anymore, and the few that tried, like Quake Champions, didn’t take off. This makes the title incredibly unique in today’s FPS landscape, and like Dota 2, it has a massive esports scene. It’s easy to see why people are so excited about the upcoming Counter-Strike 2, given how fantastic this game is.
6 Team Fortress 2
Still, one of Valve’s most popular games is Team Fortress 2. Even going back to the vanilla version in 2007, it’s still really fun to play with its great maps, characters, and gameplay. Every class is useful in one or another way, and working along with your team is still engaging today as it over was.
The modern version of TF2, with all the truckloads of additional content, is objectively a better title, with improved balance and depth. It’s awesome to see in the first place that you can play different versions, as most multiplayer FPS games don’t have that ability.
5 Left 4 Dead 2
One of the best zombie games ever created is Left 4 Dead 2. While people were initially worried since the title was launched only a year after the first game, it proved all the doubters wrong. With three new special infected, better levels, and a ton of extra game modes, it not only heavily improves the first game but also never gets old.
There’s always a way to spice it up by either trying out a new game mode or playing several of the amazing community-created mods and custom campaigns. The game was also a big Xbox 360 console exclusive at the time. One of the games PS3 players often bought a 360 for was Left 4 Dead 2 because it was such a good multiplayer FPS.
The making of Portal is a real dream come true. Largely developed by people who were fresh out of University, this game is the best first industry project anyone can ask for. An excellently designed puzzle game with the perfect length, Portal is one of the more industry-defining titles from the seventh generation.
Some puzzle games like The Talos Principle are great but could be very frustrating to people who just can’t figure out the puzzles. Portal doesn’t have that issue with the game guiding you toward a specific solution without you even knowing. Anyone can complete this title, and due to its short length, it’s a perfect game to replay every now and then.
3 Portal 2
Portal 2 is exactly what you’d expect in a great sequel. It features a significantly longer campaign, more puzzle variety, more tools to play with, and an added emphasis on the story. The world of Portal is largely expanded with added detail, and the new characters are all a total joy.
The beefy single-player is already fantastic on its own, but there’s also the co-op campaign. Co-op in Portal 2 is still some of the most fun you’ll have in a co-op puzzle game, really forcing you to work together to think of solutions. All of this adds up to make Portal 2 one of the best puzzle games of all time.
2 Half-Life 2
Launching in 2004, Half-Life 2, like its predecessor, changed gaming as a whole in regards to how to tell a story and how to guide the player without holding their hand. A big 13-chapter adventure with many notable moments and setpieces, the game still holds up all these years later. While the game’s use of its physics engine can seem a bit gimmicky today, it is used effectively in combat and puzzle-solving.
The story is just as engrossing as the original Half-Life, with a nasty dystopian world, and all the major characters are interesting in their own right. Half-Life 2 is still easy to get up and running on modern PCs, and the Xbox Series X backward compatible version running at 4K is easily the best console port.
1 Half-Life: Alyx
After Half-Life 2: Episode Two launched in 2007, fans were eagerly awaiting the next game in the series. People thought it would never come out, but to everyone’s surprise, Half-Life: Alyx was revealed. A PC VR exclusive prequel, you play as Alyx Vance, a notable character from the second game.
This title fully realized the potential that VR had and became a brand new experience, not like anything seen before. That’s a rarity for triple-A games nowadays. Plus, the story was great, complete with an awesome ending. It’s a shame that due to its VR exclusivity, not many people played it. Regardless, Alyx is a worthy entry into the series and was well worth the wait.
NEXT: Big Franchises That Should Have A VR Game
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