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Monday, May 20, 2024

The best FPS games you can play right now

Must read

Best of the best

2023 games: Upcoming releases
Best PC games: All-time favorites
Free PC games: Freebie fest
Best FPSes: Finest gunplay
Best MMOs: Massive worlds
Best RPGs: Grand adventures

The FPS is close to our hearts here at PC Gamer, not only because the PC is the best platform to play them on, but because it’s where they were born. The folks at id Software started a beautiful tradition of first-person combat that dominated the ’90s and exploded into one of the most vibrant, constantly evolving genres in gaming. There’s a seemingly endless appetite for creative head-clicking in the competitive, cooperative, and even meditative arenas.

It’s a genre known for its violence, yet that’s not always the reason we’re drawn to them. We celebrate the immersive potential of the first-person camera, and how that point-of-view challenges our physical and emotional responses to problems thrown directly in our faces. FPSes are often intense tests of reflex, but they’re also foundations for engrossing worlds and realistic simulations of survival, battle, and play. We feel a closer, truer connection to the world around us because we are literally seeing it through our character’s eyes.

Below you’ll find a list of the best FPS games you can play right now. It’s not a list of the most historically significant FPS games, but rather ones that we’d recommend today, right now, to PC gamers exploring the genre. This is also a living list, so expect updates in the future.

May 2023 update

PC Gamer’s got your back
Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.

We’ve pared down our recommendations to reflect newer FPSes that the PC Gamer team is actively playing in 2023 and maintained select older games that are still uniquely excellent today. Categories have been simplified for readability.

The best singleplayer FPS games

Doom Eternal

Release date: 2020 | Developer: id Software | Steam

id got to sit down and reimagine what Doom is in the modern age, and it came up with a buttery smooth, highly acrobatic FPS that celebrates gratuitous indulgence while demanding discipline through HP-recovering glory kills. Eternal brings more verticality, greater enemy variety, and an enthralling campaign that never seems to end (boosted by two great DLC campaigns). It’s never just run ‘n gun and it’s definitely not a cover-shooter. This is what the Doom clone would’ve become if modern military shooters hadn’t taken over the world. Let the latest run of Doom games be a strong kick to the pants gaming execs: the singleplayer FPS is stronger than ever, and there should be more of them. 

Read more: Doom Eternal has ruined all other shooters for me 

Neon White

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Angel Matrix | Steam

The most exciting shooter of recent history, ironically, doesn’t really have guns. In Neon White, an FPS speedrunning platformer, guns are represented by cards with secondary movement abilities like a leap, dash, or slam. Beneath its visual novel mission breaks and anime art, Neon White is a pure distillation of athletic FPS action. Levels often last less than a minute, but you can easily spend an hour perfecting a route until satisfied with your spot on the leaderboard. Perhaps Neon White’s most genius design choice is built-in shortcut markers hinting at faster routes that require clever application of your kit.

Read more: Steam reviewers love Neon White despite its horny anime nonsense, or very much because of it

Titanfall 2

Release date: 2016 | Developer: Respawn Entertainment | Steam

 Years later, Titanfall 2’s campaign still stands out for its inventive levels and comfortable linearity. You can tell the minds behind Call of Duty’s most memorable campaigns had their hands in it—you’re never far from an eye-pleasing set piece, but unlike Call of Duty, Titanfall 2 has more to offer than horizontal firefights behind chest-high cover. The flow of firefights depends entirely on the shape of the room and your ability to wallrun, double jump, or slide across it while shooting. And then, every once in a while, Titanfall becomes a pretty good mech game, too. It’s the kind of delicious junk food game (uncomplicated, but beautiful) that’s easy to forget about and pick up every few years to remember why it’s so good. 

Read more: Northstar didn’t just save Titanfall 2, it completely transformed it

Hyper Demon

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Sorath | Steam

Devil Daggers walked so Hyper Demon could run, run, oh my god keep running they’re right behind you. It’s another ultra-hard wave survival shooter, except survival is actually easier this time. Getting a high score, however, is just as hard, or harder, because your score ticks down when you start the game. To raise it, you have to kill demons as efficiently as possible. The faster you kill them, the more come after you, and the higher you can get your score. Special movement abilities, enemy interactions, attacks (there are lasers), and powerups create an enormous possibility space even within a flat, featureless arena. This time, there is an ending, according to the devs. But how many will actually reach it?

Read more: The progressive retro style of Devil Daggers

Metro Exodus

Release date: 2019 | Developer: 4A Games | Steam, GOG, Epic

4A Games’ Metro trilogy came to a gratifying end with its most ambitious game to date. Metro Exodus packs a lot of game into deceptively small open worlds, focusing its efforts on making every minor interaction meaningful. Guns are ultra lethal and ammo is scarce, meaning you’ll almost never be shooting your precious AK-47 full-auto. Weapons can be modified anytime with transformative attachments or receivers capable of turning an SMG into a shotgun. Though the same gun will also jam if you don’t take care of it. If you love diegetic design, Exodus is a feast. Every little gizmo and widget on Artyom’s bracer has a purpose (the small piece of real estate holds a stealth indicator, a compass, a radiation meter, and a watch) and the map is a real-world object that Artyom holds.

Read more: Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition brings new light to old darkness

Doom and Doom 2

Release date: 1993, 1994 | Developer: id Software | Steam, GOG, Epic

Throwback shooters are great and all, but if you want a reminder of where all great FPSes ultimately came from, the original Doom and Doom 2 are still excellent games in their own rights. Maybe what stands out most about OG Doom nowadays are its gigantic maze-like maps rich with secrets and, of course, the inability to move your camera on the Z axis. 

Read more: The story of Doom and how it changed everything—as told by co-creator John Romero

Turbo Overkill

Release date: 2022 (early access) | Developer: Trigger Happy Interactive | Steam

If you thought Doom Eternal was too tame in its gratuitous ambitions, Turbo Overkill should be your next stop. It may look like a traditional throwback shooter, but Turbo is packing modern FPS sensibilities like wallrunning, sliding, weapon upgrades, and vertically massive levels. The guns and their alternate fire modes are the stars of this one: dual magnums that are also Smart Guns, a minigun that uncorks into a flamethrower, a System Shock-like shotgun that can overpump for extra damage are just a few favorites. The last chunk of Turbo Overkill is due out this year, so it’s the perfect time to catch up on the first two-thirds of the campaign.

Read more: Turbo Overkill looks like the hyper violent FPS of my dreams

Black Mesa

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Crowbar Collective | Steam

Black Mesa drags Half-Life into a shower and washes all that ’90s stank off it. It’s a slick, often beautiful recreation of Half-Life with revamped sounds, animations, and an entirely new Xen section that turns the worst part of original Half-Life into maybe the best. Black Mesa’s largest changes center around Xen, but it also remixes some old areas and adds completely new puzzles in others. Being built on the base of Half-Life 2, it also benefits from better physics interactions (but don’t expect a gravity gun). This isn’t a 1:1 remake, so it’s not a perfect replacement for experiencing the original, but it is the best way to play a version of Half-Life in 2023.

Read more: Half-Life Xen vs. Black Mesa Xen: a video comparison


Release date: 2020 (early access) | Developer: Arsi “Hakita” Patala | Steam, GOG 

This absurdist retelling of Dante’s Inferno stars a murderous robot fueled by human blood, or, as the game helpfully puts it, “Mankind is dead. Blood is fuel. Hell is full.” Ultrakill’s mega-grimdark existentialist nightmare is helpfully offset by a gleefully dark sense of humor, and its vision of hell is truly creative and unique. My favorite layer, Greed, consists of a vast desert of gold dust punctuated by Egyptian pyramids. More than any other shooter, Utlrakill is just fast. You’re constantly bouncing around, swapping weapons, countering resistances, and trying to keep a Devil May Cry-esque style ranking high. It manages that Neon White thing where even low-skill play feels thrilling and masterful, while high-skill play looks impossible. Acts one and two have landed in early access so far, and their ample secrets and built-in replayability with the ranking system offer plenty of options to keep you busy.

Read more: How a remake of an obscure 1995 FPS led to a retro shooter revival

The best co-op FPS games

Borderlands 2

Release date: 2012 | Developer: Gearbox Software | Steam, Epic

Borderlands invented the looter-shooter, and Borderlands 2 had more fun with it than anyone else. While there are a gajillion guns—shout-out to the self-healing Grog Nozzle, and the shotgun that shoots swords that explode—that’s not what makes it great. The same more-is-more approach to weapon design is applied to its colorful, over-the-top sci-fi setting, full of unconventional enemies. Masked bandits deliver speeches from their sniper perches or wail nonsense while running right at you, goliaths subvert years of FPS training, counter-intuitively going into Hulk Mode when you headshot them, mutated pests swoop, leap, burrow, and shield their vulnerable spots. Still the best in the series, Borderlands 2 is polished, playful, and a gleefully silly antidote to military shooters that take themselves too seriously.

Read more: Borderlands 2 was ahead of its time

Deep Rock Galactic

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Ghost Ship Games | Steam

We’re enjoying a resurgence of the co-op FPS and Deep Rock is a golden example. Ghost Ship Games got just about everything right—you wouldn’t guess by its low-poly look that Deep Rock is packing some of the best FPS combat out there. I’ll never get tired of hearing alien bug carapaces crunch under the weight of a shotgun blast. Four classes with wildly different capabilities and progression trees make its procedurally generated missions highly replayable. Because missions are just as much about mining as shooting, the best co-op moments are usually a combination of fending off bug baddies and placing a clutch zipline or platform to reach a precariously-positioned ore vein.

Read more: Meet one of the last positive communities left in gaming

Destiny 2

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Bungie | Steam, Epic

Bungie made an FPS MMO that millions of players have actually stuck with. It’s a testament to the Halo creators’ knack for designing great-feeling guns that Destiny 2 players happily repeat the same missions over and over again to get the best stuff on offer. And at the end of the road are raids—expansive six-player missions that test aim, timing, and communication all at the same time. Lightfall was a substantial narrative letdown, but the innovation shown by the new Strand subclass suggests the ‘light and dark’ saga may still end on a high with next year’s The Final Shape expansion.

Read more: Quiz: Destiny exotic or craft beer?

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

Release date: 2022  | Developer: Fatshark | Steam

It was an easy guess that Fatshark’s followup to Vermintide 2 would be a great co-op slaughterfest, but I didn’t expect Darktide’s newly emphasized gun combat to be so excellent. The Kantrael MGXII Infantry Lasgun sizzles through infested elites like a precision cooker and autoguns topple hordes into tenderized ragdoll piles. It’s a gorgeous and challenging co-op experience (far less zen than Deep Rock), and most of its performance issues and monetization woes have smoothed out since launch. It’s not as rich with mission variety as games that’ve been out longer, but modifiers help keep things interesting.

Read more: Darktide is the most detailed vision of Warhammer 40,000 we’ve ever seen

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Release date: 2019 | Developer: 343 Industries | Steam

Did you know every Halo game from Combat Evolved to Reach is bundled together in one big mega videogame complete with crossplay co-op, multiplayer, and Forge? I smile just thinking about it. There was a time when The Master Chief Collection was considered a disaster, but in 2023, the entirety of it is playable on PC with minimal bugs. Even if you’re not ready to go toe-to-toe with sweaty Halo 3 players who’ve been practicing for 16 years, MCC is still an amazing package for co-op. There are fewer gaming memories I cherish more than running through Halo’s campaigns with a friend.

Read more: The Halo campaigns, ranked from worst to best

Ready or Not

Release date: 2021 (early access) | Developer: VOID Interactive | Steam

Ready or Not is a hardcore co-op game for the folks that wish the SWAT series hadn’t ended at 4. Its hyperrealistic maps and disturbing mass shooting scenarios can be deeply uncomfortable in a Call of Duty “No Russian” kind of way, but it’s also a uniquely fun tactical FPS that rewards careful room clear and constant communication with teammates. In the years since its early access debut, VOID has added a lot of new missions, guns, and equipment.

Read more: Ready or Not studio says planned ‘school shooting’ level did not cause split with publisher

The best competitive FPS games

Hunt: Showdown

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Crytek | Steam

Our favorite of the burgeoning extraction shooter genre, Hunt: Showdown ditches battle royale circles in favor of a PvPvE format that pits hunters against zombies, bug assassins, aquatic tentacle monsters, and each other. Its 19th century American bayou setting is distinct, and compliments its unexpected arsenal of early firearms. It’s not only the best cowboy FPS we’ve played, but one of the greatest multiplayer games around right now.

Read more: The future of battle royale is here, and there’s no circle

Battlefield 2042

Release date: 2022 | Developer: DICE | Steam, Epic

DICE has put in the work on Battlefield 2042. A year and a half after its tumultuous launch, 2042 runs better, feels better, and is finally packing enough great maps to mean that when you jump in you’ll always have fun. A lot is owed to DICE’s reintroduction of proper Battlefield classes, which added much-needed structure and role-specific responsibilities to 2042’s unique specialists. Four seasons of new specialists and maps have rounded out a package that felt a little light at launch. That, and its frequently discounted price, makes it an easy recommendation in 2023.

Read more: Here’s the thing: Battlefield 2042 is really good now

Deceive Inc.

Release date: 2023 | Developer: Sweet Bandits Studios | Steam

Deceive Inc. is two parts social deception game and one part competitive FPS. Squads of agents scour a large map in disguise, hacking computers for intel, heisting upgrades, and fighting over an ultimate prize kept deep within a vault. Its carefully considered rules and intentionally quirky AI behaviors make for thrilling cat-and-mouse chases through extravagant mansions, crowded malls, and city streets. When a fight does break out, Deceive Inc. combat holds up its end of the bargain with a ’60s spy movie-inspired arsenal of silenced pistols, cheesy automatic crossbows, and transforming arm shotguns. There’s no other game like it right now.

Read more: My favorite multiplayer game of 2023 so far is basically competitive Hitman

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Infinity Ward | Steam, Battle.net

Call of Duty enthusiasm comes and goes in waves, but 2022’s Modern Warfare 2 is one of the best in the series. No matter what kind of CoD suits your fancy these days, Modern Warfare 2 probably has it. Want to mess around with weird gun builds? Sure. Get serious about weapon challenges and gun camos? There are a billion of those. Try out some funky arcade modes? Those are there too. Truthfully, CoD is every genre of FPS nowadays—the campaign is fun, the co-op raid is surprisingly cool, and Warzone 2 is there for battle royale fans—but Modern Warfare 2 shines in classic 6v6 deathmatch. Its gunplay is simply incredible and I’ve never had as much fun leveling from 1–50.

Read more: I’m hooked on Call of Duty like it’s 2008 again (please don’t tell any cool people)

Overwatch 2

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Blizzard | Battle.net

Overwatch 2 might be the least deserving game to ever have a “2” slapped on it, but Blizzard’s major update to the hero shooter has ultimately made for a better game. Years after kicking off a hero shooter trend, still nobody creates heroes more distinct, fun, or immediately accessible than Blizzard. Sojourn, Kiriko, Junker Queen, Rammatra, and Lifeweaver freshen up a roster that was growing stale with every passing year and Blizzard’s cadence of new heroes and maps is in a much better place than in Overwatch 1. The recent cancellation of Overwatch 2’s ambitious PvE Hero mode is a major disappointment for players who were looking forward to expanded co-op options, but the PvP side of Overwatch remains some of the best FPS fun around.

Read more: Overwatch 2 scientist confirms it’s not just you, Cassidy’s ultimate sucks

Rainbow Six Siege

Release date: 2015 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Steam

The G.I. Joe of competitive shooters. Rainbow Six Siege has changed dramatically over eight years, but it’s still a tremendous tactical shooter. The roster of 68 operators continues to grow, adding new (and increasingly unbelievable) gadgets that build on its lethal firefights with intel gathering drones, laser tripwires, and a dozen different ways to blow up a wall. 

Read more: Rainbow Six Siege’s best moments don’t require a gun

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