What are the best shooting games on PC? From the classic physics chaos of Half-Life 2 to Overwatch’s incredible guns, these are the finest first-person shooters.
For more than two decades, the best FPS games have been the driving force of the PC games industry. They’ve let us travel from the depths of Hell in Doom to the outer reaches of space in Titanfall 2. Others have taken us on a detour through the likes of Half-Life 2’s zombie-infested Ravenholm, while some have embraced futuristic cities.
Some of these shooters are old, others are new, all are great. Wolfenstein 2’s amazing campaign; Rainbow Six Siege and its tight tactical multiplayer; Overwatch and its vast array of amazing heroes. No matter what sort of virtual gunplay you’re after, the following FPS games will satisfy your itchy trigger finger.
So crack those knuckles, get ready to make all the headshots, and keep in mind that guns will solve all your problems in the following shooty gems. These are the best FPS games on PC. We hope your aim isn’t off…
The best FPS games are:
EA and Respawn built on everything the first game got right and balance this shooter sequel’s multiplayer so well it became one of the best PC games of 2016. There’s nothing quite like Titanfall2’s juxtaposition of crunchy, industrial mech brawling and nimble pilot combat. As you’ll see in our Titanfall 2 campaign review, the solo portion of this FPS also serves as both an excellent intro to the game’s mechanics and a charming, self-contained narrative.
The campaign never tries to outdo the gameplay with epic setpieces or blockbuster bombast. Instead, the raw mechanics 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. What’s more, the PC version holds up wonderfully as we saw in our Titanfall 2 PC port review.
Respawn have not only added depth to single-player; a four-player co-op wave mode is an excellent companion to the competitive multiplayer that contains a wide varitey of Titanfall 2 classes. Titanfall 2 is a bigger and better beast than before, and a breath of fresh air for the genre as a whole.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
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, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, but they certainly delivered.
As you can find out in our Wolfenstein 2 PC review, this is an incredible follow-up to a very strong reboot… even if some sections can get a little gun-heavy. MachineGames once again show that they can tell an engaging story to match the copious shooty slaughter. Blowing out the brains of Wolfenstein 2’s Nazis offers constant punchy thrills, and every setpiece 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, you’ll want to look at our Wolfenstein 2 weapons guide to familiarise yourself with Blaz’s arsenal. A breathless, high-octane thrill ride from start to finish, Wolfenstein 2 is undoubtedly one of the best shooting games on PC.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out our Wolfenstein 2 perks guide. With the right powers equipped, those despicable digital Nazis don’t stand a chance.
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 1993 original. This excellent reboot throws up some of the best Doom levels the series has ever seen, while unloading your gun into the hideous bodies of walking corpses and furious monsters is a gory treat.
Doom is not just an old game with a fresh coat of paint, though: it doesn’t shy away from employing plenty of modern conveniences, like upgrades, objectives, and checkpointing.
This shiny new version isn’t quite as spry as its progenitor, but compared to most modern FPS games, it’ll make you feel like The Flash. Speed alone is not what makes it great, however. It’s the addition of glory kills that elevates Doom amongst the best FPS games on PC.
Glory kills are finisher moves, essentially, forcing you to get in close and smash a demon to bits. And as we detail in our Doom PC review, these finishers give the game an incredible flow. You chain kills, both ranged and melee, jump off ledges and onto unsuspecting enemies, and indefatigably charge into the next battle.
Call of Duty: WWII
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 cements itself as one of the best FPS games on PC.
As we said in our COD WW2 PC review, this is still very much typical COD: it’s still fast with near instantaneous kills and deaths. There’s also a zombies mode, and it’s still populated with potty-mouthed 12-year-olds whose parents should have definitely taken a closer look at the game’s age rating.
Thanks to the addition of COD WW2 War mode though, a slower, more methodical approach is now required. Unlike the pace and nimble movement demanded by Kill Confirmed and Uplink, War sees a team push forward to complete 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.
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 headshots 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, regular Overwatch updates are coming all the time, with new Overwatch heroes being added, too. Overwatch League has also crystallised the game’s e-sports potential. Don’t 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.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Throwing yourself into the world of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 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 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; in part, because regular CS:GO updates forever keep this shooter fresh.
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.
So much more than an evolution of its superb predecessor, Half-Life 2 is frequently hailed as the best PC games of all time. Such accolades are not undeserved, either. The long-awaited sequel to Half-Life is hugely ambitious, benefitting from being 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
Thanks to continued support from Ubisoft, Rainbow Six Siege is almost completely unrecognisable from the so-so shooter that emerged with a whimper rather than a bang in 2015. Now, with its burgeoning e-sports scene, a constant flow of Rainbow Six Siege 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 don’t 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. After all these years of feeling safe behind walls, 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 Rainbow Six Siege Starter Edition. For those who take to Rainbow’s punishing gameplay, you can be assured Ubisoft Montreal’s shooter is here to stay with new seasons and content coming all the time.
Left 4 Dead 2
Valve’s zombies are not like other zombies. In Left 4 Dead 2, 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 remains one of the best co-op games on PC.
Team Fortress 2
In this extra shooty, class-based affair, angry cartoon men capture briefcases, escort bombs, and stand on nodes. Team Fortress 2 is brilliant, and it’s still easily one of the best shooting games on PC. It has also evolved, with mountains of user-created content, maps, modes, and new Team Fortress 2 gadgets helping keep the shooter relevant.
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 here in Team Fortress 2 first.
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 around 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
Even after more than half a decade, Far Cry 3 remains the high point for this sandbox shooter series. Set in a lush tropical paradise, one moment you’re diving off a boat to hunt sharks, the next you’re infiltrating an enemy outpost with nothing but a bow and some Molotov cocktails.
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 holidaymakers. 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. Spin-off Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’s gameplay is a thoroughly campy, affection nod to ’80s sci-fi, and is also well worth playing.
So there you have it, the best FPS games on PC. 2018 has already been very good to shooter fans, and as you can tell from our Far Cry 5 PC review, we have a particular soft spot for Ubi’s latest open world. With so many upcoming PC games taking the form of shooters – we can still dream of a Half-Life 3 release date being announced, right? – now is a glorious time to be an FPS fan. So give that trigger finger a stretch, and keep practicing your virtual headshots. After all, those Nazis, zombies, and virtual terrorists won’t shoot themselves.