There is no plan for making the best first-person shooter games that you should play right now.
Some of our picks have great single-player campaigns that we still think about years later, others have great social places where you can hang out with your friends, and a few will bring out your competitive side.
In recent years, there have been a lot of live-service first-person shooters that seem to care more about making money than making good games, which has hurt the genre’s image.
Live-service games aren’t bad in and of themselves, but there have been a few bad ones in the FPS field in the past few years, which has made some players look back instead of forward for their games to play.
This list has been changed to include some more of the best FPS games of all time, for those who want to play some of the best ones again.
- 35. PUBG: Battlegrounds
- 34. Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus
- 33. Borderlands 2
- 32. Team Fortress 2
- 31. Overwatch
- 30. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
- 29. F.E.A.R.
- 28. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
- 27. Serious Sam: The First Encounter
- 26. Quake
- 25. Superhot
- 24. Splitgate
- 23. Valorant
- 22. DUSK
- 21. Back 4 Blood
- 20. Metro Exodus
- 19. SWAT 4
- 18. Far Cry 3
- 17. The Operative: No One Lives Forever
- 16. Black Mesa
- 15. Apex Legends
- 14. Quake 3 Arena
- 13. Titanfall 2
- 12. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- 11. Unreal Tournament
- 10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- 9. GoldenEye 007
- 8. Left 4 Dead 2
- 7. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- 6. BioShock Remastered
- 5. Half-Life 2
- 4. Doom Eternal
- 3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- 2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- 1. Destiny 2
35. PUBG: Battlegrounds
The battle royale trend started with the game PUBG. It wasn’t the first battle royale game, but it made the things we all know and love about the genre popular: random gear spread out on a big map, a starting plane from which players jump, and a play zone that gets smaller and smaller as time goes on.
Since it first came out, a lot has changed. Now, it’s more finished, has a wide range of maps for different play styles, and is, at the very least, free to play.
On the biggest maps, you might not see another player for a long time. This is one of the things that makes PUBG stand out, along with the true bullet physics and pace.
You can play with a group of friends, but the times when you have to sneak around on your own are the ones that stick with me.
34. Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus
This game about killing Nazis is smarter than it sounds. The guns are big and loud, and they turn members of the Third Reich into bloody pulps.
The more shots you pump out, the better. New Colossus feels different from other old-school shooters because you can use any two guns at the same time.
The story is the most amazing part. You learn more than ever about the broken hero of the series, BJ Blazkowicz, through an origin story that isn’t afraid to get dark.
A skilled cast manages to pull off a story that goes back and forth between serious and funny.
33. Borderlands 2
When the first Borderlands game was announced, it got a lot of attention right away because of its bright, cartoon-like images and interesting characters and world.
Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the first game and introduces Handsome Jack, who is now a well-known villain in video games.
Borderlands 2 was a big step up from the first game, which was already very good.Critics liked the game, as shown by its 91 Metascore and 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Award for Action Game of the Year.
32. Team Fortress 2
It wouldn’t be completely true to say that no one thought Team Fortress 2 would be a hit. In fact, at the time, many people thought it would be a very good game.
Few people were ready for how interesting TF 2 would be and how its success would change the video game business for good.
If you look past the controversial ways that TF2 moved us toward the “games as a service” era, you’ll find that it’s just one of the best multiplayer FPS games ever made, and a great example of how personality can make an already great game into something magical.
We were ready to give up on a certain type of game, but Blizzard brought us back to it right away.
Starting with the basics of a class-based multiplayer shooter, the company smoothed out every rough spot left over from games like Team Fortress 2.
It then replaced any personality it lost in the process with a cast of heroes based on MOBAs that became quickly popular.
Since May 2016, if you’ve been on the internet at all, you’ve probably seen at least one piece of Tracer fan art.
It’s hard to separate Overwatch’s charming characters from the game’s appeal, but don’t let them overshadow the many smart design choices Blizzard made for its first action game since, uh, Blackthorne?
Stop wasting time and get to the point.
30. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is definitely more focused on action than the first Rainbow Six games. But in some ways, I feel like Vegas 2 captures the “fantasy” of a Tom Clancy game better than any other Rainbow Six game because it is (relatively) easier to play.
Vegas 2 has the same great level design, beautiful graphics, and interesting mix of team-based tactics and heart-pounding action that made the last game in the series such a pleasant surprise.
Vegas 2, on the other hand, does everything just a little bit better than Vegas. It also has the best version of one of the best co-op games in FPS history, Terrorist Hunt.
Over the last ten years or so, there have been a lot more first-person scary games. When F.E.A.R. came out in 2005, however, the idea of mixing a first-person shooter and a horror game was much more unique.
The truth is that F.E.A.R. still seems pretty new even now.
F.E.A.R. is a first-person horror game, but it focuses more on first-person shooter elements than most current first-person horror games do.
This makes it a pure action game that sometimes goes into more supernatural waters. F.E.A.R. is one of the most exciting games on this list because it has both innovative enemy AI (which is still surprising good) and well-done scares.
28. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
The TimeSplitters series is a lost gem, and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is the last and best movie in the series.
In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, each level takes the player on a trip through different times. Even though the story doesn’t always follow the most important rules of time travel, the characters are memorable and often just plain funny. But the effort is only half of the way there.
There are also a lot of optional challenge levels in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect that will test your FPS skills, sometimes to the point where you want to pull out your hair in anger.
27. Serious Sam: The First Encounter
Some FPS games mix things up by adding RPG elements, chance loot, and worlds that can be explored. Serious Sam: None of those things are needed for The First Encounter.
The game only has a truckload of guns and enough strange alien enemies to attack a small country, but that’s enough.
Serious Sam is a first-person shooter (FPS) game that is hard but fair and is made to keep players holding down the trigger as long as possible.
The game is fun for action fans because it has a lot of enemies, a bombastic personality, and a head-banging music.
Every level is hard, which makes every win feel like it was won. Serious Sam Classic and Serious Sam HD are the two versions of this game.
Aside from the better graphics and higher system needs, the games are pretty much the same.
People often forget that Quake’s difficult development broke up the id Software team, which basically invented the first-person shooter genre as we know it.
But before they went their different ways, that team kicked down the door and showed everyone how powerful that new way of making games really was.
When it came out, Quake was praised for being a better version of Doom in many ways. However, we now know that it is so much more than that.
The game’s excellent multiplayer modes showed a lot of people how much fun it is to play with other people online, and its haunting single-player story gave a sneak peek at the kinds of campaigns this genre would eventually have.
Doom may have been a step in the right direction, but Quake showed a better way to go.
Superhot is a mix of puzzle, first-person shooter, and dramatic gunfight simulator. This unique shooter is based on the fact that you can stop moving and slow down time.
Taking a moment to look at the situation is the key to winning, but in this impossible-to-style-up and devilishly hard game, only speed will save you.
Play Superhot in VR if you can, but there’s no wrong way to play one of the most original and fun FPS games ever made, as well as one of the most adrenaline-packed games ever made.
One of the most unique first-person shooter games of this age is also one of the most addicting.
Splitgate is a quick and very smooth shooter that solves the question, “What would happen if Halo and Portal got together and had a baby?”
Well, the kid would not only have a very shaky trigger finger, but it would also act much better than you would expect.
Splitgate’s free-to-play multiplayer chaos is always enjoyable, thanks to a powerful arsenal that matches the Master Chief’s best weapons.
But it’s the addition of these gates that adds a layer of strategy and chaos to what was already becoming a famous first-person shooter.
Riot Games’ effort to steal CS:GO’s crown as the best competitive FPS. It’s like a mix of Valve’s fast-paced shooter and Overwatch’s over-the-top heroes.
At its core, it’s still a strategy FPS where positioning is key and you die with one headshot, but each class has flashy skills and abilities that can change the course of a round.
Some of them let you jump high into the air, while others tell you where enemies are. The most powerful ones can hurt enemies through walls and clear out whole areas.
It has more color than CS:GO, but the clean graphics show that the focus is on gameplay rather than looks.
It was only in Early Access for a short time, which shows how polished Riot’s design is and how well-balanced its maps and heroes are. Both will get better as time goes on.
DUSK, a first-person shooter released in 2018, may be an ode to several genre classics that came before it, but the fact that it recreates the feeling of playing those games so well instead of how many of them actually play today puts it above many of those FPS pioneers.
Even people who don’t usually like the “find the key, labyrinth levels, and blistering pace” style of FPS games that DUSK pays homage to often find themselves hopelessly addicted to it because of how well it works, how fast it moves, and how it tells us that games are meant to be fun above all else.
21. Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood, a new version of Valve’s famous Left 4 Dead, is one of the best third-party games added to Xbox Game Pass in the last year or so.
Even though killing zombies by yourself isn’t very exciting, the action is taken to a whole new level in the great co-op mode, which is equal parts fun and chaos.
The smart card system and B-movie style add comedy and strategy to a game that makes you appreciate every last-ditch attempt to get to the safe room, whether you make it there or not.
20. Metro Exodus
A shooter where the story really matters. The Metro series is known for combining stealth and shooting in claustrophobic settings full of hungry mutants who want to rip your throat out.
Exodus is built from the same DNA, but adds a new level of polish and ambition. The levels are huge and beautiful, with lots of features that make you want to explore every crumbling building.
From Moscow, you take a train through the Russian wilderness, stopping in desert towns, snowy tundras, and military camps, all of which have secrets to find and enemies to blow to pieces.
You go on tasks by yourself, and leaving the safety of your party is scary. You are safe because you have a lot of creative weapons that can be upgraded, like crossbows and revolvers.
Back on the train, you’ll get to know your hardy Russian traveling partners, and the likeable cast will make you care about what happens to the main character, Artyom.
If you want pure action, you might not like how slowly Exodus moves, but the cross-country journey makes you feel like you’re always making progress. Once you get things rolling, you won’t want to stop.
19. SWAT 4
What makes SWAT 4 different from all the other amazing tactical FPS games that have come before and after it? If I had to pick one thing that made this game so good, it would be the “level design.”
SWAT 4’s somewhat unusual premise (compared to other tactical FPS games) is the base for some really creative missions that make seemingly normal places more interesting than even some of the most elaborate fantasy worlds.
SWAT 4’s great strategy gameplay always comes up with new ways to surprise you, like sneaking into a cult leader’s camp or going down into the basement of a serial killer’s house.
18. Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 came out in November 2012 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It had a beautiful open world on a sunny tropical island that players could explore.
Vaas, the game’s charismatic enemy, is what people remember most about it today. He has quickly become one of the most loved bad guys in video games.
Vaas’s unpredictable behavior, memorable lines, and powerful anger have helped him stick in the minds of players for a long time.
This is a credit to his voice actor, Michael Mando, whose popularity has recently risen thanks to his great role as Nacho on Better Call Saul.
17. The Operative: No One Lives Forever
It’s true that No One Lives Forever’s seemingly permanent stay in licensing Hell has made the words of those who call this 2000 FPS game one of the best ever made louder, but that doesn’t mean that Monolith’s spy shooter doesn’t deserve all the praise it gets.
The most surprising thing to me about NOLF after all these years is that it’s a comedy game.
Even though being a funny comedy game is usually a big deal, NOLF goes one step further by also having one of the most creative and interesting FPS missions ever made.
This game’s design holds up well even to the most critical eye, but the best thing about it is that it makes you smile.
16. Black Mesa
It’s what you get when you take one of the most popular shooters of all time, Half-Life, change the ending, make the graphics better, add more characters, make the levels bigger, make the guns more powerful, and fix the physics.
You wouldn’t know that Black Mesa was made by fans (and accepted by Valve) because every room is made with care that you don’t see from many AAA teams.
This is more than just a remake of a classic game; it’s a full overhaul that brings one of the best shooters of all time and one of the best main characters, the silent scientist Gordon Freeman, into the modern day.
All the things you like about Half-Life are still there. You’ll shoot headcrab zombies, alien monsters, and human forces with a variety of weapons, from a strong shotgun to a prototype energy Gluon Gun that melts enemies in seconds.
But the new things really stand out. In the original Half-Life, the end part of the game took place in a dead place called Xen.
Here, there are lots of bright colors, and every rocky outcrop and strange group of plants is made from scratch. It’s a lot bigger and feels like a whole new game. Half-Life is now complete.
15. Apex Legends
Fans of first-person shooting games love Apex Legends by Respawn Entertainment.
There are a lot of parallels between Apex Legends and Fortnite, even though Fortnite is played from the third-person view instead of the first-person view.
Some people like Fortnite and others like Apex Legends, so it’s hard to say how long the argument will last. Its complicated ways to play involve class skills like rope flying and rifts between dimensions.
14. Quake 3 Arena
Many people didn’t believe that Quake 3 could sell itself without the single-player stories of its predecessors and rely only on the popularity of its multiplayer deathmatch modes.
However, once they played the game and felt how fast it was, they usually changed their minds.
Quake 3 puts an emphasis on speed in a way that few games have done before or since.
Slowing down is often a death sentence, but what’s really impressive about this shooter all these years later is the surprising depth of its seemingly arcade-like gameplay and how it pushes you to master a series of mechanics that are often tragically underused in modern multiplayer games.
13. Titanfall 2
Titanfall 2 is so good that it’s crazy. When you’ve mastered wall-running exactly, you feel like you’re doing some kind of deadly ballet.
You can fly past your enemies at impossible speeds and catch them off guard. Titanfall 2’s campaign is dominated by the unforgettable BT-7274 and unbridled creativity, whether you’re switching decades in the blink of an eye, going through a moment frozen in time, or just ripping other Titans apart when you step into the titanic bot boots of BT-7274.
You get rewarded for using the surroundings to your advantage, and you can feel the moment when you start to think differently and realize all the options a map gives you.
The physics-bending features of its multiplayer mode, which are similar to Quake, make an already great shooter even better.
But the amazing story is what makes Titanfall 2 such a great shooter that will last for a long time. Let’s cross BT’s huge droid numbers that Titanfall 3 will come out at some point.
12. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is the Battlefield game that most people remember as the best one so far. The Bad Company series added the ability to destroy the surroundings, which was very cool at the time.
The Battlefield series got ten times better when you could destroy walls to find troops hiding in houses. This made it stand out from other games.
Each multiplayer map was very detailed, which made people want to come back for one more fight. The whole game is very well done. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a great game, even by the standards of today.
11. Unreal Tournament
Still, it’s hard to believe that Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 came out just a few weeks apart, and it’s even harder to believe that Unreal Tournament beat Quake 3 at what some people thought was its own game.
Let’s put that argument aside for now and just praise Unreal Tournament’s gameplay, graphics, modes, weapons, and, most importantly, probably the best multiplayer map design of all time.
This is as serious and fun as PC multiplayer shooters can get.
10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege has quietly become one of the best multiplayer shooters out there.
It combines the intensity and replayability of Counter-Strike with the unique powers and personalities of Overwatch (but with a more grounded cast).
The most amazing thing about Siege is how easy it is to destroy your environment. Walls, floors, and ceilings can all be shot through and destroyed, so you have to be smart about which flanks to cover and which walls to strengthen so that someone doesn’t use thermite to blow through them.
You and the other people in your group can choose from a variety of highly skilled Operators, each with their own specialties that can work well together to make a rock-solid team comp.
What matters most, though, is how good you are at sneaking and aiming a gun.
Every round turns into a very strategic and tense game of cat and mouse, with one team trying to protect a goal while the other team tries to find danger and stay alive after a breach.
9. GoldenEye 007
Some people would say that the bad reputation of video games based on movies is gone, but no movie-based game has been as exciting as GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64.
GoldenEye 007 took first-person shooters to a whole new level by adding a wide range of weapons and a mission that stayed true to the first movie.
Many people think that GoldenEye 007 is the best first-person shooter of all time because it has split-screen gameplay.
Getting the Golden Gun in multiplayer for a one-shot kill is too sweet, and picking Oddjob to mess with your friends is a great feeling.
8. Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead wasn’t the first game of its kind, but the co-op zombie shooter hit on something that many of us didn’t even know we wanted.
Its almost arcade-like action, amazing level design, cinematic presentation, and almost perfect level of challenge made it an instant hit with millions of people.
But Left 4 Dead 2 was even more than that. It’s the best game of its kind, but what really makes Left 4 Dead 2 stand out in the history of FPS games is how easy it is to play it again after all these years and how much people still want to play it with their friends.
7. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
This is the last part of John 117’s story. The Spartan car crash that came out in 2014 is almost impossible to tell apart from Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
After years of server fixes, technical changes, and improvements to the graphics, this is now the only way to play Halo during its golden age.
Halo has never felt more important, whether you’re playing the best second level in any game in the first Combat Evolved or shooting your friends in PvP on Halo 3’s all-time classic Guardian map at a blistering 120 frames per second on an Xbox Series X.
We’re happy that Needler got the chance to make things right.
6. BioShock Remastered
BioShock Remastered might not have the most fun first-person shooting parts, but it is the best BioShock game overall.
Thanks in no small part to the now-iconic figure Andrew Ryan, the story has enough turns and twists to keep players interested and scared.
Many people would say that BioShock 2 and Infinite have better first-person shooting gameplay, but the original game is the best in the series because of its setting in Rapture, its Big Daddies and Little Sisters, and its gripping story.
5. Half-Life 2
People have said that one reason Valve hasn’t finished Half-Life 3 yet is that they felt like people’s hopes for the game had gotten too high and were hurting it.
You could say that the same thing happened when Half-Life 2 came out. How do you make a follow-up to one of the best, most creative, and most popular PC games ever?
How could that game ever live up to the hype?
Well, Half-Life 2 didn’t just live up to predictions; it blew them away. Half-Life 2 didn’t so much move the genre forward as it jumped into the air and landed somewhere that other developers couldn’t quite see but badly wanted to be.
This is a nearly perfect single-player game that does things with pacing and level design that, after all these years, feel even more fresh because so many companies have moved away from what made this game great.
4. Doom Eternal
Even though we didn’t exactly sing its praises at the time, Doom Eternal really is the best FPS game ever made. This song sums up everything about the genre in one glorious, searing, rebellious roar.
It takes a lot of willpower. It’s also a very elegant way to move around, especially for a game where you have to garotte a monster every 17 seconds.
When you get into the flow of Eternal, it feels perfect, like Mario 64 or Mirror’s Edge. Every gun feels just right, and each level flows perfectly.
It’s clear that every monster dragged screaming from the depths of Hell was made to make the Doom Slayer act with just the right amount of anger.
It’s amazing that it works so well on almost every modern device. Doom Eternal is a kickass game on any platform.
You can play it on an original Xbox One, rip Cacodemon eyes out at 120 frames per second on a cutting-edge PC, or pull spines on the Switch port, which is very well done.
If every PS5 and Xbox Series X game ran as well as id’s technically unmatched shooter, we probably wouldn’t need another generation of systems.
3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Valve also made Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which is another game on this list.
The first-person shooter came out in 2012, which is more than a decade ago. However, it is still one of the most played games on Steam, which shows how well the complex game features were made.
In the game, terrorists and counter-terrorists fight to reach a goal. Most of the time, they do this on Dust II, one of the most famous video game maps of all time.
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
There are two eras of Call of Duty games, and each one represents a different time in the history of first-person shooter gameplay.
In the first era, which was represented by the first few Call of Duty games, there were more single-player campaigns and multiplayer choices that worked well with them.
During the second age of the series, the focus was on developing a multiplayer style that would make this series a worldwide phenomenon.
Well, Call of Duty 4 is the game that connects these two eras. It has probably the best single-player campaign and some of the best multiplayer in the history of FPS games.
Even though we were used to amazing Call of Duty campaigns at the time, Modern Warfare shocked people with its shocking story and amazing tasks, the most famous of which was “All Ghillied Up.”
We didn’t know it at the time, but the game’s multiplayer would also change competitive first-person shooter games for good and help make this series a household name worth billions of dollars.
1. Destiny 2
Destiny 2 is better than anyone thought it would be. And we love Destiny so, so much. Destiny 2 is better in every way, making the first game look like a set of rough drafts.
Rather, forget that. It changes, taking the MMOFPS idea from the first game as a starting point and turning it into a whole new, richer, deeper, and wider experience.
Destiny 2’s mission alone is enough to make it worth buying because it takes place in a world with people, details, and a story.
It is a hell of a good Halo game because it is much better managed, designed, and built around great, in-the-moment stories and set pieces.
But this is just the beginning. With a simplified, streamlined leveling system that runs through all of Destiny 2’s vastly expanded activities – from story-driven side-quests to spiraling, multi-part Exotic Questlines, to treasure hunting, to exploration, to in-world lore hunting, to the brilliantly creative new Strikes and pure, tactically reworked Crucible PvP – everything you want to do, however you want to play, will move you forward.
And then there’s the much more open-ended way of putting together load-outs, which is boosted by weapons that are made in more creative and artistic ways.
Even better, with the release of Destiny 2: New Light, you can enjoy a lot of the action for free, while regular Destiny fans can pay for The Witch Queen, which is the best Destiny expansion ever.