The 50 best FPS on PC

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The best shooters endure. While the state of the art moves on in other genres and leaves old designs in the dust, it’s as fun to fire a well-made shotgun from an early 90s FPS as from one released today. For that reason, this list runs the gamut from genre classics to those released in the last year. There’s bound to be something for you inside.

You can turn the pages of this feature using the arrows by the header image, or using the arrow keys of your keyboard.

Of course, a good shooter is not just about the shooting. What lies beyond are primarily games of skill and reflex, but they are often as much about movement as about violence. And hey, sometimes you get a decent gimmick or story thrown into the mix.

Your favourite is at number 51. If you feel you must let us know about why we’re wrong to exclude something, make sure to make your comment an effervescent explanation of why the game you love is great. Make us converts with your glowing praise.

Note: We first ran this list in mid-2015, and this is our second revision. You can see what’s been evicted from last year’s list on the ‘Honourable Mentions’ page, after the top ten.

OK, let’s do this. Aim for the head.

135 Comments

  1. aepervius says:

    I don’t get it. I played half life 2…. And for the time it was excellent… But compared to today’s shooter ? It would not be the top one I would cite. There are many subsequent FPS which innovated, had better graphic, better story, better shooting. Yes it was maybe number 1 ten years ago, but why keep it at number 1 today ? Such list should evolve with time, and recognize that old goodies maybe have been number 1 at their time, but by now have been surpassed. Gaming has evolved , fps evolved , and now the old excellent is only merely good, or even passable. Your list IMO makes it look as if you are still pinning for 15 years ago as if no advance or nothing came better in between…

    • aepervius says:

      but then again it is a question of taste and maybe your feeling is that even compared to today there is no better fps. That’s fine :).

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      Graham Smith says:

      It’s not at number one.

      • aepervius says:

        Point taken it is number 2 , with doom at number 1, i missed the arrow, but the initial point still stand. There are many fps which are superior in story or technic or even maps than half life 2 IMO.

        • Jokerme says:

          So you think Half Life 2 doesn’t hold up, but Doom does? Half Life 2 is still one of the best action games out there. Most single player shooter can’t even come close as a whole.

          • aepervius says:

            No I don’t see my reply to LTK below. But I am biased when it comes to FPS, just like that author is or anybody is. And my bias is that I don’t find doom or half life 2 that good compared to today’s fps. We have advanced, and not stagnated or gone back as the list seem to purport ( if it is #1 then none of what is today is offered stand to it, so we regressed effectively). When it was first published I was already in PC gaming for half a decade or more, and in gaming for more than a decade, lived through ET and the crash in gaming industry. So doom was only a step stone just like half life 2 was. There are many games I find superior in story, technology, or heck level design. Doom/HL2 were good at the time, but today ? I tried both within the last few years, and gott im himmel, I can’t stand them anymore *while* i can still stand U5/U6/U7 or PS:T…

    • LTK says:

      Which would you put at the top?

      • aepervius says:

        Personally ? as far as fps go it would be hard to decide but it would be probably wolfenstein and the newest doom for those with stories, and planetside 2 , cs:go with a distant 3rd “player unknown” for pure fps.

        • LTK says:

          In terms of story-driven FPS games I still prefer HL2 for their post-interdimensional-alien-invasion setting, which I found far more captivating than either DOOM’16’s hell or Wolfenstein’s Nazi Europe. Plus, those two games don’t have nearly as many memorable moments like Ravenholm, the Citadel, or Episode 2’s strider battle. They’re good shooters and I don’t disagree that they’re more innovative in certain technological and gunplay aspects, but they just don’t hold a candle to HL2’s sheer creative brilliance.

          • wummes says:

            Halflife 2 just no. It was a boring corridor/rail shooter with nice graphics.
            HL1 was a revolution with awesome level design, great gameplay, and still is.

        • rochrist says:

          Yuck. Shooters on rails.

          • modzero says:

            I mean, HL2 is obviously a better shooter than those, but it was quite railroadey itself.

            Anyway, it doesn’t matter. The best FPS was the first Halo, and anyone claiming otherwise is clearly not objective in their game opinions.

          • Grizzly says:

            Obligatory mention that Half Life 2 starts you on a literal train :P

    • Ham Solo says:

      You always have to think about the time a game was released in and the influence it had on the genre as a whole.
      Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, System Shock 1/2, Deus Ex, Quake 1/3, Unreal Tournament, Golden Eye, Halo, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Battlefield 1942 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare have just set certain standards. All modern shooters build upon these games, so they have a certain legacy.

      Sure, today you can make better games. But just like with movies and music, it’s about more than just what’s possible with today’s technology. Nobody would care if Citizen Kane or the first Beatles album was released today. It just wouldn’t have the same impact on the medium.

      • aepervius says:

        You can make such a list, but that list is not anymore the *best* FPS list, but rather the *most influencial* FPS list. A FPS can be highly influencial, but my our standard be now totally left behind in term of joy of gameplay. There are many game I would call highly influencial and which were best at their time, but not anymore, technology/storyboard evolved. They are not best anymore while still being influencial.

    • M0dusPwnens says:

      I think this is the “Citizen Kane” issue. A lot of rankings like this created by people knowledgeable about the medium they’re talking about will tend to blur the line between things that are, at present, the height of the medium, and things that were the height when they were introduced and were enormously influential. And I don’t think that’s a mistake, but rather an open question: which is the “best”, a work that took a great leap forward and completely rewrote or created a genre, or the one that competently took that influence and improved on it, albeit only a little bit? There is obviously a sense in which the latter is currently the “best”, but there’s also a sense in which the former is “better”.

      And the thing about influential works is that the most influential tend to seem the least remarkable in the present day. It’s hard to understand a lot of the praise for Citizen Kane today because a lot of the techniques it innovated or advanced are bog standard today. Seinfeld seems like a pretty generic, it capable, sitcom today, but at the time there was nothing like it. It isn’t that Seinfeld is generic, it’s that it was so influential that it lead to what we think of as “generic” in subsequent sitcomes.

      HL2 is a good example: It’s certainly still a good game today, maybe even great, but that’s nothing compared to the influence it exerted. The storyline (much like the first, which played a big part in originating story-based FPS in the first place), the structure, the puzzles, the maps, and especially the physics system were all very influential. The fact that it seems somewhat unremarkable is largely because so many of its innovations were so profoundly successful and influential that they became standard.

    • aptanstjarna says:

      Ever stop to think that Originals like Half-Life (both 1 and 2), Quake (from 1 to 3) and DOOM as the first mentionable FPS ever may be in the tops not just because they rock on their own – which they really all do – but also they had such a big influence on all those other new games you love so much?

    • Apocryo says:

      I just played an hour of Half Life 2 yesterday and I think it still deserves its spot in the top 10 fps today.

  2. Dorga says:

    Why not Rising Storm 2?

  3. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I will also state that DOOM still totally holds up.

    Get GZDoom or something, drag the files in there, and set up WASD and Mouselook. BOOM. Doom is now fast and exciting again, no more clunky nonsense cursor controls. It’ll make you wonder why modern FPS games are all so dour and slow-paced.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Doom is truly immortal.

      Did you know there’s a genuinely good level generator for it?
      link to oblige.sourceforge.net
      The maps (and even multi-map campaigns with escalating scale and transitions between tilesets) it generates are actually pretty decent by human standards, with some nice detailing work.

      Not that you’d really need machine-generated levels for it ever, on account of the community having already produced approximately eight squintillion.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Yeah funny thing. I played it again recently with mouselook and it just trashes the competition even with 90s graphics.
      No BS unskippable or any cutscenes. No pauses, no useless animations, completely fluent, best level design.
      No useless NPCs, no dumb dialogue (like Farcry 4).
      No ridiculous explanation – it’s just hell.

  4. InfiniteSubset says:

    I never quite got the strong appeal of Half-Life 2. Don’t get me wrong, it was a decent game, fun, good story, but it never really felt that good as a shooter to me. Enemies don’t really react to being shot, ammo distribution is all over the place, none of the weapons feel that great except the gravity gun. Even the gravity gun, which is really fun to shoot, is annoying because things get stuck all the time, don’t really do enough damage, and holding items them blocks your vision really badly. I would maybe even put it in the top 50, such is the way it plays to it’s strengths, but top 10, much less the top 2, would be unlikely.

    • LTK says:

      I personally highly enjoy shooting red-hot bolts of rebar from a crossbow strung with metal cables, but gravity gunning giant sawblades beats it.

      • InfiniteSubset says:

        That’s fair, but after you use up all 6 shots or so, then you go back to using the other weapons.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          That’s why you use cheats and/or mods that give you even more weapons. I always like having cheats in FPS games, because I want to wreck everything and live in a power fantasy without worrying about health and ammo. Sadly, cheats are out of fashion nowadays, so I play on Easy instead.

      • mitrovarr says:

        That is literally the only good weapon in the game (with the caveat that the gravity gun is fun, just not very good in terms of usefulness).

        For a while in shooters there was a real trend for all of the weapons to have a lot of inherent inaccuracy and not do very much damage, except for the precision weapon, which is amazing but hardly gets any ammunition. Half-life 2 absolutely subscribes to that trend, as only the crossbow feels powerful but the game desperately wants you to use the bad, inaccurate, and unfun assault rifle.

        Bioshock had a lot of this going on, too. Lots of cool atmospheric weapons that weren’t any good at all, but you had to use them because ammo.

        • LTK says:

          Well, if you had a high-accuracy, high-damage weapon with enough ammo to shoot all the baddies, that would make the game way too easy. It’s like turning on instagib mode. A good FPS gives you incentive to use a wide variety of different weapons, sometimes with the carrot of plentiful ammo pickups for a weapon that isn’t the best, and sometimes with the stick of limited ammo for a weapon that’s really good.

          • mitrovarr says:

            I understand that, but it’s not ‘good difficulty’ if I end up taking a bunch of damage in every fight because the game only gives me ammo for weapons that have a terrible time-to-kill no matter how well they’re used.

            Later games seem to have resolved the issue by not making the machine gun/assault rifle weapons have tons of inherent inaccuracy, allowing more weapons to headshot than just the designated precision weapon, and giving the precision weapon more downsides (like not letting the player run around at full speed while scoped in).

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Some like it but it’s just too linear for me and the enemies are bullet sponges.
      I didn’t like the water section and the story and I played it years too late anyway.
      All those arguments about how it is that clever constructed and makes you look to the left at the right moment to show off an explosion… I don’t know.
      I guess the people most impressed with it played it as their first FPS in their teens.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      My gripe with Half-Life 2 from the very beginning was its level design. It’s absurdly linear, there’s always exactly one solution and it never even tries to give you the illusion of freedom. When your world feels so fake, I just can not bring myself to care.

      Also half the praise it received was for technical innovation; simulated physics really aren’t special anymore.

    • RuySan says:

      I thought HL2 was a snoozefest when it was released, and i’m very undemanding when it comes to FPS.

    • caff says:

      I agree with the choice of HL2, when you consider the Source engine it was built upon.

      There were some excellent mechanics in there – the crossbow in particular felt pure and right. Using the grav gun with the blades, and anything else you could find, was an inspired design decision and a brilliantly novel concept.

      A lot of these weapons and mechanics went into mods such as those delivered via Garry’s Mod. I spent thousands of hours playing such things, far more so than HL2 itself. So in essence, yes I think HL2 was a good FPS, but mainly because it pushed the mod and games scene forwards through its spectacular engine.

    • aptanstjarna says:

      Each imperfection you mentioned, simply makes the game harder and as such better for people who like a challenge.

  5. brucethemoose says:

    My number 51: Mass Effect 3.

    Any mention of it usually devolves into an argument about the writing and the ending of the SP game, but I thought the shooty bits (particularly co-op) were a masterpiece.

    The weapons sound and feel so punchy. The space-magic powers are simple and equally punchy, yet deeply complex with all the synergies you can get. The enemies, oh, their heads just blow off in the most satisfying way… The higher co-op difficulties in particular ride on a knife’s edge balance wise, where it seems like you’re always on the ragged edge of being overwhelmed.

    I’ve never played another FPS that keeps my adrenaline level so high for so long, even today. It’s successor, Andromeda, seems to have lost the spark that made it fun despite being technically superior. And hey, ME3 even has a decent story to justify the shooty bits (until it doesn’t), and some nice talky bits too.

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    Drib says:

    I think we can all agree that Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold is the real #51.

    • Catterbatter says:

      I think ROTT might edge it out for me, but I can’t deny Blake Stone was huge for me at the time. It was so quintessentially Apogee: cartoonish and silly, bright and fun. I don’t think it’s aged well, but it did a lot of things right, and it did a few really new things like revisiting levels. I realize you may be joking, but I stand by it.

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        Drib says:

        Well, obviously joking about it being one of the best ever, but it was definitely fun at the time. But no, it really has not aged well.

        ROTT was fun when I was a kid too. Not so much these days, the over the top gore and edginess kinda annoys me nowadays. But it’s still fun in its own way.

  7. Godwhacker says:

    I would put Wolfenstein: The New Order above Wolfenstein: The New Colossus in terms of shootyness, though not necessarily in terms of audacity. Also, Prey is far too low.

  8. Kefren says:

    Metro 2033 Redux is on GOG too.

  9. Movac says:

    All right let’s do this mates, it’s time for list nitpicks.

    The Serious Sam on this list should be The Second Encounter! Wilder level design with more environmental variety, smarter spawn layouts for more intense fights, and the only good final boss in the series.

    The description of Quake 3 could use correcting. Quake Live is no longer free and browser-based, it’s 7 pounds / 10 USD on Steam.

    Thank you for ranking the Far Cry series correctly.

    Under the Half-Life 2 entry there’s a link to a John Walker piece called “Everything I’d forgotten about Half-Life 2.” It feels like the staff forgot many of those things again, given the game’s #2 place on this list. Surely the hovercraft alone should knock it down below better story-and-spectacle shooters like the modern Wolfensteins and Titanfall 2. The description on this list makes a fine case for Half-Life 2’s historical importance, but this isn’t called the 50 best FPS on PC by the standards of their era, or the 50 FPS on PC that we have the most nostalgia for.

    DOOM at #1 is objectively right, with the understanding that DOOM encompasses both the original 2 games and what the community has turned them into.

  10. Lumière says:

    So, the original Unreal is at n°52?

  11. Kefren says:

    Nice, I wrote about AvP and STALKER the other day in one of my (very infrequent) articles about PC games. That’s two of my all-time favourite games.

  12. morganjah says:

    The original Castle Wolfenstein wasn’t 1st person, but still the greatest ever! And last shooter I was any good at…

  13. Cederic says:

    Comedy list. Dishonored is clearly superior to Dishonored 2, Half Life 2 was dull with that ‘drive this slow boat down a canal’ silliness and Quake wasn’t even the best arena shooter of its era, let alone the fourth best FPS of all time.

    Where you’ve really jumped the shark though is Overwatch. Top 50? Maybe. If you’re feeling generous. Top 10? Not a hope. Not even close.

    • Peksisarvinen says:

      The put Overwatch and PUBG over Quake 3/Live, CS 1.6 and Team Fortress 2. If that doesn’t just say it all I don’t know what does.

    • FunkyB says:

      Overwatch is wonderful and one of my favourite games of all time.

      WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?!

      Although seriously, don’t get all bent out of shape about some arbitrary list. Treat it like a “how many of these great games have you played?”.

    • dskzero says:

      >Dishonored is clearly superior to Dishonored 2

      Now that’s comedy.

  14. Darth Gangrel says:

    I have played several of these and intend to play several others in this list, so in that respect it’s a decent list. Don’t agree with all the games included or their ranking, but that’s subjectivity to to you.

    My favorite FPS games are Serious Sam: Second Encounter (more levels, more weapons and just better than First Encounter) and Jedi Outcast (though Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II also has some great weapons).

  15. Abacus says:

    It’s absurd how far below Overwatch TF2 is. Neglecting it from the top 10… Damn.

    • mitrovarr says:

      If TF2 had remained in or near its original state, it’d belong top 10. The current mess that the game has become does nothing but drag it down.

      • P.Funk says:

        I agree completely. I was there when it first released. It was incredible. The updates that added secondary weapons were fun. Then hat economy took over, the game went free to play, and it was never the same. Now I don’t think much about going back to play and when I do think to I wish I had a time machine instead.

  16. juan_h says:

    My favorite FPS of all time is LucasArts’ Outlaws. Strictly speaking, my favorite FPS is the demo for Outlaws as I never played the full game. I’ve had Outlaws in my GOG wishlist for years now, but I don’t dare buy it because it can’t possibly be as good as I remember that demo being. I therefore can’t and won’t try to argue that Outlaws belongs on this list. I will, however, try to explain just why it grabbed me so.

    I’ve never been a big FPS player. I was into Doom because everyone was into to Doom. Doom was sort of inescapable. But I don’t really enjoy Doom much beyond the first episode. (Multiplayer with friends is fun though.) Doom’s aesthetic doesn’t do anything for me and, frankly, I’m just not very good at it. I don’t deal well with large numbers of enemies and I am particularly bad when surrounded by large numbers of enemies. Large numbers of enemies who each take several shots to kill are just the absolute worst.

    For me, the Outlaws demo is sort of the anti-Doom. I love the Western setting and the Morricone-esque musical score. I love the fact that none of the enemies–the boss excepted–take more than two shots from the default revolver to kill. I love that the level is a town rather than a bunch of random corridors. I love that you can skulk around the edges of the level picking off enemies one-by-one or in small groups until you’ve got a clear shot at the boss. I love that the enemies have intelligible taunts rather than monster growls. I love–I really, REALLY love–shooting at bottles and glasses sitting on bars and watching them shatter. (I have no idea why.)

    As I said, I’ve never played the full game. I’m almost afraid to. I just know that the late-game is going to do something I don’t like in order to increase the challenge. There’ll be bullet-sponge enemies. There’ll be arbitrary and confusing level design. There might even be first-person platforming. (I’ve heard terrible rumors about a mine cart sequence.) The graphics probably haven’t aged all that well. But the demo–in my memory, anyway–is perfect.

    • Lumière says:

      Thankyou for reminding me of Outlaws, I too played the demo at the time and fell in love with it; then bought the full game not long after and it was a blast. Not long ago I buyed it again at GOG and it still holds, especially the OST, one of the best ever made for a computer game. It sure deserved it’s place in this list, even in the top 10.

    • Peksisarvinen says:

      Funnily enough, I had that EXACT same memory about Outlaws’ demo and how good it was. But I went ahead bought it on GOG and played through it.

      The verdict? Fun as hell. Glad I bought it. Proceed without caution, it holds up.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      ‘Where are you, Marshall?’ (x1000)

    • kameradoktorn says:

      Never ever buy the full game. I also only played the demo as a youngling. Loved it, very very much, running around town. About 7 years later I played the full game. I remember it not feeling at all like the demo. Quite fun, but, not the town I remembered. Then I played it again about a year ago. And… first level, ok. Third level, ok. second level, the town, still excellent to this day. But the rest… shit. It´s crap. Big empty spaces or narrow boring mines. It sucked.

      And.. I recently replayed dark forces and thought I would feel the same thing, however.. It´s excellent! If you want some 90s good stuff that isn´t doom/duke/quake, play dark forces.

      or the outlaws demo :)

      blah blah

    • icarussc says:

      Buy it just for the soundtrack. I listened to that a thousand times in high school. I can hear it in my head right now.

  17. Stevostin says:

    In what world is Bulletstorm a better game than Disonored 2 ? I understand those lists should be taken with a pinch of salt but seriously?

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Well, arguably Dishonoured 2 shouldn’t be on this list, but that aside:

      As much as I love the Dishonoured games, Bulletstorm is absolutely brilliant and works better as a pure shooter. It also is supremely well written.

    • FunkyB says:

      I think this list is more focussed on how good a shooter they are. At least that’s how I like to read it.

      Dishonored 2 is a great game, whilst Bulletstorm’s story and characters are hot mess. But D2 is barely a shooter whereas Bulletstorm is actually really surprisingly fun in this one specific area, and it innovates with the skill kills.

  18. Hawkseraph says:

    Warning: The Rainbow 6 Starter Edition is cheaper, but it makes obtaining the original operators a chore, while normal eidtion unlocks them all for free. It’c heaper, but it’s much worse value. Consider that.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Pardon my “ACKSHUWALLY”, but Standard Edition just sets your unlock rate to “standard” rather than “extended”. Granted, with some regular play you can unlock all the base operators in a weekend or two in Standard, it doesn’t necessarily give you any DLC operators, who still take days of play to individually unlock without Season Passes.

      But yeah, either drop the money for Standard or don’t bother, since you can’t just upgrade to Standard later.

  19. aircool says:

    If you’d just landed on Earth, then DOOM (2016) should be at the top of the charts.

    Sure, the original Doom was great at the time, but it’s shit compared to what you can get today; it would be lucky to get into the top 50 at all. The reboot from 2016 is even more Doom-like than the original.. if you get what I mean,

    Plus, where’s the Borderlands games? Borderlands 2 was brilliant.

    • MARV ELLER says:

      You clearly aren’t very familiarized with the advancements done with the Doom engine over the years and how ridiculously advanced modding for it is. ’16 is already way deader and less relevant than the original, i urge you to read up on Doom’s community before disregarding it like this.

      • mynameISNOTjimmy50 says:

        i wasn’t aware that the actual (hidden) title of this list was “most RELEVANT fps games” (however you define that)or about which has more mods, it is about the games themselves.

        doom 2016 is simply a better game. no amount of “community” or history can change that.

        • mitrovarr says:

          I dunno. If I had to replay one of them today and got to choose, it’d be the original DOOM. DOOM holds up amazingly, and while DOOM ’16 is a decent game, it just isn’t as good. People liked it at the time, but the glory kill system was a bad idea (just not bad to the point of making the game bad).

        • MARV ELLER says:

          That’s your take on it but pretty much an uncommon opinion, Doom ’16 just feels too bare to me, it’s a solid campaign but not much else, I don’t really get the hard on for it.

    • markerikson says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to believe Borderlands 2 didn’t make this list. I can’t think of another FPS since HL2 that I’ve gotten that lost in. The art style, the writing, the narrative, and the crazy frenetic combat. It’s an amazing game.

  20. klops says:

    I just played through the mentioned Dishonored 2’s Clockwork manor for the first time and have to say I’m not that impressed by it gameplay-wise.

    It was gorgeous and I pulled the levers many times just to see how things unraveled and folded and slid into hiding. But how much affect that had in the level itself? Rather little, in my mind.

    I tried it second time with less skulking in the place beyond the walls, but still, the actual level wasn’t that impressive. Escalation of the level for me was the Sokolov’s maze, which was just plain bad.

  21. gorte says:

    I’m happy to see Halo on the list since it’s still my favourite fps single player experience. I’m terrible at shooters in general, but I played that game enough to beat it at legendary and I was damn proud of it.

    I know that Halo doesn’t usually get much respect from pc gamers(and for the record, I’ve only played it on pc) but I would happily replay it instead of any Half-life title.

  22. cloudnein says:

    Heretic, Hexen, Heretic II, Hexen II … (ALL Raven games)

    Klingon Honor Guard was a fun romp…

    Shogo for the scale changes…

    Requiem for some interesting level/monster designs.

    SiN for the extreme use of hit location (loved mowing through a crowd of baddies, layin’ ’em down with headshots.)

    Also Nerf Arena Blast is a great Unreal Engine game suitable for a less violent game option (kids, y’know!)

    • DefinitelyNotHans says:

      I dunno. I just went back and played Requiem again for the first time since it came out and it’s pretty bad. Nice looking visual design and very ambitious gameplay design, but it doesn’t hold up at all as well as Heretic/Hexen.

  23. Peksisarvinen says:

    I was jokingly going THIS LIST IS AWFUL before I even started reading. Then I started reading, and yes, the list turned out to be awful. And I do mean AWFUL. Devil Daggers (WHAT?), Overwatch, PUBG, LfD 2, Bad Company 2, Far Cry 2, Bioshock 2, Superhot, Alien: Isolation or Shadow Warrior 2 doing on this list above the likes of Painkiller, CS 1.6, C&C Renegade, Turok, Red Faction 2, Postal 2, ROTT…

    You do not let clueless Xbox owning millenials with Wikipedia privileges write lists like this, RPS.

    • LTK says:

      Painkiller totally has a place in my top ten single-player FPS games, but Red Faction 2? Is there another game by that name that I didn’t play? Because I played Red Faction 1, and really enjoyed it, then went on to play Red Faction 2, which was a pile of garbage with nothing of what made the original good. Does someone actually like it?

      • Peksisarvinen says:

        Yeah, absolutely, it was great fun on PS2; though I guess it was an FPS on a console, and the fact that I willingly played it would hint at me being severely handicapped by puberty at the time, so maybe it’s just a case of nostalgic fondness. Unless I’m getting my Red Factions mixed up somehow, but I don’t think I am. What did you think made it so bad?

        • D3 says:

          It’s also been a long time since I played Red Faction 2 but I remember it being kinda crap. It removes the openness of the first game and pretty much completely removes the Geomod terrain destruction and adds in on rails shooting segments. Also If I remember correctly the multiplayer on ps2 was limited to bots only, no human opponents??? I’ve long held that Every 2nd Red faction game is not good, so you can skip RF2 and Armageddon… but the next one to come out should be a good one! :D

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      Graham Smith says:

      As we say in the article: write an effulgent report of why you love these games, and convince either us or everyone else here to give them a try. We’re all for people waxing lyrical about the games they adore; that’s part of what lists like this are for. If you just give us the game names, though, we’ve no reason to know why we should try them. (Or if we’ve tried them, we’ve no way of knowing why you really like them where we did not.)

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Jesus, Postal 2 was hot garbage and the novelty value lasted all of ten minutes. Same for Renegade. As for Red Faction 2, I just don’t know what to say.

      Your list seem to consist of games that were sort of fun for a few hours when I was 15 but looking at them now have little to really dig into. Aside from Painkiller. Painkiller is pretty good.

      And Far Cry 2 wasn’t high enough on the list, to be honest. I’d have put it in second slot after STALKER.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I started playing FPS’s back when they were CGA and keyboard-only, (Catacomb Abyss 4 Lyfe), so I’m proud to say that Devil Daggers is, objectively, the horrifying demon-mutt’s nuts. The eldritch bee’s knees, and other such worrying turns of phrase.

      It’s probably the most scared I’ve ever been of skulls in a videogame for sure.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      > Postal 2

      You had me going there for a minute!

      • HiroTheProtagonist says:

        I’d wholeheartedly argue that Postal 2 deserves a space in the Top 50. Even if you remove the shock factor, it has some pretty good ideas under the hood:

        -Health items that temporarily heal you but come back to bite you in the ass
        -Fire physics that force you to think before you spray’n’pray
        -Decent gibbing in a marketplace that seemed to have forgotten it
        -Ability to play through as a pacifist

        I won’t defend the fact that the assault rifle sounds worse than an airsoft gun or that the visuals were dated at launch, but to discredit the whole game on those points is to miss the forest for the trees. Plus it’s a breath of fresh air to see a game that’s as politically-incorrect still receive updates and content over a decade later.

  24. Jabberslops says:

    For Battlefield Bad Company 2, where the developer was quoted
    “Some people say this: the Bad Company 2 multiplayer is the best you’ve ever done. Okay, why is that? It’s hard for people to articulate what that is, which is actually hard for us. It would be hard to remake something like that.”

    My personal answer to that? The faster pace game-play was more infantry focused and never felt bogged down by gadgets and weapon attachment fluff. The 32 player limit with smaller maps compared to Battlefield 2 made for more focused battling and fewer people spread out across the map. There were better situations to use the destructable objects and buildings to eliminate enemies and objectives like the MCOMs being blown up by explosives, vehicles or building collapse. The fact that there were no jets and limited helicopters and vehicles also meant a more focused game because you wouldn’t have 1/4 of your team waiting for vehicles to spawn. Rush mode was where the real game was when combined with the smaller maps and 32 player limit and a focused objective.

  25. PopeRatzo says:

    Your opinions are provably wrong.

  26. digital_sneeze says:

    Not as much post-era flak for Half Life 2 as I expected, reading through the comments. I still think it’s the best single player FPS experience out there. Still nice to look at to this day and plays really well, but it just oozes atmosphere and the story and characters are genuinely engaging. Episode 1 was a bit filler-y but Episode 2 more than made up for it. God bless linearity, I still love it.

    Could never get into HL1 though, even the remake.

  27. kwyjibo says:

    Yes, but what if we could talk to the monsters? Wouldn’t that be something?

  28. DragonDai says:

    I totally get that not everyone thinks Deus Ex is the greatest thing ever. I get that. I’ve read the linked article, I think it couldn’t be more wrong if it tried, but meh, whatever. Not everyone likes the same things, not everyone is gana be wowed by the same stuff. And so I totally get not having it be #1 or even #10. But not in the top 50? LOL

    • Sentinel says:

      Deus Ex may indeed be a great game (YMMV, I thought it was utterly revolutionary in many ways but it has aged horribly).

      But it was never going to stand up purely as a shooter. If you think it belongs on this list, perhaps you should re-read the title.

      • Gozer1003 says:

        That’s Because Deus Ex is not a Shooter and really never has been. All the previews back in the day even listed it as a RPG. At the time Warren Spector was not really willing to classify it himself but in the end it was part of a big push from Ion Storm at the time to release RPGS, the others being Anachronox and Septerra Core. Though to be fair that was primarily Marketing at work. In my Steam Categories I’ve always listed under RPG myself, though their is a case to be made for Action Adventure and Stealth action as well.

      • faircall says:

        Yes the original Deus Ex was not very fun when played as a shooter, and Invisible War only slightly better in that regard.

        I think Human Revolution and/or Mankind Divided, however, function really nicely as shooters, and deserve a place in this list. I felt all the weapons had a nice heft to them, even the non-lethal ones. The ragdolling was particularly cool on the PEPS. Certainly I would consider either of them a superior FPS to Dishonored 2 (which I also love) and Alien Isolation (which was a good horror game but not a good shooter).

    • Jason Moyer says:

      It’s not on here because they put it in a different category when originally making these lists. I’m not sure why it’s not when its spiritual successor (Dishonored) isn’t really a shooter either, but is on the FPS list.

  29. Michael Fogg says:

    I’ve started playing the original Descent for the first time and was having a great time with the mentioned D1X source port… until I met the first boss at the end of level 7. What a bastard of a difficulty spike. I can’t get through.

    • juan_h says:

      I had more or less the same experience, except that I was playing the original game in DosBOX. I’d like to try the source port–I’ve always suspected that the game would benefit tremendously from higher-resolution textures–but then I remember the boss and I don’t. I bought all the Descents in the same GOG sale but I’m never going to make it to the later games.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The original Descent team got back together and are releasing Overload – pretty much what Descent 3 should have been – in just 9 days. Trying to get hold of review code at the moment.

  30. Evan_ says:

    Far Cry 2 is my favorite fps of ever. One just had to embrace the challenge, and play it on the hardest difficulty. One has to hide a lot, and only start a firefight when absolutely necessary. Felt more realistic than anything else.

    Must check that realism mod.

    • haradaya says:

      That it gets to be on these lists pretty often makes it a late victory for all the time I wasted defending the game on forums.

      Granted I too wasn’t impressed the first time I played it for a few hours. But after having digested my first impressions, I came back to it with a new perspective, and I got completely immersed. It still holds memories of my favorite gaming experiences.

  31. cestlavie says:

    Hi You Forget..Delta force (fun FPS).. IGI & project I.G.I 2 (PUBG source :) operation flashpoint , black hawkdown too big big FPS!!!! TUROK! RAVEN SHIELD!! unreal tournament!! golden eye N64

  32. melancholicthug says:

    HL1 = good. HL2 = trash. A bad sequel with a nice engine, imo. The difference in the setting was also quite baffling, from semi-realistic to quite silly sci-fi. Maybe it should have been the first part of a completely new series, that would have made more sense.

  33. geldonyetich says:

    Seems to be a list of “best” that takes into consideration how important a game was to FPS history, rather than a, “If you were trapped on a desert island with a PC on a very long extension cord and can only take 50 FPS with you to entertain you, which 50 would that be?” metric.

    Otherwise, a lot of these games have dated quite a bit, and some of them were more “right place at the right time” than truly better than games lower down on the list.

    For example, I would probably put NOLF higher, NOLF 2 would definitely be on the list, rate Prey as fairly beating Bioshock in terms of enduring core gameplay, and put anything made before the year 2000 out to pasture (sorry, nostalgia). I’m not even sure my computer can run some of these without dosbox on slowdown and a bit of luck.

  34. Linkblade says:

    How the hell did you forget about TOXIKK? It is a rock solid AFPS like UT2004 with good graphics and a few new inventions. At least you should have mentioned it on the UT2004 tab at “if you like this, you should also play…” or in honorable mentions. Shame on you!

  35. PiiSmith says:

    I am missing Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory on the list. Sure they are not among the classic’s linup, but they both had great multiplayer for their time, which is still solid today. Also I will never be able to beat the amount of time I played those two games.
    Great memories and I am missing them on the list.

  36. Barts says:

    “BLOOD” by Monolith. The best Build Engine game ever and still a lot of fun to play today.

    • MARV ELLER says:

      Fuck that’s a snub and pretty much only for it being not that well known, arguably the best “traditional” 90s fps.

  37. Malka says:

    I can’t take this list seriously with Quake 3 being ranked below PUBG. PUBG’s controls, responsiveness and overall optimization is garbage. Also, “Medal of Honor: Allied Assault” didn’t even make the list, smh. The gameplay in MoH was fantastic and the score by Michael Giacchino was masterful.

  38. witchkeeper says:

    Surely not SWAT4 over SWAT3?

    Ok the graphics were improved but the modability, variant AI and sheer coop fun of SWAT3 made it a far superior game with a much longer lifespan. The guts went out of the SWAT series at number 4 and although the novelty of non lethal means does make it a different type of shooter, it’s predecessor was a far more tactical and good experience. And who could forget the mods like Air Force One and the different uniform and weapons. Happy days. Swat3 FTW.

  39. CARRiON says:

    Some of these games are more compatible/better patched/better priced/more complete on GOG yet lack any GOG links. F.E.A.R., Quake, Doom…

  40. Boozebeard says:

    Cool to see Natural Selection 2 on here. Put a lot of hours into and really deserves to be more widely known. Such an ambitious design and for the most part held up very well as a highly competitive experience.

  41. Gozer1003 says:

    They Also Left off Strife, Guess its #52 link to gog.com

  42. fearandloathing says:

    I can’t stress how great HL2 was visually, and I think there is a very important point to be made which often goes overlooked: HL2 was optimized extremely good and visuals were pretty decent even at lower settings. I had something like geforce 2 at the time, and was blown away by the graphics. Compare that with Crisis: unless you had a powerful rig, it utterly sucked. And to be honest, it set a dangerous precedent of f***ing the poor. Reviewers will always have best gear of the time, and loudest ones on the forums are the richest, so it spawned a generation of developers not caring a bit about how their games looked&played on low to mid level rigs. I’m not saying they should be constrained by this, but they’re not even trying. Example: I played Dishonored 1 very comfortably at higher settings, but second one ran terribly even while displaying much poorer graphics. I don’t think the simultaneous fall in both frame rate and quality can be explained by the game having an open-world setting, or more npcs, it was just devs not focusing on optimization.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Dishonored 2 just flat out had broken rendering. It didn’t matter how good your computer was, it was a dog. Still is, somewhat, even after multiple patches.

  43. ResonanceCascade says:

    Great list. Just wanted to chime in that I recently re-played the entire AVP series, and I still believe AVP 2 is far and away the best of the lot.

    The ’99 original is still a lot of fun, but AVP2 added a real story, had more interesting environments, better AI, MUCH better Xenomorph and Predator mechanics, etc.

    Oh, old Monolith how I miss thee (although your Mordor games are solid, too).

  44. hidingbear1 says:

    I think Borderlands2 is good. At least is no worse than any one else on the list. This list is just an reference. An I just want others know there is a game called Borderland2 can be with high quality and unique graphic.

  45. DanMan says:

    I feel criminally offended by how low you ranked Titanfall 2. It’s the best fast-paced shooter I’ve played in maybe a decade, and in that regard, it doesn’t matter how many players it still has. Basically every game dies eventually.

  46. RedPillBlues says:

    I find it strange how there’s no Fallout title on this. I don’t know how you can rank Stalker so highly yet have no place for New Vegas.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      New Vegas is an RPG with FPS elements, STALKER is an FPS with RPG elements. On a list about the best FPS games of all time, odds are pretty good that they’re giving more credence to games more adherent to FPS design philosophies than RPG philosophies.

      And I say this as someone who loves New Vegas and doesn’t really like STALKER.

  47. caff says:

    Pleased to see UT2004 get a solid mention on this list. It was (and still is) a superb solid shooter with excellent twitch controls. Vehicular murder was amazing, as was the capture the flag/node mode. Just thinking about it takes me back to a happier time in large arena multiplayer shooters. Not much dress or fluff, just tightly focused game play. Every shock rifle hit felt right, and every death you suffered felt at least comprehensible.

    I hope the new incarnate (the Unreal Tournement alpha, available via the Epic Games website) stays on course – it’s been excellent, and improving, every time I’ve tried it. Release it on Steam already Epic!

  48. faircall says:

    I found myself agreeing with most of this! There’s about 10 I haven’t played which frees up my personal list a little, so I would insert:

    -The Build engine trinity, obviously. I don’t buy the argument about Duke 3D only having a good opening level. The rest are bigger and *more* interesting, with environmental puzzles and exploration. And the multiplayer was a total blast. Shadow Warrior is the closest thing I’ve played to a good Big Trouble in Little China ambience. Blood is just rad throughout. As much as I love Dark Forces, I’d rank any of these games above it.

    -I prefer AVP 2 over AVP Classic, it just seems to have more charisma.

    -Heretic is a classic for me. I think it’s the art style and punishing difficulty that I adore.

    -I think Eldritch is something quite special. It’s the only FPS I’ve played where procedural generated 3D spaces have worked in its favour, to create a terrifying spacial chaos which fits its theme, always keeping you on edge.

    -Human Revolution or Mankind Divided work very well as shooters, as I wrote elsewhere in a reply.

    -I have very fond memories of Sin and Sin: Emergence, but I haven’t revisited them so perhaps they don’t hold up as well as I imagine. But there was a real action-flick excitement to it that was rare at the time.

    -I’m a Doom 3 apologist. I actually like the flashlight mechanic, and the chunky shotgun.

    -Undying is underappreciated as a horror FPS that worked. Great levels, cool visual style, refreshing Irish protagonist.

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