3rd person shooter games aren't as numerous as their first person counterparts, but they remain no less visceral despite the detachment from the character's point of view. If anything, the third person viewpoint lends more familiarity to the characters under your control—by giving you a tangible character with whom to relate.
Update [February 11, 2014 ]: Five new games added to the list.
30. Ghost Recon Future Soldier
The Tom Clancy gaming series has a problem and that problem is called “Call of Duty” who successfully out-Tom-Clancy’d Tom Clancy. With Future Soldier, Ubisoft is trying their best to get back at the big guns from Activision, and well they do manage to get closer at least. Future Soldier is a solid squad based military shooter that has a little simulation aroma added for taste without being too heavy on it really.
It works quite well though. Sneak towards the enemy positions, scout out the area ahead with an UAV drone, mark enemies and overwhelm them quickly without a big firefight. It’s a surprisingly well working formula most of the time. Also it’s a pretty game with a lot of different environments and the obligatory russian extremists that want to re-ignite the cold war. Every military action game seems to need those these days, though I hear the new trend goes towards South American tyrants in the coming season.
29. Tomb Raider
Well look what the cat dragged in. Lara Croft. Long time no see. Well actually that’s not true, there were a lot of Tomb Raider games over the years. This one is just the first that goes for a full makeover and oh my what a makeover that is. The new Tomb Raider is structurally more reminiscent of Batman’s first stint at Arkham, as in that there is a relatively large, relatively open environment of which new sections can be explored with new gear. Also this game is rightly featured as a third person shooter, because that’s most of what Lara does now. Shooting dudes with bow and arrow.
And she’s very good at it, the game is a great reinterpretation of what Tomb Raider can be. There could have been a few more actual tombs to raid, but let’s not get picky. It’s one of the best games of last year, and also the best selling Tomb Raider game to date. The latter of which is of course no indicator of inherent quality, but it is a really fun third person manshoot. With not a single endangered animal harmed this time around.
28. Saints’ Row 4
The antithesis to last year’s uber epic GTA entry was Saint’s Row 4. Where Rockstar takes their series closer and closer to interactive movies, Volition takes the things that GTA lacks mostly, namely every mechanical video game trope ever invented, and put them into their games.
Sadly the character customization is no longer quite as powerful as it was with Saints’ Row 2. But still it’s quite a lot of fun to create your gangster. Also the head of the Saints is now the President of the United States. Until aliens arrive and abduct the president with all staff and trap everyone in a virtual world and uh yeah the story is irrelevant, it’s all about gameplay. Open world superheroic gangster goodness. This is the proper sequel that Crackdown never got, and that is damn high praise coming from me.
27. Binary Domain
Shooting faceless dudes in the face gets old quick, which is why Binary Domain pits the player against faceless robots to shoot. Many many faceless robots to shoot in their faceless metal faceplates. It’s a great game with great shooting and very satisfying scrap metal simulation mechanics where you can shoot the robots figuratively to bits.
Tactical dismemberment is the name of the game. Shoot their legs of, and they slowly crawl towards you. Shoot their heads off, and they start shooting each other. Oh and the story is also pretty neat, there’s a French gentleman robot sidekick and huge bossfights and nothing that’s not to like really.
26. Max Payne 3
Poor Max. Lost in Brazil where few people speak his language, he’s tasked with protecting a rich guys daughter and fails terribly and then does what he does best. Hitting the bottle hard. And then what he does second best: Going on a big ass rampage all through beautiful Sao Paolo.
What makes Max Payne 3 interesting is the stunning presentation. Rockstar outdid themselves with detailed environments and sound design, the soundtrack by LA indie noise band “Health” is spot on and the number of bullets zipping through the air still puts all John Woo movies to shame. While the mechanics can feel a bit outdated at times, it is still a perfect modern addition to the venerated series.
25. Syphon Filter
Released in 1999 on the Sony Playstation, many will tell you that Syphon Filter is their favorite game of all-time. While it is labeled as a stealth game, the actual ‘stealth’ part of it seems to fall to the wayside as the action starts to take over throughout the course of the game.
24. Red Faction: Guerilla
Guerilla is on this list for two reasons: Bringing destructibility and absolute fun to consoles. ‘Strategic destruction’ is what sets this game apart; Being able to put explosives in one part of a building and watch it crumble because of your expert placement is more fun than you know. Oh – The story is good too. Hah.
23. Warhawk (PS3)
One of the few launch titles that the Playstation 3 can say it had, Warhawk was a multiplayer-only fragfest. Anyone who tells you they have picked up a controller, played this game with three other people, and not had a marginally good time is lying - right through their teeth.
22. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
The first of the series, Extreme Condition did not score that impressively from a critical standpoint; However, that did not stop it from selling a large amount of copies and delivering one of the more visceral experiences on platforms to date. Not only was the combat fast-paced and action-oriented, but the graphics were above par for its time.
21. SOCOM: 2 U.S. Navy Seals
Perhaps one of the most innovative games on this list, SOCOM 2 brought use of the headset to single player and in essence – to multiplayer as well. Issuing commands through the headset and not having to interface with the controller created a new level of immersion between gamer and game. While the first game did all of this as well, the second did it all better.