What are the best FPS games on PC? From the classic physics chaos of Half-Life 2 to Overwatch’s incredible guns, these are the finest FPS games.
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.
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Some of these FPS games 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:
Black Mesa is a remake of Half Life 1, created entirely by fans using the latest Source engine. It took 15 years before Black Mesa reached its 1.0 release, but it finally happened in 2020, and it was well worth the wait. The remake is a reimagined version of the classic single player campaign, eliminating any dated puzzles and combat sequences to create a succinct experience. The developers even created their own expanded version of the Alien planet, Xen, the final section of Half Life 1 that was reportedly cut short by Valve.
Although there’s no denying Half Life 1 is a spectacular game, and putting aside what it did for PC gaming, its gameplay isn’t perfect, but the tweaks in Black Mesa iron out those issues. If you haven’t experienced the first Half Life game and you want to see what you’ve missed out on, Black Mesa is the best way to relive this classic FPS.
Doom Eternal takes the gameplay loop of the 2016 smash hit and ramps everything up to 11. The developers could’ve easily pumped out a sequel that played largely the same as Doom 2016, but they chose to take each core mechanic to another level. Every aspect has been improved, from the amount of weapons you have at your disposal, to the movement options that increase the pace of the game..
With all of this extra power comes stronger enemies, equipped with their own set of strengths and weaknesses for you to exploit. You could play Doom 2016 using just one weapon, if you really wanted to, but Doom Eternal punishes players for sticking to the same game plan. Unless you kill enemies using the range of tools at your disposal, you’re always going to be low on resources.
Borrowing elements from the best action games, Doom Eternal transforms into a lightning fast shooter that makes players think creatively as they wipe out hordes of Hell’s worst creatures. There’s a good reason why Doom Eternal was our GOTY for 2020, it truly is spectacular.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS COLD WAR
Hot on the heels of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot and Warzone, Black Ops – Cold War needed to excel in order to maintain the high bar set by Infinity Ward. Fortunately, Cold War lives up to expectations and the result is a game that feels snappy and fast-paced, two big requisites when it comes to creating a popular Call of Duty game.
Related: Check out our Black Ops Cold War review
Cold War leans into the silliness of its alternate history setting, allowing the devs to throw operators like Rambo and John McClane into the mix. The campaign even features multiple endings, including one that sees Russia win the Cold War. The highlight of the game has to be the multiplayer mode which is regularly updated with new content every two months. This isn’t just restricted to multiplayer maps either, brand new modes have been added to the game, like the large-scale Zombies Outbreak mode.
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.
Get started: the best Overwatch characters for beginners
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.
Telescopic sights: focus on the best sniper games on PC
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, benefiting 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 game.
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.
Want more? Check out our list of the best war games
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.
Escape from Tarkov
There are countless FPS games that tout their realism, but none come close to the obsessive attention to detail paid by Escape from Tarkov’s dev team when it comes to guns, attachments, and ballistics modelling. Not only are there upwards of 60 guns in Escape from Tarkov, but each one can be modded up or stripped down to the point where they’re unrecognisable from their off-the-shelf counterparts. You can swap barrels, mounts, scopes, flashlights, foregrips, pistol grips, handguards, muzzle attachments, stocks, charging handles, magazines, receivers, gas blocks, and choose from several different types of round for each ammo type. No two weapons you find in-raid are ever the same.
This leads to plenty of malfunctions for new players and anyone who, er, doesn’t know much about guns. However, after stacks of wasted roubles and an inventory packed full of useless attachments, you’ll soon start figuring out how to fit each attachment before finally forming an emotional bond with your custom build. That last part is especially important as in Escape from Tarkov, if you die in a raid and an enemy loots your body, you’ll lose everything you brought in with you, even your treasured assault rifle.
A little help: in the form of this Escape from Tarkov ammo guide
These brutal rules can make Escape from Tarkov incredibly intimidating for new players, but while it’s easy to lose your valuable gear, it’s just as easy to go into a raid with little more than a pistol and extract with some of the best armour and weapons in the game. Thanks to a player-driven economy, you can even loot a seemingly worthless object like a statue and trade it for a brand-new HK416.
EfT also stands out from other FPS and multiplayer games on this list as it mixes PvP and PvE so seamlessly. Every raid plays out on a massive map with players spawning around the edges and AI enemies spawning in at key points of interest, usually where good loot can be found. From the start of the match you have up to 40 minutes to kill, plunder, and make it to one of the designated extraction points. If you die you’ll only get the gear you insured beforehand back, and only if it’s not been looted from your body first. So, how do you escape from Tarkov? Well, extraction points are always on the opposite side of the map where you spawned in, so making it through a raid without encountering an enemy is virtually unheard of.
EA and Respawn built on everything the first game got right and balanced this shooter sequel’s multiplayer so well it became one of the best PC games of 2016. There’s nothing quite like Titanfall 2’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 mech games genre as a whole.
While there’s no word on a Titanfall 3, Respawn Entertainment’s battle royale Apex Legends is set in the same universe. Sure, the wall-running is gone, but Apex Legends weapons like the Mozambique and Hemlock serve as a fitting nod to this developer’s wonderful past.
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.
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.
Related: Check out the best zombie games on PC
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.
Riot’s hero shooter will be incredibly familiar to fans of CS:GO and Overwatch, but – as we explain in our Valorant review – that’s not a bad thing at all. Valorant has pushed its way right to the front of the competitive FPS pack, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a bright-eyed cast of heroes to choose from, each with a handful of useful, well balanced abilities. The weapons and economy system is straight from CS:GO – they even called the ‘AWP’ the ‘Op’, which is pretty much the same word. Clever.
Matches are intense, and require skill, precision, and team coordination. Just like CS:GO, if your aim is shoddy or your reactions aren’t on point you’re in for a rough one – but at least you don’t have to play against a grown adult who has been learning Dust II since they were weaned. Valorant couldn’t be any more geared towards esports, so if you’ve got your eye on a new competitive scene, it comes highly recommended – and if you don’t fancy the commitment of a full match, the Spike Rush gamemode is faster, more casual, and offers just as much FPS fun.
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.
Dusk is much, much more than just another throwback FPS that riffs on every titan of the genre from Half-Life to Quake. While other retro-styled shooters have managed to emulate the feel of those classics, Dusk instead tries to outdo its own inspirations by being as fast, tight, and imaginative as possible.
Like Doom or Half-Life, Dusk has its fair share of unforgettable levels, from the mind-boggling Escher Labs and Homecoming to the nightmarish Unseen, the level design in Dusk is nothing short of genius. The gunplay is satisfying, with a punchy array of weapons you can use to gib the varied assortment of baddies Dusk throws at you.
But it’s the fluid movement that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Simplified controls and rapid acceleration encourage you to be fast and aggressive in every fight, with accessible strafe-jumping, weapons that let you extend your air time, and the ability to perform ad hoc somersaults for extra flair.
There are a bunch of modern perks, too, such as mouse-look, crouch, jump, and actual physics – you can pick up a bar of soap and hurl it at an enemy if you’re low on ammo. All of this adds up to make Dusk the best ’90s shooter since the ‘90s. This indie game is an absolute blast to play and goes much further than simply recalling the halcyon days of the genre.
And if you want more retro gaming goodness then publisher New Blood Interactive are also responsible for Amid Evil, a gloriously fast-paced homage to retro games like Heretic.
So there you have it, the best FPS games on PC. 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 practising your virtual headshots. After all, those Nazis, zombies, and virtual terrorists won’t shoot themselves.