The 2010s were an interesting time for video games. The beginning of the decade saw the end of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, as both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launched in 2013. Nintendo waited until 2017 to release their newest system, the Nintendo Switch, which quickly took the gaming world by storm.
As indie games got more popular and AAA mainstream titles became slightly disappointing, the gaming world started looking towards new genres and fresher ideas. However, the first-person shooter genre stood strong, delivering hit after hit in the 2010s.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite FPS games from the 2010s, with a focus on the games that broke new ground in either storytelling, gameplay, or connectivity.
The list of excellent FPS games in the 2010s is huge, so if you feel like your favorite was overlooked, feel free to let us know!
Bioshock Infinite is the third game in the Bioshock franchise, and it took players from a city below the sea to a floating metropolis in the clouds. Players stepped into the shoes of Booker, a man who makes a deal to wipe away his debts. In order to appease his debtors, Booker must travel to Columbia, a city resting in the skies, to find and collect a young girl named Elizabeth. Soon after, Booker learns that his involvement might have been more destined than he thought.
Like the original Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite gave players wickedly fun gameplay that fused together gunplay and the use of unique special powers. It also told an exceptionally complex narrative, with enough twists and turns to make you throw up from the spins. The levels were varied, the characters were memorable, and it was tons of fun to play. Just like the first Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite is still one of the best examples of how to tell a story in the FPS genre.
The original DOOM basically birthed the FPS genre, so it's only appropriate that the 2016 reboot of the franchise would earn a spot on this list. Like the classic DOOM games, DOOM (2016) is fast-paced, high-octane, and bloody as hell.
What separates DOOM (2016) from the rest of the pack is its focus on aggressive gameplay, which rewards the player for pushing forward even when they're low on supplies. Health can be earned be executing enemies with “glory kills”, ammo and armor are plentiful in advancing rooms, and ultra-powerful weaponry is hidden away in secret rooms. This is one modern FPS reboot that manages to impress with modern gameplay while retaining the tone and attitude of the original game.
This second entry in the Call of Duty: Black Ops franchise marks another explosion in popularity for the Call of Duty series, thanks to excellent mode variety and addictive gameplay. As a sequel, the game promised big changes and innovations in both storytelling and gameplay, and it delivered. The main campaign took players from the 1980s to the 2020s, with player choice directly influencing the outcome of the story. It was a big leap for the Call of Duty series, as few games before or after have contained branching story paths.
Fans of competitive multiplayer were met with a beautiful collection of addictive game modes and maps, all wrapped into a brand new loadout system. Black Ops II introduced the “Pick-10” system, which gave players 10 equipment slots to fill with various gun accessories, perks, and grenades. The fan-favorite Zombies mode received a variety of new sub-modes,including some competitive options that let players control the undead directly. Between all the innovations and additions to beloved game modes, Call of Duty: Black Ops II rightfully earned its spot among the most-played FPS games of the decade.
The first Titanfall was built on a great concept; players compete in fierce FPS fights with the ability to call in giant mechs into battlefield. However, the lack of a campaign mode made it hard for players to identify with the atmosphere and characters, and the online multiplayer lacked compelling progression. That all changed with the release of Titanfall 2, which took all the great ideas from the first game and polished them to perfection.
Titanfall 2 revitalized the FPS genre in the late 2010s, when campaign modes were often forgotten and pushed aside. The ability to wall-run and quickly clamber over obstacles add an undeniable sense of speed to thegameplay, making it a fast-paced and unforgettable experience. The sequel also added a great deal of multiplayer modes and features, giving players a reason to stick around for dozens and dozens of hours.
Borderlands 2 looked in the face of the gritty and realistic trend of the FPS genre and instead leaned into being more humorous and visually eccentric. Combining the FPS and RPG genres into one chaotic beast, the Borderlands series has always been unique. However, Borderlands 2 took that aspect of innovation and polished it to a shine, then flooded the experience with more unique guns than you could count.
Between the insane amount of weapons, hilarious missions, and unforgettable characters, there's a lot to love about Borderlands 2. The guns are as inventive as they are plentiful; you'll find guns that shoot dozens of bullets, fully-automatic rocket launchers, and much more. The game was crafted as a cooperative experience for four players, providing the game with tons of replayability. Whether you were playing online or locally with pals, or simply soloing through on your own rampage, Borderlands 2 provided a significant amount of mayhem and hilarity that we won't soon forget.
Far Cry has always been a series full of open-world gameplay and exciting action-hero moments, but it wasn't until Far Cry 3 that the franchise really took off. Playing as a group of college kids who crash onto a tropical island during a vacation, players must fight back against local gangs and indigenous predatory animals. A great combination of exploration and open-ended gameplay makes this an unforgettable entry in the Far Cry franchise.
By doubling down on the narrative content and giving players a rich world to explore, Far Cry 3 had both quantity and quality. A fun crafting system made it easy to gain equipment and ammo by exploring your surroundings, encouraging you to verge off the beaten path. Most side-missions and open-world objectives could be completed with stealth or guns blazing, allowing for multiple play-styles. Regardless of how you play your FPS games, Far Cry 3 feels engrossing and enjoyable.
The battle royale game, a relatively new sub-genre of shooting games, found its first big burst of popularity with this competitive gem. The concept is simple; 100 players parachute onto an island filled with various weapons and equipment, and the last player alive wins. With realistic gunplay that meant death within seconds, this intense multiplayer game was one of the most anxiety-causing gameplay experiences of the decade.
In addition to the infinite replayability of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, the game gained alot of traction due to the inherent nature of choice present throughout each match. Players can play in both first-person and third-person views, join matches as a solo player or squad, and deck out their character in custom clothing. A large arsenal of weapons and attachments allow players to charge into battle with guns blazing, or hide out in the hills with long-range weaponry. Besides being tons of fun to play, this game deserves recognition for popularizing one of the biggest sub-genres of shooting games to this day.
Although the developers at Blizzard Entertainment might be more well-known for games like Starcraft and World of Warcraft, they made a big splash in the multiplayer FPS world in 2016 with Overwatch. This game popularized the sub-genre of “hero shooter”, where players could choose from a cast of original characters with unique weapons and abilities. The hero-shooter feature would later be used in other major FPS franchises like Call of Duty.
One of the best parts of Overwatch is the way it encourages teammates to work together, offering different character classes with synergy. Some characters are better at supporting the team with healing and buffs while others are best for taking damage or dealing damage. Most game modes are objective-based, where kills are important but not the priority. Since its release, Overwatch has quickly caught on in both the casual gaming and eSports scenes, making it one of the most popular FPS games of the last decade.