The best FPS games we think you should play right now
So often the bleeding edge of games tech, yet so often fundamentally the same underneath: there’s a reason we can’t get enough of pretend shooting pretend people in their pretend faces. It is a pure test of skill and reflex, a game about movement at least as much as it is about violence, and done right it is absolutely delightful. And hey, sometimes you get a decent gimmick or story thrown into the mix.
These are our favourite 50 first-person shooters on PC, from 1993-2017. Your favourite is at number 13.
You can navigate the pages of this feature using the arrows alongside the header image on each page or using the arrow keys of your keyboard.
The Best 13 FPS Games List :
Release Date: 2016
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Its release might have been sandwiched between a new Battlefield and a new Call of Duty, but Titanfall 2 is so much more than 2016’s ‘other’ shooter. It builds on everything the first game got right, balancing its multiplayer to near-perfection while adding a compelling single-player campaign that serves as both an excellent introduction to the game’s mechanics and a charming, self-contained narrative.
Release date: 2016
Developer: id Software
The big Doomguy in the sky must have been watching over us, because now we have a whole new Doom to play, and it’s actually brilliant. Look past the thoroughly modern graphics, the sizzle, and all the demon-punching, and you’ll see the beating heart of the original Doom, pumping enough blood through those veins to keep you speeding through corridors and the Martian hellscape, unloading your gun into the hideous bodies of dedicated walking corpses and furious monsters.
So much more than an evolution of its superb predecessor, Half-Life 2 is frequently hailed as the greatest FPS, and indeed the greatest game, of all time. Such accolades are not undeserved, either. The long awaited sequel was hugely ambitious, developed by a considerably more confident Valve.
Everything is bigger this time around: the environments, the enemies, the story – it’s a blockbuster, but a smart one. Some of the original Half-Life’s subtlety and thoughtfulness gets lost, but Half-Life 2 brings so much more to the table. Decent AI companions; real characters who exist to do more than die comically; physics that transform the world into a seemingly real, tangible place – it was a gargantuan step forward.
Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
Release date: 2015
If realistic War Thunder skins aren’t your cup of the proverbial hot beverage, then the community certainly has your back. Unfortunately, there are no Warhammer 40K tech trees in the game, so this Ork-themed skin for the Russian P-63A-5 Kingcobrawill have to suffice. It’s stenciled serial number and rusty, blood-red coat of paint underpin the aesthetic, but what seals the deal is the nose art – an Ork cartoon surrounded by the following onomatopoeic words: “dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka”.
Left 4 Dead 2
Release date: 2009
Left 4 Dead 2’s zombies aren’t like other zombies. They crash over you like waves, crawling up walls and leaping across gaps. They’re accompanied by specials: highly-evolved undead that force you to work together. A smoker will drag you off into an alley with its long tongue where you’ll be mobbed by common undead. A hunter will pin you to the asphalt before tearing out your throat. A boomer will charge right into your face and explode, drowning you in green gloop.
Quake III Arena
It’s hard to say the word purity without sounding worryingly like a white supremacist or a Victorian lady, but that’s what Quake III: Arena is. No, not racist or Victorian. Pure.
Quake III: Arena is not fancy, and even at launch it was, dare we say, predictable – taking what was great about Quake and squeezing it into a multiplayer arena. But it’s also slick and fast and polished and thrilling and addictive and… just great. Crazy, hectic, frenetic awesomeness. And it’s lived on and on, and might just end up outliving us all.
Release Date: 2012
Developer: Daybreak (formerly Sony Online Entertainment)
Link: Official site
PlanetSide 2 creates scenes that are like nothing else in gaming. Watching thousands of virtual soldiers – infantry leading the charge, futuristic tanks shelling from afar, and mini-fighter jets buzzing the area – you will catch yourself marvelling at what gaming is capable of… then, you take a tank bolt to the face. It’s even got a Guinness World Record for the biggest FPS battle of all time – in case we needed to make the point any clearer: PlanetSide 2 is massive.
PlanetSide 2’s three-way futuristic warfare is a war-story generator. Like that time you pushed forward at the head of a column, only to meet an ambush. Or the time you skydived out of a Galaxy aerial transport onto the top of a tower. Or the time you baited an enemy strike fighter into a dogfight in a twisting canyon, only for him to bounce off the walls to his death.
Rainbow Six Siege
Release date: 2015
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
It’s practically multiplayer only, has a burgeoning esports scene, and is packed full of microtransactions – yes, Rainbow Six: Siege has taken the franchise in a new, trendy direction. But if you cheer up a wee bit you might also notice that it’s absolutely brilliant.
Every moment of Siege’s boxed-in battles is fraught with tension and danger, from the moment you start scouting an area with your drone, praying your enemies don’t spot it before you can find the hostage, to that final attempt to save the day by shooting down walls and smashing through the ceiling. Its asymmetrical multiplayer and tactical openness genuinely mean no round plays out the same way.
Release date: 2016
Compare it to Team Fortress 2 or to League of Legends if you like – Overwatch has enough in common with both to share some of their appeal, but different enough that it’ll take months for players to figure out its best character combinations.
It’s a game about teamwork, to the extent that little is made of who killed you, or how many kills you amassed. Far more important is how you managed to revive your whole team on the capture point as Mercy, or pushed the payload forwards with Reinhart’s shield, or otherwise managed to win a round using your mixbag of abilities.
Unreal Tournament 2K4
Release date: 2004
Developer: Epic Games
Epic had made a name for itself the previous year with Unreal – impressive in a time when shooters were dominated by id – but it was with 1999’s Unreal Tournament that Epic earned its grand moniker. Tournament had the same core concept of Quake Arena but offered an alternative for those looking for a few more frills.
Its weapons are exciting: there’s the BioRifle, for instance, which weaponises toxic sludge. You can even charge it up and release a great bulb of the stuff, using it as a gelatinous landmine. Then you’ve got your delightful Redeemer, a rocket launcher that flings a thermonuclear warhead at your enemies. And there’s the Ripper, which fires saw blades that bounce round corners. Each gun has to be mastered because they all have their separate strengths and alternate fire modes.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Release Date: 2012
Developer: Valve / Hidden Path Entertainment
Playing Counter-Strike for the first time is like diving into a modern warfare meat grinder. You will face players who have been prowling versions of these maps for more than a decade. You will die to snipers with tens of thousands of kills notched into their Scout. You will be punished by players who could recite CS:GO’s console commands in their sleep, sitting out the rest of the round while you rue your mistake.
Why, then, would you choose to play Couter-Strike: Global Offensive? Because working your way up to the top of the leaderboards is an achievement; a reward earned through patience, skill, and muscle memory. And it has some of the best level design in games. There’s a reason why, even today, you will find servers running ancient maps like Dust 2 day in, day out.
No One Lives Forever
Release date: 2000
Where many classics play better in our memories than on our modern PCs, No One Lives Forever holds up brilliantly today thanks to the garish ‘60s art direction, a fine arsenal (from a petite .38 Airweight with dum dum rounds to lipstick grenades and a briefcase missile launcher), as well as remarkably sophisticated AI. Monolith wraps it all up in endlessly inventive level design and writing so consistently hilarious that it created its own genre—the comedy FPS—and hasn’t been outdone since. If only there was an easy way to download it on digital platforms today.
Release date: 2010
Developer: 4A Games
In the Metro series, mankind survives in the tunnels beneath Moscow, having abandoned the nuclear-irradiated overworld which is now infested with mutated creatures. With the idea is that ammo is finite and each stash is precious, Metro walks an interesting line between survival horror and first-person shooter. The guns feel great, but it’s the fiction around them, the commitment to such a bleak tone, and the gorgeous environments with just a few signs of human life that you’ll remember Metro for. Now in a Redux version, it looks even more fantastic than before.