With the one year anniversary of Black Ops for Mac coming up, I thought it would be a great time to look at some other shooters on the market. Some older, some new, but all terrifically fun. A few of these picks share some similarities with Black Ops, while others are completely different. (Variety is the spice of gamer life, is it not?) If you like certain game modes, the zombie coop or just a solid shooter, consider these recommendations from a longtime FPS fan.
If you liked the zombies mode in Black Ops, look no further than Killing Floor, an entire game based around the zombie wave concept. Many people compare the zombie mode in Black Ops to Left 4 Dead, but that is very inaccurate. It is much closer to Killing Floor, and I have to wonder if parts of the zombie mode in Black Ops were inspired by it. In this nightmarish zombie-horror game, up to 6 players cooperate together to survive increasingly difficult waves of “specimens.” With persistent gameplay rewards through the perk class system, you will always make progress towards improving your class. A great array of different maps and weapons keep things fresh, as well as customizable game modes. Over the years the community has gotten involved in the game, making new maps, character skins and even weapons. An added bonus is that it’s Steam Play-supported, and with cross-platform multiplayer you will never be at a lack for people to play with. The developers also release seasonally-themed content like Halloween monsters or Christmas maps completely free of charge. If you haven’t checked out Killing Floor yet, you are missing out. (Buy) (Gameplay Video)
Half-Life 2 Deathmatch
If you enjoy the FFA and TDM modes in Black Ops, look no further than Half-Life 2 Deathmatch to satisfy your shooting cravings. Both at once familiar and uniquely different, HL2 Deathmatch takes all the weapons and crazy physics from Half-Life 2 and throws them into a pure multiplayer fragfest. What do you get? Lot’s of straight up fun without any learning curve. While there are a few nuances to learn, this game remains accessible to new and veteran shooters alike. There is strong weapon and map diversity, excellently paced team and free-for-all matches and the physics make for hilarious and awesome deaths, even your own. At only $5 this is a game that is very easy to recommend and has plenty of people playing it despite it being released all the way back in 2004. Did I mention everyone gets a gravity gun? Buy it and start launching toilets and barrels and your friends (and strangers) today. (Buy) (Gameplay Video)
While this game is still in beta and under Steam’s early-access program, it stands out for a number of reasons. Being made by an indie team, they aim to revive the tactical shooter. The game is both at once highly competitive and lethal, while being balanced between one-life gameplay and prolonged action. Realistic weapon handling, bullet physics and kit-load outs create a distinctive experience we don’t get very often these days. There are currently only eight maps in the game, but they feature multiple game modes and some are set at night. You can join a straight up team fight, objective-based capture and defend modes, or a surprisingly fun and challenging cooperative fight against the AI. With a large community following, frequent updates and Steam Play features, Insurgency should be checked out by anyone interested in a tactical shooter or those looking for an alternative to the Call of Duty-style gameplay. Even so, if you enjoyed sniping or S&D in Black Ops, it is significantly better here. There is a definitely a learning curve, but there is a thrilling and intense satisfaction that comes from outsmarting or outshooting the enemy team. (Buy)
Another indie and early-access based pick, Interstellar Marines is an interesting and ambitious title. While very much early in development, it already is worth your attention for its spectacular graphics, incredible audio, day/night cycles on maps, multiple weather systems and more. You can just load up maps and play around with the weather systems by yourself, but the best part is, of course, the multiplayer. Featuring free-for-all and team deathmatch modes, Interstellar Marines keeps things dynamic by completely changing the pace of combat depending on the weather and lighting. During daytime it is easy to identify friend and foe from a distance. But as night falls, or storms or snow take place, you must be far more careful. With a very friendly and involved community this is a game you can get behind and have a blast playing, even it its current form. With a lot of multiplayer improvements planned and a strong cooperative campaign upcoming, Interstellar Marines is one to keep an eye on as it develops. (Buy) (Gameplay Video)
A very different pick than any other title on this list, Nuclear Dawn is a complex team-based shooter/strategy hybrid. At its core the game is an intense multiplayer shooter with a fairly solid real time strategy element overlaid in every match. With up to 16vs16 battles, things can get epic. Expertly crafted maps, a satisfying class system (with unlocks if you really must) and solid graphics and audio deliver a well rounded multiplayer shooter experience. There is a pretty high learning curve, but tutorials and friendly players help overcome the hurdle. While your overall enjoyment will rely on having a good Commander and team, the times when you do have both easily makes up for the times you don’t. Whether slowly advancing across the map, building and blasting the enemy or desperately defending your base to the last man, Nuclear Dawn is tense, exhilarating and incredibly fun. More people need to be playing this game right now. Make yourself one of them. (Buy) (Gameplay Video)
Do you play these games? Just getting into them? Have other recommendations? Let us know in the comments!