Equip your high-performance gaming mouse and immersive headset, as it’s time to plunge into the unparalleled world of the best FPS games available today. No matter if your preferences veer towards realistic military engagements, fantastical sci-fi escapades, or the frenetic frenzy of battle royale clashes, this curated selection promises something for every fervent virtual gunslinger. From pioneering trendsetters that have raised the bar in the genre to the freshest releases that are currently making waves, these are the quintessential FPS games that you can’t afford to miss in 2023.
To provide you with this definitive list, we’ve subjected the leading games to a rigorous testing and evaluation process. Anticipate groundbreaking virtual reality adventures that truly push the boundaries of immersive gaming. Brace yourself for intense, blood-pounding skirmishes set amidst ravaged, war-scarred landscapes. And prepare to pit your skills against the globe’s top FPS aficionados in adrenaline-fueled esports behemoths.
Regardless of the type of first-person shooter that captivates your interest, you’re guaranteed to uncover fresh favorites to add to your revered collection of gaming classics. So prime your weapons and steel your nerves, soldiers. The thrilling world of FPS gaming eagerly beckons.
Table of Contents
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, more commonly known as PUBG, stands out as a monumental game that ushered in the wave of battle royale mania. Although it was not technically the first game of its kind, it was PUBG that introduced elements now considered standard in the genre: the random distribution of equipment across expansive maps, a plane from which players parachute down to begin their survival struggle, and a progressively constricting play zone.
From its inception, PUBG has evolved, featuring a more polished design, a variety of maps to suit every gaming approach, and a free-to-play basis. The expansive maps may have you traversing lengthy distances without encountering another player, creating suspenseful lulls. It’s this distinctive pacing, coupled with the deadly authenticity of the bullet physics, that makes PUBG diverge from its competitors. Though teaming up with friends for squad play is enjoyable, it’s those solo, tension-filled and stealth-dependent moments that truly leave an indelible mark.
Deathloop intricately weaves a baffling narrative that sees you caught in a perpetual time loop, puzzling out how to eliminate eight key targets, known as visionaries. These adversaries have taken up residence on an island, and achieving the feat of exterminating all of them in one night liberates you from the repetitive time cycle. The day is neatly divided into four periods – morning, noon, afternoon, and evening – with only one of four locations accessible at each time. As the visionaries shuffle amongst these locations during the day, the challenge lies in discovering an efficient pattern that allows you to eliminate all eight, often through orchestrated dual assassinations.
Despite hailing from the same developers as the stealth-focused Dishonored series, Deathloop seems to skew more towards action-packed gameplay, embracing the thrill of first-person shooter mechanics, headshots included. After all, within the surreal time soup of the game, death loses its sting when you’re entrapped in an unending loop. Kill, perish, repeat; it’s a liberating cycle that encourages experimentation with different strategies since there are no long-term consequences to actions when you never progress beyond the present day.
Amid the hectic chaos, you encounter Julianna, another assassin whose sole aim is to eliminate you. Although Julianna can be controlled by the game’s AI, the excitement heightens when a real player assumes her role, intruding into your game world. Upon Julianna’s invasion, you become confined to your current location until either one of you succumbs, or you successfully hack an antenna allowing you to flee.
This predicament often escalates into an adrenaline-fueled game of hide-and-seek, culminating in an intense shootout where both players wield every weapon at their disposal. These invasion episodes usually conclude your missions with an electrifying crescendo, providing unforgettable multiplayer experiences.
Venturing into the intimidating obscurity of GTFO’s Rundowns, or levels, is an unnerving endeavor from the get-go. This trepidation is only intensified when teammates fail to synchronize their efforts. When I engage in play with my friends, we typically assign a leader swiftly, but there always seems to be that one person who strays too far or fails to comply with instructions, resulting in a flurry of panicked screams, rampant gunfire, and a torrent of expletives.
The ensuing chaos, imbued with an eerie, horror-centric vibe, provides an exhilarating online experience. The game commands a well-oiled teamwork and strategic precision if you hope to survive, thereby infusing every encounter with an unmatched level of suspense rarely found in other first-person shooter games.
This pervasive tension is amplified by the unpredictable variety of enemies lurking behind every door. While you might not know what to expect as you progress, spotting a Scout’s tendril in a new area might just be a prelude to your mission’s end. The thrill of adapting on the fly to whatever obstacles lie in your path, and sometimes having to stealthily circumvent enemies to conserve resources, elevates GTFO to the zenith of co-op survival horror games on PC.
Embracing a nostalgic vibe, DUSK is a first-person shooter that brilliantly weaves in elements reminiscent of the past without becoming a mere mimic of the old days. It embodies the raw, visceral energy that defined the genre, while infusing it with fresh nuances, such as the ability to hoist items and create improvised climbing paths to hidden spaces, or launch unconventional projectiles like saw blades and soap at enemies.
In the labyrinthine world of DUSK, you’ll find yourself engaged in collecting color-coded keys to unlock doors, a task that becomes more engaging given the sprawling, unconventional maps you encounter. The journey through the game’s campaign is akin to an exhilarating rollercoaster ride, with the landscapes growing increasingly captivating as you progress. To complement the heart-thumping gameplay, the developers masterfully crafted a metallic soundtrack, balancing it with just the right dose of spookiness to keep you toeing the line between reveling in the music and jumping at sudden surprises. Trust me, DUSK is not a game you would want to pass up on.
Deep Rock Galactic
Deep Rock Galactic cleverly fuses elements of inebriated dwarves, intricate tunnel systems, and a horde of aggressive subterranean creatures to create a game that often spirals into uncontrolled chaos. As a player, you are part of a four-person team delving into the earth’s bowels to mine resources for a colossal corporation. Each member of the team assumes a role, complete with unique weaponry and traversal mechanics, allowing for a swift and intense mining expedition.
The pandemonium ensues as you grapple with the game’s primary objectives, which include tasks such as establishing winding pipelines or powering gigantic machinery, all while fending off relentless bug attacks. As you progress, wave after wave of monstrous critters swarm towards you. A level-headed team might unite to fight off these creatures, setting up traps and forming a defensive front. However, I find the thrill lies in the panicked flight and frantic shrieks of retreat. No matter how you choose to approach Deep Rock Galactic, whether as a tactical cooperative shooter or a wild cavernous escapade, you’re guaranteed an enjoyable experience.
If I were to sum up Titanfall 2 in two words, I’d say it’s “absurdly fantastic”. The sensation of weightlessness that accompanies flawlessly executed wall-running lends a surreal grace to your movements, akin to performing a lethal dance. It enables you to breeze past adversaries at breathtaking speeds, often catching them off guard. Titanfall 2’s campaign is replete with unforgettable moments courtesy of BT-7274, a mechanized titan, and its rampant creativity, from allowing you to switch between decades in a blink, to experiencing a moment frozen in time, to the exhilarating rush of tearing other Titans apart from within the formidable shell of BT-7274.
The game encourages exploiting your environment, offering rewarding moments when you begin to think outside the box and recognize the potential each map holds. The game’s multiplayer mode introduces an added layer of excitement with its physics-altering, Quake-like mechanics, complementing the already impressive shooter package. However, it’s the exceptional and virtually unrivaled campaign that cements Titanfall 2’s status as an evergreen shooter classic. Here’s hoping that BT’s massive robotic fingers are crossed for a future Titanfall 3.
Even though it was the third entry in the post-apocalyptic franchise, Fallout 3, developed by Bethesda, felt like a breath of fresh air when it made its debut in 2008. It has since cemented its place as one of the most revered video games of all time, a title it owes to its immersive gameplay and the distinctive, atmospheric open world it offered players to explore.
While the game heavily emphasizes taking down adversaries with a broad array of engaging weapons, it stays true to its roots by incorporating strategic elements that were a hallmark of its PC forerunners. This is achieved through a comprehensive character customization system and the innovative Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S), which allows players to strategically select optimal points of attack on their enemies. Wandering the remnants of a once-thriving retro-futuristic Washington, D.C., with an old-school music soundtrack accompanying your journey, is an experience that captivates and enthralls in equal measure.
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In a world where virtual reality headsets are as common as smartphones, Half-Life: Alyx would likely be heralded as the crowning achievement of first-person shooters. Unfortunately, the steep price tag attached to owning top-tier VR equipment – a prerequisite to truly experience the wonders this game has to offer – places it out of reach for many.
Whether you’re experiencing this flawlessly-paced, extraordinarily atmospheric shooter on a more affordable Meta Quest or the exorbitantly priced Valve Index, the investment required for this ten-hour game is significant. However, the highest praise we can bestow upon Alyx is this: we would seriously contemplate splurging the equivalent of a brand-new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X just to immerse ourselves in this singular, remarkable shooter.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection serves as the definitive anthology of John-117’s epic saga. The game today is virtually unrecognizable from its tumultuous launch in 2014, having undergone several years of substantial server improvements, technical enhancements, and graphical upgrades. It has now become the gold standard for experiencing the magic of the Halo series during its golden age.
Whether you’re reliving the thrill of the finest second level in shooter history in the original Combat Evolved, or squaring off against friends in player-versus-player combat on Halo 3’s unforgettable Guardian map – now running at a silky-smooth 120 frames per second on Xbox Series X – Halo has never been more compelling. It’s a joy to see the iconic Master Chief character receive the redemption and recognition he truly deserves.
Mass Effect 2
Bioware’s grand space saga, Mass Effect, has certainly had its fair share of highs and lows. Yet, the second chapter in the series is often celebrated as the pinnacle of the franchise. So much so, that the Xbox 360 version boasts an outstanding rating of 96 out of 100 on Metacritic. Drawing parallels to the beloved Star Wars series (in more ways than one might think), this sequel represented the franchise at its most profound and emotionally resonant.
Refining the original 2007 game’s few shortcomings while simultaneously building on its already robust framework, Mass Effect 2 does not hold back when it comes to delivering high-quality cinematics, engaging plotlines that hinge on player choices, and exhilarating combat sequences. The liberty afforded to players in exploration, the intricate role-playing elements, and the thrilling gunplay all converge to create a truly unforgettable journey through the cosmos.
Left 4 Dead 2
In 2008, the idea of battling hordes of zombies was still quite novel and exciting. Even today, this concept retains its appeal, especially when molded by Valve’s creative prowess. In just a few short, cyclical cooperative scenarios, Left 4 Dead 2 manages to inject more depth, humor, and backstory into its characters and world than most single-player campaigns that are several times its length.
Admittedly, its inclusion in this list could be seen as controversial, given that much of its strength is built on the groundwork laid by the first Left 4 Dead game, released a year earlier. The sequel doesn’t markedly deviate from the original’s formula, nor did it initially seem to offer groundbreaking innovation. However, hindsight reveals that Left 4 Dead 2 served as a substantial under-the-hood upgrade, inching closer to the envisioned zombie-fighting experience and pushing the boundaries of cooperative play.
Another compelling reason to opt for this game over its predecessor (which arguably had a more memorable cast of Survivors) is the sheer breadth of enhancements made possible through mods. From adding Deadpool into the mix to expanding the game from four to sixteen players, transforming everyone into a dinosaur, or even recreating nearly the entirety of the first game within it – the potential for reinvention is immense.
Apex Legends is the battle royale for those with a need for speed. This game demands as much from your movement as it does from your aiming skills. Parkour across rooftops, climb up ledges, and slide down slopes, all in the quest for tactical superiority. The diverse cast of character classes and their unique abilities set Apex Legends apart within the genre. One character can track enemy footprints, another can create portals, and yet another can create a clone to deceive adversaries.
Played as a trio, as the game was originally designed, these abilities can be combined in inventive ways to outmaneuver enemy teams. The two vibrant, varied maps offer multiple avenues to seize the high ground, and developer Respawn Entertainment consistently updates the game, adding new weapons and heroes. If you’ve been away from Apex Legends since its initial surge of popularity, now is the perfect time to reengage with this fast-paced battle royale.
Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter that genuinely embraces the narrative as its primary driving force. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors in the Metro series, Exodus seamlessly merges stealth and shooting mechanics within a hostile environment teeming with ferocious mutants hell-bent on your demise. Yet, it distinguishes itself by elevating the level of polish and ambition evident in the gameplay.
Game levels in Metro Exodus are expansive and breathtakingly beautiful, brimming with details that urge you to investigate every decaying structure. Starting your journey in Moscow, you board a train to traverse the vast Russian wilderness. This odyssey includes stopovers in desert settlements, icy tundras, and fortified bases, each teeming with secrets to discover and adversaries to annihilate.
You carry out missions in solitude, making every departure from the safety of your group a thrillingly tense experience. Fortunately, you are armed with a creative assortment of upgradable weapons, from crossbows to revolvers, to safeguard your survival. On the train, you’ll interact with your resilient Russian comrades, and their charming personalities will lead you to deeply care about the fate of the protagonist, Artyom. If you’re solely seeking non-stop action, the deliberate pace of Exodus might not be your cup of tea. But the continual sense of progress from the cross-country journey is rewarding. Once you’ve kick-started this thrilling expedition, it will be tough to abandon.
While it may not have received unreserved acclaim upon its release, Doom Eternal has, in hindsight, cemented its status as a pinnacle of the FPS genre. This game embodies the essence of the genre, condensing it into a resounding, defiant, and fiery outcry of determination. Despite its incessant, high-octane action that often requires garotting a demon every few seconds, Doom Eternal presents an unexpectedly graceful experience in motion.
The game exhibits a delightful rhythm, similar to the likes of Mario 64 or Mirror’s Edge, that feels impeccable when you attune to it. Every weapon is meticulously balanced, each level is expertly paced, and every beast summoned from the hellish depths is designed to elicit a precise degree of aggression from the Doom Slayer.
Remarkably, Doom Eternal shines on virtually any modern platform. Whether you’re playing on the original Xbox One, annihilating Cacodemons at 120 fps on a high-end PC, or executing spine-ripping moves on the commendably stable Switch port, Doom Eternal delivers an extraordinary experience regardless of your chosen format. If every next-gen game performed as seamlessly as id’s technically flawless shooter, the need for another console generation could be indefinitely postponed.
Half-Life 2 was a groundbreaking game that advanced many facets of the first-person shooter genre. It set new standards in architectural design, facial animation technology, and physics-based environments that shifted from static backdrops to interactive resources. It introduced some of gaming’s most memorable adversaries, such as the Striders, and significantly progressed the portrayal of AI companions as believable and likable entities.
Half-Life 2 takes players on an extended journey through a beautifully and bleakly realized world. Despite being the protagonist, the game skilfully maintains a sense of you being just a cog in a larger conflict. The unresolved storylines and the cliffhanger conclusion of Episode 2 have left fans in a constant state of yearning for more. While some aspects of the game may not appear as impressive as they once were, especially the man-to-man combat, Half-Life 2 arguably contributed more to the FPS genre than any other title, both before and potentially since its release.
The sequel to Gearbox’s eccentric and stylistic game, Borderlands, managed to strike just the right chords with its fan base. Borderlands 2 brilliantly balances between the raw simplicity of the original game and the exhaustive expansiveness of the third installment, Borderlands 3. While it wasn’t devoid of minor issues, it succeeded in smoothing out some of the original’s peculiarities and shortcomings, all while reinforcing its sturdy foundation.
This sequel introduced an impressive array of distinctive guns and more elaborate settings on the alien planet of Pandora. Furthermore, it expanded the character roster with amusing new heroes and villains, including the likes of the hilarious Tiny Tina and the arrogantly charismatic Handsome Jack. Borderlands 2 holds a distinctive reputation as one of the few games that maintain an engaging and dense gameplay experience whether you’re partnering with a friend or adventuring solo. The gaming experience is further enriched by various DLC packs, including ‘Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep’ and the relatively recent ‘Commander Lilith’, each adding new layers of action to the journey.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege has steadily evolved into one of the top multiplayer shooters available today, merging the high-stakes intensity and replayability of Counter-Strike with the unique abilities and distinct character traits found in Overwatch. However, Siege grounds its character pool in a more realistic context. The true standout feature of Siege is the incredible destructibility of the game’s environments. Walls, ceilings, and floors can be breached and completely annihilated, demanding strategic choices in defending and reinforcing key areas to prevent opponents from blasting through with explosive thermite.
Players and their teammates select from an array of highly proficient Operators, each equipped with unique skills that can be combined to establish a solid team strategy. However, your personal ability to stealthily maneuver and accurately aim remain pivotal to success. Each round morphs into a tactical, nail-biting game of cat-and-mouse, as one team defends an objective while the opposition attempts to scout for threats and survive a breach.
To put it plainly, Valorant is essentially Counter-Strike augmented with a cast of wizards and ninjas. One team’s objective is to plant a bomb, while the other team must thwart this attempt. Success hinges on cautiously navigating corners, maintaining solid aim, and communicating effectively with your team. The game rewards patient play and strategic control of the map.
While the gunplay in Valorant echoes that of Counter-Strike, the distinct divergence lies in the utilization of abilities. Players can select from a roster of Agents, each equipped with unique powers that allow actions such as short-range teleportation, flashbanging around corners, or healing allies. If this sounds overly unbalanced, rest assured that almost all of these abilities function more like strategic tools rather than game-breaking advantages.
Personally, I lean towards Valorant over Counter-Strike in the current gaming landscape because it feels fresher and more up-to-date. Regular updates and the inclusion of invaluable features, such as an aim training map built into the game rather than being tucked away in a ‘community creations’ section, make Valorant a game that has learned from the past and is geared towards the future.
Destiny 2 represents an impressively smooth blend of a massively multiplayer online game and a first-person shooter. It boasts some of the most exceptional shooting mechanics on the market, but that’s just scratching the surface of its many offerings. Whether your passion lies in collaborating with others to bring down colossal bosses, challenging fellow players in the competitive player-versus-player modes of Crucible, or immersing yourself in epic narratives that traverse the solar system, Destiny 2 caters to a vast array of gaming preferences.
This is a game where you can effortlessly immerse yourself for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours. The outstanding gunplay keeps the experience consistently enjoyable. I would argue that Destiny 2 is not only the top first-person shooter currently available but it also holds the crown as the best superhero game. There’s a unique thrill to wielding electro swords or discharging a solar-powered golden gun to vanquish formidable raid bosses in an ongoing quest to safeguard our solar system.
However, Destiny 2 is not without its shortcomings. The game’s initial experience can prove exceptionally challenging for newcomers, with the elimination of the original Red War campaign and the subsequent Forsaken expansion causing the storyline to become nearly indecipherable without the aid of extensive lore videos. This obstacle can deter even the most committed Guardians and it’s a hurdle that can dissuade potential new players attempting to jump in for a new expansion.
Still, it’s a testament to Destiny 2’s inherent strengths that it continues to receive high recommendations. It’s a masterclass in FPS game design that offers ample fun, irrespective of whether your preferences lean towards player-versus-environment or player-versus-player modes. Moreover, with a wealth of content available for free, there’s practically no reason not to give it a shot. So, go ahead, decipher some engrams, equip some flashy armor, and start defending the solar system. Keep your eyes up, Guardian.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Call of Duty: Warzone arguably stands as the top dog among battle royale games. For a considerable period, the genre was dominated by three prominent titles: Fortnite, PUBG: Battlegrounds, and Apex Legends. However, Call of Duty: Warzone has revitalized the landscape by adapting and innovating key elements of the battle royale genre into a fresh, yet familiar experience that is simultaneously thrilling and approachable.
The game introduces unique features such as giving players who’ve been eliminated a chance to respawn through a one-on-one duel with another fallen combatant. It also includes contracts scattered throughout the map that reward players with cash for completing tasks like hunting down enemies, locating chests, or defending a specific area. This earned cash can be used to purchase custom loadouts, designed between matches to match your preferred style of play.
Familiar elements, such as the steadily shrinking play zone, an impeccable “ping” system for item identification to your teammates, and a variety of vehicles for quick transportation, lend a comforting familiarity to the experience. It’s as though Warzone is a ‘greatest hits’ compilation of the genre, further enhanced by Call of Duty’s tried-and-true low-recoil gunplay that offers all players a fair chance at accumulating kills. The game can be enjoyed solo, but teaming up with friends in Duos, Trios, or the intense four-player squad mode is where the game truly shines.