Please Help Me Like Third Person Shooters

“Third Person Shooters” are a weird, nebulous genre to me. Many 3D games have a third person perspective and some kind of shooting in them, but not as many are almost solely about shooting the way first person shooters are. Many games I‘ve seen described as third person shooters don’t seem to me to do anything interesting with the shooting; the shooting is just something you do along with whatever other action-adventure elements the developers put in there and often it feels kind of tacked on. Worse, these games are often really generic from a story/tone/aesthetic standpoint, too!

So, I'd be curious to hear some IC forum-approved recommendations of third person shooters, especially if they do something interesting and fun with the actual shooting mechanics OR if the story/aesthetics/vibes are weird or cool.

Short list of ones I've played, have some experience with, for reference:

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Games That Are Third Person Shooters That I Liked and Played All The Way Through

>! Gears of War


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Games That Are Third Person Shooters That I Liked But Didn‘t Finish

>! Vanquish

>! Earth Defense Force 4.1


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Games That I Liked That Have Third Person Shooting But I’m Not Sure If They're Third Person Shooters

>! Resident Evil 4

>! The Last of Us

>! Burning Rangers

>! Blue Stinger

>! the first three Ratchet & Clank games


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An IC classic that should be recommended right off the bat is Bullet Witch

I've recently been trying out [The Ascent](https://www.mobygames.com/game/168483/the-ascent/), and having a bit of fun with it. I haven't played it long enough yet to know if I can safely recommend it to anyone or not -- but it seems ok so far!

Does [Killer7](https://www.mobygames.com/game/18931/killer7/) count as a Third Person Shooter? I don't know, but I do recommend playing it.

[Control](https://www.mobygames.com/game/129106/control/) probably falls in to the "games that have shooting" rather than being a "third person shooter", but it was fun!

I have been slowly making my way through Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex for PS2. Seems worth checking out. I was not a fan of third person shooters until the 360 era and even now they are not my favorite type of game. The way the camera handles can make or break the experience.

don‘t know how “good” P.N.03 is but it’s novel

The _RE2_ remake is great
_MGSV_ of course
_Mount And Blade: Bannerlord_ is a lot of fun if you have a PC

I recommend Control and Returnal. They both have their flaws, but the 3rd-person format enables the game design to do things that would be much harder in first person with respect to positioning your avatar in space.

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@“yeso”#p116140 Mount And Blade: Bannerlord

How is the modding scene for Bannerlord? I feel like the best time to play those Mount and Blade games is after modders have spent 10,000 hours painstakingly modeling a historically accurate 14th century byzantine empire or whatever.

If you like Xbox 360 games I would give that Alan Wake a shot. It's short and pretty unique! You can get the Remastered one on modern platforms or you can play the original on PC still depending on your preferences.

If you are looking for pure 3rd person shooters where all you do is murder without other game elements, I can recommend Gears of War 2 as an old style AAA game with glorious combat encounter design and a fun dumb aesthetic.

A more IC game is Lost Planet. And even more IC game is Bullet Witch.

The best game and thus best third person shooter of all time is the original Resident Evil 4 and secret best 3rd person shooter is Resident Evil 5.

Max Payne 2 is a great pure 3rd person shooter.

EDF 4.1 or EDF 5 are stunningly brilliant 3rd person shooters. Pick the Ranger, choose an assault rifle and rocket launcher and have yourself some of the biggest fun available. They are very IC games but not in an esoteric, game literacy way. They're just excellent shooters where giant ants are consuming Tokyo and only you and your gun can stop them.

for somebody who doesn‘t already like the genre I wouldn’t recommend bullet witch, or PN03, or even GITSAC.

I think it's worth playing more Gears games as they're kind of the paragons of the genre. If you continue to like those, then you can get into weirder stuff.

In terms of other easy recs (that aren't weird):
I would recommend also Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine (PS3/360). It's got jetpacks and ground pound-y melee and stuff.

Lost Planet and Lost Planet 2 are both great in different ways. Lost Planet 1 is more survival-y and lost planet 2 is more blast-y.

If you want something sandboxy, those Just Cause games are good, even though they're not for me. Throwing it out there just in case hooking two planes together with a tether appeals to you, ha ha.

When you wanna get into weirder stuff, Bullet Witch is cool but ALSO sucks and is frustrating, so be ready for that. Binary Domain is a RGG studio TPS but it's squad based and your mileage may vary on that. Gunvalkyrie controls strangely but has some neat stuff to it (another Sega game that clearly fell out of the death of the dreamcast, onto the xbox)

People really like the 50 cent games but I find them rather generic. If it's not novel and exciting to you that 50 cent is in this game and taking it way too seriously, I don't think it holds up, personally!! I also (personally!) wouldn't call Control a TPS, and I wouldn't recommend Returnal in terms of figuring out how to like a third person shooter, because it's so difficult, and depends heavily on your interest in roguelikes and the ole die and retry thing. I played it longer than I might've if I had more games for my PS5 when I got it, but while I totally get why folks loved it, it didn't stick with me because I honestly just wanted to play through the thing and not restart every time.

I won't recommend the RE games or red dead redemption here because I feel they're both SLIGHTLY different genres than what we're going for when we say TPS!? Though if you like the less shooty, more explorey direction and want something a little different and somewhat stealthy (which usually I don't like!) The Saboteur is very good.

Well, that's what I got! If anything appeals I will recommend more in that direction.

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@“exodus”#p116155 because I feel they’re both SLIGHTLY different genres

I think you mean "format". 🤣

@“antillese”#p116157 I DO MEAN FORMAT

@“Tradegood”#p116149 I haven’t played it this year, so not sure what shape it + the modding scene are. But last summer there were some neat QoL mods but nothing really on the scale of Warband. That said, the base game + QoL mods was a pretty good time in and of itself

Binary Domain is the only real answer; everything else is fake.

I also really like Max Payne 1 and 2.
I played a little bit of 3 but didn't really enjoy it (I'll give it another shot someday), I know a lot of people did though.
I played a lot of Fur Fighters and MDK back in those Dreamcast days and was pretty into those.

But the real answer is Binary Domain.

I forgot about Space Marine! That's a great 3rd person shooter with a bit of a melee twist with the shoulder barge.

50 Cent Blood on the Sand is good if you appreciate stupidity. I did some level design on that. Spec Ops the Line is another cover shooter of the same era which might be of interest.

Vanquish is a very arcadey shooter and is a good gamey game.

If you have a coop buddy, Army of Two the 40th Day is very underrated. It was saddled with EA marketing and the first game so people didn't give it enough of a chance. It has some very good non linear combat arenas and almost excellent mechanics like the hostages.

Shadows of the Damned is one of my all timers and like Resi 4 and 5, it is a slower paced shooter where you solve some lock and key puzzles. All three of those are pretty linear and more 3rd person shootery than the Resi 2 and 3 remakes.

Haven't played it in like 12 years so no idea if it holds up but Kane & Lynch Dog Days was a top-tier co-op experience of the 360 era.

I was about to add K&L Dog Days! So I will also throw in Spec Ops The Line. For the other grime-y, doesn't play great, but what an atmosphere 3d person shooter of that era.

Honestly though Gears is the high point for me. So don't sleep on Gears of War Judgement as it the most arcade-y least serious of the series.

Thank you for all of these responses! I'll definitely look into these when I can.

So, I played the first level or so of a bunch of older TPS last night:

-Ghost in the Shell (PS1) feels almost more like a car combat game but people count it as a TPS, I guess. Moves and plays very smoothly and the first mission was fun. Graphics are kinda skuzzy, but not bad for their era. I liked this a lot!

-Gungage has this mix of being generic in most ways but with these bolts of weirdness running through in the dialogue, music, and enemy design. Not amazing gameplaywise, but I really liked the odd vibe.

-P.N. 03. Slick, clean, snappy. Lots of boring corridors in the first mission, but I liked the techno music bumping in the background and the shooting/movement felt good.

-Gungrave. I was just hitting buttons in this one. I didn't mind it, but it reminded me more of a beat-em up.

-WinBack. I appreciate the influence this game has had, but it is real rough around the edges now. I don't think I'll do much more with it.

-Loaded up Gun Valkyrie and played for a tiny bit before my Xbox emulator crashed. Oops. Looks cool, though; I'll have to come back.

One interesting thing about these games is that they all rely heavily on automatic targeting. I guess that made sense in the era, but it's a little weird because these are all games mainly about shooting, yet, in each one, the game is doing all or most of the aiming for me, so all I was really responsible for was the timing of the shots and for moving in and out of the way. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing; I had fun sampling these even if I was mainly just controlling movement and timing. It's just interesting to see a genre still working to get its feet firmly planted under itself while it's figuring out what to do.

@“rearnakedwindow”#p116313 I see you‘re playing a lot of old ones here! realistically I don’t think third person shooters Got Good until gears of war. everything before that was an evolution of the run and gun, or the platformer, or etc - until gears I don‘t feel that the TPS format was really even solidified. Gears was its defining popular moment and I’d say other successful games branch from there.

i want to say jet force gemini but i don‘t know how much i actually mean it. maybe a better real answer is the PSX Ghost in the Shell where you’re the bug tank, though it's hardly a standard TPS. i kind of think MGS:Peace Walker is my favourite of the more shootery-feeling MGSes (ie the ones after 3) in part due to its pared-back control scheme.

You could try some mecha games out! Metal Wolf Chaos, Daemon X Machina, and Virtual On are all pretty fun. Virtual On is stretching it a little, but I would still call it a third person shooter… ish.

That new *Armored Core* is coming out late this summer as well! Honestly, there's a ton of Giant robot shooting games, you'd probably end up finding one that strikes your fancy