Update: Prefer to play the Halo maps you've designed yourself? Located at number 12 on our list, our latest entry, Halo 5: Forge, accomplishes just that.
What's the best shooter on the PC or consoles ever? That's a good – but loaded – question, as there are a ton that we could address individually. Besides, we would inevitably get it wrong by someone's measure.
So, let's highlight what's out there now that best exemplifies what shooters are all about – with that, re-releases of seminal works are on the table as well.
Honestly, there are so many shooters out there now that you simply shouldn't miss. Here are several first-person shooter (FPS) games that you need to check out immediately on the desktop or a console.
Contrary to popular belief, Overwatch isn't a MOBA. It is, however, a colorful, competitively focused first-person shooter from Blizzard featuring different classes incorporated across a variety of different heroes. Pitting two teams of six players against one another, Overwatch is all about teamwork and cooperation with their respective squads. That said, you'll want to make sure a healthy balance of offensive and defensive characters is secured if you ultimately seek survival.
After all, you wouldn't want to be demolished by the opposing team just because you have too many healers and not enough tanks or vice versa.
Battleborn is the product of a recent influx of "hero shooter" games. Down to the basics, this means in the case of Borderlands developer Gearbox's latest hit, you get to choose between 25 characters each resonating with one of five factions. The heroes range from hulking giants like El Dragón, who body slam their way to victory, to long-range snipers like Marquis. Unlike Borderlands, Battleborn is all about its three competitive multiplayer modes, although there's a single-player/co-op-driven story mode to boot.
I mean who doesn't want to play a game where your character is quite literally referred to as a badass within the actual canon?
3. Planetside 2
If you don't like throwing money away on games, Planetside 2 is a free-to-play MMO first-person shooter you can get probably get behind. Featuring battles with up to 2,000 players per server, Daybreak Studios certainly bolsters a challenge on its shoulders with this massive PC and PS4 title.
With six different character classes spread across five different continents and three factions, Planetside 2 is exactly what you want if you like shooting people in the face en masse… Virtually speaking.
4. Half-Life 2
Despite being 12 years old now, Half-Life 2 still holds up as an example of primetime video game storytelling, and if you put on your 2004-colored-glasses, some pretty advanced physics technology for its time.
The science-fiction shooter is out on a variety of platforms by now including Xbox 360, PS3, Mac and PC, but you're best off playing it where it feels most at home, on the good old mouse and keyboard-equipped rig. Even if your computer is a literal dinosaur, Gordon Freeman doesn't discriminate -- this frustration-inducing cliffhanger of a story has aged enough at this point where clock speeds are all but irrelevant.
5. Rainbow Six: Siege
Rainbow Six Siege isn't just a technical marvel, it's an ongoing tactical endeavor. Like a handful of other titles on this list, Siege is about teamwork. Without it, it's your standard deathmatch shooter, save some impressively realistic destructible environments. Acting on the goal of either defending or challenging objectives, the five-on-five online co-op game is certainly no Call of Duty. Instead of running around swiftly across maps, dodging bullets and taking headshots, characters are given abilities and limited resources, such as wall reinforcements, barbed wire, traps, and explosives, to overthrow and denounce victory over the opposing team.
Even with The Taken King expansion pack, Destiny's story doesn't trump Halo's in terms of both quality and coherence. From the get go, however, the game has been a fantastic shooter. Compared to most games on the market, Destiny's shooting never feels unfair or unnatural.
It's simple, streamlined, and it feels damn good to pop some Fallen scum in the head, especially when coordinating a Fireteam Strike with friends.
As far as shooters go, Splatoon isn't the most tactical or complex or even that competitive. It's old school Nintendo fun adapted for the 21st century, and though the music can get eerily repetitive and single-player content is on the trim side, Splatoon is one of the few games that can justify a Wii U purchase.
It's bright and colorful, drawing its color palette from something like Sunset Overdrive, but it's also highly original and complete with enough heart and soul to provoke the internalized high-pitched screaming of your inner child.
8. Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide
Like Left 4 Dead with giant rats in place of zombies, Warhammer: Vermintide is an independently published online co-op game from Fatshark whose story is told through levels infested with toxic bomb-equipped rodents called Skaven. To keep each playthrough unique, Vermintide boasts a slew of randomly generated antagonistic furballs whose power only grows with your own. And, while all this takes place, you'll have to balance your four-person team consisting of five different hero types.
9. Halo 5: Guardians
In terms of storytelling, Halo 5: Guardians may not have been the best game in the franchise, but it's obvious developer 343 Industries was trying to tackle multiplayer this time around rather than pinning the narrative techniques nearly perfected by Bungie years prior. As a result, Halo 5 is a beautifully rendered example of how Halo multiplayer should be done, and after the short-lived artifact that was Halo 4, the lack of commitment to a proper campaign mode could be seen as a blessing in disguise.
10. Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Despite being nearly four years old at this point, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is consistently among the most-played Steam games week on week. Developed by Valve and taking advantage of the highly optimized Source engine, Global Offensive is a team shooter in which players take on a string of objectives in pursuit of in-game currency. The more money you make, the better the weapons and equipment you can buy. As simple a concept as it is, its long-standing community keeps its four online game modes refreshing and worthy of praise.
Long gone are the days when Id Software wasn't merely a subsidiary of Bethesda. The famed creators of some of the most significant video games in pop culture history, John Carmack and John Romero, may not be affiliated with the company anymore, but that doesn't mean a great new Doom game wasn't possible. The 2016 reimagining of the Doom franchise, simply titled Doom is a lovely blend of new and old as indicated in our review.
By combining the 90s heavy metal over-the-top gore of the original Doom with the mechanics of modern first-person shooters like Halo, the end result will leave FPS fans grinning from ear to ear through a 14-hour wild ride. And, while the multiplayer component won't leave you breathless, the campaign is riveting enough to keep your attention.
12. Halo 5: Forge
Unlike Halo 5: Guardians, Forge comprises building, playing and sharing Halo maps across both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Notably, this is the first time a mainline Halo title has appeared on PC since the Halo 2 days. And, aside from matchmaking, the beloved Halo 5 multiplayer is pretty much all there – provided you can be the one to arrange the matches.
On top of that, however, you're entitled to a slew of custom-made content from the community as well. What's more, you can design your own levels, maps and experiences too, for players to download and enjoy regardless of platform. For those of us who've avoided Halo in recent years due to the definitive controls for a shooter (mouse and keyboard) being neglected, Halo 5: Forge marks a golden opportunity to jump back in.