The best FPS games you can play right now

metro exodus
(Image credit: 4A Games via Nahobino on Steam)
Best of the best

Crusader Kings 3

(Image credit: Paradox)

2022 games: This year's launches
Best PC games: All-time favorites
Best free PC games: Freebie fest
Best laptop games: Low-specs 

FPS games are 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 the next two decades. Of all the genres the PC gaming community considers 'ours'—the RTS, RPG, point-and-click adventure—the FPS is the one that's only gotten more popular over time.

It's a genre known for its violence, yet it's hardly the reason we're drawn to them. We celebrate the immersive potential of seeing through the eyes of someone else, and how the invasive 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 truly engrossing worlds and social spaces that rival anything else gaming has to offer.

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.

The best singleplayer FPS games

Doom Eternal

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doom eternal

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: id Software | Steam (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab)

Neon White

Neon White tips guide

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Angel Matrix | Steam (opens in new tab)

The most exciting shooter of 2022, 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 (opens in new tab)

Titanfall 2

(Image credit: EA)

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

HYPER DEMON

(Image credit: Sorath)

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

Prey

Prey

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Arkane | Steam, GOG (opens in new tab), Epic

The modern System Shock that reminds us you don't need 18 different guns to make a good FPS. Prey 2017 lets you chart your own path through its arsenal, be it investing early in upgrades for the shotgun and pistol or delving into devilish alien powers that may turn the space station's defenses against you. Prey also wins the award for most satisfying shotgun/enemy duo thanks to the mimics: little menacing blobs that disguise themselves as everyday objects and pop like water balloons when shot.

Read more: The making of Prey's Gloo Cannon

Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition

(Image credit: 4A Games)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: 4A Games | Steam (opens in new tab), GOG (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab)

The best co-op FPS games

Deep Rock Galactic

Deep Rock Galactic's doughty dwarf miners

(Image credit: Ghost Ship Games)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Ghost Ship Games | Steam (opens in new tab)

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: Deep Rock Galactic is a doorway to infinite co-op adventure (opens in new tab)

Back 4 Blood

Back 4 Blood ridden up-close and personal

(Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios)

Release date: 2021 | Developer: Turtle Rock Studios | Steam (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab)

Holy crap, we really got the Left 4 Dead 3 we were asking for, huh? Maybe not, depending on how exactly you were craving the purity of a 2000's Valve shooter. Back 4 Blood is more like what I envision out of a 'modern' Left 4 Dead—a co-op zombie FPS with better shooting, characters with unique abilities, loot, skins, a season pass, and somehow a card system, too. Back 4 Blood is a lot at once, and the added complexity has made it harder to pick up and replay, but amazingly, all of its weird systems gel together. It's a shame that PvP sucks, though.

Read more: How Turtle Rock Studios righted itself after rolling on its back (opens in new tab)

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2

(Image credit: Valve)

Release date: 2009 | Developer: Valve | Steam (opens in new tab)

It should say a lot about the longevity of the Source engine that my friends and I can fire up Left 4 Dead 2 in 2022 and have the same fun we had in 2009. Back 4 Blood is a worthy successor, but not even Turtle Rock could totally replicate the magic of classic L4D. Its secret is its simplicity: four players, a handful of distinct weapons, and an AI director capable of making repeat missions feel different than the last. Left 4 Dead 2 even got a new player-created level as recently as 2020 on top of nearly a decade of readily available mods on Steam Workshop.

Read more: Gabe Newell once wondered if Left 4 Dead really needed zombies (opens in new tab)

The best retro and old school FPS games

Doom and Doom 2

Doom

(Image credit: id Software)

Release date: 1993, 1994 | Developer: id Software | Steam (opens in new tab), GOG (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

halo 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: 343 Industries | Steam (opens in new tab)

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 2022, 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 15 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 (opens in new tab)

Black Mesa

Xen

(Image credit: Crowbar Collective)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Crowbar Collective | Steam (opens in new tab)

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 2022.

Read more: Half-Life Xen vs. Black Mesa Xen: a video comparison (opens in new tab)

Ultrakill

(Image credit: New Blood Interactive)

Release date: 2020 (early access) | Developer: Arsi "Hakita" Patala | Steam (opens in new tab), GOG (opens in new tab) 

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 competitive FPS games

Valorant

valorant yoru

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Released: 2020 | Developer: Riot Games | Epic (opens in new tab), Official site (opens in new tab)

Riot stepped out of its MOBA-shaped fortress a few years ago to declare it's now making all sorts of games, including a competitive, economy-based FPS that gives CS:GO something to sweat about. Valorant cranks up the heat of traditional corner-clearing tactics with flashy hero abilities inspired by Riot's MOBA roots. All the nextra noise made by explosive drones, fire walls, and global space lasers can feel like a bit much at times, but the variety and style alone have been enough for many to make the jump from CS:GO.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

CSGO

(Image credit: Valve)

Release date: 2012 | Developer: Valve | Steam (opens in new tab)

Counter-Strike is still one of the most-played games on Steam every day. Similar to Left 4 Dead, purity is a major draw—CS:GO stands in contradiction to the current accepted truth that videogames have to constantly change to keep players interested. For millions of players, nothing has topped the competitive core and sky-high skill ceiling of Counter-Strike. It's not for casual fun, but a hard-fought victory with a group of friends is extremely satisfying.

Read more: 10 years of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (opens in new tab)

Overwatch 2

Overwatch 2 Halloween event - Cyber Demon skin for Genji

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Blizzard | Battle.net (opens in new tab)

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, and Junker Queen freshen up a roster that was growing stale with every passing year and I'm especially excited for the new cadence of hero and map releases. The new 5v5 format and key hero reworks have also transformed the flow of Overwatch's combat, shifting away from drawn-out barrier brawls and emphasizing mano-a-mano shootouts. 

Read more: Here we go again: I can't wait until Overwatch 2 players learn there's an objective

Squad

Squad

(Image credit: Offworld Industries)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Offworld Industries | Steam (opens in new tab)

Squad remains the best modern PvP military sim out there, expanding on Project Reality's roots with Battlefield-like rules layered over a complex logistical metagame. Spawn points aren't automatic placements in Squad, they're player-built structures that need to be strategically placed and defended. The real heroes of Squad aren't the soldiers who storm bunkers, but the selfless truck drivers and helicopter pilots who keep the team's ammo reserves stocked and troops efficiently transported across several kilometer-wide maps. Here's another cool thing about Squad: it's one of the few regularly updated FPSes out there that's simply complete. No battle pass or premium store here. 

Read more: How modders and veterans created Squad, a military sim like no other (opens in new tab)

Hunt: Showdown

Leaves turn brown and the twin revolvers come out

(Image credit: Crytek)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Crytek | Steam (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab)

Rainbow Six Siege

rainbow six siege sens

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Release date: 2015 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Steam (opens in new tab)

The GI Joe of competitive shooters. Rainbow Six Siege has changed dramatically over seven years, but it's still a tremendous tactical shooter. The roster of 65 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 (opens in new tab)

The best free FPS games

Destiny 2

Destiny 2 in the hot seat - completing activities in the throne world

(Image credit: Bungie)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Bungie | Steam (opens in new tab), Epic (opens in new tab)

Bungie made an FPS MMO that millions of players have actually stuck with. It's a testament to the Halo creators' knack for crafting virtual 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 cooperative missions that test aim, timing, and communication all at the same time. There's nothing else like it in the world of FPSes.

Read more: Quiz: Destiny exotic or craft beer? (opens in new tab)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

CS:GO

(Image credit: Valve)

Release date: 2012 | Developer: Valve | Steam (opens in new tab)

Counter-Strike is still one of the most-played games on Steam every day. Similar to Left 4 Dead, purity is a major draw—CS:GO stands in contradiction to the current accepted truth that videogames have to constantly change to keep players interested. For millions of players, nothing has topped the competitive core and sky-high skill ceiling of Counter-Strike. It's not for casual fun, but a hard-fought victory with a group of friends is extremely satisfying.

Read more: 10 years of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (opens in new tab)

Overwatch 2

Overwatch 2's Sojourn

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Blizzard | Battle.net (opens in new tab)

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, and Junker Queen freshen up a roster that was growing stale with every passing year and I'm especially excited for the new cadence of hero and map releases. The new 5v5 format and key hero reworks have also transformed the flow of Overwatch's combat, shifting away from drawn-out barrier brawls and emphasizing mano-a-mano shootouts. 

Read more: Here we go again: I can't wait until Overwatch 2 players learn there's an objective

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

(Image credit: Valve)

Release date: 2007 | Developer: Valve | Steam (opens in new tab)

Valve may have forgotten that Team Fortress 2 exists, but we haven't. The 2007 team-based FPS that inspired so much of the current shooter landscape is still very much a big game—It remains one of the most-played games on Steam despite the fact that it hasn't gotten a major update in years. My friends and I still gather a few times a year for a joyous night of rocket jumping, spy checking, and uber charging, even if all those pesky bots (opens in new tab) can get in the way. Valve should really sort that out.

Read more: How Team Fortress 2's silly videos sparked a whole new era of shooters

The best VR FPS games

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx VR Combine

(Image credit: Valve)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Valve | Steam (opens in new tab)

Valve's first Half-Life game since 2007 is also the first big-budget singleplayer VR game, and it's fantastic. Skulking the streets City 17 at a realistic scale often elicits genuine awe that a 2D screen capture can't quite replicate. As a shooter, Alyx is better than most of the gajillion shooting gallery games in VR, but don't expect a power trip. Even the best VR shooters are still clumsy affairs—it's hard to feel like a Gordon Freeman-level action hero when I'm constantly bumping into stationary objects, dropping grenades I meant to throw, and forgetting to pull back the hammer on Alyx's guns to complete reloads. Even still, Alyx is a worthy Half-Life 2 prequel and remains the best argument for picking up a VR headset.

Read more: How fidgeting playtesters convinced Valve to drastically shorten Half-Life: Alyx's intro (opens in new tab)

Boneworks

boneworks

(Image credit: Stress Level Zero)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Stress Level Zero | Steam (opens in new tab)

Before there was a Half-Life: Alyx, Boneworks stood out as a VR shooter with a full-length campaign. Valve might've stolen its thunder a bit, but Boneworks is still worth playing for its unrestrictive physics systems, bone-cracking melee combat (a martial option that's entirely missing from Alyx's guns-only arsenal), and limited pool of guns that feel especially cool when combined with a dedicated slo-mo button. If you though Alyx was clumsy, don't even bother with the Boneworks man—because the player's body is fully simulated, you constantly have to fight babysit non-feeling limbs to make sure your arm isn't caught on a railing and you're feet are firmly planted on the ground.

Read more: Boneworks is the most fun I've had with physics in a game since Half-Life 2 (opens in new tab)

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.

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