What are the best shooting games on PC? For more than two decades, the best FPS games have been the driving force of the PC gaming industry, letting us travel from the depths of Hell to the outer reaches of space, while taking a detour through zombie-infested towns and cities of tomorrow.
Shooty-bang-bang games are fun and all, but what other genres are out there? Check out our all-time favourite PC games.
In no particular order, these are best FPS games on PC that you should already be playing. Some are old, some are new, all are great.
- Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
- Titanfall 2
- Doom (2016)
- Call of Duty: WW2
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Half-Life 2
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Team Fortress 2
- Unreal Tournament
- Far Cry 3
Wolfenstein: The New Order effectively made the case that a good dose of Nazi bashing and a decent yarn are not mutually exclusive. MachineGames had their work cut out with the sequel, The New Colossus, but they certainly delivered.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is an incredible follow-up to a very strong reboot, even if some sections can get a little gunplay heavy. MachineGames show again that they can tell a heartstring-tugging story to match the copious blowing out of Nazi brains; everything has been turned emphatically up to 11.
Rudely awakened from your hospital bed after the defeat of the subtly-named Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse, you return once more as the bellicose B.J. Blazkowicz to try to trigger a Second American Revolution. With the infamous swastika adorning the US, your range of weapons and perks to drive out the evil threat never get old. A breathless, high-octane thrill ride from start to finish, Wolfenstein 2 is undoubtedly one of the best shooting games on PC.
Want more? Take a look at the serious, nuanced way in which MachineGames portray your Nazi foes in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Titanfall 2 builds on everything the first game got right and balances its multiplayer to near-perfection. There’s nothing quite like its juxtaposition of crunchy, industrial mech brawling and nimble pilot combat. Meanwhile, its single-player campaign serves as both an excellent introduction to the game’s mechanics and a charming, self-contained narrative.
The campaign never tries to outdo the gameplay with grandiose set pieces or blockbuster bombast. Instead, the mechanics themselves serve up all the thrills: wall-running at a group of enemies and blowing them away with a few, unnervingly satisfying blasts of your shotgun feels exhilarating every time.
Respawn have not only added depth to singleplayer; a four-player co-op wave defense mode is an excellent companion to the competitive multiplayer and keeps players busy long after the excellent campaign has finished. Titanfall 2 is a bigger and better beast than before, and a breath of fresh air for the genre as a whole.
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 brilliant. Look past the thoroughly modern graphics, the sizzle, and all the demon-punching, and you can see the beating heart of the original Doom. It pumps enough blood through the veins of this excellent new Doom to keep you speeding through corridors and the Martian hellscape, unloading your gun into the hideous bodies of dedicated walking corpses and furious monsters.
Doom is not just an old game with a fresh coat of paint, though. Sure, it is impossible not to appreciate how rooted in the best shooters of the ‘90s it is, but it does not shy away from employing plenty of modern conveniences like upgrades, objectives, and checkpointing.
This shiny new version is not quite as spry as its progenitor, but compared to most other modern FPS games you will feel like The Flash. Speed alone is not what makes it great, however. It is the addition of glory kills that elevates amongst the best FPS games on PC.
Glory kills are finisher moves, essentially, which force you to get in close and smash a demon to bits and give Doom an incredible flow. You chain kills, both ranged and melee, jump off ledges and onto unsuspecting enemies, and indefatigably charge into the next battle.
Want more? Here's our Doom review.
The weariness that series loyalists have for futuristic Call of Duty settings was all too plain when Infinite Warfare came flying in, exosuits and all. A change of direction was needed. Something more along the lines of Call of Duty 2, which was once the gold standard in blockbuster FPS games. And so, following in Battlefield 1’s freshly muddied footsteps, Call of Duty WWII cement itselfs as one of the best FPS games on PC.
In many ways Call of Duty: WW2 is very much your typical COD: it is still fast with near instantaneous kills and deaths, there is a zombies mode, and it is almost entirely populated with potty-mouthed 12-year-olds whose parents should have definitely taken a closer look at the game’s age rating.
But the game’s new War mode requires a slower, more methodical approach. Unlike the pace and nimble movement demanded by Kill Confirmed and Uplink, War mode sees a team gradually push forward to complete multiple objectives while the other attempts to foil them. On top of excellent PC performance, Call of Duty: WWII is one of the best FPS games on PC with tried and tested multiplayer and a story that evokes some of the finest moments of classic COD.
Want more? Ready up with our Call of Duty: WWII Divisions guide.
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 will take months for players to figure out its best character combinations.
Overwatch is about teamwork: little is made of who killed you or how many kills you amassed. More important is how you managed to revive a vital sniper on the capture point as Mercy, or pushed the payload forwards with Reinhart’s shield, or otherwise managed to win a round using your eclectic mixbag of abilities.
While it was a little light on features at launch, there are updates coming all the time with new heroes on the way, too. The Overwatch League will also crystallise the game’s esports potential. Do not worry if you’re not all about eight-hour practice sessions, though – half the charm is the pick-up-and-play appeal, which cements Overwatch as one of the best FPS games on PC.
Want more? Here is everything we know about Overwatch League including its teams, structure, and schedule.
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 Counter-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.
But Global Offensive is a modern game and brings modern ways of playing. It is now partly funded through the sale of cosmetics and weapon skins, like Team Fortress 2. It includes automatic matchmaking, guiding you away from the dedicated servers that made the series what it is today. And there are ranks, giving the elitists a visible badge for their dedication, alongside medals for veterans.
If you're just getting started, why not take a look at our CS:GO tips?
So much more than an evolution of its superb predecessor, Half-Life 2 is frequently hailed as the best shooting games of all time. Such accolades are not undeserved, either. The long awaited sequel to Half-Life is hugely ambitious, and developed by a much more confident Valve.
Everything is bigger than the 1998 original: the environments, the enemies, the story – it’s a blockbuster, but a smart one. There are decent AI companions; real characters who exist to do more than die comically; physics that transform the world into a seemingly real, tangible place.
Valve again works magic with its environments. Despite often being larger and more open than Half-Life’s, they are still crafted with the same care and attention to detail. And, importantly, they remain memorable, from the haunted streets of Ravenholm to the ominous Citadel, standing over City 17 like a steel and glass tyrant. Age may have worn away some of the sheen, but it remains a striking, compelling FPS.
Rainbow Six Siege is almost completely unrecognisable to the so-so shooter that emerged with a whimper rather than a bang in 2015. Now, with its burgeoning esports scene, constant flow of new operators, and some of the best multiplayer gameplay around, it has become one of the best shooting games on PC.
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 do not 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 mean no round plays out the same way.
It is a psychological battle as much as it is a series of gunfights, a game about manipulation and control as you attempt to make your foes react in specific ways while you try to keep your own team working together. You never feel safe: an attack can come from anywhere, usually everywhere all at once, and after all these years of feeling safe behind a wall, Siege’s destructible environments force you to think on your feet and trust no wall.
Siege features a relatively high barrier to entry, but unsure players can jump into the fray cheaply with the starter edition. For those who take to Rainbow’s punishing gameplay, you can be assured that Ubisoft Montreal’s shooter is here to stay with new seasons and content coming all the time, including a PvE co-op zombies mode: Outbreak.
Ready to get stuck in? These are the best Rainbow Six Siege operators.
Left 4 Dead 2’s zombies are not like other zombies. They crash over you like waves, crawling up walls and leaping across gaps. They are 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.
Even though zombies are a dime a dozen and Left 4 Dead 2 has been around for a long time, the tension, level design, and countless mods ensure it remains a compelling romp. It is perfect for four-player co-op.
Want more? Here's our Left 4 Dead 2 review.
Team Fortress 2 is a class-based affair in which angry cartoon men capture briefcases, escort bombs, and stand on nodes. It’s brilliant and easily one of the best shooting games on PC. It has also evolved, with mountains of user-created content, maps, modes, a competitive mode and, of course, hats.
The premise is as simple as ever: you pick a character from a cast of nine and take your place on a team. Modes include Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and Payload - the latter seeing a team drive a bomb forward on a rail track, while their opponents desperately attempt to hold them back. It is a classic that has become the flagship mode of Overwatch, but it was refined to perfection right here in Team Fortress 2 first.
Want more? Here's our Team Fortress 2 review.
Epic made a name for itself 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.
Among the game’s exciting weapons is the BioRifle, 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 there is Redeemer, a rocket launcher that flings a pilotable thermonuclear warhead at your enemies. You should also try the Ripper, which fires saw blades that bounce round corners. Each gun has separate strengths and alternate fire modes that need mastering in order for you to dominate in the arena.
Tournament’s maps – old and new – are filled with memorably mad architecture. There is nothing quite like leaping in low gravity between the three stratospheric towers in DM-Morpheus - particularly if you can gib someone in mid-air, spraying their gore through the sky.
Far Cry 3 is a real high point for the series. Set in a lush tropical paradise, one moment you are diving off a boat to hunt sharks, the next you are infiltrating an enemy outpost with nothing but a bow and some molotov cocktails. Only then would you make your escape by wingsuiting off a cliff.
There is an interesting story beneath it all, too. With Far Cry 3, Ubisoft Montreal subverted colonial fiction, skewering it while also firing shots at its legacy of entitled Western holiday makers. Sometimes it gets a bit too close to simply mimicking colonial fiction, but it is bold for one of the best shooting games to attempt to say anything at all.
And that's your lot. Let us know which of the best shooting games we have missed in the comments.