The Best First-Person Shooters To Shoot Stuff In
The classic first-person shooter genre has undergone a weird popularity shift over the years. After the original Doom, it quickly leapt in recognition to become one of the biggest genres, but as costs skyrocketed and every publisher tried to copy Call Of Duty interest in the FPS waned.
In recent times, however, the genre has undergone a resurgence as smaller developers realised they didn’t need a AAA budget to make one of the best first-person shooters around.
We’ve tracked down what we think are the best FPS games currently available, ranging from retro experiences to stylish innovators to amazing remakes. Regardless, all are a lot of fun for very little money.
The best first-person shooters
Starting off as a free experiment, after great word of mouth and a Kickstarter campaign Superhot became one of the most stylish, innovative and addictive shooters around. The world is a white void with only red enemies to fight and grey weapons to use or throw, but the concept is that time only moves forward if you do, creating some Matrix-esque bullet-dodging moments. Furthermore, the story gets very sinister, very fast, with some twisted outside-the-level shenanigans. The VR and Mind Control Delete roguelike spin-offs are if anything even better.
A stylish cross between the Shadow Warrior remake and Bulletstorm, the futuristic dimension-hopping adventures of Shelia looks like a big-budget FPS, but it’s the work of a single developer. Bright Memory pushes the Unreal engine to breaking point with its fantastic graphics tech that puts AAA games to shame, but it’s the cool mix of shooting, gadgets, swordplay and acrobatics that’ll keep you playing. The original is short, but the expanded version Bright Memory: Infinite will be out for PC and Xbox Series X/S this year, and anyone who bought Bright Memory will receive Infinite for free.
Despite being a total remake of one of the greatest games ever made, Black Mesa isn’t made or published by Valve – instead, it’s one of the most ambitious indie games in history. After 8 years in development, the game is finally complete, and it’s nearly unrecognizable as Half-Life – particularly the notorious Xen, which received the biggest overhaul. Even the AI has been improved, leading to a tougher challenge. Thought those Ninjas were deadly before? Just try and take them on now.
The FPS genre’s recent resurgence is tied to the rise of the retro shooter, and Project Warlock is one of the best Doom-style FPSs around. Tight, colourful levels with a bit of a Blood aesthetic, especially in many excellent designs of enemies. Upgradeable weapons that mix traditional shooters with Hexen-style magic powers. 60 well-designed levels to get through, with plenty of secrets and surprises. It’s addictive, exciting, and it’s got a bit of a sense of humour, too.
Warhammer Vermintide 2
Developed and published by Fatshark, Warhammer Vermintide 2 is proof even licenced titles can be AAA-quality indie games. Like Black Mesa, it also follows the age-old rule: “if Valve won’t make it, do it yourself”. Vermintide 2 is essentially fantasy Left 4 Dead, right down to having similar special enemies (just try not to shout “Tank!” when a Rat Ogre shows up), but it’s both a perfect imitator and a great game in its own right – although admittedly it pushes the name ‘shooter’ to the limit as you’ll mostly be swinging an axe around. Still, it’s the L4D successor the world wanted, and Fatshark are currently working on a Warhammer 40K sequel, Darktide.