If you’ve got an itchy trigger finger and need to know what the best FPS games are that can satiate your hunger for explosions and excitement, NME has you covered. From the latest edition of Halo to some older gems, we’ve collected a selection of the very best shooters that you can download and play right now – and we’ve got something for every taste, whether you need to be on mouse and keys to get the full satisfaction of landing a headshot or if you prefer to feel the squeeze of a trigger in real-time on a pad.
FPS games – or first-person shooters, if you prefer – have long been a staple in gaming. Whether you prefer to play on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, older-generation machines, or on PC, you’ll notice that a vast chunk of your back catalogue will place you in the boots of a hero, gun in hand, fending off wave-after-wave of blood-hungry enemies. There’s something very comforting in saving the world with hot lead and gunpowder, right?
So flick off the safety, slam another magazine of ammo into your favourite rifle and hunker down – we’re about to list the most essential games for any first-person shooter fanatic out there.
Best FPS games 2023
We’ll be updating this list of best FPS games as new games come out. In no particular order, here are some of the games you should be blasting through.
- Escape From Tarkov
- Titanfall 2
- Apex Legends
- Metal: Hellsinger
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)
- Doom Eternal
Faster and more intense than most of the other games on this list, Prodeus combines old-school FPS design with the fidelity you would expect from a modern-day shooter. The mix is intoxicating and turning enemies into a meaty paste is about as satisfying as you would expect.
Interesting weapon design – including a pinched-from-Doom appearance of genre-favourite the Super Shotgun – and a distinction look are further
Several of the games on this list are multiplayer focused or have big open worlds. Prodeus is all about linear solo play, and is a perfect companion piece for Doom Eternal, for two solid campaigns of unmitigated, unrelenting, violence.
2. Escape From Tarkov
Do you like misery? Do you like skirmishes that require as much brainpower as gun skill? Escape From Tarkov is where all the finer, grittier details of the FPS genre meet. Battlestate Games opened up the hardcore survival-shooter as a beta back in 2017, and has been steadily updating the game with new features since.
Playing as either a PMC or BEAR operative, players are tasked with entering different zones of Tarkov – a fictional region in Russia – to complete missions, retrieve valuable loot and extract before the timer runs out. This means competing with other players and a host of NPC factions, and if you die in the raid you’ll lose everything you brought in with you.
What lands Escape from Tarkov on this list is the level of detail that goes into every single element of the beta. The game features an intricate weapons modding system where you can customize every element of your gun before taking it into a raid, while the in-depth ballistics system means you’ll need to consider your loadout down to the very bullet.
It can be a steep learning curve, but this attention to detail culminates in intense firefights that can cost you everything. There are few games that manage to make every second of combat feel consequential, but Escape From Tarkov ensures that you’ll never feel more alive as you fight to keep it that way.
If there’s an FPS game worth mastering in 2022, Valorant is hard to beat. A team-based (PC-only) game so colourfully immersive you’ll feel like you’re bounding off the pages of a graphic novel, it requires real invention, too.
Think of it like American Football, only instead of working together to place a pigskin behind the opposition team’s goalposts, it’s a bomb behind enemy lines, which you must plant or defuse depending on whether your team is attack or defence. Granted, it’s basically the same premise of Counter-Strike, but truthfully it’s so much more, boasting enough magic and sci-fi like weaponry to rival the MCU.
Each agent has a unique set of skills and abilities reflecting their strength on the map, and the more time you spend experimenting on the game then the more likely it is that you will find a character whose skills complement your own. As stylish as it is satisfying, you won’t find many shooters as sharp as this one.
4. Titanfall 2
Before the former Call of Duty devs at Respawn Entertainment surprised everyone with their extremely popular battle royale game Apex Legends, they tried breaking into the FPS space with Titanfall, a futuristic shooter in which players took control of highly acrobatic, wall-running pilots and their titans — gigantic combat mechs capable of stomping aforementioned pilots beneath their humongous heels. Titanfall was well-received, but the series really hit its stride when Titanfall 2 was released in 2016.
So how did the sequel to the 2014 sleeper hit become one of the best (and most underrated) FPS games of the previous generation? Simply put, it iterated on and refined what made the first game’s multiplayer unique — the frantic boots-on-the-ground (and walls) parkour action, and cool-as-hell giant robots dropping from orbit to beat the tar out of one another. At the time, it was difficult to find FPS games that weren’t boilerplate, modern military approximations a la Call of Duty, so Titanfall 2’s acrobatic, sci-fi spin on the genre truly felt like a breath of fresh air.
Titanfall 2 also featured a surprisingly fun and thoughtful single-player campaign. At its core, it’s a simple tale about a man and his relationship with his sentient war robot. While the story beats may not leave much of an impression, the exceptional level design certainly will. Not only is Effect and Cause one of the finest single-player FPS levels of all time, but the late game re-appearance of the Smart Pistol is also an excellent sequence and well worth your time.
5. Apex Legends
After a secretive development process, Respawn Entertainment and EA stealth-dropped Apex Legends into players’ laps back in 2019. EA intentionally avoided promoting the game so as not to draw the ire of Titanfall fans who were expecting the third title in the series, as well as gamers who were fed up with free-to-play, live-service titles full of loot boxes.
Ultimately they didn’t have too much to worry about, as Apex was a massive success. The Titanfall developers made some interesting additions to the typical battle royale formula, like the inclusion of hero characters with special abilities and unique personalities, an easy-to-use contextual “ping” communication system that simplifies playing with randoms, and the fast-paced, arcadey gunplay that made the Titanfall games so fun. And while you may not be able to run on walls, the movement system is intuitive, snappy, and reminiscent of Apex’s predecessors. If you want a battle royale experience that skews away from the realistic and you don’t feel like playing even more Fortnite, Apex is a great place to land.
6. Metal: Hellsinger
Metal: Hellsinger is an essential shooter that takes everything we loved about Doom and amps it up to 11. In this head-banging romp from developer The Outsiders, players must shoot, reload and dodge to the beat of a star-studded metal soundtrack that features the likes of Serj Tankian and Trivium’s Matty Heafy.
As you blast through the depths of hell, you’ll dish out gratuitous violence with a host of punchy weapons including a stylish set of dual-wielded revolvers, a devastating shotgun and much more. There’s no shortage of targets for your arsenal either, with a range of bloodthirsty demons out to stop your protagonist – and fellow demon – The Outsider from reclaiming her voice from the devil.
With mod support and heaps of extra challenges thrown into the mix, Metal: Hellsinger is a brutally fun time for casual shooter fans and score-chasers alike.
7. Call Of Duty: Warzone
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a top-notch shooter with a fun campaign and solid multiplayer offering. The shootouts are sublime and it feels great to play.
The reworked perks system and changes to the gunsmith mode show that Infinity Ward and the other developers working on Modern Warfare 2 still understand what makes Call of Duty tick, and it’s a pleasure to watch them work.
There’s a heavy blow in that none of the guns are the real deal – renamed versions that are heavily inspired by existing weapons. No fan favourite MP5 will make some wince, but it’s here under another name.
Get used to Modern Warfare 2’s garish murder playground and it will reward you with some good clean gunfights and some absolute multiplayer shenanigans.
8. DOOM Eternal
If id software’s DOOM 2016 was meant to make players feel like an unstoppable force ripping and tearing through throngs of demonic hellspawn, DOOM Eternal’s M.O. is channeling that carnage into a laser-focused flow chart of surgical death-dealing.
Series favorite weapons like the super shotgun, the chaingun, and the rocket launcher all return — but instead of being simply different means to kill demons, each weapon in DOOM Eternal is designed to be very good at one or two specific things. For example, the super shotgun can be upgraded with a grappling hook attachment to close the gap between the player and enemies, while the heavy cannon can be used to pick away at distant enemies or weak points found on bigger baddies. This “tool for every job” approach combined with the need to constantly refill health and ammo reserves through the brutal glory kill melee system and chainsaw attacks means that players will have to constantly make split-second decisions about the best way to approach each scenario. You won’t be using your favorite weapon for long stretches of time, but that’s just part of the grisly appeal.
It would be a huge oversight to talk about either of the modern DOOM games without mentioning the disgustingly heavy, djent, industrial, and thrash-inspired soundtracks found in both. Even the most benign players will have difficulty keeping their heads from banging during the tracks that exude pure violence in the games’ combat-heavy arena sections.
The combination of the frenetic gameplay, exaggerated violence, and the extremely brutal soundtrack makes DOOM Eternal a sinfully good time, and well worth the play.