12 Hero Shooter Games Like Valorant
Riot’s Valorant is a tactical hero shooter in which two teams of superhumans duke it out in a variety of objective-based missions. Unlike other popular hero shooters like Overwatch, Valorant encourages a more discreet mode of play. Guns spray wildly on full-auto, foot steps are clearly audible, and a few bullets is all it takes to put you to sleep for good.
A hero shooter is a type of team-based game in which players play characters with distinct classes. Usually, these classes are distinguished by their unique and powerful abilities (hence the word “hero”). While Valorant certainly feels and plays a lot like Counter-Strike, the game’s superpowered agents categorize it as a hero shooter.
Games like Overwatch, Apex Legends, and now Valorant have brought the hero shooter genre to the forefront of the gaming industry. Today, there are hundreds of hero shooters on all consoles and platforms, but who has the time to try them all? Cut through the chaff and get right to the good stuff with this list of the best hero shooter games like Valorant.
Ever wonder where the term “hero shooter” came from? The answer is Battleborn. Or rather, the game’s marketing team, who coined the term to sell Battleborn’s unique brand of class-based, team-on-team play.
Inspired by MOBAs like DOTA2 and League of Legends, the now-defunct Battleborn pitted two teams of heroes in a violent tug of war for control of resources and objectives. Every player began a match at level one, gaining levels by killing mobs and enemy heroes as they played. When you leveled up, you could pick a skill or a buff, which allowed you to build your hero to counter the strengths or exploit the weaknesses of your foes.
Despite a compelling concept and great gameplay, Battleborn had to go toe-to-toe with Overwatch at its height. And unlike the free-to-play Paladins (which also makes this list), there was an up-front cost to get into Battleborn, which meant it was competing with Overwatch for your money, too. After nearly five years, Battleborn closed its servers for good in January 2021.
Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 (or TF2) is arguably the first massively popular class-based shooter, which makes it the precursor to all the games on this list. Based on a mod for Quake (and later Half-Life), TF2 comes from a tradition of quick-twitch corridor shooters. That means balls-to-the-wall, nonstop action instead of the careful positioning and precision of Valorant.
TF2 is ridiculous and over-the-top. It’s the type of game where soldiers blast rockets at their own feet to propel themselves through the air while bonesaw-wielding medics pump their allies with steroids. And the wild assortment of hats clearly indicates that Valve has embraced the absurdity. The first time a pyromaniac in a sailor hat kills you with a Kamehameha, you won’t know whether to laugh or cry.
While Team Fortress 2 feels dated (there isn’t much of a progression system and the game has had the same nine classes since 2007), its core loop is as addictive as ever. When the pressures of ranked Valorant have you pulling out your hair, a few rounds of mindless blasting in TF2 is just what the medic prescribed.
Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege revolves around an attacker-defender dynamic in which one team defends an objective while the other team attempts to rescue it, capture it, or defuse it (depending on the game mode).
You can pick from more than 60 different operators, each with a fixed role and a unique loadout and skillset. Unlike many hero shooters, Rainbow Six Siege matches are asymmetrical—some operators can only be picked when attacking, while others are dedicated defenders. This forces you to learn to play as at least two operators, though you’ll want to try them all to get a feel for who works best in what situation.
Rainbow Six Siege’s various maps are all set in buildings. In any other game, this would lead to rampant camping, but the destructible environments allow you to rearrange the map’s layout in real time. Defenders can board up windows, and attackers can blast holes into things, forcing you to constantly recalculate routes, find creative paths to your objective, or patch up an entryway.
Overwatch took the foundations of Team Fortress 2, tightened up the mechanics, and wrapped the whole thing up in a super-stylish package, launching the hero shooter genre to the forefront of gaming.
The game’s stylized character design and intuitive gameplay ensure a good time, whether you’re a hardcore or casual gamer. Fun heroes with creative skills allow you to explore Overwatch’s various maps in new and interesting ways. And for those who want to see the world’s best in action, the game’s interface makes it easy to follow the latest news in the pro circuit.
While it’s clear now that Blizzard has shifted resources to focus on its sequel, the first Overwatch makes this list for its pop culture dominance. We might never see another hero shooter reach the same heights again.
Paladins is often called a free-to-play Overwatch (usually derisively) and not without reason. Released only four months after Overwatch, Paladins’ list of heroes and game modes was copped almost entirely from Blizzard’s premier hero shooter. Paladins’ biggest innovation was a system that lets you equip stats-boosting cards; a feature hamstrung by a tiny card pool at launch.
In the years since, Paladins has come into its own. It now has more characters and game modes than Overwatch, and the addition of new cards with cool game-changing effects has finally made its deck-building meta game fun.
Paladins may never stop being compared to Overwatch (to be fair, their developers probably love the free marketing), but it’s still a great addition to the hero shooter category that’s worth your time.
Battle royales are either long-drawn-out battles of endurance, like PUBG, or over-the-top twitch shooters, like Fortnite. Apex Legends sits somewhere in between—a run-and-gun action experience with tactical nuance and an emphasis on teamwork. Throw superpowers on top, and you’ve got one of the best battle royale games today.
Apex Legends distinguishes itself from your PUBGs and Free Fires by letting you choose a skilled battlefield operator, or “legend”, to play as. Each legend has a passive, tactical, and ultimate ability; these skills define their role in a squad and make them feel unique.
The explosiveness and visual style of Apex Legends should make Valorant players feel right at home, despite the genre difference. It’s free-to-play, too, so if you’re a Valorant player who’s down for a bit of battle royale mayhem, Apex Legends is the game.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Battle for Neighborville is the third installment of the Plants vs. Zombies 3D shooter spin-off series, Garden Warfare. You control a plant or zombie in team-on-team competitive contests set in various suburban battlefields. The franchise’s distinctive humor is on full display here, with zombies that electric slide down roadways and playable ears of corn the size of a child.
This is clearly a game intended for a bit of light-hearted fun, not competitive play. The multiplayer PVP game modes are massive, with some supporting up to 12 players per team for insane 24-player brawls. That many players on the map basically ensures no single player can have too much influence over how a round is going.
For those who’d rather play with friends than against them, Battle for Neighborhood gives PVE just as much love as its PVP. The PVE is similar to your typical Horde mode but, in a nod to the game’s 2D tower defense roots, you can pot and grow plants to help you fend off the undead armies.
Rogue Company and Valorant have a lot in common. Both games fuse the realistic tactical shooting of Counter-Strike with the superpower abilities of Overwatch. Both games have a round-based economy system in which players buy weapons and abilities at the start of each round.
Despite their similarities, Valorant and Rogue Company feel entirely different once you actually get into a game. The abilities in Rogue Company aren’t as powerful as the skills in Valorant. This puts a greater emphasis on clever positioning and precise gunplay. While abilities can certainly influence the outcome of a firefight, your best bet to get out of a tight spot is to shoot your way out.
Rogue Company is one of the closest games like Valorant available today. You’ll have to learn to stop relying on abilities to save you in a pinch, but players who want skill-based hero shooter will appreciate how your capability with a gun is what decides the victor in a shootout.
Primal Carnage: Extinction
In Primal Carnage: Extinction, someone has Jurassic Park’d the heck out of prehistory’s most vicious dinos. Now, a cobbled together team of specialists must take out these cold-blooded menaces before they wreak havoc on society.
All the familiar hero shooter hooks are there but with the added element of size to spice things up. When you play as one of the bigger lizards, a swing of your tail can send hunters flying, and a single bite is fatal, but you’re useless if a hunter runs into a building. That’s the domain of the raptors and other, smaller dinosaurs.
Without the extra game-features of the biggest hero shooters, there isn’t much meat to Primal Carnage: Extinction. Still, if you can find some friends to join in, there’s always good fun in hunting dinos.
Modern Combat Versus
Modern Combat Versus plays like a superpower-infused version of Call of Duty. Everything from the weight of your movements to the stop-and-go shooting style feels just like an installment in the military shooter franchise. Of course, being a hero shooter, Modern Combat Versus adds over-the-top abilities into the mix.
Similar to Team Fortress 2, each class has a fixed loadout with a unique weapon. They also have their own special skills, which range from aggressive airstrikes to formidable bubble shields that protect you and nearby allies from damage. Most agent skills have massive cooldowns, so you’ll spend most of your time running and gunning, rather than spamming abilities.
The core shooting mechanics in Modern Combat Versus are satisfying and duplicate the weightiness of Call of Duty to a tee. If you’re a fan of that popular military shooter, you’ll find tons to like from Modern Combat Versus (and our list of the best games like Call of Duty).
The lack of firearms in FOR HONOR means it technically isn’t a hero shooter. Everything else about it, though—like the lineup of unique warriors and strategic, team-based gameplay—is exactly what you’d expect from the genre.
Fighters are differentiated by faction and class; both these things determine their fighting style and the type of armor they wear. There’s plenty of variety between the fighter types, and they differ wildly in style, so it’s important to understand each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses before challenging one in battle.
This is the rare game that makes melee combat feel weighty and violent. You can feel the inertia pull you off balance after whiffing a sword swing, and there’s a brutal, explosive force when a warhammer connects with your face. All of this comes together to make combat in FOR HONOR gory and savage and oh-so-satisfying.
Gundam has decades of history and—more importantly—lots of mecha to draw from, making it perfect for a hero shooter. Purists will criticize the fact that these giant hunks of metal are nimble as a Brazilian hard-light skater, but the rest of us, who just want to see exploding robots, will love every moment of Gundam Evolution’s brisk, laser-shooting action.
Gundam Evolution is fast—even by modern hero shooter standards—due to the various mobility options. All mecha have a boost dash, but some can also glide and sprint, which makes for hectic melees all across the map. When everyone can move that quickly, there’s little point in standing still, so players are constantly on the move for the next fight.
There aren’t many mecha shooters out there, let alone mecha shooter games like Valorant. Frenzied, fast, and fully dubbed, Gundam Evolution is a mecha fan’s dream come true.