The 9 Best FPS Games on Steam

fps games
Image credit: Ubisoft

From the humble beginnings of Doom to the modern battle royale bonanzas, FPS games have come a long way. And what better way to celebrate that than by taking a look at some of the finest FPS games available on Steam today? Let’s dive in!

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 2 represented a worthy successor to the first entry in the Far Cry franchise, which basically opened the door to the concept of open-world in the FPS genre. Then, Far Cry 3 sanded down all of the rough edges and became an instant classic — but Far Cry 4 is where things got even bigger and better.

Many believe Far Cry 4 to be the apex of the franchise before the subsequent titles would start suffering from noticeable bloat and a lack of innovation. And the Himalayas-esque Kyrat is a truly gorgeous setting — silly, fun, and eager to give you all kinds of fun tools for defeating your countless enemies.

Remember the hand glider from Far Cry 3? Here, you get it basically in the opening ten minutes — followed by a wingsuit, and even a gyrocopter. Oh, and did we mention the fact that you can ride elephants as well?

Naturally, it’s ridiculous — though it never quite reaches the level of absurdity of, say, a Saints Row title. However, all of that fun is backed up by some fresh and smart design that improves on basically every aspect of the already-great Far Cry 3. Outposts have been expanded, as well as the different enemy classes.

Also, there’s a robust co-op mode that bleeds into the main single-player campaign, making the game even more interesting.

Left 4 Dead 2

Remember when zombies were still exciting? At the time when Left 4 Dead 2 came out, the Walking Dead was about to bring zombies fully into the pop culture mainstream. And while the whole undead virus theme is a bit worn out in 2022, L4D2 still has a surprisingly active online community.

Of course, Valve’s dedication to creating an awesome co-op multiplayer experience is the secret ingredient here — their small roster of characters with barely hinted-at backstories have more flavor and wit than most single-player campaigns of other FPS games.

One could argue that most of the heavy lifting for this game was done by its predecessor — most of the pillars of design from the original Left 4 Dead have been left untouched. However, the fact that this isn’t one of those revolutionary sequels isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Essentially, L4D2 was a huge under-the-hood upgrade for the first game — with new enemies, different player characters, and bigger maps. And, crucially, Left 4 Dead 2 has been kept alive by an incredibly active modding community. There are all kinds of mods that expand your gameplay experience, from those that let you play the whole L4D1 game in the newer engine, to wackier stuff that lets you play as Deadpool or a dinosaur.

Bioshock 2 

The Bioshock series has given players so much — from satisfying, inventive combat to stunningly well-designed worlds. And if you’re looking for a narrative masterpiece, Bioshock: Infinite will probably be your best pick.

However, if we’re talking about the best FPS action game — Bioshock 2 is arguably the best choice in the series. Sure, Bioshock 1 had one of the most powerful openings in any videogame — the mystery-laden architecture, combined with an immediately iconic antagonist and the reveal of a mesmerizing undersea location; all of it contributed to an instantly memorable game.

Still, Bioshock 2 had replaced some of the relatively wonky combat of the first game with something more responsive, more open, and ultimately — more fun. And it did all of that while expanding on the fascinating locale of the decaying undersea city.

SUPERHOT

In general, linear FPS games aren’t the most innovative experiences out there — but that’s a trope that SUPERHOT disproves easily and with style. The premise of SUPERHOT is as simple as it is genius: when you move, time moves. And when you stop, an almost unmoving bullet-time mode ensues.

The result is a game that’s highly tactical, much more than your average FPS. The game becomes less about your reflexes and precision aiming, and more about making the most out of the slow-mo the world enters when you don’t move or shoot. This allows you to plan out your moves while avoiding threats all around you.

There’s also a SUPERHOT VR version of the game that’s even cooler — letting you do the shooting, punching, and ducking yourself. It’s a Matrix game distilled to its purest essence: bullet-time action. And it’s absolutely glorious.

Stalker: Shadow Of Chernobyl

These days, open-world FPS games are content-filled theme parks. You’ve got a wide assortment of activities that you can dabble in at various locations, which are helpfully pointed out to you on a gigantic, icon-filled world map. The genre was very much spawned by the later entries in Ubisoft’s Far Cry series and copied with varying degrees of success.

However, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. offers something entirely different. This isn’t a wide-open space created for your amusement — it’s a world of its own. And one that feels lived-in, independently of anything the player might do.

The desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape of the Zone doesn’t care for the protagonist very much — and it will very much keep on rolling regardless of how you approach it. And its individual environments are far more constrained, dangerous, and unfriendly.

There’s a wide assortment of things to watch out for — from ghastly radiation-ridden monsters to different human factions and deadly sci-fi anomalies. The titular Stalkers are people who patrol this Zone in search of riches — a quest that most often ends in disaster, and which you’re a part of.

The first game in the Stalker series is the definition of “rough edges” — a fault that hasn’t been sufficiently fixed by its successors. Nevertheless, it remains a champion of immersion and emergent gameplay among FPS titles on the PC. And while the graphics weren’t top-notch even when the game came out, and are now woefully outdated — the impressive sound design really helps with your immersion in the world of the radioactive Zone.

Wanderers that get together around campfires and play songs, only to be attacked by sad packs of mutants that scurry through the equally radioactive plantlife — while you’re playing, you truly feel like anything can happen.

Borderlands 3

After the doom and gloom of the Stalker series, you wouldn’t be at fault for wanting some more fun for your next FPS experience. And if fun-fueled mayhem is your goal, there aren’t many series out there better at it than Borderlands.

The third outing (well, technically fourth) of Borderlands doesn’t stray too far from the familiar, but successful formula of its predecessors. It’s got literally countless zany weapons you can loot, equip, and wield to the dismay of your equally countless enemies.

Each character class has unique abilities, unlocked through individual skill trees that keep the game fresh through multiple replays. However, the true crux of the game lies in its (up to) 4-player co-op mode, which is insanely fun and replayable.

The humor and writing definitely aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and their target demographic is clearly teenagers — perhaps up to a fault. However, the story and the visual design of each area are interesting enough to keep you going, and there’s some top-notch voice acting as well.

There’s also DLC to keep the game interesting — if you’re only going to get one, we recommend the Tiny Tina DnD-themed one. It takes the familiar combat of Borderlands into a brand new, even more unstable fantasy world — with plenty of skeletons and wizards you can blast away with ridiculous guns.

Team Fortress 2

Some of the most popular multiplayer games of all time began their life as mods — Counter-Strike was initially a Half-Life mod, and the entire battle royale genre was spawned by the famous ArmA II mod called DayZ.

The same is true for the Team Fortress series, whose first entry was a mod for the ironically long-forgotten Quake. Interestingly enough, even the older TF2 players hardly remember the gruff, serious nature of the first TF game, Team Fortress: Classic.

For the sequel, Valve would do a complete U-turn by creating one of the most charming, witty, and funny multiplayer FPS of all time. It’s centered around nine extremely distinct classes, each of which presents a completely unique gameplay experience.

Incredibly enough, the game is still going strong today, with player counts that haven’t dropped since the game’s release in 2012. In the subsequent decade, Valve has used TF2 as an experiment for many of its features — from cosmetic microtransactions to a free-to-play model.

But most importantly of all — it’s still extremely fun.

Hunt: Showdown

Crytek is one of the most prolific FPS game studios, giving us ground-breaking and paradigm-shifting hits like the first Far Cry and Crysis. However, despite the continued success of the Crysis series, their multiplayer shooter Hunt: Showdown is by far the most innovative thing they’ve made in years.

The game is a pretty unique mix of PVP and PVE, all drenched in nerve-wracking tension you won’t experience in most other FPS multiplayer games. You play as one of the hunters tasked with taking down a monster — an AI boss found somewhere on a huge map — and escaping with the bounty. But you’re not the only one with this goal — other squads of hunters are trying to do the same thing.

Death results in you losing all of your equipment — and success means keeping it all and sharing some of the spoils with your surviving team. This breeds a lot of tension, also helped by the superb audio design. Gunshots realistically resonate throughout the surrounding area, and any movement or action can point you towards your enemy’s location — and vice versa. Footsteps, the sound of a weapon being reloaded, and other atmospheric noises; any of them could be crucial.

Half-Life: Alyx

While we’re still waiting on the now-legendary Half-Life 3, this is the next best thing — and it’s one of the most interesting FPS you can play on Steam today.

Valve has always liked experimenting with its flagship series. Half-Life 2 was the first game to feature the amazing physics enabled by the Source engine, and Half-Life: Alyx makes a similar stride forward with VR.

And yes, you can’t play the game without a VR headset. There are some mods out there that allow you to play with a more traditional control scheme, but they’re fairly clunky — and the game was designed specifically with VR in mind, so they’re bound to be.

If you’ve got the required VR equipment and a decent rig that can run it, however — you’re definitely in for a treat.

In Half-Life: Alyx, you’re able to interact with the famous City 17 like never before. And the combat is immersive and intuitive in a way that even the best entries in the series aren’t. Plus, the VR allowed Valve to fully embrace horror elements that they’ve dipped their toes into years before with the Ravenholm section of Half-Life 2.

In terms of story, Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel, depicting the events before Gordon Freeman would inexplicably find himself on a train headed to City 17. However, without getting into spoiler territory — suffice it to say that in the end, the game ends up moving the story forward in a fairly significant way, so it’s worth playing for the narrative as well.

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