First Look Smoke
© Riot Games

Picking the perfect FPS for you

With so many games available, why do we often feel like we have nothing to play? While we can’t completely fix that problem, let’s help you narrow your focus. At least as far as shooters go.
By Mitchell Newton
12 min readPublished on
Let’s face it: You can have access to a ton of games and still feel like you have nothing to play. When it comes to first person shooters, preference plays a huge factor since, nowadays, just about every game has a multiplayer component. Finding a popular shooter is easy, finding the right shooter for you? That’s a trek that’ll take you through a dozen titles, several universes and some games you would be better off avoiding altogether.
There are dozens of shooters out there, obviously there are more, but not really. In this piece, we’ll be looking at the main contenders for Best Shooter, how they differ and which one is right for the type of fragger you are.

The Adrenaline Seeker

Call of Duty Vanguard

Call of Duty Vanguard

© Activision

If the number one thing you care about in your FPS is action, then look no further than Call of Duty. A staple of the genre that transcended to another level after the release of COD 4: Modern Warfare (while this article is about multiplayer specifically, shoutout to All Ghillied Up for being the absolute GOAT FPS mission) has since become a yearly event where you suddenly see half of your friends list ending with the initials, C.O.D. Since then, all the series has gone on to do is; expand on its class and weapon customization systems and perform minor tweaks to freshen up what is undoubtedly a working formula.
When you drop into a game of deathmatch, the action comes fast and the maps are small enough to always force you and the enemy into eachothers sights. Waiting to respawn? Who needs it. You can respawn as quick as you can rage-skip watching your kill cam, because seriously, that guy got lucky. With the press of a button, you’re back in the action again to contribute to the kill feed, good or bad.
There are always downsides to such a fast paced game. Spawning with an enemy behind you is common, but there are plenty of modes that change up the pure chaotic madness of TDM or domination. Search and Destroy is Call of Duty’s defacto objective game, and even it flies by at a pace that would give VALORANT or CS whiplash.

The Thrill Rider

Do you want an exhilarating experience when you load into your favorite shooter? A truly electrifying experience that will leave you talking about that one match, weeks after you played it? Then you might like Dice’s Battlefield series. These games that have just about anything you would ask for.
You want to be a grunt on the ground, slugging through the muck with your squad as jets and helicopters battle overhead, and tanks patrol the objectives like junkyard dogs alongside armored trucks? Battlefield. You want to be IN the tank, or jet wreaking havoc wherever you go? Battlefield. The series’ maps are so large, they make Call of Duty feel intimate. Battlefield is a war shooter, where how many kills you get is only a fraction of the value you provide to your team.
Classes have a more functional role, as medics, engineers, snipers and so on. Each is powerful in their own right, without any added perks, so it comes down to skill and preparation more than a lucky roll of RNG. Battlefield is all about the thrills, with a tighter focus on teamplay than typical shooters.,You can’t operate the gun and fly the helicopter at the same time, after all.
While the gunplay differs and some may not like how large the maps are, show us another series where you can jump out of your jet mid air, shoot the jet chasing you with an rpg, then land back in your jet and fly off like you’re James Bond. We’ll wait. Battlefield 2042 launched in November and added dynamic environmental experiences with the sandbox of battlefield 4.
If you are looking for a smaller scale option, but only in graphics, the experience and gameplay offered in Battle Bit Remastered will absolutely do the job. It offers 127 vs 127 team battles with game modes similar to conquest and rush, class-based warfare with fully destructible environments, and a charming graphic style that won't put your PC under too much stress. While only in early access, the game is absolutely worth being put on your radar.

The OG

The Master Chief Collection

The Master Chief Collection

© Xbox Game Studios

Do you daydream about the old days of the arena shooters? No perks? No hours spent fine tuning your attachments while your friends wait, not so patiently, in the lobby for you to do so? Do you miss when everyone started out the same and you memorized so many weapon respawn times they started to replace important facts in your brain? Those games have their place, but few have the legacy of these two; Doom, and Halo.While these games may never match the intense pace of Call of Duty, Battlefield or many of the battle royales currently out, that was never Halo’s bread and butter anyway.
You go to an arena shooter for one simple reason: to stunt. Time to kill is longer and campers are punished more than they are rewarded in these styles of games because, at the end of the round, it doesn’t matter if you shot first, only who can hit their shots better. Halo is one of the few games where the better player will tend to win every fight. I don’t mean dominate the leaderboard, that will happen regardless, but the cheap kills you see in other games simply don’t happen as often in Halo.
Power weapons sprinkle the map and are focal points of each game, but don’t let that stop you from using your battle rifle to humble that cocky guy with rockets, or the kid hiding in under stairs with the shotgun. Power weapons can be the difference, but they aren’t the be all, end all equalizer. Halo has a variety of modes and thrives on TDM like many other games. Where Halo differs is by being one of the best, if not the best, objective based shooters you can buy. The longer TTK, vehicles and varied maps create great dynamics in game, thriving in games like capture the flag and assault, modes that seem like afterthoughts in other games.

The Hardo

Are you all about aiming, clicking heads and dominating games? Do you hate when someone spawns in behind you for a free and absolutely undeserved kill? Well that’s not an issue when it comes to the tactical shooter genres biggest standouts, VALORANT and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Both games have a few different modes but the star those titles revolve around is planting or defusing bombs, in high stakes, single life combat. In this mode, there are no respawns during the course of the round. Once a player kicks the bucket, thet get to spectate their friends as they work to either rush a bomb site and secure a plant, or to defend their sites.
There are no enemies spawning behind you, no killstreaks, and no perks to ruin your day. Nope. After playing these games, the only thing you can blame is your aim since these pinpoint accurate shooters are as rewarding for the good players as they are unforgiving for newbies.
Game modes last a long time and are not for the faint of heart. The worse you do, the less money you will have to buy weapons for your later rounds, requiring just as much strategy in the buy menu as there is out of it.

The Speed demon

These are the games where your skills at clicking heads is just as important as your ability to navigate the map. Games like these are few and far between right now, with Titanfall being pushed behind Apex Legends by developer respawn. The main draw of the game is how much you can do with the same toolbox every other player is given. While you may be able to slide-jump and then drop on enemies, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve watched an enemy wraith wall-jump over you and finish you without a second thought.
These are the types of games that have a hidden learning curve. Sure, you need to learn the recoil and spray patterns but few games have you running around the practice range, running and bouncing off walls like Bellamy from One Piece. These games are fast and will gladly leave players behind who can’t keep up. It’s all worth it, though. Once you get up to speed, few shooters have more rewarding gameplay.

The Pressure Cooker

Are you looking for tense stakes and a win that will feel unlike any other game? Then Battle Royale may be for you. This is the only category where we won’t discuss a specific game because, in 2021 there are battle royales everywhere you look, heck you might have even tripped over one walking down the street without even noticing.
There are so many Battle Royales out there because when one studio has a good idea, you bet it's running it into the ground. Looking at you, horde modes (shout of Gears of War 2 though). Battle royale has a far broader appeal than endlessly facing down hordes of whatever the enemy is from the game you're playing. For one, every person you face off against wants to end your game just as bad as you want to end theirs. Games are dynamic and never play out in the same way, testing skill, strategy, decision making and problem solving, all while trying to coordinate with a squad of your friends.
One of the strengths of this genre is how quick it is. Did you die off a bad drop and didn’t get any guns? Back to the load screen and try again. Do you want to drop into the most chaotic part of the map and stake your claim for the king of the server, or do you want a safe drop where you will have time to arm up before seeking out trouble? You can do it all and there are no wrong answers. Alright we’ll name a few; PUBG, Fortnite, Apex Legends and Warzone. All of which are free to play.

The Super Hero

Genji Overwatch

Genji Overwatch

© Blizzard Entertainment

Do you want an FPS with a different take than your typical military one? Want to feel like a super hero instead, while playing a game that makes you feel more like a team than any other? Then Overwatch, Paladins and Valorant are for you. Hero-based shooters have really come in big over the last five years, with a contemporary in the battle royale genre in Apex Legends.
The key to all of these games is picking a hero from a large cast of characters and using their unique abilities to change the course of the game as you play around objective based modes like; King of the hill, two control point and payload (where you push a cart with your team through a series of checkpoints while the enemy tries to stop you). These games offer far more diversity when it comes to how you play. Whether as a ninja, dashing around the map, two tons of precise German engineering, or a healer who can wall run around the map, the choice is yours.

The Tactical Shooter

These ones aren’t for the faint of heart or those with short patience. Tactical shooters will test you on just about every level. Requiring tight teamwork, a patience to clear every corner and the skill to land clutch shots when needed, if that sounds like a fun way to spend a Tuesday night, then; Rainbow Six Siege, Arma 3, Insurgency and Escape from Tarkov just might be for you.
In all of these games you can go into games with insane levels of control to cater your gameplay to your skillset. From weapons and attachments, gear, character specific abilities in Siege, and ammo quality, in Escape from Tarkov.
Tarkov is similar to your looter shooters where you get in and get out with some goodies to help sustain your character. Where Insurgency and Siege rely on offense vs defense type games, where one team must breach a fortified position. While the combat varies in terms of scale, the stakes and stylistic similarities are there. These games will punish you early, but offer some of the most immersive experiences out there.

The Looter Shooter

Do you prefer to work together and run through levels and bosses with your friends instead of F5’ing in VALORANT? Or just the idea of leveling up some characters and looting your way to glory? All while playing action-packed levels and fighting all kinds of enemies, if so, the looter shooter is for you.
Left 4 Dead, Deep Rock Galactic, Warframe, Risk of Rain, Borderlands 3, Destiny 2 and Escape from Tarkov and The Division 2 are all a part of this shooter-genre. The Division 2 Tarkov offers a competitive option to the genre but for the most part these games offer you the single player or cooperative experience in one of the most varied offerings you can find.
The core gameplay revolves around you and your squad as you progress through missions, leveling up while you snag some loot to upgrade your gear. You are never at a shortage for options, sometimes what you can use is just what you can find on the map and some pilfering through abandoned medicine cabinets like in Left 4 Dead.
Then you get going and deal with whatever chaos is about to ensue as you fight the special mobs and bosses as you try to complete your mission and get out alive. There is something for everyone in these games.

When you’re bad at FPS’, but don’t want to be

Aim Hero

Aim Hero

© ProGames Studio

Play Aim hero. Then go and get good. If you aren’t on PC go and find the firing range in your game. Most have a way to scrimmage or test your aim if you are new to the game of first-person-shooter games. There’s a point in time when we all come here.