The Most Innovative Third-Person Shooters You Haven’t Played

Some games are simply unforgettable as they elevate and revolutionize the genre; the ones on this list are not. The third-person shooters listed below are games that had a lot of ideas ahead of their time but couldn’t find mass appeal when released.

Operation WinBack

1999 – Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2
The story follows Jean-Luc Cougar, a secret agent infiltrating a laser satellite’s command center taken over by a terrorist group called the Crying Lions.

Operation WinBack is a very underrated game; it’s one of the first, if not the first, to feature a cover system. The Koei game had a very cliche yet fun story and featured multiple endings which back in 1999 was not really common for shooters. A decade after its release, its groundbreaking cover system and laser sight mechanic have become staples of many action games including: Metal Gear Solid, Gears of War and Resident Evil.


2001 – Dreamcast, PlayStation 2
After escaping from a secret laboratory, Jack a bounty hunter for ACN wakes up learning he is suffering from amnesia and that his headhunter license has now been revoked.

Headhunter’s influences are clearly coming from 80s sci-fi action films (Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall in particular) and blends action sequences with bike racing sections in-between. One of Headhunter’s most underrated features are its lore in which FMV cutscenes, propaganda commercials and satirical news broadcasts are building a very detailed and sophisticated world.

Kill Switch

2003 – PlayStation 2, Xbox
Nick Bishop is a super-soldier puppeteered by a man known as “Controller” who, after wiping Bishop’s memories, uses a direct neural connection to control him.

If Kill Switch is not the first game to feature a cover system, it surely is the first one to put the cover mechanic at the center of its gameplay. The tagline of the game: Take Cover, Take Aim, Take Over, is an embodiment of its gameplay. On top of an engaging story, Kill Switch needs to be credited for introducing the blind fire mechanic that is present in every modern day shooter featuring a cover system.

The Club

2008 – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Renwick, Dragov, Nemo, Seager, Adjo, Kuro, Finn, and Killen are forced to compete in The Club, a modern form of gladiatorial combat where speed and accuracy are vital.

The Club is the brainchild of the studio behind the Project Gotham Racing series; and in many ways, it is a shooter that plays like a racing game, where speed and accuracy are rewarded. Bizarre Creations has perfectly succeeded in transposing their concept of Kudo points to the shooter genre and in many ways, the kill streaks and combo system from the Call of Duty series, is directly lifted from The Club’s approach to twitch shooting.


2009 – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Rubi Malone is a “problem-solver”: a bounty hunter and mercenary hired to retrieve a briefcase containing a human heart that is hijacked by a gang.

Wet is a grindhouse-inspired, over-stylized game that is a blast to play. Rubi, voiced by Eliza Dushku, strings kills a la Max Payne and when in berserker mode the already cinematic game turns into a noir style with bold red, black and white visuals. Wet needs to be credited for heralding some of the worst trends prevalent in modern third-person shooters: cinematics filled with QTEs and QTEs boss fights.