20. Battlefield 1
Release date: October 21, 2016
Format: Xbox One, PS4, PC
What is it? is a WW1 shooter that showcases a terrifying amount of carnage. It’s got all the familiar BF modes that we’ve grown to love, including Conquest, Rush, and Domination, but this game adds the formidable Operations mode that takes the push and pull of war to new heights. This game works so well as a multiplayer shooter because of how finely it’s balanced - there’s no class, weapon, or tactic that gives an unfair advantage over others. By their very nature, WW1 weapons lack true precision, and make up for this via brute force and close-quarters effectiveness, so this really levels the playing field online. The maps are brilliant too, and they constantly change as the bombardment of explosives and ruined vehicles scar the landscape. Single-player is pretty enjoyable too, with the emotional war stories giving a sampler of the various fronts WW1 took place on. Overall, it’s an immense package.
Best for: Multiplayer. This is one of the best online experiences you can have on a console - fast, chaotic, varied and yet extremely well balanced and very, very replayable. Andy Hartup
Release date: January 2018
Format: PC, Nintendo Switch
What is it? The best of a crop of unashamedly old-school shooters that have come out in recent years. Plenty of modern games capture the feeling of playing Quake or Doom for the first time, but Dusk is the smoothest, the fastest, the goriest. It’s like the best of the 90s, but with a few modern day twists that make it stand out, like detailed reload animations and inventive level design. Maps are varied and keep you guessing: one minute, you’re in a spooky old farm, clearing out barns with a shotgun, the next you’re in a science lab that twists back on itself, the walls becoming the floor when you turn your head.
Like the best old-school shooters, it’s simply bloody good fun. Beefy weapons turn enemies into a fine red mist, and you zoom through levels as if on roller skates, only pausing to line up the perfect shot. It’s topped off by a metal soundtrack that refuses to let you quit.
Best for: Blood, guts and gore. For when you’re craving an old-school shooter, without the hassle of digging out a copy of the original Quake. Samuel Horti
18. Deep Rock Galactic
Release date: May 2020
Format: PC, Xbox One
What is it? A co-op shooter with badass space dwarves. You and your merry crew delve into procedurally-generated planets in search of precious gems to haul back home, and the deeper you probe, the more nasty the alien beasts that greet you. Every multi-legged creature is more meat for your grinder; target practise for your shotguns, flamethrowers, miniguns and grenades. Not that it’s an easy game, mind, because the swarms will grow and grow, and you’ll have to cover your friends’ backs. But with a bit of communication, you’ll form a ball of death cutting through wonderfully colourful levels. Don’t bother with cover: just hold down the trigger and don’t let go until the last alien slumps. Think a modern Left 4 Dead 2 with more beards and you won’t be far off.
Best for: When you want to mindlessly murder hordes of aliens, and want something shiny to show for it. Samuel Horti
Release date: February 22, 2011
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One (latter two via upcoming Full Clip Edition remaster)
What is it? Never has a game so intelligent tried so hard to look like an idiot, or been so screamingly funny with it. On 's surface, you'll find a brash, knowing, don't-give-a-fuck attitude, sitting on a layer of the most gloriously creative cursing you've ever heard in a video game. Beneath, you'll find one of the densest, most detailed, widest branching FPS systems ever devised.
It's the Skillshots that do it. A vast, stacking, interconnecting roster of named killing methods (which cover everything from shooting an enemy in the balls to lassoing him and then kicking him into a murderous plant), that can be comboed near-endlessly, to create gloriously brutal takedowns. Extravagant kills mean more points, and more points mean more ammo to kill with. But more than anything, it's all a hilariously gratifying, ceaselessly rewarding, creative challenge in itself. You really don't know how fun a shooter can be until you've whipped a goon into the air, shot him up the ass, and then slid underneath to knock him out of the air with a shotgun, raining whatever's left upon the spikes below.
Best for: When you want to get creative with your destruction. It's basically like playing with Lego, only the bricks are brutal killings. David Houghton
16. Escape from Tarkov
Release date: July 2017 (Early Access)
What is it? An FPS obsession that’s hard to kick. Whereas most multiplayer shooters offer fun, frantic action, Escape from Tarkov is slow and tense. Each round is a half-hour trudge through dilapidated warehouses and the shells of trains in search of better gear, punctuated by short spurts of action. One bullet can kill, if aimed right. But as much as it’s a game about shooting, it’s a game about looting, about constantly finding better guns and snapping off their stocks, scopes and barrels to craft into your own creations.
You have a stash of loot that persists between rounds, and if you want to add to it you’ll have to grab guns, armour and supplies and make it out alive. In a successful run, you might not see another enemy – but hunting down other players is often the best source of top-tier items. There’s only a handful of players dropped into each map, but NPC scavs keep you honest.
Best for: Serious shooter fanatics that like the idea of slowly amassing a giant pile of rifles. Samuel Horti
15. Borderlands 3
Release date: September 18, 2012
Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Xbox One, PS4
What is it? How to describe Borderlands 3… you could say it's the underlying principles of the first and second Borderlands wrapped up in a more pristine shell. Or you could call it World of Warcraft: The First-Person Shooter. With its heavy emphasis on loot, loot, and more loot, Borderlands 3 drowns players in a sea of guns with varying abilities and stats (including a gun that shoots sawblades, and one you can throw like a boomerang while it carries on firing, wounding anyone nearby), conveniently color-coded by rarity. The colorful cast of characters breaks away from the traditional "fighter, wizard, rogue" archetypes, and each hero is memorable in their own right.
It doesn’t quite have the character of Borderlands 2. We miss Krieg. Oh Krieg, you crazy barbarian poet. And none of Borderlands 3’s villains fill us with anger the way Handsome Jack did. But in terms of shooting and looting, preferably in co-op, it still stands as the zenith of the Borderlands formula.
Best for: Those who like their FPS games to be as equally absurd as they are violent – especially if they don't get attached to their armory, since something more powerful is always right around the corner. Sam Prell
14. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
Release date: December 2017
Format: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Android. iOS
What is it? The game that spawned the battle royale craze. Technically, it wasn’t the first battle royale game, but it popularized the staples of the genre we all recognise: randomized gear spread out on a big map; a starting plane from which players parachute; and an ever-shrinking playzone. A lot has changed since it first came out, and now it’s more polished, with a variety of maps that cater for all play styles. On the biggest maps, you might go long stretches without seeing another player, and it’s that pacing, and the lethality of the realistic bullet physics, that set PUBG apart from the crowd. You can play with a squad of friends, but it’s always those nail-biting, stealthy solo moments that stick with me.
Best for: When you want a battle royale and can afford to take your time with it. Samuel Horti
13. Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus
Release date: October 2017
Format: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
What is it? A Nazi murder sim that’s smarter than it sounds. The guns are big, loud, and turn members of the Third Reich into bloody pulps, and the more bullets you pump out, the better. The ability to dual wield any two weapons makes New Colossus feel different than other old-school shooters – I like holding a silenced pistol in one hand for when I want to go in quietly, creeping up on SS officers for brutal killing moves, and a deafening machine gun in the other for when it all goes wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it).
Most impressive of all is the narrative. You get to know more about the series’ broken hero BJ Blazkowicz than ever before through an origin story that’s not afraid to get dark, and a talented cast somehow manages to pull off a tale that pirouettes between the serious and the absurd. Another Wolfenstein game, Youngblood, has come out since, but it feels like mere expansion. New Colossus is the main course.
Best for: When you want massive firefights with plenty of explosions, but you don’t mind some downtime for the story in between. Samuel Horti
Release date: May 23, 2016
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
What is it? Leave it to Blizzard to instantly restore my faith in a genre that I was ready to give up for good. Starting with the fundamentals of a class-based multiplayer shooter, the studio proceeded to sand off every little rough edge left over from games like Team Fortress 2. It then replaced whatever personality it lost in the process with an instantly beloved cast of MOBA-inspired heroes. Seriously, if you've been on the internet at all since May 2016, you've almost definitely seen at least one piece of Tracer fan art. It's impossible to divorce 's winsome characters from the game's appeal, but don't let them overshadow the endless smart design choices that Blizzard made for its first foray into action gaming since, er… Blackthorne? Now stop lollygagging and get on the damn point.
Best for: Online multiplayer, no doubt. Turning "a few quick rounds" into a night of teeth-gnashing defeats and miraculous victories. Connor Sheridan
11. Metro Exodus
Release date: May 2016
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
What is it? A shooter that’s truly driven by its story. The Metro series is known for blending stealth and shooting in oppressive environments filled with ravenous mutants that want to rip your throat out – Exodus is built from the same DNA, but finds a new level of polish and ambition. Levels are sprawling, and gorgeous, packed with details that encourage you to explore every crumbling building. From Moscow, you take a train through the Russian wilderness, stopping off in desert towns, snowy tundras, and military bases, each filled with secrets to find and enemies to blow to bits.
You conduct missions alone, and venturing from the safety of your party is nerve-wracking. Thankfully, you have an armory of inventive, upgradable weapons to keep you safe, from crossbows to revolvers. Back on the train, you’ll get to know your hardy Russian companions, and the endearing cast will make you genuinely care about protagonist Artyom’s fate. If you’re looking for pure action, Exodus’s careful pace might turn you off, but the cross-country travel gives you a constant sense of progress. Once you’ve set the wheels in motion, you won’t want to get off.
Best for: When you want an FPS that actually tells you a captivating story (and you don’t mind mowing down mutants along the way). Samuel Horti
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