First person shooters are by far the most popular games in the world. Due to their popularity, shooters have been made into the subject of movies based on video game licenses like Doom and Max Payne, and also used as influences in films like Gamer and Shoot ‘Em Up. The flip side to that is that they’ve become the targets of lazy politicians and gun lobbyists who seek to blame their popularity on violence in schools instead of looking elsewhere—towards ‘gun culture’ in general, and to the availability of firearms at retailers.
Needless to say, shooters aren’t going away any time soon, and some of them—such as the ones we’ve listed ahead, are entirely free to play so you can get a solid experience without having to pay a single cent for the experience. These games are completely free and tend to get updated with new content. It’s worth noting that we are not listing these games in any particular order and all are worth checking out. Likewise, because these games are free-to-play the titles will come and go and as a result we’ll continue to monitor the game and make note if any server shutdowns have been announced. As a result, please check back often for future updates.
#15 Enemy Territory: RTCW
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is one of the earliest instances that a high quality, and fully polished first person shooter was made available for free beyond what was typically available in the form of mods for existing games. Developed by Splash Damage, it was originally designed as the multiplayer mode for Return to Castle Wolfenstein but was released instead as a free standalone download.
Enemy Territory: RTCW was a new breed of game that saw two teams—the Axis and Allies—battle each other not for flags or points, but for actual territory. With one team on defense and the other on offense, players on both teams were divided into various classes to better supplement their team’s capabilities out on the field. Despite being over a decade old, the game still enjoys a healthy online community.
Platforms: PS4, XBO
Developed by Adhesive Games, Hawken is a first person shooter in which you pilot the body of a gigantic mech and fight your way across wartorn cities in conventional team deathmatch and free-for-all modes as well as a more in-depth “siege” mode that sees two teams fighting it out for the control of territory. Players can choose between three different classes of mechs, and instead of managing their ammo, they have to manage their heat—as their giant guns are prone to overheating when fired continuously making battles intense if you’re dealing with multiple opponents at once.
#13 Apex Legends
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Apex Legends was a surprise video game release from developers Respawn Entertainment. After EA had acquired the development studio, it was believed that the only real game on the development team’s plate was Titanfall 3 but in early February of 2019, Apex Legends was announced along with released into the market. This is a battle royale video game title which takes place in the same universe of Titanfall. In fact, the game is set just a few decades after the events of Titanfall 2 and it plays similar to other battle royale focused titles such as Fortnite with mixed hero focused characters.
In the game, players are divided up into squads of three with a total of twenty teams. Each player then picks a character which will have their own unique abilities and attributes. When the match starts, players are dropped into a large map where they must rely on fellow teammates while scavenging for resources and weapons. As the map size shrinks, players must work on defeating all of the opposing teams in hopes that their team is the last standing. There are the traditional microtransactions within the game such as Respawn Entertainment’s take on loot boxes but the title is certainly gaining plenty of gamers as already the title received over twenty million downloads in its first week.
#12 Tribes Ascend
Tribes Ascend is the successor to the highly successful Tribes series of games by Dynamix from over a decade ago. It’s also the first one in the series to be entirely free to play. Players can enjoy the game by simply playing it for free or paying for weapon upgrades and additional utilities for their characters.
Much like the original games, Tribes Ascend allows players to traverse and battle across vast stretches of terrain and even board flying fortresses with jetpacks and ski to improve their speed while on the ground. Fans of the original games should feel at home with this one.
#11 Team Fortress 2
Platforms: PC, PS3, 360
Team Fortress 2 offers a variety of game modes, ranging from simple Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch, to a mode called Push the Cart in which one team attempts to move a cart across the map while the other team sets up defenses to prevent it from going through. There’s even a variety of variations on these modes, which see both teams pushing separate carts. The game also plays host to a variety of objective control modes and a bomb delivery mode.
In addition to all of those competitive team-vs-team modes, players can also indulge in a cooperative ‘horde’ mode called Mann vs Mann, which pitches players against throngs of robotic enemies across a variety of maps.
The game’s complexity is increased several fold with the division of character classes, which help to provide players with discernible roles out on the field, and a large variety of weapons and customization. One of the game’s biggest draws is its use of hats and other decorative equipment, which can be acquired simply by playing the game, or as bonuses for purchasing other games on Steam.